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 Trayce Thompson, Tony Kemp, Bryson Stott, and José Alvarado 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.
Thompson was mentioned in this column nearly two months ago as a potentially useful fantasy outfield option in a loaded Dodgers lineup. With a somewhat regular role in Los Angeles, Thompson could potentially thrive with RBI and run-scoring opportunities after a strong start with the Dodgers this season.
The outfielder has done just that, thrived in Los Angeles’ lineup. He’s hitting .257 with a .348 on-base percentage, 11 home runs, and three stolen bases in 210 plate appearances this season, driving in 36 runs and scoring 31 runs.
Thompson hasn’t been as productive against left-handed pitchers this season, but his production against right-handed opposition keeps him more than fantasy relevant in deeper leagues.
It also doesn’t hurt that the outfielder is on track to set new career highs in a number of categories – notably barrel rate, xBA, xwOBA, and potentially home runs if he can hit three more – in arguably baseball’s best lineup.
Thompson could also be on track to set a new personal best in home runs as well. His previous career high was 13, and while he’s on 11 home runs right now he’s also hit four of them in his last 33 plate appearances entering play on Sunday.
What’s more, Los Angeles will play 14 of the team’s final 17 regular season games at Dodgers Stadium, starting with Monday, a place where Thompson has been plenty successful this season:
Tony Kemp – 8%
Kemp is batting just .235 this season with a .311 on-base percentage in 504 plate appearances – he’s also added six home runs and 10 stolen bases – but he’s quietly been extremely productive in the last month or so.
Since August 10, the veteran is hitting .302 with a .382 on-base percentage, two home runs, nine total extra-base hits, and four stolen bases in 133 plate appearances. Eligible at both second base and in the outfield in Yahoo leagues, Kemp is also walking more than he’s striking out during that span as well, with a 9.8% walk rate and a 6.0% strikeout rate.
Of course, making plenty of contact – or rather, avoiding strikeouts – is nothing new for Kemp. Entering play Sunday just 13 qualified hitters had a lower strikeout rate than the infielder and outfielder.
Though that being said, two things have been key in Kemp’s recent hot streak.
The first one is a change in BABIP. The infielder is sporting a .261 BABIP, but since August 10 it’s at .311.
The second one is a 21.8% hard-hit rate. That’s not an incredibly high number in a vacuum, but it’s a significant increase from Kemp’s 14.4% hard-hit rate this season. Pair those two statistical increases and you have a recipe for increased production at the plate.
Eligible at both second base and in the outfield in Yahoo leagues, the 30-year-old can help fantasy managers at multiple positions in the season’s final weeks.
Bryson Stott – 13%
Just like with Kemp, Stott can help fantasy managers at multiple positions as the season winds down. The versatile Phillies infielder is eligible at both shortstop and second base, providing plenty of potential for helping fantasy managers in search of middle infield options due to injury or ineffectiveness.
And like with Kemp, he’s playing his best baseball at the right time, at least for fantasy purposes that is.
Stott entered play Sunday hitting .349 with a .404 on-base percentage and a home run in 47 September plate appearances. Of course, this isn’t really anything new for the infielder, who has enjoyed a quality campaign after an initial slow start to the season.
The former first-round pick has also done all that while logging a 43.6% hard-hit rate. And while his barrel rate is only 4.6% during that span, he’s provided reasonable home run and stolen base production – not just during that span but during the season.
Stott has logged nine home runs and eight stolen bases in 407 plate appearances in the Majors this season.
The infielder has also been decidedly more productive at home this season, hitting .262 with a .335 on-base percentage, five home runs, 17 extra-base hits, and a 112 wRC+ in 203 plate appearances. And while the Phillies finish the regular season with 10 straight road contests, they will play their next six games at home starting with Tuesday’s contest against the Toronto Blue Jays, setting up Stott to make an impact in the fantasy playoffs.
José Alvarado – 8%
Alvarado’s only real issue this year has been the walks.
The 27-year-old has pitched to a 3.57 ERA and a 2.22 FIP in 45.1 innings for the Phillies this season. He’s also struck out 69 batters compared to 23 walks to go along with 19 holds and a save in 54 total appearances.
Overall, he ranks in the 90th percentile or better in xwOBA, whiff rate, xBA, K%, and SLG. He’s currently in the 82nd percentile in whiff rate.
But, there have been those aforementioned walks. Alvarado is in the seventh percentile league-wide in walk rate. It’s really the only worrying stat on an otherwise excellent collection of metrics for the right-hander this season.
And while those walks have been unideal at times, they haven’t been as much of a problem lately, in part allowing Alvarado to establish himself as an elite option in saves+holds leagues down the stretch. Of course, the Phillies utilizing the reliever on a consistent basis certainly helps, but the veteran has been excellent since the calendar flipped to August.
What’s more, Alvarado has accumulated a staggering 11 holds in those 17 appearances. Entering play Sunday, that was tied with Atlanta’s A.J. Minter for the most in the league since the beginning of August.
As long as the Phillies continue to play in close games for the remainder of the season, Alvarado could be a potential league-winner in saves+holds leagues.
Image adapted by Justin Redler (@reldernitsuj on Twitter)