Each week, we will be looking at players who are rostered in fewer than 15% of leagues (according to Fantasy Pros as of Sunday afternoon). Typically, these would be players to consider mostly in deeper leagues, but in 2020 we know nothing is normal, so there is a good chance you will have to look deep into the waiver wire in your leagues to fill your lineups every week. I’ll do my best to highlight players from multiple positions as well each week.
First, let’s review some notes on last week’s list. I would still consider Mike Tauchman and Mike Ford, who are both rostered in fewer than 15% of leagues. They were not included on this week’s list due to the Yankees’ postponed weekend series not giving us enough of a sample size to add more detail to last week’s overview. Randal Grichuk (57%), Tommy La Stella (32%), Nick Ahmed (29%), and Willy Adames (15%) all graduated from the list this week. Also, Wilmer Flores (45%) is a player I profiled a couple of weeks ago and could certainly help your roster out if he is still available in your league.
Aaron Hicks, OF, NYY (11%)
I’m starting with Hicks even though he doesn’t exactly have an impressive line of .209/.369/.418 with a 118 wRC+. He has appeared in 21 of the Yankees games and seemed to be putting things together in the week leading up to their postponed series against the Mets. Since August 8th, Hicks has a wRC+ of 129, with a home run, triple, four doubles good for a .257 ISO. He’s probably a name to consider with all of the injuries the Yankees have been experiencing.
Brad Miller, 2B/3B/OF, STL (11%)
You’d be forgiven if you didn’t consider Brad Miller as a potential fantasy asset coming into this season. He quietly signed with the Cardinals in the offseason after bouncing around the league the last few years. He then missed the end of summer camp and the beginning of the season with an ankle injury, but only ended up missing five regular-season games due to the Cardinals’ postponements. Since debuting with the Red Birds, he has gone .308/.457/.615 with a 187 wRC+ plus two home runs and 10 RBI. The only thing that stands out to me is that he appears to be more patient at the plate than in the past. He currently has a 20.0% walk rate, and a 20.0% K rate (both improvements compared to his career numbers), and while his Chase rate is close to his career average, his Z-Swing rate is currently 47.4% (over 20 points lower than his career average). So he’s laying off more pitches in the zone, and making the most of the ones he does connect with as his .333 BABIP would indicate. He’s swinging a hot bat right now, and with the number of games the Cardinals have to make up, he’s probably going to continue to see plenty of ABs.
Miguel Rojas, SS, MIA (10%)
I was hoping to have the opportunity to talk about Rojas and was pleased that he returned to the Marlins this past week. He’s still only played in six games after the conclusion of Sunday’s games, and it looked like he picked up where he left off when after hitting a home run in his first game back after he crushed in the season-opening series. So while he does have a .429 ISO, and 256 wRC+, he’s never had lines above 100 in either of those categories in the past. I think he can be a useful pickup if you are desperate at SS, but it might be worth waiting to see how he does this week before adding him.
Rio Ruiz, 1B/3B, BAL (8%)
I mentioned Ruiz last week and was about ready to give up on him until he went two-for-four on Sunday with four RBI. I think he can still be useful in deeper leagues because his walk rate is still up over last season, and he does have a .263 ISO after Sunday’s effort. I don’t know if I would add him if you are in a 10- or 12-teamer, but for deeper leagues, he is worth rostering.
Evan White, 1B, SEA (4%)
White was one of the Mariners’ top prospects coming into this season, ranking #44 overall on the Pitcher List staff prospect rankings, but a lot of that praise came as a result of his defense. He made his MLB debut this season, and while he won’t do you much good in the batting average department, his power output so far has been impressive. He’s hit five home runs and four doubles, suitable for a .209 ISO, and with Dan Vogelbach designated for assignment last week (and subsequently traded to the Blue Jays), he’s in line for more playing time. I certainly don’t love that 43.0% strikeout rate, and his 7.0% walk rate is not great as well, but even with that, he has a manageable 24.0% Chase rate. What stands out with White is his hard contact numbers as he ranks in the top 2% for Hard Hit rate and top 8% for Exit Velocity. When he makes contact, he is crushing that ball, and if that keeps up, it should translate to more power output.
Raimel Tapia, OF, COL (3%)
Tapia has undoubtedly improved on his plate discipline numbers so far this season, lowering his O-Swing rate 11 points under his career average and dropping his SwStr rate almost three points. This improved patience has resulted in improved walk and strikeout rates while sporting a .281/.382/.333 triple slash line. He’s much improved his numbers on offspeed pitches, going from a .241 wOBA last year to .330 this season (while still maintaining similar numbers against fastballs). His lack of power is going to deter many from rostering him (zero homers and a .058 ISO), but I think there might be something there with the improved OBP and success against offspeed pitches.
Jose Trevino, C, TEX (1%)
If you are hurting for help at catcher right now (which most everyone is seeing that catchers have a league-wide wRC+ of 87 going into Sunday’s games), you might want to take a look at Trevino. He has a .367 avg, with a .378 xwOBA in 30 ABs, and 6 of his 11 hits so far have gone for extra bases. Considering the Rangers’ other two catching options, Robinson Chirinos (IL) and Jeff Mathis (58 wRC+), I would hope that Trevino would continue to get more playing time. Also, consider that Isiah Kiner-Falefa (while having catcher eligibility in most formats) has played most of his games at either short or third base this season. Trevino is at least a deep league add at this point and is very close to roster worthy in 12 teamers as well if he can continue this offensive production over the next week or so.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter and @justinparadisdesigns on Instagram)