Starting from the week 10 waiver wire I have decided to start splitting my article into two different parts. So on a Friday I plan to release a longer hitters article and then on Saturday it will be followed up with a pitchers article. This will allow me to increase the number of hitters and pitchers I can focus on and allow me to cater to deeper leagues and specific categories. This week’s hitter article is headlined by the call up of a top prospect in Carlos Correa and the return of a potential top three player at his position, Matt Wieters.
Generally I will focus on players owned in less than 80% of leagues on ESPN unless for extreme cases where I feel a player should be more owned. In brackets I will include whether the player has a particular power or steals speciality which can help boost your team.
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Matt Wieters, C, BAL: Wieters has only been back a few days but he has come out of the gate roaring batting 0.375 with one homer, three runs and three RBI. Obviously the sample size this season is small but when deciding whether or not to pick up Wieters it is last year you should really look back to. Before getting injured Wieters was tearing it up and was on pace for a career year. The danger is if these injuries are still lingering then he could be in and out of the line-up but the indication is the Orioles plan to play Wieters as much as possible either as a catcher or in the DH slot. This is a guy I definitely feel is worth a speculative pick-up in all leagues because he could easily be a top five catcher from here on in.
Brandon Belt, 1B, SF: Belt has been quietly having a strong season in a San Francisco team that has been really strong once again. Belt is hitting just below 0.300 with seven home runs and two steals on the season. The issue with Belt is always that he lacks a little power given his position where 20 homers is just average. However, what Belt can offer is the ability to be solid all-around putting up a decent batting average as well as some strong runs and RBI numbers. Even so he is only relevant in leagues with the corner infield spot or very deep leagues as a first baseman.
Adam Lind, 1B, MIL: Lind has slowed off somewhat from his hot start but he has still been decent this year hitting nine homers whilst batting a solid 0.280. So far he has driven in 31 runs and scored 21 so even though he makes way for lefties and plays in one of the worst teams in baseball he has still be decent. The lack of everyday playing time reduces him to nothing more than a 12 team league with a corner infield spot.
Logan Forsythe, 1B/2B/OF, TB: I’ve resisted putting Forsythe in here some weeks because I just didnt think he would keep being relevant but he continues to prove me wrong. Currently on pace for 20 homers and 10 steal whilst having second base eligibility is a fairly big draw for Forsythe. A potential 75 runs and RBI given his current pace is also possible meaning it’s very hard to ignore him in leagues where you need a middle infielder
Mitch Moreland, 1B, TEX: Moreland is one of my baseball crushes with being a Texas fan but this year he is becoming a fantasy baseball crush as well. Missed some time earlier in the season through injury but has still put up really good numbers including being on 20-25 homer pace whilst batting over 0.300. Batting in the core of that Texas line-up should see him keep getting RBI chances making him a deep league corner infield/utility player.
Joe Panik, 2B, SF: Two home runs in two days has made sure Panik is my number one second baseman to target as he moved his season total to a new career high of six. Not only is there a little extra power this season but he has hit safely in 32 of the last 34 games as well as 14 straight giving him a 0.324 average. Batting second for the Giants has got him on 100 run and 75 RBI pace meaning the only thing he isn’t providing is much speed but given the rest you can deal with that elsewhere.
Delino DeShields, 2B/OF, TEX (Steals): It is all about the speed with DeShields who has swiped an impressive 13 bases so far in 2015. With Hamilton out until the all-star break DeShields has an everyday position atop that Rangers order and right now he is bordering 100 run pace especially when you consider his slow start to the season. He has struggled a bit in the last week but when he gets hot he can provide decent average to go with elite speed.
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Brett Lawrie, 2B/3B, OAK: A lot of people wrote Lawrie off when he moved to Oakland this season but he has been a decent option especially given his middle infield eligibility. So far he has five homers, two steals 18 runs and 24 RBI at a 0.274 average which is nothing to set the world on fire but for a middle infielder it is a decent line. Coming off a few missed games for a back injury he might struggle for a couple of days but then he should be able to get back to his solid hitting that he has managed so far this season.
Maikel Franco, 3B, PHI: Franco has been a flash of excitement for a Phillies team that has little to smile about so far. The six homers at a 0.286 average is refreshing for fans who have had to watch Ryan Howard bat in the low 200’s to get much power and he is definitely a player who will continue to develop. For this season he is just inside my top 20 third basemen so he is mainly relevant in 14 team leagues with a corner infield spot.
Carlos Correa, SS, HOU: After much anticipation across fantasy baseball Correa was called up last Sunday and possibly too late to be snapped up in last week waivers. Correa is a genuine superstar in the making based on how he was hitting in the minor leagues and unlike the rest of the Astros he doesn’t strike out much. In his first game he drove in the only run of the game in the second game he homered and stole a base. Correa may not end the season as a top 10 SS on overall score but on a per game basis he will definitely be there. If he s available in your league go and get him even if you love your SS because people will clammer to trade for someone at a premium position.
Marcus Semien, 2B/3B/SS: He may be in a slump right now but that is why this is the perfect time to go out and buy him. Yes his defence is the most talked about aspect but he doesn’t look likely to lose his job especially when he is on 20/20 pace for the season. Batting high up in the order his 0.276 average has given him plenty of chances to score runs and he currently has 27 to go with 16 RBI. Semien will almost definitely finish the season in the top ten at shortstop so you should look to add him or trade for him if you need some help in the middle infield/SS spots.
Jace Peterson, 2B/SS: Peterson hasn’t been anything special this season but at shortstop he doesn’t need to be to be fantasy relevant. Currently batting 0.270 he has one homer and six steals to go with 22 runs and 22 RBI so far. Batting a top the order should ensure he gets plenty of AB’s and should allow him to reach 75 runs scored this season. A top 15 potential shortstop who should be owned in all leagues which are 12 teams or deeper.
Gregory Polanco, OF, PIT (>80% owned, Steals): How is this man not owned in EVERY league or at least 95%?! He struggled early in the season but still he has a fantastic 34 runs scored with 16 steals. Ok so he doesn’t look like the 20/20 guy he was touted to be but he could still be a 40 steal guy at that is valuable in all leagues. If he can keep dragging that average up he could still end the season as a top 15-20 outfielder (he is 21st right now!).
Nori Aoki, OF, SF (Steals): Aoki is currently ranked 11th (Yes you read that write) among outfielders thanks largely to his 0.333 average as well as his 29 runs scored and 12 stolen bases. For someone who came into the season ranked well outside the top 60 he has now worked his way to being a must own fantasy outfielder because he just doesn’t show signs of slowing down right now. With Pagan struggling and Pence injured Aoki has got a job locked down right now and unless he majorly cools off cannot see that changing meaning he is batting atop that Giants order for the foreseeable future.
Cameron Maybin, OF, ATL: Cameron Maybin has been on a charge the last couple of weeks rewarding fantasy owners who have gone out and picked him up. The move to second in the order has been brilliant for him and he has four steals in the last two weeks and even though the home runs have dried up a little as the season has worn on he has still got 9 RBI in the last couple of weeks. On the season he is batting 0.303 with 23 runs and 28 RBI making him a must own in all five outfielder leagues.
Kevin Pillar, OF, TOR: Another man who has quietly put up decent stats even if his batting average has been horrific so far this year. He currently has eight steals with 37 runs and 27 RBI which has kept him inside the top 30 at outfield despite hitting 0.240. He has hit four homers so far this year but two of them did come in the same game so he isn’t hitting them regularly and to expect more than 10 would be optimistic. If he can drag his average and keep doing what he is doing in the other categories then he will finish the year a top 30 outfielder.
Joey Butler, OF, TB: Butler is having a fantastic last couple of weeks with two homers and three steals in the last 15 days. On the season he is hitting 0.324 with four homers, 13 runs and 14 RBI and he is now starting to turn heads because his average is just not falling away. For now he has a full time role but if his hitting drops off a little then Tampa Bay may start looking to mix things up as they get some of their other hitters back. Other than his sky high average Butler doesn’t excel in any particular categories and his average is naturally due to regress. If that happens then Butler will have little to no value for your fantasy teams and while odds are it will happen at some point there is no harm riding the hot streak in deeper leagues.
Rajai Davis, OF, DET (Steals): Davis is a strange case because even with limited playing time he is fantasy relevant in almost every five outfielder league. This is because he has elite speed and is used as a pinch runner when healthy even in games where he isn’t in the line-up. Davis has 13 steals in 126 AB’s with 22 runs whilst batting 0.270. Davis will frustrate you because he sits in your line-up and returns big zeroes some nights but he is on 30-40 steal pace and that is extremely valuable if you can make up the other counting stats elsewhere.