(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.
This week features a handful of outfielders who have recently returned from stints on the DL, and who are ready to get their seasons back on track.
Kole Calhoun, OF, LAA (7.1% owned)
For a good chunk of the season, Kole Calhoun was the worst hitter in all of baseball, even over Chris Davis. Calhoun eventually succumbed to a DL stint to fix an oblique injury. Since his return, Calhoun has looked much, much better. While it’s only been six games, he has hit .350 with two home runs and one stolen base. Oblique injuries have been known to cause issues swinging the stick, so it’s possible the DL-stint may have helped him find his old swing. In deeper (14+ team leagues) I’d be snapping him up and gambling that he has put his early season woes behind him.
His four stolen bases on the year is only one away from his career-high as well, so Calhoun could even be a slightly speedier version of his old self going forward.
Randal Grichuk, OF, TOR (9.3% owned)
Since the start of June, Grichuk has hit six home runs with 15 RBI and 12 runs scored. Grichuk missed over a month with a knee injury, but the right fielder is back and slotted into the No. 7 spot in the order for the Blue Jays. His 31.6% HR/FB ratio in the month is certainly unsustainable, but Grichuk easily has the ability to hit 25 home runs in a season. Factor in his career-high 8.2% walk rate and his ghastly .192 BABIP, and you have a player who could easily hit his way onto the mixed league radar. Playing time might be an issue going forward, but in deeper formats I wouldn’t wait too long to grab him.
Kevin Kiermaier, OF, TB (8.5% owned)
Lotta outfielders this week. Kiermaier, like Grichuk and Calhoun, recently came off the disabled list. I wasn’t planning on including him this week but then he went ahead and hit himself a grand salami against the Nationals on Monday. That gives him a modest three-game hit streak, where he’s scored three runs, stole a base and homered.
He was absolutely awful before he hit the DL, but this is a guy who has posted double-digit home runs and steals the last three seasons. I’m willing to bank that most of his early season ugliness is behind him, and that we have a guy who could easily post 10/10 with a .255 average ROS. That’s very useful in 14+ team leagues.
Kendrys Morales, DH, TOR (7.0% owned)
After a slow start to the season, Morales has absolutely scorched the ball in June. He’s slashing .324/.373/.524 with four home runs and eight RBI. That raised his season average from .203 to .246 and his OBP from .277 from .311. He has a career-high hard hit rate on the season and has remained a mainstay in Toronto’s lineup, batting cleanup. Morales isn’t going to hit .300 ever again, but something like .250 with 20 home runs seems doable. It’s a step down from his previous levels of production, but you’ll take that in 14-teamers and AL-only leagues. If he stays this hot into July, he’s worth a look in 12-teamers as well.
Dereck Rodriguez, SP, SFG (9.4% owned)
Rodriguez debuted on The List this week, checking in at No. 87. He has proven himself to be a solid streaming option in shallower formats, with quality starts in three of his last five outings. That also included a five inning, three earned, six strikeout performance. Rodriguez is definitely an arm folks in 14-team leagues or NL-only formats will want to hang onto, as he has elite command (2.05 BB/9) and a 3.82 ERA that is backed up by a 3.53 FIP and a 3.97 SIERA.
Sergio Romo, RP, TB (9.2% owned)
This one is quite simple: If you are desperate, and I mean desperate, for saves then you should be gritting your teeth and picking up Romo. He’s converted five of his last six save opportunities and has a 1.69 ERA and 0.84 WHIP in the month of June. Romo is one of the lowest end closers you can buy, but as long as he is getting save opportunities he should be owned in AL-only formats and by anyone who is desperate for saves. Chaz Roe and Jose Alvarado are right on his tail, so don’t expect any job security going forward.