We are almost halfway through May, where has the time gone? I hope all of you are off to a hot start this year. If not, just remember this is marathon season. It may be a small sample of just me, but after 3 weeks of the season, 14 of my 22 teams were in 6th place or worse with zero first place teams. Now, almost 3 weeks later; 12 of 22 are in 4th or better with 5 first place teams. This is not meant to be any sort of bragging; but rather a reminder of how things change over this 162-game season. Stick with it, put in the work, and have patience, the season will likely come your way.
10/12 Team Adds
George Kirby (SEA/SP) – Kirby has shown excellent command in the minors. His highest walk rate at any level is 6.4%. Add in his propensity for strikeouts, and it’s easy to see why so many are high on him. Kirby in his debut, collected 7 Ks while allowing 4 hits, and no walks across 6 innings. A compelling start to say the least. In 15 teamers, you are likely going to need to be in the 30% range if he performs well Saturday night against the Mets. (18-20% FAAB for 12 teamers)
Manuel Margot (TB/OF) – Margot’s lack of fantasy relevancy to this point in his career has really been about playing time. Josh Lowe has been demoted and is struggling in Triple-A. Thus, leaving Margot with everyday ABs. He’s racked up 10+ steals every year since 2017 and easy to forget that he is still 27 years old. His power is coming along nicely, increasing his HH-rate and barrel-rate almost every year of his career. Don’t count on him for 20+ homers but 15 is doable. Add in his 20+ steal speed and you have one hell of a compelling fantasy asset. (10-12% FAAB, but I would go as high as 16-18% if you’re hard up for steals)
Dany Jimenez (OAK/RP) – A combination of thinking that Lou Trivino would assume the closer’s role when back off the COVID IL, and that Oakland just flat-out sucks; kept many off Jimenez. However, Trivino hasn’t seen a save opportunity since and has also sucked in the process. Jimenez is the guy, 6 saves on the season along with a respectable 28.3% k-rate and a 3.03 SIERA. (6-9% FAAB)
Alek Thomas (ARI/OF) – Baseball America ranked Thomas as the #31 prospect back in early April. The Diamondbacks Triple-A affiliate is in Reno. Which is an incredible place to hit, so it’s hard to sift through his minor league numbers with confidence. So, what can we take away? His plate discipline looks good, his walk rate has hovered around 10% since 2021 along with a respectable K-rate hovering around 20%. Alek’s prospect grades reflect that he should be a solid power/speed contributor. I’m very much in on him, but let’s temper expectations (and bids), as the team context is not ideal. (5-7% FAAB)
Garrett Cooper (MIA/1B&OF) – Cooper may be on the verge of a hot steak. Over the last two weeks, he has a 54.3% HH rate over 54 PAs, with only one homer to show for it. He’s probably not a long-term play but we could ride a nice wave in the short term. (2-3% FAAB)
Josh Naylor (CLE/1B&OF) – Naylor was an intriguing prospect, with a 55-grade hit tool and 70 for raw power (grades out of 80, in increments of 5, if you are not familiar). However, other than his 2020 playoff campaign, he’s left much to be desired. In 2022, his barrel-rate sits at 11.1% and a HH of 49.2%. Moreover, he currently has a career high pull % and career low GB %; albeit, his GB rate sits at 47.6%. At 24 years old, let’s trust that he’s still growing and playing time isn’t an issue in Cleveland. (6-8% FAAB)
15 Team Adds
Felix Bautista (BAL/RP) – Bautista stepped in nicely while Jorge Lopez was away on the Bereavement list, collecting 2 saves. Bautista regularly hits triple digits with his fastball and for all intents and purposes, looks like a modern-day closer. It’s unclear if Lopez will regain the role when he’s back but Bautista should be in the mix for an occasional save, at the very least. (3-5% FAAB).
Alex Lange (DET/RP) – Gregory Soto is in real danger of losing his closer role. His k-rate has taken a nose dive down to 20.5% and his walk rate sits at 18.2% (that’s a 2.3% K-BB rate for those keeping score). Lange has been a bright spot for the Tigers pen. Currently, Lange has 28.8% k-rate to go along with his 2.13 ERA, 2.80 SIERA. (1-2% FAAB)
Brandon Drury (CIN/2B,3B&OF) – It’s likely that his 15.3% barrel and 52.8% HH rate on the year is just a hot streak (given he’s almost 30 and hasn’t shown this before). However, playing in Great American is a nice play to be. Moreover, the Reds are a mess and with his versatility, he shouldn’t have any issues with playing time. Even if he regresses, he should be a solid asset in deeper formats. (4-5% FAAB)