It’s that time again! Hopefully, it’s not too late. Taking it down to the wire, you need some quick-hitting insight as to who you can pick up for your fantasy rosters. Now, I’m not saying I’m an expert, but there are some players I have my sights set on. Here are a few to scoop up that aren’t highly rostered.
2B/SS/(OF) – Nico Hoerner
Okay, let me get my Cubs fan homerism out of the way early. You should’ve picked up Hoerner last week if he was available. However, he still has a somewhat low rostership percentage across the industry. Since being recalled from the alternate site, Hoerner is hitting .389 with seven runs driven in and three stolen bases. His hard-hit percent (46.2%) and walk rate (17.9%) are both career highs to this point. He is second base and shortstop eligible on most sites, and as you may have noticed, I tagged the outfield as one of his positions. Yes, he’s playing a little bit out there as well, and should pick up eligibility for it soon, especially if Ian Happ has to miss time due to the collision he had with Hoerner himself.
OF – Tyler O’Neill
O’Neill is heating up. Since coming off the injured list on April 23, O’Neill is hitting .371 with four homers, seven runs batted in, and two steals. He’s still striking out a lot (36.1%) and not walking much (1.6%), but he’s barreling up the ball and should provide you some stolen bases along the way. Scoop him up.
1B/OF – Alex Kirilloff
For some reason, Kirilloff is still available on certain sites. For example, he’s less than 30 percent owned on ESPN. After starting slow, it seems he’s starting to figure out big-league pitching. The promising top Twins prospect has homered in each of his last three games. He’s not fully there yet, as he struck out three times in each of his last two games as well. However, you’ll certainly take the power and run production.
SP – Shane McClanahan
McClanahan made his debut this past week, pitching four innings and allowing two earned runs while striking out five. He featured a ton of power four-seam fastballs and a nasty slider that generated a 58.8 percent whiff rate. Failing to throw even 60 pitches, the Rays are going to ease him in. But once they do, McClanahan could be a force. Grab him before he picks up steam.
RP – Josh Staumont
Starting the season as one of the murkiest bullpen situations in the league, the Kansas City Royals might’ve finally tipped their hand. Staumont has received each of the team’s last three save opportunities, and he’s a perfect 3-for-3. The right-hander throws effortless upper 90s gas and owns a 0.68 ERA in 13.1 innings pitched. Somehow, he’s still available in many leagues. Do your part in changing that.
RP/SP – Tejay Antone
Is he the new closer in Cincy? Despite what David Bell says about not caring what other teams think about his team (paraphrasing), it’s only a matter of time before Amir Garrett rubs him the wrong way and ruins any future chances he might get to close out games. He has not pitched all that well this season. Garrett has a 10.38 ERA in 8.2 innings pitched. Like Garrett but to a lesser extent, Lucas Sims has had issues with a 7.20 ERA.
The man that’s been getting the job done is Tejay Antone. Manager David Bell has used him in different roles, including multi-inning outings, but he seems to be thriving in all of them with a 2.93 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. He struggled on Sunday, allowing four earned runs in 1.1 innings pitched. But it was a difficult, back and forth game. The Cubs and Reds combined for 25 total runs. Antone also bailed out Sims and the Reds on Friday night when he came in to get the final out and record the save. I’d put a bid on him in hopes that he takes over the closer role full time.
Deeper League Sleeper Add
SP – Johan Oviedo
Oviedo impressed against the Philadelphia Phillies. He pitched five innings and allowed three earned runs, but racked up seven strikeouts and walked just two. He only allowed two hard-hit balls, one of which being a two-run homer by Brad Miller. All in all, he looked solid with 17 swings and misses, pumping 96/97 MPH with the fastball and getting eight whiffs on the slider with a 46 percent CSW rate.
Oviedo was optioned to the team’s alternate site following the outing, but Daniel Ponce de Leon was placed on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation. I think once manager Mike Shildt figures out some of these guys aren’t cut out for the rotation, Oviedo will get more opportunities to flourish. I recommend stashing him in deeper leagues.