(Photo by Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire)
Every Tuesday from now until the end of the season, we will be taking a look at players with under 15% ownership that should be on your radar in deep leagues. The majority of fantasy baseball leagues are mixed leagues with 10-12 teams, however we know many of you play in 18-20 team leagues and/or AL/NL only formats. This column is for you all.
We are reaching that point in the fantasy baseball season when many of the preseason sleepers have been discovered, many of the supposed outbreaks have been debunked, and where many of the super hyped prospects have already made their debuts. This is the part of the season where it can be challenging to find ways to upgrade your roster. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t useful talent out there, even in deeper leagues. And finding that talent now, before it’s too late, can often be the small difference needed to win that trophy come late September.
Here are six players under 15% owned (according to ESPN) that should be picked up in deeper formats, and at least added to watch lists in 10 and 12-teamers.
Ehire Adrianza, SS, MIN (1.6% owned)
Adrianza was the biggest beneficiary of the Miguel Sano to Single-A storyline. Eduardo Escobar slid over to third base in Sano’s absence, and Adrianza has taken over the everyday role at shortstop. Adrianza is slashing .302/.375/.605 with a 10.4% walk rate and a 16.7% strikeout rate in the month of June, with two home runs and five doubles in 43 at-bats. He’s a career .240 hitter however, so don’t expect his hot hitting to continue. Still, in deep leagues where shortstop is barren, he’s on a hot-streak and getting consistent playing time. Can’t beat that.
Jake Bauers, 1B/OF, TB (10.8% owned)
Jake Bauers is a Top-1oo prospect who has started nearly every game since he was recalled, and is batting in the No. 2 spot in the order. Yet the hype train has not left the station for the 22-year-old, who was the No. 55 ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline. Part of that is his limited power profile, as Bauers’ career-high for home runs is 14, which he hit back in Double-A in 2016. Still, he’s boasting a 13% walk rate in the show and a 10.4% rate at Triple-A. His hard-hit rate is 40.7%, and while the sample is tiny that’s worth paying attention to. Lastly, he’s a stolen base threat, having swiped 10 in just 52 games at Durham this year, and swiping 20 in 2017.
He’ll need to cut down on the K’s (28.3%) but considering he’s only been above 20% in the minor leagues once, he’ll likely make that adjustment. Bauers is a great bench bat in deeper OBP formats, and could be a sneaky source of steals and runs hitting second in that lineup.
Avisail Garcia, OF, CWS (10.4% owned)
Garcia has been out since April 24 with a hamstring injury. He is nearing a return however, and that’s worth a look in deeper formats. He’s gone 6-for-17 in three rehab games with Triple-A Charlotte, including a home run and three walks. He will never repeat last season’s .330/.380/.506 slash line that was held up by a ridiculous .392 BABIP, but he can be a useful source of power in deeper formats. Trayce Thompson and Charlie Tilson haven’t exactly lit the world on fire in Garcia’s place, so expect him to return to a starting role immediately.
Jose Iglesias, SS, DET (11.4% owned)
Iglesias is a one category contributor, but his 11 stolen bases on the season can’t go ignored. He is Detroit’s only playable shortstop (sorry Dixon Machado) so he gets regular at-bats. There’s nothing in his hitting profile to suggest anything more than the .261/.309/.390 slash line that he is currently producing. However, his 11 stolen bases ties a career-high in only 69 games. The Tigers are running more than they have in year’s past, and Iggy’s regular playing time and early success on the base paths makes him worth a look in AL-only formats and deep mixed leagues.
Wade LeBlanc, SP, SEA (13.9% owned)
Nick summed it up perfectly in the SP roundup after LeBlanc’s last start, but basically the Seattle left-hander is the new poster boy for the Vargas Rule. He sports a stellar 2.06 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP in nine starts on the season. He also sports a 4.01 SIERA and has gotten by with a .244 BABIP and a 93.6% LOB rate. LeBlanc is hot right now and is pitching for a team that is winning games. If he’s available in your league and you need a streamer, go ahead and ride him while he’s hot. Just know that the end is coming.
Ryan Tepera, RP, TOR (14.4% owned)
Toronto closer Ryan Tepera has maintained a spot in our closer rankings as his job security grows. With Roberto Osuna not expected back anytime soon, Tepera looks locked in as the closer. He doesn’t have elite stuff, but his 2.75 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 9.5 K/9 are hard to ignore. He sports a 3.22 SIERA, so while regression might be coming he has still been pitching well. If you need saves and he’s available, I’d be picking him up immediately.