(Photo by Scott W. Grau/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’s list includes two catcher eligible rookies who should see plenty of playing time, as well as a handful of new starting pitchers to keep an eye on.
Phillip Ervin, OF, CIN (2.2% owned)
The depth chart currently shows Ervin as the backup left fielder behind Preston Tucker. However, Ervin’s performance as of late merits more playing time going forward, which makes him worth a look in 18-20 team leagues or NL-only formats. On the season, Ervin is slashing .295/.364/./442 with a stellar 8.2% walk rate and a 24.5% strikeout rate. His .377 BABIP is inflated, but if he can hold onto regular playing time for the rest of the season, the 26-year-old could be worth a look in deeper OBP formats going forward.
Danny Jansen, C, TOR (4.1% owned)
Jansen burst onto the scene as a prospect last season, and continued that again in 2017 by slashing .275/.390/.473 with 12 home runs at Triple-A. He just received the call up to the show, and went 2-for-3 in his first start. Luke Maile and Russell Martin haven’t exactly lit the world on fire behind the dish, and the rebuilding Blue Jays should give Jansen every opportunity to play going forward. Martin may fill in around the infield with Yangervis Solarte on the DL, so Jansen could be a starting catching option. That makes him appealing all the way up to 12-teamers, and he should certainly be snatched up in any league deeper than that.
Jacob Nix, SP, SD (5.2% owned)
Nix blanked the Phillies in his first big league start back on Friday, tossing six scoreless innings while striking out four and walking two. He’s slated against the Diamondbacks next, and if he looks good there he becomes a very viable pitching option down the stretch. He’s not a huge strikeout guy, which caps his potential, but Nick had him at No. 92 on the List last week for good reason.
Sean Reid-Foley, SP, TOR (5.5% owned)
Reid-Foley made his big league debut on Monday against the Royals. While it was nothing to write home about (5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K) the young right-hander is expected to stick in the rotation going forward. He posted a stellar 146/47 K/BB ratio and a 2.98 ERA across AA/AAA this season, and has long been one of Toronto’s best pitching prospects.
Touki Toussaint, SP, ATL (12.6% owned)
If you don’t know, now you know. Toussaint has been a stud in Atlanta’s farm system this year, and the Braves finally gave him a chance to strut his electric stuff at the big league level. He looked great against the Marlins, holding them to two hits and one run in six innings of work. His four strikeouts was a bit disappointing, but his 139 strikeouts in 117.1 innings this season between AA/AAA means the k numbers should improve. If Toussaint sticks in the rotation (and presently that is still an if) he is a top-100 arm going forward and should be treated as such.
Taylor Ward, C, LAA (2.3% owned)
Simply put, Taylor Ward has been one of the best minor league hitters all season. He is slashing a blistering .349/.446/.531 with 14 home runs and 18 stolen bases between AA/AAA. Although he is eligible at catcher, Ward is a third baseman who now has a very clear path to playing time in LA with Luis Valbuena designated for assignment. I expect Ward to take over everyday duties at third, and his power/speed and high-OBP could make him worth owning in virtually all formats. At the very least, he’s a speculative add in 14+ team leagues until his role is more clearly defined.
Tyler White, 1B, HOU (2.2% owned)
Since his most recent call-up on July 29, White has slashed .317/.378/.634 with three home runs in 45 plate appearances. He is currently starting at first base while incumbent 1B Yuli Gurriel plays second base for the injured Jose Altuve. There is currently no timetable for Altuve’s return, who has yet to be cleared to run thanks to right knee discomfort. As long as White is starting everyday, he is worth a look in 16+ team leagues or AL-only formats. The run will end when Altuve is back, but ride him while he is hot.