Why not, right? The old names are boring you. Their production is fizzling (hey Jay Bruce!). Let’s just cut them. Fantasy Baseball is about winning and having fun. But, being right feels good too. I’ve put together a list of strange names that are somewhat intriguing and I’m including a few flashy prospects to stash too.
1. Gio Urshela 3B/SS New York Yankees
There was a guy who the Indians stupidly liked for whatever reason a few years ago with a similar name…Scratch that, he’s back! But, he’s different?
The Yankees raved about this guy in spring training because his glove is legit. But, through 85 plate appearances in the Bronx Urshela has been great with the bat. Just a 12.9% K rate suggest his plate discipline skills could give him a nice floor. His Line Drive rate is over 30% and his Soft Contact % is in the single digits! That is going to make him a great source of batting average if he can keep this up. He has hit 2 homers and is already becoming a fan favorite. I think his glove will keep him in the lineup for at least a few more weeks.
I’ll be honest; I am taking Urshela more seriously than I thought I would after looking a little deeper. If he’s eligible at Middle Infield in your league, take a flier.
2. Mac Williamson OF SF Giants
The Giants are a Major League team, too. It doesn’t mean their starting lineup includes many fantasy options. This guy; however, could be. Williamson was a swing change/launch angle revolution disciple over the past two years. Some industry buzz accompanied his 2018 campaign until he was derailed by injury. He’s back in the majors (homering in his first game last night) and I’m curious.
Williamson had a .379 ISO in around 100 AAA appearances before getting the call yesterday. He has put up legitimate walk and power numbers the last few years, but does strike out some. Unlike some deep league free agents, I think Williamson has the chance to hit in a prime position in the Giants lineup. Therefore, counting stats could be a strength if the power gains translate to the majors. Additionally, the NL West leads baseball in Plate Appearances against lefty pitchers which could give Mac the boost he needs.
In 5 OF Roto leagues, I’m interested in giving this power bat a chance in my lineup. It’s the hardest profile to find on the waiver wire so you need to shoot your shot at this point.
3. Howie Kendrick INF Washington Nationals
This dude can just hit. Carter Kieboom was just demoted, Brian Dozier is bad, and the first basemen are hurt. I think Kendrick will get his at-bats. His numbers have been nearly identical to Urshela so far in nearly 90 plate appearances. He’s walking, not striking out, avoiding soft contact, and also Middle Infield eligible. In fact, he has a better chance of sticking in the middle of the order than either of the first two guys on this list. I don’t think much more needs to be said here. Pick up Kendrick if you need batting average help at middle infield or even second base. Have you dropped Travis Shaw yet?
This is one of the most fun parts of fantasy baseball: prospects. The order doesn’t matter so much – everyone has their personal favorites, but if the players below are available they should be owned if you have the room to stash them.
- Yordan Alvarez 1B/OF Houston Astros
He’s a 21 year old monster who has 13 Homers and a 14.5% walk rate at AAA. Points league superstar in the waiting. However, he’s not on the 40 man. But, his call-up would allow him to play regularly in Left, at First, or at DH. How long will Tyler White, Tony Kemp, and Jake Marisnick keep the big man down?
- Brendan Rodgers SS Colorado Rockies
He’s nearly as hot as Yordan and actually a little more interesting to me. He’s healthy, walking at a 10% clip, and the Rockies are always an intriguing environment for a future hitting star. The Rockies have thwarted many a promising hitting prospect in the recent past, but Rodgers could solidify their disappointing 2B production from McMahon and Hampson thus far. I just picked Rodgers up in one of my leagues because the chance that he’s a legitimate top 12 Second Basemen could be realized sooner rather than later.
- Keston Hiura 2B Milwaukee Brewers
He’s been on a tear lately after some early strikeout issues in AAA. He is a great pure hitter and has the batting average potential of a guy like Senzel. I am not quite sure how the power will translate (it’s been on full display in the minors) but he will play at Miller Park very soon which is encouraging. Craig Counsell is notoriously frustrating for fantasy when it comes to playing time so I’m a little worried this could be a repeat of Kyle Tucker’s experience last year with Houston. Keston is worth a stash though because of his raw talent.
- Jesus Luzardo SP Oakland Athletics
He may have more 2019 upside than any prospect not yet in the majors. Everyone needs pitching and Luzardo’s shoulder injury in Spring Training could turn out to be a blessing in disguise. As he ramps up his throwing program, a late May or Early June debut could allow Luzardo to pitch through the end of the year without much limitation in regards to innings. I am very high on Luzardo becoming a top 30 pitcher from Day 1. He’s a lefty with polish and will pitch in a very friendly ballpark.
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