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 José Iglesias, Rich Hill, Josh Staumont, and Brian Anderson 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.
José Iglesias – 7%
Iglesias, like a number of current Rockies hitters, is off to a strong start at the plate. The veteran is hitting .313 with a .364 on-base percentage, 13 runs scored and 11 RBI in his first 107 plate appearances with the club. Per usual, he’s not striking out all that much either, with a 10.3% strikeout rate.
That approach has fared well for Iglesias from a production standpoint in years past when his BABIP has been on the more unsustainable side of things. Of course, those seasons have been few and far between for the shortstop, who made his Major League debut in 2011, but they’ve still happened. And it looks like it’s happening again.
What’s more, Iglesias, like a number of Rockies hitters in seasons past, is experiencing some rather extreme home and road splits. Except in this instance, the veteran has been much more productive on the road.
Gaudy and not so gaudy metrics aside, the BABIPs are the key metrics to watch there. Iglesias probably isn’t going to sustain this type of production on the road, but by the same token, he isn’t going to struggle this much at home. He won’t hit for much in the way of power, but as long as his BABIP stays relatively high, he’ll be a useful fill-in option at shortstop for fantasy managers in deeper leagues looking for a stop-gap option.
And while the lack of home run power isn’t ideal, the infielder hits plenty of doubles, which is good news considering he plays his home games at Coors Field.
The shortstop has 163 doubles since the start of the 2016 season, tied for the 24th-most in baseball among qualified hitters. It’s the same total as J.T. Realmuto and more than Justin Turner, Joey Votto, Trea Turner, and Corey Seager. Iglesias also entered play Sunday tied for the seventh-most doubles in the league with eight. Coors Field, per Statcast, has the third-highest park factor for doubles in the last three seasons.
Rich Hill – 8%
After struggling in his first two outings of the year, Hill has quietly been excellent for the Red Sox lately.
The veteran starter failed to reach the five-inning mark in either of his first two starts, giving up a combined 11 hits, seven earned runs, two home runs, and three walks in nine total innings spread out against starts versus the Tigers and Twins. He only struck out six batters over those nine frames.
However, since then he’s done anything but struggle on the mound.
Hill topped a 29% CSW rate in three of those four outings.
He’s not scheduled to throw in Boston’s upcoming home series against the Astros. But after that, the schedule opens up a bit for fantasy purposes for the rest of the month, especially for Hill as a streaming option. The Red Sox will play a four-game series against the Mariners, followed by three on the road versus the White Sox.
Boston then gets eight straight home contests versus the Orioles (five) and Reds (two). Following that, it’s three games in Oakland for the first week of June.
Josh Staumont – 13%
The Royals bullpen certainly hasn’t been ideal for fantasy purposes in leagues where only saves are part of the scoring. Entering play Sunday, only the Mariners, Nationals, and Reds had fewer saves than the Royals’ six.
In other unideal news, this isn’t a bullpen with a consistent closer. Scott Barlow, who established himself last year as the team’s leader in saves with 16, has three saves this season. Staumont has two. Taylor Clarke has one. Further muddying the water, especially in Staumont’s case, is the fact that both Barlow and Clarke have been extremely effective so far. Barlow is sporting a 1.23 ERA and a 3.05 FIP in 14.2 innings, while Clarke’s ERA through 13 innings is 1.38. He’s yet to walk a batter this season.
But, if you’re looking for potential closing options or save stashes with the ability to miss bats, Staumont is certainly worth a look.
The right-hander is currently in the 97th percentile league-wide in whiff rate. And all three of his offerings, including his sinker, have a whiff rate of at least 33%.
What’s more, Staumont has also been excellent at limiting hard contact. His four-seam fastball checks in with an average velocity of 96.8 MPH. Batters have managed just a 76.6 MPH average exit velocity and a 15.8% hard-hit rate against the offering so far. It’s the lowest hard-hit rate for a four-seamer among pitchers who’ve thrown at least 100 four-seamers.
He should continue to see some of Kansas City’s save chances and could take over as the team’s primary closer if Barlow is dealt away from the Royals – who entered play Sunday with an 11-20 record— before the trade deadline.
Brian Anderson – 2%
In his first three full Major League seasons, Anderson was equal parts consistent and productive. He logged an on-base percentage of .340 in each season and reached double-digit home runs in all three campaigns.
However, his barrel rate went down in 2021, as did his production in a number of other categories. In 2021, Anderson logged a career-low .298 xwOBA and hit just seven home runs.
Things, at least statistically speaking, have changed this season.
The 28-year-old already has more than half (seven) the barrels he had in either of the past two seasons in just 82 plate appearances. And while he only has a pair of home runs to show for it so far, his expected metrics suggest more could be on the way as long as he keeps making loud contact.
Anderson was sporting a .394 xwOBA, a .537 xSLG, and a .527 xwOBAcon entering play on Sunday. The xwOBA and xSLG were in the 86th and 84th percentile respectively, while the xwOBAcon was tied for the 22nd best among hitters with at least 50 plate appearances.
It also doesn’t hurt that the third baseman and outfielder has a 43.2% hard-hit rate as of the beginning of play on Saturday. It’s his best hard-hit rate since the 2019 season.
Adapted by Justin Redler (@reldernitsuj on Twitter)