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 it’s Bubba Thompson, Oswald Peraza, Eric Haase, and Donovan Solano 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.
Bubba Thompson – 13%
Entering play Sunday, Thompson was hitting .305 in his first 90 plate appearances.
And while that’s certainly helped provide a boost to fantasy managers who have the Rangers outfielder on their roster, his early season production at the plate is probably on the unsustainable side of things.
First and foremost, Thompson’s BABIP is the definition of unsustainable at the moment, as it currently sits at .429. There’s also a laundry list of expected numbers that point to a regression coming. Namely a .180 xBA and a .227 xwOBA that is significantly lower than his actual .321 wOBA.
And while it’s unlikely the outfielder continues to hit near .300 the rest of the way, we’re at a point in the season in terms of number of games left that even if his unsustainable hitting continues for a week or two, it could pay significant dividends down the stretch for fantasy managers in deeper leagues.
However, that’s not what makes Thompson a potential fantasy addition the rest of the way.
That would be the production on the base paths, which looks plenty sustainable.
Ranking in the 100th percentile in Statcast’s sprint speed metric, the outfielder has stolen 10 bases in his first 26 games. He already is tied for the 18th-most stolen bases in the league. In fact, since making his Major League debut on August 4, Thompson leads all position players in steals. No other player has more than seven.
The 24-year-old Rangers outfielder could be a fantasy difference maker down the stretch if he continues to steal bases at this rate.
Oswald Peraza – 7%
Speaking of players with the ability to steal bases at a high rate, Peraza stole 33 bases in 99 games for New York’s Triple-A affiliate. Of course, that wasn’t all the 22-year-old did. He also hit .259 with a .329 on-base percentage and 19 home runs in 429 plate appearances.
One of the Yankee organization’s best prospects, Peraza joined New York at the start of the month.
While it remains to be seen if he’ll steal as many bases as Thompson or play as consistently as the Rangers outfielder, he could carve out a regular or semi-regular role with the Yankees towards the end of the regular season.
Aaron Boone’s lineup scored the fifth-most runs in the league in August and scored just three total runs in their first three games in September and could certainly use a spark. If Peraza can provide that spark, it isn’t hard to see the fantasy upside in the shortstop with his ability to contribute in multiple categories.
It also doesn’t hurt Peraza’s chances that fellow infielders DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa all struggled mightily at the plate in August.
Eric Haase – 7%
Haase was mentioned in this column back in April as a catcher and outfielder who could find success in a part-time role for Detroit thanks to his ability to collect home runs – particularly against left-handed pitchers – and make quality contact.
The 29-year-old hit .231 with a .286 on-base percentage, 22 home runs, and a pair of stolen bases in 381 plate appearances in 2021, hitting .283 with 11 home runs, a .907 OPS, and a .377 wOBA against left-handed pitchers.
Early on in 2022, Haase wasn’t quite able to replicate that level of success. He managed just two home runs while hitting .167 with a .231 on-base percentage and a .224 wOBA in his first 78 plate appearances through the end of May.
However, he’s turned things around since the calendar turned from May to June. And in a much larger sample size too.
In nearly 200 plate appearances – 195 to be exact – since then entering play Sunday, the catcher is batting .266 with a .318 on-base percentage and a .186 ISO. His power numbers aren’t quite the same, but he’s still connected on seven home runs during that span to go along with a 46.7% hard-hit rate.
With Miguel Cabrera on the injured list, Haase should be able to get consistent playing time down the stretch between starts behind the plate and starts at designated hitter, making him a useful fantasy option for managers in search of catcher reinforcements in the season’s final weeks.
Donovan Solano – 7%
Fantasy managers looking primarily for a boost in batting average in the final weeks of the regular season and the fantasy playoffs should look no further than Donovan Solano, who is quietly enjoying a quality campaign in Cincinnati.
The veteran is hitting .315 with a .368 on-base percentage and three home runs in 220 plate appearances for the Reds. He’s also sporting a .387 BABIP, which is rather high. But we’ve been here before with Solano, who routinely logged high BABIP metrics in his time with the Giants and came away with strong batting average numbers.
He’s also doing all that with his highest hard-hit rate – 41.3% – since 2019, which certainly doesn’t hurt. What’s more, Solano’s production hasn’t suffered away from Great American Ballpark either. In 110 plate appearances on the road, the infielder is batting .304 with a .345 on-base percentage and a home run.
As evidenced by his overall numbers and road splits, Solano probably isn’t going to go on a hot streak in which he hits home runs left and right. Nor is he likely to rack up a ton of RBI for a Reds team that entered play Sunday with the seventh-fewest runs scored in the league since the start of August.
But what he will do is help your team’s weekly batting average numbers, and he can fill in at multiple positions too. Solano is eligible at first base, second base, and third base in Yahoo leagues.
Image adapted by Justin Redler (@reldernitsuj on Twitter)