7 Hitters Rostered in Fewer Than 15% of Leagues – Week 16

This article features 5 players who can steal 15 bases in a season.

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.

 

Kole Calhoun, OF, AZ, (9%)

 

Kole Calhoun finally made his return to action on July 10th after spending just over two months on the IL recovering from a hamstring injury. He’s gotten off to a slow start since being reactivated but he has a long track record of solid offensive production. He has a 26 HR, 79 RBI, and five SB 162-game average dating back to the 2015 season and unless he gets traded at the deadline Calhoun will be in the Diamondbacks’ everyday lineup for the rest of the season.

 

Harrison Bader, OF, STL, (5%)

 

Harrison Bader, who spent five weeks on the IL recovering from a rib fracture, is batting .317 with two HR, eight RBI, and two SB in his last 11 games dating back to July 2nd. Bader, who has a 27.7% K rate for his big-league career has become a much more disciplined hitter. He’s only struck out 15.7% of the time so far this season. Fastballs are giving him trouble this season (.169 BAA), but he has made tremendous gains with his success against offspeed pitches. Last season he had a 33.3% whiff rate and .167 BAA offspeed pitches. He has a .273 BAA and just a 5% whiff rate against offspeed pitches this season.

 

Brandon Marsh, OF, LAA, (5%)

 

Brandon Marsh made his big-league debut on Sunday. He was hitless in four at-bats, but he’s worth a speculative add in deeper redraft leagues. Injuries (labrum, shoulder inflammation) have delayed his arrival to the big leagues, but he has five-tool talent potential and should receive everyday starts in centerfield for the Angels while Mike Trout continues to recover from his calf injury. He has a .288/.371/.440 triple-slash in four minor league seasons and was batting .255 with three HR and two SB in 24 games with the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate this season.

 

Oscar Mercado, OF, CLE, (2%)

 

Keep Oscar Mercado on your watch list. He’s back in the bigs and has been splitting time with Daniel Johnson in Cleveland’s outfield but he has made big improvements in his plate discipline since we last saw him. Back in 2020 he was striking out 29% of the time and walking 5.4% of the time with the big-league club. However, he opened the 2021 season at Triple-A where he cut his K rate to just 15.8% and his walk rate more than doubled to 11.3%. Mercado has big-time speed and a bit of pop in his bat as well. Cleveland is hoping that Mercado can rediscover the stroke that helped him hit 15 HR and steal 15 bases during his rookie campaign back in 2019.

 

Travis Jankowski, OF, PHI, (1%)

 

Travis Jankowski has been making the most of his opportunity after being recalled to the big leagues at the end of May. The Phillies added him to their roster after Roman Quinn went down with a serious Achilles injury. Since May 30th Jankowski has played parts of 33 games, (starting 10) and in 50 ABs he has compiled a .375 BA, while scoring 12 runs and stealing four stolen bases. Jankowski stole 58 bases in 275 games for the Padres between the 2016 and 2018 seasons.

 

Derek Hill, OF, DET, (1%)

 

If you’re looking for some help in the stolen base category and Jankowski is unavailable, familiarize yourself with Derek Hill. With Tigers OF Daz Cameron on the IL (toe), Hill should get semi-regular at-bats moving forward. So far he’s been successful on six of his seven stolen base attempts in his last nine games.

 

Wilmer Difo, SS/3B/OF, PIT, (1%)

 

With Erik Gonzalez heading to the IL (strained oblique), Wilmer Difo has been getting regular at-bats since the beginning of July. He’s batting .480 with two HR and six runs scored in his last nine games and his multi-position eligibility makes him a nice bench option in deep fantasy leagues.

 

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter and @justinparadisdesigns on Instagram)

Joe Gallina

Joe Gallina has been covering fantasy baseball since 2013 as both a writer and broadcaster. His written work has been syndicated by the Associated Press and has been featured in the Washington Post and New York Daily News.

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