• “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

    -Yogi Berra

    Indeed it is Yogi, but that wont stop us from trying! The good thing is, as we approach the halfway point of the fantasy regular season, the picture in front of us is starting to change from something out of the early VCR days to something closer to 4K.

    Players have (for the most part) gotten used to their new surroundings, with guys like Trevor Story and Marcus Semien settling in and producing at the high level that we know they are capable of. Others, like Robbie Ray and Javy Baez appear to need some more time, putting silver streaks on the heads of a lot of fantasy managers

    Regardless of which players you roster and how many of them have exceeded or fallen short of your expectations, there are always things you can do to improve your team. In this article, I’m going to highlight players who should be added for this week that can give your teams a real short-term boost. Some of you may even be getting ready to pack it in for the year. I’m telling you crazier things have happened.

    To quote another ballplayer, “Never allow the fear of striking out to keep you from playing the game.” I think his name was George. Maybe Herman.

    As always, hit me up on the bird app @JoeOrrico99 with any questions, comments, or feedback. If there is a player you want a deep dive on, send me a message and I’ll do some digging for you.

    My podcast, Fantasy MLB Today, runs Monday-Friday and covers the biggest topics in the game with the best guests in the industry, so check it out below!

    My podcast, Fantasy MLB Today, runs Monday-Friday and covers the biggest topics in the game with the best guests in the industry, so check it out here!

    Enough of the preamble, let’s get cooking!

     

    Schedule Advantages

    There are three lucky teams who play eight games next week on the back of doubleheaders. Fringe players on these teams will have a bit of extra value this week. I’m going to highlight one widely available guy for each of the three teams, and an alternative player to target if my preferred target isn’t available.

     

    Philadelphia Phillies

    Alec Bohm (35% Yahoo, 23% ESPN)

    Bohm certainly isn’t as hot as he was earlier in the season, but he is still a valuable asset that is on a lot of waiver wires. He has a lot more power than his four HRs would indicate, ranking as a 70th percentile or above hitter in Average Exit Velocity, HardHit rate, xSLG and he is 85th percentile for xBA. He’s played in 56/58 Phillies games so far, so at least 7 games are expected this week. He can give you a boost for this week, and I believe by the time I am writing season review pieces, he will be a name we are talking about.

    Alternative Target: Bryson Stott (12% Yahoo, 5.2% ESPN) 

    Stott has been on a roll lately, and I debated highlighting him ahead of Bohm. I decided against it because of the extra power potential from Bohm, but Stott has been no slouch. He’s got three long-balls over the last week or so, going 11 for 33 in that time while also stealing a base. While his 21.9 HardHit rate is low, he’s been one of the hottest players in baseball these past couple of weeks. I would try to ride the streak where you can this coming week.

     

    Seattle Mariners

    Diego Castillo (36% Yahoo, 5.4% ESPN)

    A couple of tough appearances in early May really killed his ERA (currently still 5.57) but Castillo has been lights out recently. He has recorded two wins and three saves this past month to go along with his 1.59 ERA and 17 Ks across 11.1 IP. He appears to be equally (if not more) trusted than Paul Sewald in manager Scott Servais’ eyes. He’s bound to have a few high-leverage opportunities this week and should be added by those seeking some bullpen help.

    Alternative Target: Cal Raleigh (3% Yahoo, 1.1% ESPN)

    Raleigh has made the most of his playing time recently, with six home runs in 61 at bats this past month. His batting average is ugly at .174, but he’s shown an improvement recently batting .265 over the last two weeks. His BABIP luck has been tough (it’s at .173), so that should turn itself around more as well. His K% needs to get better (33%) but that should come down closer to the 22% minor league mark we’ve seen. At a weak catcher position and with the extra game, he’s someone I’m targeting in 14-team leagues and deeper.

     

    Washington Nationals

    Lane Thomas (10% Yahoo, 4.7% ESPN)

    Thomas has been on a heater recently. He is 15 for his last 43 (.349) with four home runs in the last two weeks. He’s got the power mixed with some speed potential (only 1 so far this year but six in 77 games last season) and he is a hot-hand that has value in just about all leagues in the short-term.

    Alternative Target: Maikel Franco (8% Yahoo, 6.8% ESPN)

    Another hot bat in the Nationals lineup, Franco has hit .321(17/53) over the last two weeks with a couple of home runs and 13 R+RBI. Pretty solid production for someone so widely available. He is definitely a deeper-league target but when you factor in the upcoming schedule, I think he should be given a deep look by fantasy managers.

     

    Two-Start Pitchers

    This one is usually rather tricky. Postponements have been happening frequently and managers fiddle with their rotations, so it can be hard to predict which guys will actually go twice. With that being said, here are three pitchers who are widely available that I am targeting for the two-start potential.

    Zach Eflin: June 14th vs MIA, 19th vs WAS (25% Yahoo, 13.3% ESPN)

    The matchups alone are great, but when you look at Eflin’s recent body of work it gets even nicer. He had some control issues his last time out but but we have seen a very good version of him over the past month, save for the New York Metropolitans lighting him up twice. Outside of his games against the Mets, he has been great with a 3.19 ERA over the past month that included a 12 K gem against the Dodgers. Given that the Phillies play eight games this week, he is very likely to fulfill the two-start prophecy.

    Alex Wood: June 13th vs KC, 19th @ PIT (52% Yahoo, 62.9% ESPN)

    He’s become a regular in my articles over the past few weeks because he was so due to turn it around, and we finally saw that his last time out. He went seven strong, giving up just one run while striking out five in a tough no-decision. The matchups couldn’t be much tastier this week, and he should be on absolutely zero waiver wires for at least this next stretch.

    Alex Faedo: June 13th vs CWS, 18th vs TEX (9% Yahoo, 3.4% ESPN)

    Faedo has started his career off with seven straight starts lasting at least five innings while giving up no more than two earned runs in any of them. Not too shabby. He showed some elite K numbers in the minor leagues that we have not yet seen at the major league level, and it will all be even sweeter once he (hopefully) gets back somewhere into the mid-upper 20’s (he has struck out 18.5% of batters in the bigs thus far). His matchups this week are lovely just like Wood’s and Eflin’s, but he is more widely available than those guys, which could make him a big factor for fantasy this coming week.

     

    Stash Candidates

    Riley Greene (41% Yahoo, 8.6% ESPN)

    The No. 2 prospect in baseball, Greene has a chance to contribute right away at the major league level. His power/speed mix should be a major attraction when he hits the show, as he went for 24 HR and 16 steals between AA and AAA last year. The broken foot that he suffered before the season hasn’t help Green back in his rehab stint, as he has stolen two bases while maintaining a .275 average. Fantasy managers should hop on the train now while he’s still available.

    Vinnie Pasquantino (12% Yahoo, 2.1% ESPN)

    I wrote him up last week but I feel strongly about him and his fantasy game. For AAA Omaha, he is currently second in WRC+ (157) and has 16 HR in 55 games. It’s really a mystery why he hasn’t been called up already, but he wont lack for playing time once they make that move and should be an immediate fantasy contributor.

    I know, they’re not the most original pair to suggest adding, as most people in the fantasy world are saying the same thing. I just feel very strongly that these two guys are going to produce at the big league level, so I thought I’d mention them again.

    Thanks for reading everyone. Best of luck this week!

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