Each week we identify players 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 COVID-19 virus and a 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.
Ji-Man Choi, 1B, TB (11%)
After a lengthy recovery from knee surgery, Ji-Man Choi finally made his season debut on May 16th and all he’s done since his return is crank out base hits. Choi has at least one hit in all seven games he’s played in thus far. He’s slashing .400/.500/.760 and has two HR and eight RBI in his brief season. With the Rays designating Yoshi Tsutsugo for assignment a couple of weeks ago Choi should expect to see plenty of playing time against right-handed pitching moving forward.
Odubel Herrera, OF, PHI (10%)
Just a few seasons ago it looked like Odubel Herrera and his 20 HR/20 SB potential would be patrolling the Phillies’ outfield for years to come. However, Herrera was suspended for 85 games during the 2019 season for violating MLB’s domestic abuse policy and subsequently was designated for assignment last season. The domestic abuse charges have been dropped and with the Phillies needing a centerfielder and still owing Herrera $10.35 million this season, they decided to give him a second chance. Herrera has publicly apologized to the Phillies organization and the fans, and after a slow start has been swinging a hot bat of late. In his last 17 games he has a .368 BA, two HR, eight RBI, and three SB and almost just as importantly, he has the support of team leader Bryce Harper who called Herrera “one of us, he’s a Phillie.”
Taylor Walls, SS, TB (4%)
The Tampa Bay Rays love to keep us on our toes. Many of us thought that the Rays were trading Willy Adames to the Brewers in order to make room on their big league roster for Wander Franco or maybe Vidal Bruján. Instead, they opted to promote Taylor Walls from their Triple-A affiliate. Now, Walls may not be baseball’s top prospect, but he’s no slouch either. He’s posted a .279/.369/.417 triple slash and has stolen 66 bases in his four-year minor league career. Walls was killing the ball in the minor leagues this season with a .327 BA and ridiculously unsustainable 318 wRC+. Perhaps the Rays are simply using Walls as a temporary placeholder while Franco and Bruján get some additional seasoning in the minor leagues or maybe there are service time considerations at play, but Walls has three hits in his first two games and has only struck out once in his eight big-league at-bats. How long will Walls stick around in the big leagues? The Rays will never tell.
Owen Miller, 1B/2B/3B/SS/OF, CLE (3%)
Owen Miller is another prospect with a good hit tool who made his debut this weekend. Unfortunately, he was hitless in four at-bats on Sunday as Cleveland’s DH, but Miller has a minor league career .314/.373/.453 slash line. He was killing Triple-A pitching this season with a .406 BA with 11 runs scored and nine RBI in his first 16 games of the season. With Cleveland placing Franmil Reyes on the IL on Sunday Miller should be able to find regular at-bats in an anemic lineup that has been no-hit twice already this season.
Brett Gardner, OF, NYY (2%)
It took a while for the Yankees to re-sign Brett Gardner this offseason, but with Aaron Hicks facing wrist surgery and potentially missing the rest of the season they are probably happy they did. He might not be the player that he once was, but the Yanks apparently don’t think their top outfield prospect Estevan Florial isn’t quite ready to have an everyday role in the big leagues, and Gardner has been swinging a hot bat of late. He hasn’t hit his first home run or stolen his first base of the season yet, but he’s batting .320/.370/.440 with a double and a triple in his last seven games.
Harold Castro, 1B/2B/3B/OF (2%)
If you play in a league that allows for daily lineup changes or you’re simply looking for a cheap option in a DFS lineup Harold Castro—and his ability to hit right-handing pitching—is a player to consider using. Admittedly, Castro isn’t going to help you much when it comes to power or speed but, with his lifetime .323 BA against righties as compared to his .218 BA against southpaws, when carefully managed he can be an asset on your fantasy team that can be plugged into multiple defensive positions. With the high number of injuries that fantasy managers have had to deal with lately that is invaluable.
Brad Miller, 2B/3B/OF, PHI (2%)
Brad Miller is quietly putting together a very nice season, for the Phillies, filling in defensively where necessary and swinging a solid bat in the process. He starts the week batting .317/.371/.512 and has a 131 wRC+. The Phillies expected Miller to be a bench player this season but his ability to play multiple positions has helped to keep his bat in the lineup on a consistent basis. Just this past week alone Miller started at 2B, 3B, and in right field for the Phillies and had eight hits in 19 at-bats (.421 BA). His inability to hit left-handed pitching will keep him out of the lineup occasionally but with a .338 BA since April 21st, he’s been one of the Phillies’ most consistent hitters this season.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter and @justinparadisdesigns on Instagram)