Each week we’ve identified seven hitters who were 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 were best suited for inclusion in deeper leagues (12 teams or more). With injuries continuously creating holes in fantasy baseball rosters, you may have needed to occasionally rely on some of the players referenced in this article in order to field a competitive fantasy lineup. We hope that this column has helped to enhance your 2021 fantasy baseball season. We reference Fantasy Pros’ roster percentages (as of Sunday afternoon) in this article.
Harrison Bader, OF, STL (13%)
Entering Monday’s action, the Cardinals are riding a 16-game win streak and Harrison Bader has been an under-the-radar key contributor to their recent success. In 26 games since September 1st, Bader is batting .359 with six HR, 18 RBI, and two SB. Bader has an opportunity for a strong finish to his season since the Cardinals’ last three games are against the Cubs, who have posted an MLB-worst 7.51 ERA over the past two weeks.
Nick Gordon, 2B/SS/OF, MIN (12%)
Entering Sunday’s action Twins rookie Nick Gordon had posted a .340/.389/.600 triple slash in his last 16 games, raising his overall batting average from .226 to .257. Part of Gordon’s recent success can be attributed to his increased plate discipline. During his recent hot streak, he’s lowered his strikeout rate by 4.4% and at the same time, his overall contact rate has increased by 4.1%. If you’re looking for a player who can help you in the stolen base category in the last week of the season, Gordon is your man. He’s stolen 10 bases in the first 67 games of his major league career and has only gotten caught once during that time span.
Keibert Ruiz, C, WSH (11%)
We featured Keibert Ruiz in this column a few weeks ago, and although it’s taken him some time to get accustomed to hitting against big-league pitching, his bat has been on fire as of late. In his last eight games, Ruiz is batting .471 with a 1.206 OPS. Ruiz also hit two HR and drove in nine runs during that time frame. Ruiz has displayed an incredible amount of plate discipline this season. In 24 games, the 22-year-old has an impressively low 11.4% strikeout rate. It’s also worth noting that Ruiz’s next three games are in Colorado against the Rockies.
Alcides Escobar, 2B/SS, WSH (7%)
Alcides Escobar is another Nationals hitter who was previously featured in this column and is swinging a hot bat. He should also benefit from playing his next three games at Coors Field. He already has an overall .285/.331/.389 triple slash since becoming an everyday player back on July 3rd but entering Sunday’s action, Escobar was batting .367 with a .902 OPS in his last 10 games. Escobar has a .320 career batting average in 13 games played at Coors Field.
Matt Duffy, 2B/SS/3B, CHC (2%)
Matt Duffy has been swinging a hot bat for the past month. He has multi-position eligibility and can help fill those last-minute holes on your fantasy baseball team’s roster. Duffy has posted a .325/.373/.545 triple-slash in his last 21 games and finishes the season against the Pirates (4.59 team ERA over the past two weeks) and the red hot Cardinals against whom Duffy is batting .429/.500/.571 on the season.
TJ Friedl, OF, CIN (<1%)
TJ Friedl’s big league career has gotten off to a quick start. He’s batting .438 in his first eight games since his debut on September 18th. Friedl has been getting starts in centerfield of late but he can also play both corner outfield positions as well. The speedy Friedl is a player you’ll want to monitor come next spring, as his hit tool and defensive flexibility make him a player the Reds will consider for a spot in their outfield to start the 2022 season.
Matt Vierling, 1B/OF, PHI (<1%)
Matt Vierling has been getting semi-regular playing time, filling in at first base and in the outfield for the Phillies. Vierling is enjoying his third and longest big league stint of the season, posting a .289/.353/.444 triple-slash for the month of September. Vierling has some developing power and the ability to steal a base. He’s stolen 32 in his last two minor league seasons. Phillies manager Joe Girardi has been taking advantage of his effectiveness against left-handed pitching (.364/.400/.455) of late, playing Vierling in place of Brad Miller against southpaws. His ability to play first base as well as all three outfield positions should make him a valuable player who will continue to see semi-regular at-bats for the rest of the season.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter and @justinparadisdesigns on Instagram)