As we head into the final third of the 2021 MLB season with the trade deadline passed, the ripple effects and changeover have sent shockwaves throughout some organizations. Many teams looked like a shell of themselves and turned our fantasy teams upside-down as well. With that, tonight, we have nine FAAB runs left to go to manage our fantasy rosters for the remainder of the season. Let’s get to it!
Carson Kelly (78% TGFBI, 23% Yahoo) – Kelly’s season was off to a stellar start before a fractured wrist sidelined him for about six weeks. The Diamondbacks’ backstop was on pace to hit 20 HRs while taking the necessary steps to improve his game. His most noticeable improvements, increasing his barrel rate to 11% while hitting more fly balls and showing a more patient batter’s eye. Additionally, since returning, Kelly started both games behind the dish and even led off one game. However, he will slot nicely into the five-hole for the remainder of the season.
John Nogowski (39%, 4%) – 1B – Nogowski is not your prototypical 1B by any means. He lacks the hulky power we are used to seeing from the position. No, I seriously mean that because he is yet to hit a barrel in 78 batted ball events. However, what Nogowski lacks in power, he makes up for in elite contact, as shown by his 94.6% zone contact (first among all 1B with 100 or more plate appearances).
Luis García (24%, 1%) – 2B – García was buried in the minor leagues until the recent trade deadline opened up some playing time. In 37 MiLB games, García showcased a .296 ISO with a 151 wRC+. However, he didn’t flash the same desire to swipe bases as when he stole 11 in 2021. Additionally, since being called up, he started a game at 2B and even at SS. So, he could gain some eligibility there as well.
Brian Anderson (66%, 16%) – 3B – Anderson was slow to get out of the gates and missed all of June with an injury. Well, he has made up for lost time and is slashing .348/.444/.609 since the All-Star Break. On top of swinging a hot bat, Anderson’s underlying metrics look right where they normally are, so he should be able to help finish the season strong. We should be able to count on him to maintain a healthy batting average, knock a couple of pitches over the fences, and pile up the counting stats.
Abraham Toro (39%, 12%) – 3B – Since joining the Mariners via trade on July 27th, Toro has been on a tear. In his five games, he is 6-for-15 with four extra-base hits, including three dingers. Will this sort of pace continue? Absolutely not, but we can expect Toro to keep the strikeouts to a minimum and a decent amount of pop with some speed. If you believe in THE BAT projections (which you should), Toro projects for five HRs, 2 SB, and 31 runs+RBI.
Ramón Urías (32%, 2%) – 2B, SS – Going overlooked in Baltimore is Ramón Urías. I say that because I doubt many realize that he touts an 11.7% barrel rate or a .283 batting average, backed by a .287 xBA. Even when veteran Freddy Galvis gets back, there should be room for him to slide around the infield and maintain his everyday playing time. Lastly, if you’re looking for a short-term boost, the Orioles play seven games next week, and five are against RHP. Urías is smashing .330/.410/.466 with a .876 OPS vs. RHP.
Rafael Ortega (5%, 0%) – OF – The Chicago Cubs sent everybody packing. These departures open the door for plenty of at-bats for Ortega -and even better, at the leadoff spot. Now, I am willing to look the other way on his 5.2% barrel rate because he’s done a nice job making contact and getting on base. Since taking over the leadoff spot on June 23rd, Ortega is slashing .333/.385/.427 with a 121 wRC+. This would be my pickup for anyone looking to chip away at runs and bolster their batting average.
Chas McCormick (15%, 2%) – OF – The Houston Astros might finally be committing to McCormick as they sent Miles Straw out to Cleveland. If you ask me, the move should have been made a while ago; mainly because of the loud contact McCormick generates. His barrel rate(11.5%), 48.1% hard-hit rate, and .409 xwOBAcon are well above league-average. Now, if you do scoop him up, be mindful that the Astros play several games in NL parks, which could cause him to miss a few games.
Magneuris Sierra (0%, 0%) – OF – In need of speed? Sierra is a deep-league OF that needs to be on your radar because he sits in the 94th percentile for sprint speed. Sure, sprint speed doesn’t exactly translate into stolen bases, but it’s part of the equation. Furthermore, his limited playing time may be a thing of the past since the departure of Starling Marte and a few other injuries. Lastly, he has five steals already, and if he gets the green light, another five to seven could easily show up.
Josiah Gray (66%, 18%) – The newly acquired prospect showcases spectacular breaking balls with massive whiff rates, leading to huge strikeout potential. In his first eight innings pitched, Josiah struck out 13 batters but also walked five. Gray was sent over to the Nationals, who do likely need him to take the mound immediately. He should get a fair amount of run in the rotation and, if he succeeds, will stick around to finish the season.
Spencer Howard (24%, 2%) – Things did not go as expected for Howard in Philadelphia. He has nearly 53 innings pitched under his belt with a 5.81 ERA. However, perhaps a change of scenery and a new ball club can help this under-performing prospect blossom. With nothing left to lose, the Rangers should give him a shot to start a few games. Although, he remains a highly risky play for deeper league managers.
Kyle Finnegan (0%, 30%) – With some departures in the bullpen, the Nationals have elected to use Finnegan as the primary closer. And why not? He was good enough to pick up 11 holds with a 3.21 ERA and 25% K-rate. It is sporadic to get a clear-cut closer this late in the season off the wire, but here he is. If you’re desperate to make up ground in saves, this is a perfect spot to invest a chunk of change.
Chris Stratton (2%, 1%) – Contrary to Finnegan, the Pirates threw a wrench in everyone’s plans and elected to toss Stratton in the ninth instead of David Bednar. It’s not entirely off the wall thinking by Pittsburgh since Bednar has an 11% walk rate over 38.1 innings pitched. While much FAAB will be dropped on Bednar, I’ll be putting a small portion on Stratton and hoping the Pirates choose his 3.13 ERA in 54.2 IP as the closer instead.
As our friend, Kevin Hasting would say, good luck tonight and enjoy the games!
Photo from David Dennis/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)