Over his last 14 games, Elias Diaz has 13 hits in 44 at-bats with nine runs, one HR, and five RBI. His success in 2017 (.288 with five HRs and 18 RBI over 118 at-bats) projects well over a full season, which points to strength in replacement value if Francisco Cervelli has a prolonged battle with his concussion issue. Only a short-term fill-in in deep leagues while possibly developing into a buy and hold.
Over his last ten games, Martin Maldonado hit .281 with five runs, two HRs, and 11 RBI. His overall game has plenty of batting average risk with a double-digit power skill set. His direction puts him temporarily on Fantasy owner’s radar. Ride him when he‘s hot type of guy while making sure to cut him when his bat starts to fade.
Wilmer Flores remains in the free agent pool in shallow leagues even with his bat becoming starter worthy over the last 12 games (.273 with five runs, three HRs, and 12 RBI over 44 at-bats). Flores has an eight-game hitting streak while starting 11 of the last 12 games for the Mets. Worth a look as long as his bat stays in the starting lineup for New York.
The Nationals expect Ryan Zimmerman to begin a rehab assignment in early July, which gives him a chance to turn around the All-Star break. His bat fell well short of expectations over his first 115 at-bats, but his 2016 resume (.303 with 36 HRs and 108 RBI over 524 at-bats) still makes him the best free agent option at first base at the end of the June. Shoot for the stars type of free agent.
The Dodgers can’t get Kiki Hernandez’s bat out of the starting lineup after his recent power surge. Hernandez started 15 of the last 17 games for LA with a high-level of success (.322 with 14 runs, six HRs, 12 RBI, and one SB). Kiki deserves to start while being on pace to set a career high in all areas. He qualifies at 2B, SS, and OF with 3B just around the corner. Nice bench power hitter with injury replacement value.
Brad Miller has a five-game hitting streak (5-for-17) with two runs, one HR, and three RBI while batting in the leadoff spot for the Brewers in a couple of games. Milwaukee doesn’t seem happy with their options at 2B or SS in 2017 while Travis Shaw appears to be banged up. Shaw has one hit over his last 16 at-bats while sitting in two of his last five games. Only a dart in deep leagues with homerun power if given a run of starting at-bats.
Tim Beckham returned from the DL last week after two months on the DL with a groin injury. Over his last four games in five days, Beckham has six hits in 15 at-bats with one run and no HRs or RBI. Last year Tim flashed power (22 HRs over 533 at-bats) with some value in speed (six SBs). His game will fall short of the top third basemen in the game in shallow leagues, but his shortstop qualification from 2017 helps his playable value in all formats.
After losing his form over the first three weeks in June (6-for-40 with one HR and two RBI with 14 Ks), Christian Villanueva has six hits over his last 20 at-bats with one run and two RBI. His early season success in power gives him a chance at a second hot run after falling out of value in the season-long games.
Paul DeJong began a rehab assignment on the last day in June putting him on a path to return to the majors over the next week or so. DeJong was on pace for over 25+ HRs and 70 RBI with 550+ at-bats before his injury, but he did have 50 Ks over 150 at-bats. Nice power out at middle infield as long as your team can handle his possible batting average risk.
The Royals set the stage for Adalberto Mondesi to play every day after releasing Ryan Goins. Mondesi started the last six games for the KC while improving his hitting streak to three games (4-for-10) with three runs, one HR, three RBI, and one SB. He remains one of the better outs in speed going forward while offering double-digit power. Must own in all formats.
Avisail Garcia returned the DL on June 22nd. His bat hit the ground running leading to a six-game hitting streak (8-for-28) with five runs, two HRs, and four RBI. Garcia had the best season of his career in 2016 (.330 over 518 at-bats with 75 runs, 18 HRs, 80 RBI, and five SBs), which clearly makes him a starting bat in all formats.
Fantasy owners don’t trust Jason Heyward as a starting option in any format due to his minimal power and lost speed. He continues to bat second in the batting order for the Cubs while improving with each day that passes. Heyward has a five-game hitting streak (10-for-20) with nine runs, one HR, and five RBI. He has a Nick Markakis became relevant in 2017 why can’t I feel. His power has a better chance of offering value than a boost in speed.
Hunter Renfroe looks to be on the verge of a power run after his bat turned the corner over the last week. Renfroe hit .429 over his last 21 at-bats with two runs, one HR, two RBI, and one SB. If Hunter finds his rhythm, four to five home runs in a week if very possible.
Over his last 19 games, Jesse Winker has 18 hits over 58 at-bats with seven runs, five HRs, and 18 RBI. Winker has a high average swing if his power stroke can gain momentum over the last three months of the year. Worth an upside gamble if your team needs a correction in passing average.
Jackie Bradley has one of the streakiest bats in baseball, and his upside swing is in motion. Over his last six games, Bradley had nine hits in 21 at-bats with four runs, two HRs, six RBI, and two SBs. He’s on a path to possibly double his career high in steals with his better days in power coming over the second half of the year.
Last week Jose Urena gave Fantasy owners a scare when he mentioned feeling something wrong in his right elbow in his disaster sixth inning (five runs) against the Giants. The injury appeared to minor as he may return from the DL this week. If so, Urena may have three straight starts at home against Tampa, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia. Over his last 11 starts, Jose has a 3.84 ERA and 1.12 WHIP with 54 Ks over 68 innings. Playable arm in two-start weeks with a possible matchup value in single start weeks.
Boston will turn to Brian Johnson in the starting rotation after Steven Wright crushed Fantasy owners last week. Over his last 21 innings in relief for the Red Sox, Johnson had a 2.14 ERA and 1.19 WHIP with 16 Ks over 21 innings. Over this span, Brian allowed one run over four innings twice with seven combined Ks. His arm will need another start or two to be stretched out. Boston continues to win games, which make any starter for them attractive.
The Rays continue to play games with their starting pitchers. At some point, they need another arm or two to pitch 5+ innings. Ryne Stanek made eight starts over the last couple of months for Tampa, but he’s yet to pitch over two innings in any game. Stanek extended his scoreless run to 14.2 innings with four hits, seven walks, and 17 Ks. Ryne came through the minors as a starter until he moved to AAA in 2016. Player to watch if he starts to earn longer outings.
With Chad Kuhl placed on the DL with a forearm issue, Pittsburgh will turn to Nick Kingham next week. Over his last three starts back at AAA, Kingham allowed five runs and 14 baserunners over 21 innings with 19 Ks. Nick now has a 2.19 ERA over 49.1 innings at AAA in 2018 with 51 Ks. Excellent double start option next week with buy and hold value.