The main source of Baltimore’s offense in last night’s high-scoring loss to Toronto was none other than rookie Austin Hays (OF, Baltimore Orioles), who went 3-for-8 with two runs scored, two home runs, five RBI and a stolen base. Hays now has four home runs, seven runs scored, 10 RBI and a stolen base during his six-game hitting streak. The remainder of the Orioles’ games are against less-than-stellar pitchers, and he’s available in 98.2% of ESPN leagues, so Hays is well worth a scoop and a start in your lineup for the remainder of the season.
For today’s mini list, I thought I’d pick out five hot bats owned in less than 15% of ESPN leagues that I would consider using for the rest of the season:
- The aforementioned Hays, available in 98.2%;
- Garrett Hampson, available in 85.6% of leagues;
- Trent Grisham, available in 96.9% of leagues;
- Victor Reyes, available in 95.2% of leagues; and
- The soon-to-be-mentioned Jon Berti, available in 93.2% of leagues.
All of these guys are capable of hitting for average, a little bit of pop, and stealing a base, so you should be able to get what you’re looking for out of one of these bats. They also all are playing regularly, have at least moderately favorable schedules, and are hitting toward the top of their team’s lineup. Unless you’re in a 30-team dynasty (which I just joined for some reason), one of these guys should be available on your waiver wire. Go scoop them up and ride the wave to fantasy glory.
Jon Berti (2B/3B/SS/OF, Miami Marlins)—4-5, 3 R, 2B. Berti has a hit in each of his last six starts, but does have a pretty tough schedule ahead when it comes to opposing starters. That said, he gets the Mets three more times (including today), and the Mets have allowed 45 more stolen bases than any other team in baseball. Berti should be able to add to his stolen-base total during this series and is a good add for anyone needing some extra speed.
Tommy Edman (2B/3B/SS/OF, St. Louis Cardinals)—2-3, 3 R, HR, RBI, BB. By extending his hitting streak to six games and having multiple hits in seven of his last 10 outings, Edman has likely secured the No. 2 spot in the Cardinals lineup for the remainder of the season. His six home runs, seven stolen bases, .402 OBP and .709 slugging in September make him a locked-in part of your daily lineups and adds intrigue to his 2020 draft stock.
Steve Wilkerson (2B/OF, Baltimore Orioles)—4-6, R, 3B, BB. He has limited power, limited speed, and limited playing time, but he does have six hits, including two doubles and last night’s triple, in his last two starts and his remaining games (if any) are in Baltimore. He’s been MUCH better against righties than lefties over his career, so he might have some play in a deeper AL-only or as a DFS play against one of the Blue Jays starters.
Jackie Bradley Jr. (OF, Boston Red Sox)—3-4, R, 2B, RBI, SB. His 20 home runs and eight steals are all fine and dandy, but that .225 batting average makes him impossible to use in most formats. He did improve his walk rate this season, but he did not become the breakout some of us hoped he would after promising quality-of-contact numbers toward the end of last season.
Adam Eaton (OF, Washington Nationals)—3-4, 2 R, HR, RBI, BB. Washington has one more game on its schedule than most other teams, and as the No. 2 hitter for the Nats he could very well have more plate appearances than the vast majority of players from now until the end of the season. With two three-hit games in his last three starts, he should be a very nice piece in the final week.
Jonathan Villar (2B/SS, Baltimore Orioles)—3-8, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI. He’s going to go in the top-50 picks in 2020 drafts, and it’s well-deserved. He has 24 home runs, 38 steals, and improved his walk rate and strikeout rate. Despite being a top-of-the-order hitter for a bad team, he continues to provide a ton of fantasy value.
Christian Walker (1B, Arizona Diamondbacks)—3-4, 2 R, HR, RBI. He went undrafted in most fantasy leagues but now has an impressive 28 home runs, eight stolen bases, and a .346 OBP on the season. He also made significant strides in his plate discipline after struggling with it early on. After a finishing May with a 30.1% strikeout rate, he has just a 23.1% strikeout rate (and a solid 11.5% walk rate) since June 1. The power has cooled off a little after his hot start, but the improved contact numbers offset the dip in home runs.
Ji-Man Choi (1B, Tampa Bay Rays)—2-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI. With another season in the books, it’s clear what Choi is for fantasy purposes—he’s a solid power bat with good plate discipline against right-handing pitching and won’t/shouldn’t play against lefties. Over the last two calendar years, he has a .270/.370/.490 line with 24 home runs and 30 doubles in 583 plate appearances against right-handed pitching.
Cavan Biggio (2B, Toronto Blue Jays)—1-3, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB. He has a hit in 11 of his last 12 games and continues to take plenty of walks (and plenty of third strikes). His power and speed make him well-suited to the No. 2 spot in a young Blue Jays lineup, which started exactly 0 players age 29 or older on Monday night.
Anthony Alford (OF, Toronto Blue Jays)—2-3, 2 R, HR, RBI, SB. His incredible athletic ability (he was a QB in high school and college and at one point had a contract that allowed him to play football and baseball), but injuries and performance woes have rusted off virtually all of his prospect shine. Things haven’t come together this season but he may get one more shot next spring to become an impact player. I’d bet against it, but I’m rooting for it.
Mookie Betts (OF, Boston Red Sox)—2-4, R, BB, SB. A 28-home run, 16-stolen base season with a .293/.390/.521 line is basically his floor. That’s why he’s a top-five pick and an everyday don’t-even-think-about-it starter for fantasy.
Jorge Alfaro (C, Miami Marlins)—2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, BB. In single-catcher leagues, he’s good enough stream but not good enough to hold when he struggles (which happens frequently considering his 33.3% strikeout rate). He plays a lot for a catcher, though, making him an important-yet-uninspiring second catcher who you probably have to just hold.
(Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)