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.
J.P. Crawford, SS, SEA, (9%)
J.P. Crawford may not have yet developed the power bat that many had hoped he would, but he’s been swinging a hot one for the past few weeks. In his first 43 games of the season, Crawford compiled a .239/.312/.303 slash line and a below-league-average 81 wRC+. In his next 21 games, Crawford began hitting the ball with more authority, upping his exit velocity by just under 4 MPH. He raised his slash line and wRC+ to .325/.378/.513 and 149 respectively. Crawford can be used as a streaming option against left-handed pitching (.351 BAA) and as a replacement for Nick Madrigal if you play in a deep league and had been using the White Sox second baseman as your middle infielder.
Jorge Alfaro, C, MIA, (5%)
After missing a chunk of time due to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis last season, Jorge Alfaro was never able to get on track, finishing the 2020 season with a .226 BA. Alfaro got off to another slow start and spent just about a month of this season on the IL due to a hamstring strain, however in his last 12 games heading into Sunday’s action he’s posted a .324/.425/.559 triple slash line. Alfaro has some pop in his bat and despite his free-swinging ways, when healthy he’s demonstrated enough plate discipline to maintain a career .262 BA.
Brendan Rodgers, SS, COL, (5%)
It seems that we’ve been waiting for Brendan Rodgers‘ breakout season for a very long time but he’s still only 24 years old. The Rockies finally seem committed to giving Rodgers a chance to show if his above-average minor league production can carry over to the big leagues. He’s been getting everyday at-bats since May 21st, splitting his time between shortstop and second base. In his first 19 games of the 2021 season, Rodgers has held his own, batting .263 with three HR and 11 RBI. Rodgers has had a couple of short-lived unsuccessful stints with the Rockies in the past, posting a 32.4% K rate in 109 plate appearances. This time around Rodgers is showing better discipline at the plate, striking out just 19.7% of the time. Like many Rockies hitters, Rodgers has enjoyed greater success when playing at Coors Field this season (.333 BA), compared to his production on the road (.212), and the Rockies begin a seven-game homestand today (Monday, June 14th).
Bobby Bradley, 1B, CLE, (5%)
Keep an eye on Cleveland’s latest first baseman, Bobby Bradley. He has five minor league seasons in which he hit at least 23 home runs and hit nine bombs with 19 RBI in 26 games for Cleveland’s Triple-A affiliate this season. Unfortunately, Bradley was only hitting .196 at the time of his promotion. Bradley has at least one hit in five of his first six games since joining the big league club and is batting .444 in a very small sample size. Cleveland, who has been no-hit twice this season and possesses a .226 team batting average, desperately needs Bradley to provide a spark to their lackluster offense.
Trevor Larnach, OF, MIN, (4%)
It has been a tough first couple of months of the season for fantasy baseball managers who’ve been relying on fantasy production from prospects that they’ve been rostering. One rookie who seems to be slowly coming around is Trevor Larnach. He may not be as well known as Alex Kirilloff, Jarred Kelenic, or Wander Franco, but he has a good pedigree as his .306/.384/.473 career minor league slash line suggests. Larnach slumped in the first 14 games of his big league career, batting just .186 with a .313 SLG, but in his next 15 games he posted a .311 BA with a .489 SLG. His .462 BABIP in those 15 games is not likely sustainable and suggests that some of his luck may have played a hand in his recent success. However, Larnach’s .436 OBP and 12.7 walk rate in those games show that he possesses above-average plate discipline for a young hitter with limited big-league experience.
Max Stassi, C, LAA, (3%)
Max Stassi has been crushing the ball since being reinstated from the IL after missing almost four weeks of the season due to a concussion. In his first nine games since coming off of the IL, he’s batted .448 with 3 HR, 8 RBI, and 11 runs scored. Overall, he’s posted career highs in exit velocity (94.4 MPH) and hard-hit rate (64.9%). While he will undoubtedly cool off, his xBA is a healthy .302.
Jake Fraley, OF, SEA, (2%)
Jake Fraley has given the Mariners offense a bit of a lift since he was reinstated from the IL after dealing with a severe hamstring strain. In his first 13 games since rejoining the M’s, Fraley is batting .282 and has belted four home runs, driven in 13, and scored nine. Admittedly we’ve only got a small sample size of at-bats to analyze, but Fraley has been an extremely disciplined hitter this season. He has an impressive but unsustainable 29.7% walk rate and an extremely low 12.1% chase rate.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter and @justinparadisdesigns on Instagram)