Nicky Lopez (KC): 3-4, R, 2 SB.
It’s easy to miss Lopez’s production with batting average and stolen bases when he is the Where’s Waldo of baseball. His pair of stolen bases brings his season total up to 15, which is 13th in baseball, and his .277 batting average puts him in a tie for 41st. Yet somehow, Lopez is only rostered in 4% of Yahoo leagues. Sure, the power and counting stats are a bit lacking, but you should stop what you’re doing and make him a bench bat before the weekend hits.
At the beginning of the season, everyone’s attention was not on Lopez but on Adalberto Mondesi, which makes perfect sense, as Lopez hadn’t stolen more than nine bases since 2017. However, the batting average has always been a mainstay of his skill set. In fact, Lopez batted .319 in his final 620 Minor League at-bats. Additionally, he touts a nearly 10% walk rate this season too. This begs the question, what should we make of Lopez moving forward? Well, projections aren’t very kind to him, but much like we have seen all season, he gets plenty of base hits and collects a few stolen bases.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Friday.
Myles Straw (CLE): 1-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB, SB.
Another stolen base for Straw? Absolutely! The latest tally gives him 21 on the season and moves him into fourth overall. Even better for managers rostering Straw, he continues to bat leadoff for Cleveland and rack up the runs. He could be a nice little addition in most fantasy formats to wrap up your season.
Andrew Velazquez (NYY): 2-4, R, 2 RBI, SB.
If Velazquez can find some playing time in the crowded New York lineup, the stolen base could be the first of many. In 70 minor league games this season, Velazquez swiped 26 bags while only getting caught three times. However, I would consider him merely a fill-in until the Yankees get fully healthy.
Corey Seager (LAD): 2-5, HR, R, 3 RBI.
On May 15th, Seager landed on the IL and wouldn’t return until July 30th. Since returning from that lengthy IL stint, Seager has been his usual self by putting up a 155 wRC+ and showcasing the power we expected with his .206 ISO. As the Dodgers continue their march to the playoffs, they can rest easy knowing their shortstop is back and better than ever.
Marcus Semien (TOR): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Toronto really found gold when they signed Semien. He leads all second basemen in HRs and runs while being 32% better than all other 2B in wRC+. Additionally, he bats atop the lineup for a Blue Jays squad that has scored the fourth-most runs in the MLB. Flat out, he is making everyone forget his 2019 breakout was a fluke.
Rafael Ortega (CHC): 2-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB.
In a lineup full of question marks, Ortega has done everything in his power to stand out. The Chicago Cubs outfielder has helped keep the fanbase interested by putting up a .895 OPS in his first 164 at-bats. Furthermore, he’s shown the ability to take one deep, as demonstrated by his six HRs, and even chipped in seven steals. OBP and leagues with more than three outfielders need to ensure he isn’t still available on your waiver wire.
Hunter Dozier (KC): 1-3, HR, R, 2 RBI.
There hasn’t been much to write home about for Dozier this season. However, the HR was the second in his last three games, including a hit in each of them. This leads us to wonder, “What went wrong early in the season?” and “Could he be starting to turn the corner?” If he can keep the strikeouts at bay, the power is there to make him a much more viable fantasy player.
Willi Castro (DET): 1-3, HR, R, RBI.
The Tigers only managed six hits off Ohtani, and Castro’s solo shot was the only run to cross home plate. While he might not be the most fantasy-relevant player, Castro does showcase eight HRs and 6 SB on the season. However, he will likely make his way back to the bench once Akil Baddoo comes back from the IL.
Wander Franco (TB): 3-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI, BB.
In the last two weeks, Franco has been on a massive tear. He is 13-for-45 with three dingers and 22 runs+RBI. This is what everyone has been waiting for! Furthermore, he is batting in the heart of the very dangerous Tampa lineup, which should provide enormous amounts of fantasy value. Wander is available in 25% of leagues, so scoop him up ASAP if he is still there.
Freddie Freeman (ATL): 4-5, 2B, 3B, HR, 4 R, 2 RBI, BB.
Freeman is good at baseball. The Atlanta first baseman gives pitchers fits, especially over the past month(.361/.444/.646 with 1.000 OPS). This is nothing new to many baseball fans, but I wanted to highlight his outstanding night as he hit for the cycle for the second time in his career.
Featured Imaged by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)