Over the last seven games, Derek Norris hit .333 with three runs, one HR, and two RBI. He has a five-game hitting streak (6-for-17), but his season average remains in a losing area (.217). Of all the catchers in the free agent pool in 12-team leagues, Norris has the most upside in at bats until Wilson Ramos returns from the DL.
The Mets placed Travis d’Arnaud on the DL with bone bruise creating a possible bump in at bats for Kevin Plawecki who has a poor resume in the majors (.210 with four HRs and 33 RBI over 371 career at bats). His swing at AAA in his career is much more attractive (.278 with 15 HRs and 77 RBI over 464 at bats). Viable cover for d’Arnaud if your team is digging deep in the free agent catching pool.
Miguel Montero has nine hits in his last 20 at bats with two HRs and three RBI. His success should lead to a bump in at bats especially if Willson Contreras continues to struggle (four hits in his last 29 at bats with seven Ks). Miguel is more of a gamble as a bench warmer until his opportunity improves.
The first base situation looks a bit clearer in Seattle this week after Dan Vogelbach was sent back to AAA and Danny Valencia showed a spark over the last four games (7-for-20 with two HRs and four RBI) headed into Saturday night game. Danny has enough talent to be a 20/80 player with full time at bats.
After striking out 112 times in 299 at bats in 2016, I had no interest in Justin Smoak headed into this season. His swing and approach look much improved over his first 96 at bats (.271 with five HRs and 15 RBI), but more importantly only 21 Ks over 101 plate appearances (20.8 percent K rate – 32.8 in 2016). Smoak is on pace for 25 HRs and 75 RBI with 500+ at bats.
With Greg Bird being placed on the DL with a right ankle injury, Chris Carter could be the next Yankee to go on a power run. Chris only has five hits over his last 17 at bats with only one RBI, but he’s started five of the last six games for New York. The Yankees are the highest scoring team in the American League after 28 games while having some Boston Red Sox magic of 2016 on the offensive side of the ball. Carter has the swing that has a chance to deliver five HRs in a week.
The Mets have given T.J. Rivera an opportunity to start in seven of their last eight games. He’s raised his average to .295 by going 12-for-31 over this span with five runs, one HR, and five RBI. He’s a career .324 hitter in the minors with 36 HRs, 348 RBI, and 27 SBs over 2436 at bats with solid success at AAA in his career (.337 with 14 HRs, 110 RBI, and three SBs). Asdrubal Cabrera left Saturday night’s game with what looked like a bad injury, but X-rays came back negative. Possible short term filler in deep leagues with value in batting average. Rivera feels like a better play at 2B, which he qualified for in 2016.
The Padres called up Cory Spangenberg in late April after playing well at AAA (.348 with a HR, seven RBI, and three SBs over 66 at bats). He has a six-game hitting streak (7-for-20 with two runs and a RBI) while starting eight straight games in left field. San Diego moved him up to second in the batting order in a couple of games, which is a bump in opportunity. His power has limited upside, but Spangenberg does have some underlying speed (111 steals over 1588 at bats in the minors). The Padres will run so he may be a sneaky out in stolen bases.
I feel like I’m beating Fantasy owners over the head with Kolton Wong, but he remains in the free agent pool in the 12-team I’m monitoring. Maybe it’s a hint for me to pick him up as my team desperately needs speed. He has an 11-game hitting streak (16-for-40 with eight runs, four RBI, and two SBs) to raise his batting average from .196 to .291. His skill set projects to a 15/20 player with full time at bats plus the Cardinals have moved him to the top of the batting order over the last couple of days.
I expect Asdrubal Cabrera to miss a couple of games at the minimum after getting on Saturday night, which will open the door for Jose Reyes to qualify at short. After Saturday night’s game, Jose has eight games at shortstop. Reyes had a hit in 11 of his last 12 games (15-for-43 with 10 runs, three HRs, 11 RBI, and two SBs) to raise his average from .095 to .198. He still has plenty of work to do, but his recent success may push him to the top of the Mets batting order.
Last week Didi Gregorius was picked up in just about every 12-team league. If somehow he slipped through the cracks, he will be the best player available in the free agent pool at shortstop this week. After 32 at bats, Didi has 11 hits with four runs and five RBI while .444 over his 18 at bats at AAA.
If you’ve been sleeping at the wheel on your Fantasy teams along with me, Marwin Gonzalez has been a beast over the last 11 games (13-for-28 with seven runs, six HRs, 15 RBI, and one SB). After 67 at bats, Marwin has nine HRs, 21 RBI, and two SBs which commands more playing time. He’s on pace for 49 HRs and 113 RBI over 362 at bats, something that will never happen.
Martin Prado has eight hit over his last 23 at bats with four runs and two RBI. He’s started 11 straight games for Miami with his best asset being his batting average.
I still sense that Adonis Garcia is about to go on a hot run. He has a five-game hitting streak (6-for-19 with three runs, a HR, and six RBI). He’s only struck out 15 times over 109 at bats. There is more here than meet the eye.
Andrew Toles had his nine-game hitting streak (12-for-31 with eight runs, two HRs, and seven RBI) snapped on Saturday night when he replaced Franklin Gutierrez after three at bats due to leg issue. If Gutierrez goes on the DL, Toles should have an opportunity to be in the lineup on most nights. Toles has plenty of underlying speed (123 stolen base over 1264 at bats).
I don’t like the 15 strikeouts in 40 at bats for Ben Gamel, but he does have eight hits in his last 18 at bats with five runs and three RBI. The Mariners continued to give him at bats second in the batting order against righties. More of a short-term filler until he improves his ability to control the strike zone.
Curtis Granderson played poorly over his first 90 at bats (.122), but his game looks to be on the verge of a breakthrough. Over his last 11 at bats, he had three hits with six runs, a HR, three RBI, and three walks). Curtis dug himself a big hole, but his resume still points to 20+ HRs and some value in runs. Buy low candidate in 12-team leagues.
For the Fantasy owners that used Brett Anderson for double starts this week, they were inflicted with two disaster outings (12 runs and 14 baserunners over 1.2 innings). The Cubs placed him on the DL after Saturday night’s game clearing the window for Mike Montgomery to move into the starting rotation. Walks (13 over 21 innings) for Montgomery, but he extended his shutout streak to 13 innings with eight hits allowed and seven Ks. In 2016 between Seattle and the Cubs, Mike had a 2.52 ERA with 92 Ks in 100 innings with most of the work coming in the bullpen.
The Blue Jays have decided to move Joe Biagini into the starting rotation on May 7th. He’s never made a start in his career at any level while struggling over his last 5.2 innings (six runs and eight runners with nine Ks). This is upside in this arm, but most felt he was closer to the 9th inning. His pitch could be limited in his first couple of starts. Possible flier in deep leagues.
The Diamondbacks may call up Anthony Banda next week to replace Shelby Miller in the starting rotation. Over six starts at AAA, he has a 3.67 ERA with 34 Ks over 30.2 innings. Banda needs to improve his command (17 walks), but he did look sharp in his last outing in the minors on May 4th (one run over seven innings with nine Ks).
The Indians are expected to give Mike Clevinger a spot start next week. Over six starts at AAA in 2017, he went 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA and 32 Ks in 30 innings. His best chance to keep a starting job will come from further failure from Josh Tomlin who may have saved his job on Saturday (one run and three hits over seven innings with three Ks).
The Phillies only have five games this week meaning that won’t need a fifth starter. Nick Pivetta hasn’t been sharp in his two games in the majors (5.90 ERA and 1.90 WHIP) due to getting beat for four HRs over ten innings. His fastball averages just under 95 while touching 98 multiple times in his last start vs. the Dodgers. His stuff did look at electric in his three starts at AAA in 2017 (two runs over 18 innings with two walks and 24 Ks). The pitching free agent pool looks weak this year compounded by so many injuries. His arm is worth a buy-and-hold if you have room on your bench. It may take him another trip to AAA to figure it out at the major-league level.