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.
Hard to believe that we are halfway through the season already, but it is 2020, so here we are. This week’s list is a mix of some intriguing new names and some interesting veterans who have had a solid couple of weeks.
First, let’s review some notes on last week’s list. Brad Miller is the lone player who “graduated” as he is now rostered in more than 15% of leagues and continues to swing a hot bat. Miguel Rojas is still available in almost 90% of leagues and had another solid week. Rio Ruiz, Evan White, and Jose Trevino are always worth a look in much deeper leagues, but I wouldn’t roster them in standard 12-teamers (Trevino maybe if you are desperate at catcher). I would still take a look at Raimel Tapia, who has another excellent week at the dish to bump his season line to .312/.407/.377. Once again, he is not going to give you any power (zero home runs) but can definitely bump your average and, if you are in OBP leagues, help you out in that department as well.
Jason Heyward, OF, CHC (14%)
Heyward made headlines this week when he opted to sit out the Cubs Wednesday night game as part of the protests across MLB and other sports. However, on the field, he quietly is putting together a solid season and especially had a solid week after returning to the lineup on Thursday. Heyward currently has a triple slash of .286/.402/.560 with a .405 wOBA and 157 wRC+. He has the highest walk rate of his career since his rookie season with the Braves in 2010. He’s coming off an impressive game on Sunday in which he swatted two home runs and also drew two walks. I would take a look at Heyward if you are looking for help in your outfield. His xBA is top ten, and his xwOBA is top 15.
Sam Hilliard, OF, COL (14%)
Hilliard has come on in recent weeks, 9-for-29 with 3 HRs since August 19th. He started the season ice cold, batting .171/.275/.286 up until that point. He has a 33.8% K rate on the season, which he has cut down a bit during this same timeframe (25% since the 19th). His plate discipline is improving too, as his SwStr% is up and he’s increased his Contact % as well. Hilliard was one of the Rockies’ top prospects coming into the season and is a name to watch if you are looking for a bat that could get hot in the final month.
Miguel Cabrera, 1B, DET (13%)
It pleases me to be able to include Miggy at this point of the season, as he’s a player you always want to succeed. He only has a 93 wRC+ for the season but has picked it up in the last two weeks, going 17 for 51, and 12 RBI. he doesn’t have the power he once did (only five home runs on the season), but I think he could help out if your roster is hurting for average.
Ryan Mountcastle, SS/OF (12%)
Mountcastle might be the priority add of the week here as he has been on a tear since being called up on the 21st. The Orioles prospect has gone .393/.469/.679 with a 208 wRC+ since his debut, and he added his first two home runs of the season on Sunday. He’s walking a lot (14.3% BB rate) despite not showing a ton of patience (47.5% Chase Rate, 20.0% SwStr) but he is hot at the moment, and in this short season with only a few weeks left, it’s worth grabbing him if he is still available in your league.
Evan Longoria, 3B, SFG (10%)
I told you there would be a few vets on this week’s list, but Longo is the last one we will discuss. He currently has a .299/.339/.495 triple slash with a 125 wRC+, four home runs, and 19 RBI for a Giants team that is competing for the NL Wild Card. There is not much new to say about Longoria, and he has the same plate discipline he has throughout his career (although his 90.3% Z-Contact is the highest its ever been, and his Contact% is above his career average). He’s ranked top ten in xBA and top 14 in xSLG right now, so you could do a lot worse if you need help at 3B. He’s not a guy that can win your league, but if you need some stability, I’d add him.
Jeimer Candelario, 1B/3B, DET (5%)
In this shortened season, it’s hard to dismiss any possibilities, and that is how I feel about Candelario and the chance that he finally realizes the potential he had as a top prospect in the Cubs organization years ago. He currently has career highs in average (.299), slugging (.523), wOBA (.366), and wRC+ (130). His four home runs are already half his total from last year, and his RBI and run totals are about half of last year’s as well. He’s walking less, but he’s also swinging more while maintaining the same contact percentages. I’m usually looking to see if a hitter’s Chase Rate is down, and in his case, it’s about the same as his career average, so I love that he is swinging more and maintaining those contact rates. If that keeps up, he’s going to be a fantastic hitter in the stretch run.
Ronald Guzmán, 1B, TEX (0%)
Guzmán was up for one game earlier in the season, going 1-for-4 back on July 25th before being sent down but was recalled this past week to fill in for the injured Danny Santana. He immediately made his presence felt, going 3-for-3 with a double and a home run in Saturday’s loss to the Dodgers. He now has a .455/.500/.818 triple slash on the season (albeit through three games). What is interesting is that he has a 100% Zone Contact rate so far, and a minuscule 4.2% SwStr rate.