Looking ahead to week five of the fantasy baseball season and the first week of May.
Obligatory “it’s gonna be May” meme from the glory days of American music, the early 2000s boy band era and NSYNC.
Hopefully you’re all about to be 4-0, but if not let’s try to fix that.
Waiver Wire Adds
Cedric Mullins OF Bal
I’ve tossed Mullins’ name in these write-ups before, but usually just as a quick “deep league categories add for steals sources” note at the end. I think it’s time we give Cedric some more credit. I’d like to up that claim to Mullins should now be owned in all categories leagues. He doesn’t hit the ball overly hard, but his speed and contact skills make him a threat in at least two categories. Having a .396 wOBA and 163 wRC+ looks awfully good through 100 plate appearances.
C.J. Cron 1B Col
Cron has shown some fantasy promise in the past but has never really had a secure, everyday role. He now has that in Colorado. Cron has great power in his bat and he gets to play half his games in Coors Field which is a great combination. Per Steamer projections, his rest of season projected OPS of .812 is well above the league mean and his .408 xwOBA thus far shows his expected stats support his actual stats. Cron might carry more value in points leagues, but can still be added in categories leagues for home run needs.
J.D. Davis 3B NYM
People sleep on Jonathan Gregory Davis. On the surface his numbers look great to start the year, batting .371 with a 1.063 OPS. When you scratch beneath the surface he looks great as well, a .459 wOBA and .463 xwOBA, which I love to see. He could be hitting in the middle of a potentially potent Mets lineup if their studs turn it around. He’s a great add in deeper leagues for corner infield needs.
Catcher is the thinnest position when it comes to fantasy talent. Here are some guys who are owned in 60% or less of leagues that if you have a later round draft pick at catcher who is struggling you can consider adding.
Carson Kelly C Ari
.507 wOBA, .490 xwOBA, and 45% hard-hit rate, the breakout for Carson Kelly might be happening.
Buster Posey C SF
Remember this guy? 2012 National League MVP. Well he might be at it again. Take a look at his Statcast page:
Omar Narvaez C Mil
Outside of not hitting the ball nearly as hard as Posey, his Statcast page looks pretty darn good with the expected stats as well.
Nico Hoerner 2B, SS ChC
Since getting called up by the Cubs, Hoerner is hitting .360 with a 1.004 OPS in eight games. Small sample size, sure, but he is a highly touted prospect for the Cubs. A traditionally contact first profile, there’s been some rumblings around Cubs camp that he has made some adjustments to be more of a power hitter. If true and this holds up, there is really high upside for Hoerner. Right now though I think he’s a good add in deep leagues for a middle-infield role.
Cristian Javier Hou
Javier is a shallow league add as he’s already owned in just under 80% of leagues across platforms. But he has been killing it this year, most notably posting a 25.3% strikeout less walk rate (K-BB%), which is a mark above average and is a great leading indicator for fantasy value. He also gets to pitch for the Astros so you can expect a solid amount of wins as well.
Andrew Heaney LAA
Another shallow league add as his ownership is just a tick below Javier’s. Heaney’s problem has always been staying healthy, only going over 100 innings pitched twice in his six-year career with the Angels. While healthy he’s usually been an average to slightly above average fantasy pitcher, but this year seems different. He has Javier slightly beat in K-BB% with 27.8%, and his SIERA of 2.75 shows that his 4.35 ERA this year is actually a bit unlucky, as that is inflated from his bad opening day start. If you look at Heaney’s Statcast page, he is also elite at limiting quality contact against, which is a great combination with the strikeout ability.
Let’s just hope Heaney can stay healthy.
Danny Duffy KC
Danny Duffy is the kind of guy who seems boring, not too great but not bad, and you’re going to look back at the end of the year and say “wow I can’t believe Danny Duffy was a top 40 starting pitcher.” Expect Duffy to live in the high threes to low fours ERA for the rest of the year with a lot of six-inning quality starts.
Alex Wood SF
The Giants are emerging as the kings of resurrecting old pitchers and getting the best out of them. Here are the ERAs of the six starting pitchers they’ve had this year: 1.50, 2.14, 2.22, 4.03, 1.80, and 1.50. It helps that they pitch in Oracle park, but still amazing. Wood happens to be one of the 1.50 ERAs in there and when you drill down into the peripheral stats, he still looks just as good. My favourite peripherals to look at for pitchers are K-BB%, SIERA, swinging-strike rate, and called strike plus whiff rate. Wood is notably above average in all four of these stats. Be careful starting him this week though, Wood’s next start is slated to be at Coors Field.
Lou Trivino Oak
It appears that Trivino is emerging as the closer for the A’s. For the record though I think Jake Diekman is the clear better pitcher of the two, so if you want to speculate on saves add Diekman, but for now Trivino appears to be the saves source in Oakland.
It’s not an ideal role for accumulating maximum saves being the Royals’ closer, but Staumont is the closer in KC. Don’t expect great ratios but he’ll get you the saves.
Rafael Dolis Tor
With injuries tormenting the Toronto bullpen thus far, Dolis has emerged as the go-to closer for the team. Again I don’t think he’s the best pitcher the Blue Jays have in their bullpen in terms of stuff, but saves matter and he’s the one getting them.
The following guys are slated to get two starts next week and thus get a bump up in their value for the week. Think about starting or adding them where available. Double-check on Sunday night that they’re still in line for the two starts before adding them. It’s a great week for stream-able two-start pitchers.
Jakob Junis (Cle, ChW)
Dane Dunning (@ Min, Sea)
Tyler Anderson (@ SD, @ ChC)
Kyle Gibson (@ Min, Sea)
Domingo German (Hou, Wsh)
Mike Minor (Cle, ChW)
Joey Lucchesi (@ StL, Ari)
Cole Irvin (Tor, TB)
Carlos Martinez (NYM, Col)
Erick Fedde (Atl, @ NYY)
We don’t like to overreact, but it may be time to move on from the following players. These are all situation dependent so try to apply to your league format and team makeup as best you can.
Cavan Biggio 2B, 3B, OF Tor
I’d like to preface that this is for shallow leagues only, so 10-team leagues or a 12-team points league with small rosters. Biggio has just been flat out not good and if you strip away the name it looks even worse. In his first two seasons he’s been a slightly above average hitter, but still has yet to break out the way many are hoping. Now this year he is striking out more and walking less, plus basically hitting the ball with a feather posting a 19% hard-hit rate. It’s tough because his multi-eligibility looks nice, but in shallow leagues I don’t think it’s that risky to move on.
Andrew McCutchen OF Phi
Don’t really have much to say beside father time is undefeated and McCutchen is getting up there in age and just doesn’t look that good anymore.
Dylan Moore 2B, OF Sea
Unless you’re in a super deep categories league where you’re desperate for steals sources, I’d be fine dropping Moore.
Kyle Schwarber OF Wsh
There are plenty of other power sources out there and that’s really all Schwarber is going to provide for you.
Ian Happ OF ChC
He’s been just dreadful this year. I think there are better days ahead for him, but assuming you didn’t spend much on him in the draft I think it’s fine to move on in shallower formats.
Tommy Pham OF SD
Pham has been in a slow, steady decline since his breakout year of 2017 with the Cardinals. He can still be a steals source without hurting you in other categories so I’d keep him in deeper leagues, but shallower leagues which are more common I’d be fine moving on.
Akil Baddoo OF Det
Depending on how much you spent to acquire Baddoo off waivers a few weeks ago, I’d look at potentially moving on. He still hits the ball really hard, but to say his plate discipline is lacking would be an understatement. He has a 43% strikeout rate which is just insanely high and basically never walks, only a 3% walk rate.
Identifying some lucky or unlucky guys based on some advanced statistics. There may be some good buy low or sell high opportunities here.
Positive Regression Candidates (buy low)
Negative Regression Candidates (sell high)
Photo by Maddie Meyer