Each week we identify seven hitters who are rostered in fewer than 15% of fantasy baseball leagues who should be on your radar. For the most part, the players included in this article are best suited for inclusion in deeper leagues (12 teams or more). However, with the multitude of injuries creating holes in fantasy baseball rosters, you may need to eventually rely on some of the players referenced in this article in order to field a complete and competitive fantasy lineup. We reference Fantasy Pros’ roster percentages (as of Sunday afternoon) in this article.
Akil Baddoo, OF, DET, (14%)
Akil Baddoo was featured in this column earlier in the season, but as you’d expect from a rookie who’s never played above A-ball, he’s had his ups and downs this season. Baddoo’s roster percentage quickly rose as he got off to a quick start early this season. He was batting .295 on April 22nd, but in his next 15 games, he batted just .103 with a 41.3% K rate. In his next 14 games, he posted a .360/.556/.600 triple-slash and he walked 30.6% of the time and cut his strikeout rate down to 25%. Based on Baddoo’s extreme early season splits if you plan on rostering the Tiger rookie you’ve got your work cut out for you. Avoid starting him against left-handed pitching (.118 BAA) and consider benching him when he plays on the road (.300 home BA vs. .190 road BA).
Asdrúbal Cabrera, 1B/2B/3B, AZ, (14%)
Even though Asdrúbal Cabrera is one of baseball’s elder statesmen at 35 years old, he’s proven that he’s still got plenty left in the tank. He was just reinstated from the IL on Friday, and the Diamondbacks have been easing him back into their lineup. However, Cabrera had been on a hot streak before straining his hamstring, posting a .375 BA and a 1.051 OPS in his last 17 games before being forced to the Injured List. Cabrera is a disciplined hitter who’s posted a 14% BB rate and 18.4% K rate thus far this season and with a career-high 9.9% barrel rate, he’s still got some pop left in his bat.
Willi Castro, 2B/3B/SS, DET, (12%)
Willi Castro didn’t appear on too many top prospect ranking lists before leading into last season and the fact that he compiled a .349/.381/.550 slash line and finished fourth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting last season came as somewhat of a surprise. Expectations for Castro were much higher heading into this season, but he got off to a slow start and as recently as May 27th he was batting just .193 with a 4.5% BB rate and 30.8% K rate. Since then he’s turned things around dramatically, posting a 14.3% BB rate and a 4.8% K rate, to go along with his .526 BA and six RBI in his last eight games heading into Sunday’s action. Castro is neither as good nor as bad a hitter as his aforementioned streaks would lead us to believe, but if there’s one thing both he and the Tigers have shown so far this season, it’s that they are no pushovers.
Miguel Andújar, 3B/OF, NYY, (9%)
Miguel Andújar had a breakout 2018 season as the Yankees’ third baseman in which he batted .297 with 27 HR and 92 RBI and finished second in AL Rookie of the Year voting. Unfortunately, he missed most of the 2019 season due to right shoulder labrum repair surgery and lost his starting third baseman’s job to Gio Urshela in the process. The Bronx Bombers have been trying to find a regular spot in their lineup for Andújar since last season and it finally appears that they have. Andújar has played a majority of his games as a left fielder this season and he seems to be getting more comfortable roaming the outfield at Yankee Stadium and that seems to be helping his production at the plate as well. Entering this past weekend’s action, Andújar has batted .308/.308/.500 in his 15 games for the Yanks. While he has been getting regular at-bats for the Yanks lately, if the Yanks eventually swing a trade for an outfielder there’s a chance that his playing time would be limited. Until then, ride the hot hand.
Eric Haase, C, DET, (3%)
If you play in a two-catcher league, adding Eric Haase to your roster should be a no-brainer. Yes, the 31.4% K rate heading into Sunday’s action is ugly, but Haase has hit seven home runs in his first 19 games of the season. Despite all of the swings and misses in his game, Haase has been able to maintain a .266 BA. His expected stats (.280 xBA and .613 xSLG) are a bit inflated due to his limited playing time but impressive, nevertheless. He’ll yield back some playing time to Grayson Greiner and Wilson Ramos once they return from the IL, but in the meantime add him to your fantasy squad and hopefully he’ll continue to hit the long ball for your fantasy team.
Harold Ramirez, OF, CLE, (2%)
Cleveland has found a way to remain in contention in the AL Central despite being no-hit twice this season and compiling a .220 team batting average. Harold Ramirez might not be the type of hitter who can carry a team on his back, but his moderate power and speed combination—as well as his ability to hit for high average—has definitely helped the struggling Cleveland lineup. Ramirez isn’t afraid to swing the bat, and even though he has an above-average chase rate, (37.6%), his strikeout rate is just 12%. Ramirez has had problems hitting offspeed and breaking pitches which will probably be exploited as the season progresses but for now, he’s batting .278 on the season, and .321 over his last 14 games.
Tony Kemp, 2B/OF, OAK, (2%)
Tony Kemp represents the typical under-the-radar Oakland A who might not be a fantasy superstar, but who represents a good streaming option in deeper fantasy baseball leagues. In his last 15 games, Kemp is batting .390 with two HR, eight runs scored, and 10 RBI. He has been getting enough regular playing time of late to make him someone to consider as a stop-gap option should your fantasy team need a temporary fill-in at the middle infield or outfield position.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter and @justinparadisdesigns on Instagram)