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7 Hitters Rostered in Fewer Than 15% of Leagues – Week 5

A preseason draft sleeper is finally awakening from his slumber.

Each week from now until the end of the season, we will identify players who are rostered in fewer than 15% of fantasy baseball leagues and should be on your radar. For the most part, the players featured in this article are best suited for inclusion in deeper leagues (12 teams or more). However, with the COVID virus still wreaking havoc with fantasy rosters, you may need to eventually rely on some of the players in this article in order to field a complete and competitive lineup. We will reference Fantasy Pros’ roster percentages (as of Sunday afternoon) in this article.

 

Kyle Higashioka, C, NYY, (11%)

 

Kyle Higashioka shines a faint light towards what is considered a dark fantasy baseball position. The Yankees recently announced that Higashioka will see an increased workload moving forward, possibly occupying the strong side of a platoon with Gary Sánchez. Higashioka is batting .258 with four HR and six RBI in his first 31 at-bats of the season. With a .378 average, he is especially valuable in OBP leagues. He has sneaky power, with a 27 HR 162-game average.

 

Andrelton Simmons, SS, MIN, (10%)

 

After spending almost two weeks on the COVID-19-related IL, Andrelton Simmons finally returned to game action on April 26th. He had gotten off to a hot start to the season with a .355/.474/.452 slash line in his first 10 games, but has slumped since his return. Based on his long track record of success Simmons should eventually be rostered in most leagues with 12 or more teams. When healthy, Simmons can provide fantasy baseball managers with low double-digit home run and stolen base production as his 162-game 10 HR and 10 SB average suggests.

 

Josh Rojas, 2B/SS/OF, AZ, (7%)

 

Josh Rojas is finally flashing the bat that we hoped we’d see at the start of the season. Fantasy baseball managers who gave up on him after his .065/.216/.016 start in his first 13 games might have found themselves rushing out to pick him up off the waiver wire this week. Entering Sunday’s action Rojas had a .407/.429/.815 slash line with three HR and eight RBI in his last eight games. His average exit velocity increased by just under seven MPH in those eight games as compared to his first 13 games of the season.

 

Luis Urías, SS, MIL, (6%)

 

Luis Urías entered Sunday’s action with a .333/.438/.641 slash line and three HR, 13 RBI in his last 15 games. Urías, who occasionally flashed a power bat during his minor-league career, has a career-high and above league-average 12.5% barrel rate and 47.9% hard hit rate so far this season. Urías hasn’t sacrificed any of his plate discipline while swinging his bat with more authority. His 81.8% overall contact rate and 17.1% walk rate are both above the league average and career highs.

 

Mike Tauchman, OF, SF (2%)

 

If you play in a deep league that requires that you start five outfielders and are looking for an outfield replacement option, Mike Tauchman may be your man for the short term. He was traded to the Giants from the Yankees this week and with Mike Yastrzemski on the IL, Tauchman should see everyday at-bats for the near future. Tauchman flashed some power and speed for the Yanks during the 2019 season,  slugging 13 bombs and swiping six bases. Incredibly, he hasn’t hit a home run since then. However, he did display good power and speed and an overall plus bat (,303 BA) in his minor-league career. Admittedly, some of that power was flashed while playing in the hitter-friendly PCL, but a chance to play his home games in Oracle Park (where he’s batting .353 for his career), may be just what Tauchman needs to wake up his hibernating bat.

 

Yadiel Hernandez, OF, DC, (0%)

 

Yadiel Hernandez’s shelf life is quickly expiring, but while Juan Soto is on the IL, you should consider using him as a replacement player in deeper leagues. The 33-year-old is a seasoned professional hitter who has a .314 lifetime batting average spanning 13 seasons playing in Cuba and in the minor leagues. He’s displayed good plate discipline for a player with his type of power in his short time with the Nationals (15.2% K rate in his first 13 games). With the Nats still waiting on Soto (shoulder) to pass the throwing tests required for him to be activated, you may be able to squeeze another good week of production from Hernandez.

 

William Contreras, C, ATL, (0%)

 

We’re digging deep with our second catcher in this article, but the Braves did call up William Contreras (brother of Cubs catcher Willson Contreras), to replace the injured Travis d’Arnaud’s spot on their roster and was in their starting lineup on Sunday. He’s just 22 years old, but he has a plus hit tool, posting a .279/.345/.403 slash line in five minor league seasons. Contreras batted .350 this spring and entered Sunday’s action with four hits in 10 at-bats. He’ll probably get the bulk of starts at catcher with d’Arnaud on the IL, but veteran catcher Jeff Mathis is also on the Braves’ roster. He may be a dart throw, but if you play in a two-catcher fantasy league, sometimes you need to look for an unexpected spark when trying to fill a very shallow position.

 

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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