Each week we’ll look at a handful of different players rostered in less than 15% of fantasy leagues who you should consider picking up. Many of these players will have the most value in deeper leagues where waiver wire options aren’t as plentiful. Still, they could also occasionally be useful additions in other, more standard-sized leagues depending on your options at their position. This week Rowan Wick, Aaron Hicks, Vinnie Pasquantino, and Danny Jensen who are worth your time as potential additions in deep leagues.
All roster percentages mentioned in this column are via Yahoo fantasy leagues as of Sunday afternoon.
Rowan Wick – 13%
So far, five different relief pitchers have logged a save for the Cubs this season. Among the five include veteran duo David Robertson and Mychal Givens, as well Scott Effross and Robert Gsellman. Wick is the fifth member of the group, and as it happens, trails only Robertson in terms of saves in a Cubs uniform this season.
Furthermore, in large part thanks to the trade deadline, Wick is the only reliever of the bunch still on either Chicago’s active or 40-man roster. Robertson was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, Givens to the New York Mets, and Effross to the New York Yankees. Gsellman was outrighted off the 40-man roster in early June.
The move certainly makes sense. Among full-time relievers on Chicago’s active roster, Wick leads the group in fWAR, appearances, and innings pitched. In fact, among relievers currently in the Majors with the Cubs, Brandon Hughes has the second-most appearances with 29 so far this season. Wick leads the way with 43 relief outings.
Wick’s stat line is by no means perfect, he’s sporting a 4.23 ERA, and opposing batters are making plenty of quality contact against him with a .345 xwOBA and a .404 xwOBAcon against the 29-year-old.
Still, the former San Diego Padre does have a solid 3.78 FIP that tells a much different and more accurate story than his ERA. And he is sporting a .380 BABIP that is certainly playing a part in the elevated ERA. At any rate, Wick looks like the best bet for saves moving forward in Chicago and has looked the part lately with some effective work at the right time.
Since July 10, the right-hander hasn’t allowed a run in his last nine innings, striking out nine batters in the process and scattering just eight hits and three walks. The right-hander has also logged a pair of wins and a hold during that span.
The percentage of leagues he’s rostered in is going to skyrocket moving forward. Add him now before it does.
Aaron Hicks – 9%
Hicks appeared in this column back in late April as a potential waiver wire pickup. Back then, rostered in just 7% of Yahoo leagues, Hicks was a potential long-term leadoff option for the Yankees after splitting time with Anthony Rizzo, Josh Donaldson, and DJ LeMahieu at the top of a strong New York lineup.
And while the outfielder isn’t hitting leadoff as much for the Yankees lately, he’s certainly worth a pickup right now, especially in leagues where on-base percentage is part of the scoring. The veteran is batting .218 with a .340 on-base percentage, six home runs, and nine stolen bases through 339 plate appearances this season.
Hicks’ batting average could be better, but he’s providing the Yankees and fantasy managers with quality production in terms of power, speed, and getting on base.
Entering play Sunday, just 15 other players league-wide have hit at least six home runs, stole a minimum of nine bases, and are sporting an on-base percentage of .340 or better.
Plus, despite seeing the bulk of his plate appearances hitting further down the lineup, Hicks is getting plenty of RBI opportunities as part of the league’s most prolific offense.
Those RBI chances should only continue as the season rolls along.
Vinnie Pasquantino – 14%
The Royals’ trade deadline dealings resulted in plenty of veterans being dealt away from Kansas City. And while that might make the struggling Royals not quite as effective on the field for the rest of the season, it should open up plenty of playing time for players like Pasquantino.
And in the 24-year-old first baseman and designated hitter’s case, that can only lead to good things for fantasy managers, certainly if he keeps producing at the rate that he has this season.
On the surface, the rookie’s .227 batting average, .315 on-base percentage, and three home runs in 146 plate appearances might seem unideal, especially when two of those home runs have come off the same pitcher in Michael Pineda.
But, there are plenty of things to like with Pasquantino’s underlying numbers, things that point to more improved production over time.
The most obvious of which is a .050 point gap between the slugger’s actual .291 wOBA and his .341 xwOBA. Pair that difference with a quality barrel rate and hard-hit rate and you have a recipe for positive regression.
The former 11th-round pick is also sporting a rather low .252 BABIP and isn’t striking out all that much either, punching out just 15.8% of the time to be exact.
In short, as long as he keeps making this type of contact, his production will only improve. Already entrenched as a middle-of-the-order staple in Kansas City, Pasquantino could be a quality power and RBI option for fantasy managers the rest of the way.
Danny Jansen – 13%
Much like Hicks, Jansen is certainly benefitting from playing in a high-scoring lineup.
Much like Pasquantino, there’s every reason to believe he should be more productive too.
Playing for a Toronto team that entered play Sunday with the fourth-most runs scored in the league, Jansen is hitting .212 with a .270 on-base percentage and nine home runs in 115 plate appearances this season.
He’s also sporting a considerably better xwOBA (.389) than his wOBA (.319) and owns an xBA of .267 as of the beginning of play on Sunday.
The 27-year-old has made the most of his limited opportunities so far, especially in the power department. Among catchers with at least 100 plate appearances, he’s third in hard-hit rate with a 47.1% metric and first in barrel rate with an 18.4% number over 3.0% higher than the next closest catcher.
The only real caveat here is that the 27-year-old might not play every day due to the fact that he plays on the same team as Alejandro Kirk. Still, he’s a solid source of power behind the plate for both the Blue Jays and fantasy managers in deeper leagues and should only continue to produce in one of the league’s best lineups.
Image adapted by Justin Redler (@reldernitsuj on Twitter)
Ben, I have 1 outfield spot available. Would you fill it with Hicks, Nick Girdon, or Leody Tavaras?
Curious to hear your thoughts on Elehuris Montero.