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.
Carter Kieboom, 3B/SS, WSH, (2%)
Will the third time be a charm for Carter Kieboom? The now 23-year-old Nationals prospect has had a very successful minor league career (.281/.377/.461) but unfortunately, he hasn’t yet been able to transfer that success to the big league level. Offspeed pitches (.160 BAA) and strikeouts (29.9% K rate) have been his biggest hurdles early on in his big-league career. He’s back for his third go-around with the Nats and with Jordy Mercer on the IL, Trea Turner and Josh Harrison being traded, and Starlin Castro suspended, this could be his final chance to show the Nats that he has what it takes to make it in the big leagues. Perhaps knowing that he’ll be in the Nats’ starting lineup for the rest of the season will help Kieboom to relax and showcase what once made him one of the top prospects in baseball. Only time will tell, but his .333 batting average in his last four games is encouraging.
Brent Rooker, OF, MIN, (2%)
With a roster spot opening up after the Twins traded Nelson Cruz to the Rays, Brent Rooker was recalled from Triple-A St. Paul and he’s been taking advantage of his playing time. In his last eight games, Rooker is batting .313 with three HR and eight runs scored. He’s also become a much more disciplined hitter of late. In his first 30 plate appearances with the Twins in April Rooker had a 43.3% K rate, but in his last 36 plate appearances, he’s cut his strikeout rate to just 19.4%.
Tres Barrera, C, WSH, (1%)
With the Nats gutting their team prior to the MLB trade deadline, some under-the-radar players will have a chance to get regular playing time and one of those players is Tres Barrera. The Nats’ trade of Yan Gomes will allow Barrera to continue to show the Nats that he deserves a spot on their big-league roster. Through his first 18 games of the season, Barrera has posted a .296/.377/.444 triple slash, but he’s also improved his defense since spring training. He’s getting it done both at the plate and behind the plate and his ability to block balls and handle Nats pitchers should also help him see increased playing time.
Rafael Ortega, OF, CHC, (1%)
The Cubs are the fifth team that journeyman Rafael Ortega has played for in his big-league career over the past 10 years, but with the Cubs breaking down their roster leading up the MLB trade deadline, he has a good shot of getting regular playing time for the rest of the season while the Cubs plan out their next roster moves. Ortega has been leading off and playing centerfield for the Cubbies lately and in his last 15 games, he’s batting .444 with four HR (three of which were hit on Sunday). Consider him a short-term option in deeper leagues in which you’re forced to start five outfielders.
Bryan De La Cruz, OF, MIA, (<1%)
Keep an eye on Bryan De La Cruz who was traded to the Marlins in a move that sent Marlins’ former closer Yimi García to the Astros. With Starling Marte having been traded to the A’s, De La Cruz will get plenty of at-bats in the Marlins lineup moving forward. De La Cruz has a .276/.346/.391 minor league triple-slash and was in the middle of his best minor league season before the trade. He was batting .324 and had discovered some newfound power with a career-high 12 home runs and 50 RBI in 66 games for the Astros’ Triple-A Sugarland affiliate. De La Cruz can play all three outfield positions and the Marlins are likely to give him a long look as a potential long-term option in their teams’ rebuilding process.
Curtis Terry, U, TEX, (<1%)
As this article is being written Curtis Terry has yet to record his first major league hit, however, his pedigree makes him a player who should be on your watch list. In six minor league seasons, he’s posted a .291/.361/.527 triple slash, and before being recalled by the Rangers he had smashed 17 home runs in 65 games for the Triple-A Round Rock Express. With the Rangers trade of Joey Gallo and the demotion of Nick Solak, Terry should be in the Rangers’ everyday lineup for the near future. He’s not worth a waiver wire add yet, but if he gets hot, he may hit some home runs in bunches.
Josh VanMeter, 2B/OF, AZ, (<1%)
Josh VanMeter should see increased playing time with Eduardo Escobar having been traded to the Brewers and Josh Rojas currently on the IL. He’s put up some modestly good stats in his last eight games, batting .321 with one HR and seven RBI. DFS players and fantasy managers who play in leagues with daily lineup changes should note that he has posted a .333/.385/.625 triple-slash against left-handed batters this season.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter and @justinparadisdesigns on Instagram)