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(Players rostered in under 50 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Note: Percentages are from the morning of Thursday, May 5
Ha-Seong Kim, 2B/3B/SS, Padres (Yahoo: 32 percent rostered)
Kim’s first season in the states was mostly a flop, and he didn’t get off to a great start this year. The 26-year-old has been swinging a hot bat of late, though, putting up a 1.077 OPS with three home runs, four doubles and nine RBI over his last 10 contests. Kim has mostly overtaken C.J. Abrams at shortstop after initially platooning with him, and he’s gotten a couple starts at third base on days he’s not at short. Kim’s exit velocity has been lackluster, but he has six barrels already and also a sprint speed in the 83rd percentile.
Joe Barlow, RP, Rangers (Yahoo: 46 percent rostered)
Manager Chris Woodward in spring training somewhat surprisingly shied away from naming Barlow his closer. This was after the right-hander posted a 1.55 ERA while converting 11-of-12 save opportunities last season. Woodward did finally say that Barlow was his guy in the ninth inning, but shortly after that it was Matt Bush who converted the team’s first save on April 23 when Barlow was unavailable. Wins have been hard to come by for the Rangers, but they’ve won four straight and Barlow has picked up a save in three of those games. He’s also put up a nifty 12/1 K/BB ratio across 8 1/3 innings. The 26-year-old looks to have a clear hold on the job right now.
Nolan Gorman, 3B, Cardinals (Yahoo: 31 percent rostered)
The Cardinals’ offense exploded for 10 runs Wednesday but before that had been struggling mightily, averaging just over three runs per game over their prior 17 contests and only scoring 11 runs in their previous five games. Paul DeJong has been arguably the worst offender with a lowly .444 OPS, and that’s nothing new as he has just a .648 OPS since the start of the 2020 season. Moving Tommy Edman to shortstop and installing Gorman at second base would weaken the team’s defense, but it could also provide a much-needed offensive spark. One of the top power-hitting prospects in the game, Gorman has already slugged 11 homers while posting a 1.067 OPS in his first 22 games with Triple-A Memphis. He can also see some time in the designated hitter spot in place of Corey Dickerson.
Brad Keller, SP, Royals (Yahoo: 30 percent rostered)
It was Keller shutting down the aforementioned Cardinals offense on Tuesday, as the big right-hander held them off the scoreboard for 6 1/3 innings. The outing lowered Keller’s ERA on the season to 1.74, and he also boasts a 0.84 WHIP. Keller doesn’t miss bats, but he does get a lot of ground balls and he has one of the best defensive infield units in baseball backing him. The ceiling is capped with Keller, but I could easily see him being more of the 3.50 ERA guy he was from 2018-20 than the 5.39 ERA guy from 2021.
Josh Rojas, 2B/3B/SS/OF, Diamondbacks (Yahoo: 19 percent rostered)
Like Kim, Rojas offers plenty of positional versatility, even adding outfield to go along with second and third base and shortstop. Rojas has been out all season with an oblique strain suffered late in spring training, but he began a rehab assignment this week, setting up a return to the Diamondbacks’ lineup before long. The 27-year-old’s numbers in 2021 in his first full season in the majors don’t jump off the page, but he does get on base at a decent clip thanks to a healthy walk rate, and he provided 11 homers and nine stolen bases last year. Rojas could be a useful guy to have around in deeper formats.
Max Meyer, SP, Marlins (Yahoo: 13 percent rostered)
The Marlins’ rotation is already the strength of their team, and they could add another dynamic arm to the mix before long in Meyer. The No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 Draft, Meyer boasts a 1.71 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 33/6 K/BB ratio over 26 1/3 innings covering his first five starts with Triple-A Jacksonville. Elieser Hernandez is better than the 6.66 ERA he’s shown so far, but it’s difficult to see him as much of a roadblock to Meyer’s path to the rotation. Meyer is a worthy roster stash right now if he’s available.
Anthony Santander, OF, Orioles (Yahoo: 21 percent rostered)
Santander has generally been a very impatient hitter during his career, having entered this season with just a 5.1 percent walk rate. However, this year he’s done a complete 180, putting up a whopping 17.2 percent walk rate which ranks in the 96th percentile. It appears he’s picked up a new skill which he helped develop thanks to a drill shown to him by new Orioles hitting coaches Ryan Fuller and Matt Borgschulte. While Camden Yards suddenly looks like more of a pitcher’s park thanks to the left field wall being moved back, Santander is a switch-hitter who has shown more power from the left side of the plate.
(Players rostered in under 10 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Mike Moustakas, 1B/3B, Reds (Yahoo: 6 percent rostered)
Moustakas entered this season as seemingly a forgotten man following a couple injury-shortened, disappointing years with the Reds. He then got off to a dreadful start in 2022, going 4-for-31 with a 13/0 K/BB ratio over his first nine games before landing on the injured list with a strained biceps. However, Moustakas was activated a week ago and since then has gone 8-for-20 at the plate while hitting his first home run of the season. He’s a guy who is only going to help you in two categories, but “Moose” is a proven power bat playing in a very favorable home park.
Dane Dunning, SP, Rangers (Yahoo: 7 percent rostered)
Dunning showed glimpses of his potential last season – particularly in the first half – and finished with nearly a strikeout per inning and a solid 3.94 FIP. He’s been better so far this year with a 3.81 ERA and 26/8 K/BB ratio over 26 innings, which includes 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts and no walks his last time out against the Braves. Dunning’s next matchup in New York against the Yankees is no walk in the park, but he should be rostered in more leagues.
Cesar Hernandez, 2B, Nationals (Yahoo: 10 percent rostered)
Fantasy managers gave a collective eye roll when manager Dave Martinez entrusted Hernandez with the team’s leadoff spot, and the veteran second baseman proceeded to bat a feeble .217/.250/.261 over his first 16 games. Since then, though, he’s gone on a 10-game hitting streak, sporting a .390/.444/.463 batting line with a couple stolen bases during that stretch. Hernandez’s upside is obviously limited, but he did pop a career-high 21 home runs last season. It would certainly be nice if he started running again.
Tyler Wells, SP/RP, Orioles (Yahoo: 2 percent rostered)
Heading into spring training, it looked like Wells’ best chance at fantasy value would be as the Orioles’ closer following an impressive showing in relief during his rookie season. However, he won a rotation spot and has pitched well in three of five starts, including his last two times out when he’s allowed a total of three runs with an 8/0 K/BB ratio over 10 frames. The 6-foot-8 Wells’ velocity has understandably dipped a bit as he moves into the rotation, but he’s shown some potential with a four-pitch mix. Wells gets a favorable matchup versus the Royals this weekend.
Jake Odorizzi, SP, Astros (Yahoo: 8 percent rostered)
After an absolutely dreadful first three starts of the season, I figured it would be likelier that we’d be talking about Odorizzi’s demotion to the bullpen by now. However, he’s since reeled off back-to-back dandies, first allowing just one hit and one run over six innings against the Rangers last week and then on Monday shutting the Mariners out for 6 2/3 frames. Odorizzi’s strikeouts have really dried up this season, but his track record suggests he should be adequate in that regard. He faces the Tigers this weekend.
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Kevin Smith, 3B, Athletics (Yahoo: 1 percent rostered)
Acquired from the Blue Jays in the Matt Chapman trade, Smith had a big spring training to win the A’s third base job but then proceeded to go 0-for-16 with eight strikeouts in his first six games. He’s since started to settle in, going 10-for-30 with one home run (a grand slam), four doubles, six RBI and a stolen base in 10 games sandwiched around an injured list stint. Smith offers some power and also speed at a position which traditionally doesn’t offer much.
Johnny Cueto, SP, White Sox (Yahoo: 1 percent rostered)
Cueto signed on with the White Sox on a minor league deal just ahead of Opening Day and has been knocking off some rust on the farm but could be ready to join the Pale Hose’s rotation next week. Now 36, Cueto posted a solid 4.08 ERA and 98/30 K/BB ratio across 114 2/3 innings of work last season with the Giants. The two-time All-Star is obviously on the downside of his career, but he could at least be worthy of streamer consideration.
Travis Demeritte, 2B/SS/OF, Braves (Yahoo: 6 percent rostered)
The Braves claimed Demeritte off waivers last year but kept him in the minors all season before ultimately jettisoning him off the 40-man roster. He posted a .958 OPS with 22 homers and eight steals in the minors in 2021, though, and earned a promotion this year following an even better performance. The hot streak has carried over with the big club, with Demeritte sporting a .914 OPS and swatting a couple homers in 11 games. The 27-year-old has some power and has been seeing regular duty of late with Eddie Rosario (eye) on the shelf.
Jordan Luplow, 1B/OF, Diamondbacks (Yahoo: 1 percent rostered)
Luplow has played the role of short side platoon bat throughout his career and has done a fine job at it, boasting a .905 OPS with 24 home runs in 387 plate appearances versus southpaws. The Diamondbacks have been playing him some against righties, too, though, since he returned from a strained oblique. He’s even batted second in each of his last four starts and on Sunday had a two-homer game.