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.
Ben Gamel, OF, PIT, (8%)
Ben Gamel has been a solid addition to the Pirates’ outfield since they claimed him off waivers from the Cleveland baseball team on May 9th. He’s been especially hot over the past two weeks, batting .311 while smacking five home runs and driving in 10 runs in his last 14 games. Gamel’s recent power surge can in part be attributed to his career high launch angle (18.5) and barrel rate (11.5). He provides depth for deep league fantasy baseball teams who need to start five outfielders.
Zack Collins, C, CHW, (4%)
With Yasmani Grandal expected to miss about a month of the season due to a knee injury Zack Collins should get the bulk of the starts at catcher for the White Sox for the near future. Collins has good power and is batting .296 and has 9 RBI in his last 10 games. Avoid using him against left-handed pitching (.154/.214/.256 this season).
Darin Ruf, 1B/OF, SF (1%)
Entering Sunday’s action Darin Ruf has slugged three home runs and posted a .324/.465/.676 slash line in 16 games since being reinstated from the IL (right hamstring strain). Ruff has been a part-time player in his big-league career, but he does have some pop in his bat. Ruf has hit nine home runs in his first 59 games this season and has a 21 home run 162 game average for his career. He’s posted some pretty extreme splits this season making him more valuable in leagues that allow for daily lineup changes. Ruf’s production has been much better against left-handed pitching (.327/.463/.712 vs lefties, .219/.342/.438 vs righties) and he has been a better hitter on the road (.313 away BA, .204 home BA) this season.
Alcides Escobar, 2B/SS, WSH, (1%)
Alcides Escobar, who was a starting shortstop for eight major league seasons, will likely eventually settle into a backup infielder role for the Nationals. However, he’s making the most of the regular playing time that he’s been getting of late. Entering Sunday’s action Esobar has started eight straight games, batting .314 with a .351 OBP. He’s been batting leadoff for the Nats, sneaking into the lineup while Trea Turner was dealing with a short-term minor injury. Escobar has also been getting at-bats with Josh Harrison playing a bit of outfield with Kyle Schwarber on the IL. He’s yet to steal a base for the Nats, but Escobar has good speed. He averaged 23 stolen bases a season between 2010 and 2016.
Orlando Arcia, SS/OF, ATL, (1%)
With Atlanta, scrambling to find healthy outfielders to place in their lineup with Ronald Acuna Jr. out for the season, Orlando Arcia should get some regular playing time for the near future. The Brewers thought they had a star in the making in Arcia following his 2017 campaign in which he batted .277 with 15 home runs and 14 stolen bases. However, he posted a disappointing cumulative .233/.284/.347 triple slash in his next three seasons. He began his big-league career as a shortstop, but has been playing left field for the Braves since being recalled from their Triple-A affiliate. Arcia has a good underlying skillset, having batted .286/.345/.419 in seven minor league seasons, and is batting .350 in six games for Atlanta this season.
Ramon Urias, 2B/SS, BAL, (1%)
Ramon Urias’ bat has been on fire since he was recalled from the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate in early June. Urias is batting .378 and has hit three home runs while both scoring and driving in eight runs in his last 12 games. He has some sneaky power, having slugged 13 home runs in 90 games for the Cardinals’ Double and Triple-A affiliates in 2018 and is eligible at second base and shortstop in most league formats.
John Nogowski, 1B/OF, PIT, (1%)
John Nogowski is expected to get regular at-bats for the Pirates while he fills in for Colin Moran (broken bone left wrist). Once Philip Evans returns to action (7 day IL, concussion) he may also get some starts at first base, but so far Nogowski has hit the ground running since joining the Pirates on Monday. Nogowski’s batting a gaudy .522 with two doubles and 4 RBI in his first six games with the Bucs. Nogowski has a good hit tool as demonstrated by his .281 career minor league batting average across seven seasons. With his ability to play the outfield, if he continues to impress with his bat Nogowski may secure regular long term at-bats for the Pirates moving forward.