Here we stand after one month of baseball. Ronald Acuña is finally up in the bigs! Still waiting on guys like Nick Senzel and Kyle Tucker to take their rightful places alongside them. As we head into May there continue to be players falling onto the DL and in the constant struggle to find replacements, here are my nominees for this week’s FAAB Five. All of these percentages can translate to any FAAB Budget, and my target league format is 12-15 Team (Mixed Leagues).
Martin has always been a sleeper target for power and speed ever since coming on the scene in 2013 for the Texas Rangers. He is a consistent 20-25 SB threat with 30+ upside, even though he has already been caught twice this season. His sprint speed of 28.0 ft/sec is still faster than guys such as Mookie Betts, Eduardo Nuñez, and Jonathan Villar. What is even more impressive thus far is the batted ball changes happening before our eyes. He currently has a 57.1% FB% compared to his career rate of 32.8%. Also posting a lower SwStr% than the past three seasons, Martin seems to be striking out a bit less which improves the fantasy profile overall. He is swinging more, making more contact, and avoiding pitches outside of the zone which is a cocktail for a positive batting average. Pairing all of these tools with his rank of 22nd on the Brls/PA leaderboard, 11.1 Brls/PA, Leonys Martin is still a Statcast darling that deserves attention in fantasy leagues when given playing time.
Trevor Cahill is back and pitching well again! I am very excited, as I was on the train last year before injuries and a trade to the AL derailed what an extraordinary fantasy season at the start. Since 2015, he has been able to produce a 21% Soft Ct%, 57.8% GB%, and each season making improvements on his K/9. So far this season he has been able to generate 15.3% SwStr% along with the ground balls you love to see from his profile. Cahill can limit baserunners exceptionally as long as the walk rates stay relatively low. His strikeout and ground ball rates are so high that Cahill can be a fantasy contributor for the remainder of the season given health. The higher walk rates also create more swing and miss with a pitcher like Cahill who has nasty stuff that hitters have an extremely tough time barreling.
Since his debut on June 12th, 2016, Tyler Anderson has the 4th best Soft Ct% in the MLB out of pitchers with 200 or more innings in that time frame. His skill of limiting hard contact paired with double-digit swinging strike rates throughout his career makes me wish he didn’t have to worry about the “Coors effect.” This season everything looks par for the course except that he has dropped his Contact% from 77% to 70.5% in the early-going. Every year I look forward to seeing if Tyler Anderson can finally put together the season that breaks Coors Field due to the elite soft contact and swinging strike rates. The strangest part of his profile is the reverse home/road splits. Throughout his career, Anderson has posted a .350 wOBA on the road compared to a .317 wOBA at home. He’s pitching well everywhere at the moment and hasn’t struggled much since his opening start. Tyler Anderson should be looked at in all leagues as an option to stream every week he doesn’t have home outings. His skill-set even make him a possibility to start in Coors during a good matchup.
I’m not sure anyone realizes what Daniel Robertson is doing to start the season. The 3rd pick of the 2012 Supplemental Draft is now 24-years-old and finding his way into the Rays lineup on a daily basis. He now has a BB:K ratio of 14:15 and 45% of his hits have gone for extra bases. Robertson is hitting the ball extremely hard right now. Statcast measures his LD/FB exit velocity to be at 95.7 MPH, and his LD% of 32.5% shows that he is squaring the ball up very well. His HR/FB% and BABIP should regress, but his plate discipline is looking extremely promising. Robertson has only been swinging about 30% of the time to start the season so pick him up now before he starts getting more comfortable with his zone. He could be an excellent addition, especially in OBP leagues for his power upside, multi-eligibility, and approach changes.
The long-time Pittsburgh Pirates prospect is finally returning from another injury to make his MLB debut. His start will be happening while prepping this article but the high grades on his fastball and curveball make me think he can survive in the bigs. This season he has come back in a rage by striking out more batters than ever while showing decent command. Kingham has rolled through AAA to start with a 22.5% K-BB%, 12.9% SwStr%, and no home runs allowed with 49% ground balls over four starts. The 26-year-old has toiled away in the minors with injury for quite some time, so this is a deserved call-up. Pirates pitching prospects are always exciting to take a shot with when they reach the major leagues. Nick Kingham should be a target this week. Even if he has a bad start on Sunday, he could be up for a while, and maybe could be had for much cheaper if he struggles.
It’s fitting to bring up the brother of Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson while they run through the NBA Western Conference once again. In our sport, we have Trayce Thompson who is, like his sibling, extremely athletic with a combination of power and speed we covet in fantasy. The numbers thus far have not been gaudy, but the potential is there as there are multiple 20 HR and 20 SB seasons in his minor league history. Thompson already has 2 HR this year as he is just getting his feet sturdy after a turbulent start to the season. The Los Angeles Dodgers placed him on waivers this Spring. He was picked up by the New York Yankees dropped again and claimed by the Oakland Athletics. Thompson was then moved over to the Chicago White Sox for cash and finds himself on a team desperate for outfield depth. The power is already on display, and once his bat gets going, he will be on base for more stolen base opportunities on a team who’s shown the desire to utilize their speed. Trayce Thompson is an AL-Only target that could end up finding himself useful in 15-team mixed leagues with everyday playing time.
Tayron Guerrero is a 6’8″ lanky pitcher who sits triple digits quite often finishing with a Rich Hill-style leg kick at the end of his delivery. He is not easy to hit. Every stat that you want to see from a dominant reliever is there with Guerrero. His Soft Ct% is 28%, which is higher than his 24% Hard Ct%, the K% and SwStr% are both exceptional at 40% and 15.1%, respectively. As surprising as the fastball is when combined with the wild throwing action, his slider is generating 33.9% SwStr% and an O-Swing% of 52.6%. Hitters just cannot pick up this 27-year-old’s stuff to start the season. Jeter may have found himself a cheap, multi-inning reliever that can neutralize the heart of any lineup. Guerrero is becoming a Statcast darling with his .258 xwOBA and .153 xBA. All of his expected stats are much lower than what he is showing with his 5.00+ ERA. If Tayron can find some more command, there are situations I would own him in 15-team mixers at some point this season. However, right now he is a perfect deep-league stash and Only-league ratio aid who can pile up strikeouts.