Hitters to target down the stretch

Last week I outlined some under-owned pitchers that could help replace your injured studs.  This week we’ll take a look at some hitters that can help carry you down the stretch.  Probably won’t go as deep on the analysis on some of these guys since this is more about striking while the iron is hot. If you are looking for additional players, Jim Finch will return this Friday with your regularly scheduled waiver wire report.

Wilson Ramos: Rays
Ownership: 29% Y!, 16.8% ESPN

If you haven’t already been stashing Wilson Ramos, it’s time to add him.  Over the last week he is 11/20 with two bombs.  What’s most encouraging to me here is that there’s also only two strikeouts in this mini-sample.

Ramos was in the tier one of catchers last year before a nasty injury ended his season.  He would have been a top-four catcher for me coming into this year had he ended the season healthy.  He’s taken a little while to heat up, but we know the upside from last year. 

The catcher position is a steaming pile of (fill in your favorite term for excrement). On top of that, there are injuries to key players at the position – Evan Gattis, Willson Contreras, Brian McCann, Russell Martin, and Salvador Perez are all on the shelf. Lucroy has also been a dumpster fire, although maybe Coors will save him.  Still, this is by far the worst position in fantasy – probably in any fantasy sport, and the injuries have made it even worse.  

Grab Ramos if he’s available; judging by the ownership rates he should be.

Joey Gallo: Rangers
Ownership: 73% Y!, 61.7% ESPN

Gallo is the kind of player that I am generally not that in to.  He is an all or nothing type with one primary skill – hitting dingers.  He’s probably the only guy in the league whose ISO could potentially double his batting average in a given year – currently batting .206 with a .356 ISO to prove my point that this is possible.  The strikeout rate is nutty at 37.1% so he’s more ideal for a roto or cats league as opposed to a points league.  However, even in points he’s worth streaming on these hot streaks he goes on.

I added and started him this past week in several leagues due to the Arenado injury scare, and it paid off as Gallo hit homers in three consecutive games.  He is also eligible at first and third base as well as outfield making for a great bench player for daily leagues at the very least.  

I’m not claiming Gallo is a superstar that some folks thought he could be, but for the power he possesses his ownership rate should be much higher.  That’s doubly true considering he’s been hot lately.  Gallo is a lot like the good version of Chris Carter, but there is the Adam Dunn .260 upside on occasion.  The triple eligibility and a tiny bit of speed potential do that for me.  He’s not a burner, but he does have six steals and has even played some center-field this year.  Grab him and plug him as needed.

Hunter Pence: Giants
Ownership: 39% Y!, 18.7% ESPN

Hunter Pence had a reputation as “old reliable” for many years.  That has hardly been the case the past two seasons.  The guy who never got hurt has been injured pretty regularly these last two campaigns.  However, he has been really good lately, especially over the last 30 days.

.303 11 5 19 2

The last 30 days is a long enough sample size that I’m willing to buy and accept that Pence is Pence again.  You might have also noticed that San Francisco hasn’t been quite as easy of a stream target of late.  I imagine Pence has something to do with this.  The counting stats aren’t too shabby considering how bad the lineup has been.

 Pence was a perennial OF1 in points leagues and not too much worse in roto and cats.  I’d add him wherever I needed help regardless of the format.

Yonder Alonso: Mariners
Ownership: 40% Y!, 36.1% ESPN

Remember when the fantasy world was on fire talking about Yonder Alonso’s late breakout? Well, he cooled off for an extended period of time and was mass dropped.  He also got traded in real life and will sit a bit more than he did in Oakland.  I think it’s time to pick him back up again if he is available.

The season long numbers are very respectable with 23 bombs and a .266 batting average.  The move to Safeco is a nice improvement for him as well.  Robinson Cano showed us last year that Safeco doesn’t suppress left handed power like it used to.  The lineup around him should also really help with his counting stats as batting somewhere in the middle of Cano, Seager, Segura, and Cruz can only mean good things.  

Alonso has been on fire the last seven days as well going 7 for 19.  Considering Alonso was hot enough for long enough that the entire fantasy community believed he was breaking out… I want to get in on the beginning of this potential hot streak.

Cory Spangenberg: Padres
Ownership: 36% Y!, 34.9% ESPN

I play in a few deep leagues so I’ve owned a few shares of Spangenberg this year.  It’s been a fun own, especially as of late.  It’s getting to the point, though, where it probably makes sense to start adding him in shallower formats as well.

Spangenberg is eligible at second and third base as well as outfield.  That’s some nice flexibility.  He probably isn’t going to put you over in any one category,  but he is pretty good at everything.  His season long numbers are pretty good, but he’s been even hotter as of late.

Last 30 .303 20 4 15 2
Season .278 47 12 43 8

These are some really usable numbers at any position.  His BABIP and HR/FB percentage are slightly elevated, but not too far off of his career numbers.  He’s always been a high BABIP player so I’m less worried about the average.  He is also hitting line drives at a really nice clip (22.5%) which is actually below his career average.  I would auto-add Spangenberg in anything 12-team or deeper, maybe even 10-team leagues that use a MI slot.

Kevin Pillar: Blue Jays
Ownership: 18% Y!, 25.7% ESPN

Kevin Pillar is a nice own in deeper categories and roto leagues because he give you a little bit of power and speed.  He had a career year in 2015 where he had 12 bombs and 25 swipes while sporting a .278 average.  That’s a pretty valuable player.  Last year the power and speed slipped which explains why most ignore him this season despite reaching double-digits in each.

Pillar might be at the beginning of a hot streak as well.  He is batting .304 over the last 15 days, and for the season he is already at 12 homers and 14 steals.  Pillar also generally bats towards the middle of the order.  The Jays lineup is not as vaunted as it once was, but that’s still a solid place to be.  His BABIP is about 20 points lower than his career average so hopefully this streak is the start of the positive regression due to him.  He also doesn’t strike out very much with a mere 15% K rate.  

I think Pillar is a good guy to target off of waivers if he is available in your roto or categories league.


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Mike Sheehan

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Comedian, Powerlifter, and most importantly a Cum Laude graduate of the fantasy baseball school of hard knocks. Double major in points and categories with a minor in roto. Happy to be doing my Postgraduate work here at the Fantasy Assembly.