Brandon Nimmo (OF, New York Mets), who went 5-5 with 3 runs, a triple, 2 doubles, and 3 RBI, is having one heck of a season. Among the 61 outfielders who qualify for the batting title, he’s 7th in OBP (.387), 9th in SLG (.503), and 5th in wOBA (.383) while also chipping in 8 steals. What’s even more impressive is that no one really saw this coming. He was the 181st outfielder off the board in NFBC drafts with an ADP of 463 behind studs like Seth Smith, Billy Burns, and Austin Slater. Much of that ADP suppression came from Nimmo’s lack of any plus tools — per FanGraphs, his best tool was his speed with a 55 grade, with his hit and power tools coming in at 50 or lower. He also never had more than 11 home runs or 14 steals in any season in the minors. While some of the underlying metrics suggest that this is partially luck, the fact of the matter is that he’s hitting the ball extremely well and way over any expectations of even the most bullish Nimmo backers. He’s only owned in 30% of ESPN leagues and 34% of Yahoo leagues right now, despite being a top 40 OF in standard formats (and even better in OBP thanks to his high walk rate). At this point in the fantasy season, we care less about “the process” of holding the best talent and ignoring the inexplicable hot-streaks — your fantasy season is at stake, so if you’re chasing the last playoff spot, a bye week, or just want to boost your spot in the standings, feel free to be aggressive with a player like Nimmo. He might not be a top 40 outfielder by talent, and may not be in anyone’s top 40 outfielders in 2019, but he’s top 40 right now. He should be owned in 12 team formats — particularly those that start 4 or more OF — and is even more valuable in daily formats who can take advantage of his fantastic 148 wRC+ against righties this season (he’s been “merely” average against lefties, though).
Salvador Perez (C, Kansas City Royals) – 3-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI. While he’s been unlucky in the batting average department (largely due to his .245 BABIP), he’s still contributed where it counts — these two dingers brought him to 21 and the 3 ribbies made it 59 on the year. He may just set a new career high in both categories (he hit 27 home runs with 80 RBI in 2016). He’s never been an OBP asset due to his career 3.5% walk rate, but as long as he contributes in power and counting stats, he’ll continue to be a very solid catcher for fantasy. He’ll approach 30 bombs by season’s end,
Evan Gattis (C/DH,Houston Astros) – 3-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI. Enjoy the last year of catcher-eligibility, and by extension, potential fantasy relevance for everyone’s favorite bare-handed batter. He’s playing on a 1 year deal for the Astros, and I would be surprised if they picked him up next year with all of the young players in their system who are ready to contribute in the big leagues.
Wilson Ramos (C, Philadelphia Phillies) – 3-4, 3 R, 3B, 2 2B, 3 RBI. Welcome to the Phillies, Mr. Ramos! In his first game back from the DL and his debut with his new club, he made the best first impression possible. He’s one of the few catchers who can provide positive value in fantasy, so it’s good to see him back and presumably in decent shape after a month-long absence. Ramos is owned in most leagues, but this is probably a good time to remind the handful of Jorge Alfaro owners to drop him.
Tyler White (1B, Houston Astros) – 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI. This is one of the young bats that will likely push the previously-mentioned Gattis out of Houston. White has picked up ample playing time of late and is doing well with it, knocking 4 home runs in his last 6 starts. There are a lot of mouths to feed in Houston, and many of them only really fit in the same few spots (1B or DH), so it’s hard to see consistent playing time for the rest of the season, but for those in daily leagues who can bench him when he’s riding the pine, he’s an intriguing play for power and RBI for those in dire need.
Anthony Rizzo (1B, Chicago Cubs) – 2-4, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB, 2 SB. He’s a stud, and he’s going to keep giving us the same incredibly production. Ignore the noise of early season slumps. He’s Mr. Consistency and you should love him for it. The 2 steals are a nice touch, though.
Mallex Smith (OF,Tampa Bay Rays) – 3-5, 2 R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. He may not have stolen any bases, but with the prominent struggles of rabbits like Dee Gordon and Billy Hamilton, it’s nice to see a pure speed guy doing well. He offers a much better AVG and OBP than either of those names and should get close to 35 steals when all is said and done. While that’s not as categorically dominant as Gordon or Hamilton’s upside, it comes with fewer risks — particularly in OBP formats where both of those guys are dead weight in the category.
Todd Frazier (3B, New York Mets) – 3-6, 2 R, HR, 2B, 4 RBI, SB. The old guy can still run (sort of)! He’s battled injury and being a Met all season, but if things break right he might end up as a 20 home run and 10 steal guy, which certainly has its value in deeper leagues. It’s a pleasant surprise to see the stolen base totals rebound after swiping just 4 bags in 2017, though the 30 bomb power is likely gone for good. Keep an eye on him in NL-only or 15+ team leagues next season for a little bit of power and speed that will probably be available very late.
Ronald Acuna (OF, Atlanta Braves) – 0-0. He was famously plunked on the elbow by Jose Urena with a 97.5 mph heater (which is as hard as he can possibly throw) on the first pitch of his at-bat — right when we were all watching to see if he’d set a new record for consecutive lead-off dingers. Everyone is/was/will be talking about it. It felt weird not to at least mention it here. At this time, there doesn’t appear to be any significant fantasy impact (Acuna appears to be OK and while Urena might be suspended . . . or tarred and feathered by the media . . . he wasn’t relevant in most formats).