Hey everyone, My name is Daniel Rotter @drot_6 on Twitter.
I will be forecasting hitters for you to add in fantasy baseball based on different depths of leagues.
I will focus on leagues with deep free agent pools (50-75% owned on ESPN.com), medium (25-50%), and shallow (<25%).
These hitters may be short-term hot hitters, or hitters that I feel are ready to break out. On that note, let’s dive right in! (Stats and ownership as of 7/17)
DEEP FREE AGENT POOLS (50-75% OWNED ON ESPN.COM)
Chris Taylor, LAD 3B, 2B, OF (68% owned)
Taylor has been one of the last cuts to make my article over the past few weeks, but this week’s hot hitting has pushed him over the edge and into the “Hot Hitting Preview.” The breakout lead-off hitter in Dodger blue hit 13-for-24 (.542) with two home runs, five RBI, six runs scored, and a stolen base over the past week, turning him into a hot commodity in fantasy. Taylor originally had trouble receiving regular playing time this season, but he has really become a key contributor to the National League best Dodgers with struggles from veteran second baseman Chase Utley, causing Los Angeles to look in another direction. On the season, Taylor has hit .312 with 12 home runs, 43 RBI, and 12 stolen bases, quite the power surge compared to his previous career numbers: he hit one home run over 120 games from 2014-2017 with the Mariners and Dodgers. His sustained success in addition to hitting at the top of Major League Baseball’s most dangerous lineups makes him worth owning, at least until this torrid hot streak he is riding subsides.
Didi Gregorius, NYY SS (67.1%)
Despite missing all of April due to injury, Gregorius is actually on pace to top many of his career bests that he set last season with the Yankees because of his gradually improving power numbers with each passing season in New York. This year, the Dutch shortstop has hit .304 (career best) with 14 home runs, 44 RBI, and 40 runs scored (on pace to be career bests), and has a career best .476 slugging percentage and .810 on-base plus slugging (OPS). Like Taylor, Gregorius has been picking up hits left and right since the All-Star break, he has hit 16-for-42 (.381) and has added four home runs, seven RBI and six runs scored since June 14. Gregorius has been a steadily rising source of offense for the Bronx Bombers, and if he is out there in your league he is definitely worth a pickup, he is ranked the 11th best shortstop according to ESPN’s Player Rater, ranking over Manny Machado and sitting one slot behind Francisco Lindor despite missing time to start the season.
STANDARD LEAGUE FREE AGENT POOLS (25-50% OWNED ON ESPN.COM)
Yoan Moncada, CWS 3B (46.8% owned)
Moncada, a renowned top prospect in the game for a couple of years now, was finally called-up to the major leagues by the White Sox after three and a half months of fine tuning in Triple-A Charlotte. Fans and fantasy owners alike are excited to see what he can bring to the table in his first real stint in the majors, as he disappointed in his short cup of coffee in the big leagues in 2016, hitting just 4-for-19 (.211), with a double, an RBI, and 12 strikeouts. The centerpiece of one of the biggest trades in recent memory, Moncada, flamethrower Michael Kopech, and others were shipped to Chicago from Boston to make one of the best pitchers in the game a member of the Red Sox: Chris Sale. For Moncada to be the centerpiece of a trade for Chris Sale he must be very talented right? That is correct, Moncada has drawn player comparisons to MLB greats like Gary Sheffield, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, and Mike Trout, which shows you how talented he must be. Despite hitting just 1-for-13 (.077) over his first four games, his upside should have fantasy owners salivating and he would be a great stash if you have room on your bench because if he finds his groove in the playoff push, it could help you win your league.
David Peralta, ARI OF (39.5%)
Another player that has narrowly missed this list over the past few weeks, Peralta gets the spotlight at long last for putting together a great bounce-back year after a disappointing 2016. Peralta had a breakout season in 2015 (.312, 17 HR, 78 RBI) which put him on many people’s draft radar in 2016, but an injury riddled disappointing season led to him being largely forgotten in 2017 drafts. The Venezuelan outfielder has regained his stroke this season along with the Diamondbacks as a team, as Peralta has hit .319 with ten home runs and 54 runs scored this season, mostly hitting second in the lineup. Peralta has recorded a hit in 11 of his last 12 games and currently ranks as the #24 outfielder in fantasy. Peralta has appeal in all formats and I think should be owned in many more than 395 of every 1000 leagues.
Josh Bell, PIT 1B (26%)
With so much talent at first base in the National League, Bell has really flown under the radar with a nice breakout season in his first full year with the Pirates. Bell has hit .248 this season, with 18 home runs, 54 RBI, and 49 runs scored, making him the #18 first baseman in fantasy according to Player Rater. This may not sound that great, but with so much talent at first base Bell actually ranks ahead of mainstays such as Matt Carpenter, Brandon Belt, Carlos Santana, Albert Pujols, and Miguel Cabrera. Also, with the return of lead-off hitter Starling Marte, Bell will have an increased number of RBI chances because of Marte’s ability to get on base and his great speed to steal his way into scoring position. Since the All-Star break, Bell has hit 12-for-38 (.316) with two home runs and ten RBI, and if you have a shortage at first base or are starting to lose hope in struggling first baseman (Cabrera, Santana, Chris Davis, etc.), Bell could be your guy.
SHALLOW FREE AGENT POOLS (<25% OWNED ON ESPN.COM)
Nick Williams, PHI OF (18.6% owned)
Williams was a part of one of the biggest trade deadline deals in recent memory, in 2015 we saw Williams shipped to Philadelphia along with top catching prospect Jorge Alfaro, and pitchers Matt Harrison, Jerad Eickhoff, Alec Asher, and Jake Thompson in the deal that sent Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman to the Rangers. After enjoying a great season in Triple-A Lehigh Valley, the lefty outfielder was called up to the Phillies on June 30 because he hit .280 with 15 home runs as an Iron Pig this year. In his short time with the Phillies, Williams has failed to disappoint by hitting .309 with four home runs and 15 RBI in 19 games. Williams has done much of his damage since the passing of the All-Star break however, as he has hit 12-for-36 (.333) with three of his four homers and 14 of his 15 RBI in those nine games. Ranked the #5 prospect in the very promising Phillies farm system, Williams would be a good pick up in a deeper league to ride this hot streak while it lasts.
Cory Spangenberg, SD 2B, 3B, OF (10.2%)
The former first round pick (10th overall) in 2011, Spangenberg has really played the role of a utility player in San Diego in his time in the majors. Spangenberg really isn’t fantasy relevant unless you are in a very big league or are struggling horribly with any of his positions, but he has been swinging the bat well of late. This season, Spangenberg has hit .272 with eight home runs and 30 RBI, but continuing the theme of my hot hitting articles, he has been a hot hitter since the All-Star break. Spangenberg has hit 14-for-36 (.389) with three home runs and ten RBI. Spangenberg has recorded a hit in every game that he has started since the break, has five multi-hit efforts in that span, and is currently riding a modest eight game hit streak. Spangenberg’s eligibility at many positions makes him an intriguing play in very deep leagues but that is the only appeal that I see him having for the time being.
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About the Author:
MLB Season Long info
Daniel Rotter is just your typical high school student in many ways: he is a member of the varsity football team, does his homework, works as an umpire for little league baseball, and is the sports editor for his school newspaper. Daniel is different from most high school students in that he loves all things sports, and is obsessed with statistical, player, and rules knowledge of many sports, but particularly baseball. Still too young to legally participate in DFS, Daniel still spends most of his time on season-long fantasy sports for the time being. Daniel is an avid Baltimore sports fan, and roots hard for his Orioles, Ravens, and Maryland Terrapins.