Another week, another FAAB run. Happy Cinco de Mayo for those of you who remember what happened this weekend, and Happy Cinco de Cuatro for fans of Arrested Development. As with every week, I bring you my five FAAB picks. These are players that most people will be looking at this week along with others that can be had for cheap, off-the-radar, stabs. I will also provide a few names for those ONLY-league players at the end. All FAAB percentages can be applied to leagues with any budget.
Matt Adams is consistently owned every single year without ever needing to be drafted before Opening Day. It just so happens that this is the week we all go pick him up while he’s super hot FIYA. Of course, there are other improvements to like including the 14% BB% which had never eclipsed 7.6% in any prior season. He is hitting in a top-tier lineup, chasing fewer pitches outside the zone, and making more contact with strikes. Matt Adams is changing in the places necessary to make him a better fantasy asset and overall player. The Nationals are loving the production so much that they have fit him in the outfield to get his bat in the lineup. The HR/FB% will regress, but the newfound patience is super enticing with his already above-average power and FB%. If healthy, Adams will be able to stick on any fantasy roster with his position flexibility and serious upside in that lineup.
Domingo Germán, SP, New York Yankees: 10-15% FAAB
The New York Yankees have been letting the “yutes” flourish this season. Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, Tyler Austin, and now Domingo Germán called up to replace Jordan Montgomery for the near future, at least. This kid has sobering wipeout stuff in his changeup and curveball which are generating 16.7% and 25% SwStr%, respectively. Germán’s four-seam is also gathering a ton of swing and miss inside the zone, which is very impressive. Only 14.3% O-Swing with 100% O-Contact, which may seem contrary, but it’s still getting a swinging strike every ten tosses. The primary concern I have with him long-term in the rotation is the command. However, the changeup and curveball have skyrocketed from 35.2% and 37% in the zone last season, during his brief time in the majors, to where they currently sit at 60% and 43.8%. Not only are they falling for more strikes, but batters are also still swinging a ton, and whiffing a ton. Germán’s changeup has been extraordinary generating 61.7% Swing%, 54.2% O-Swing, and 25% SwStr% overall. So far, it’s one of the stronger small samples, and it reminds me of Luis Castillo from last year. Take that how you will with how he’s started, but I think we all can see the upside when I mention a name like that with a 24-year-old getting his first real taste and showing out.
For those of you who have been playing dynasty leagues for a while, Alen Hanson is a familiar name. Speed, power, tools, positional flexibility, the sky was the limit for this athletic prospect coming up with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Eight years later we find him on the San Francisco Giants and still only 25-years-old. Is he the same fantasy asset dreamed upon in the past? It is way too early to tell, but the signs say that he has found something to turn him into a more relevant everyday player. In AAA to start the season, he was finally drawing walks in a way he never had previously. This trait has yet to translate to the eight-game sample size. However, he does already have 2 HR and 2 SB since his call-up. The power and speed are still very much alive, and fantasy players know how desolate the speed market is currently. Whether or not he is for real this time, the ceiling is worth buying into with a decent bid this week. He’s playing all over and could have 2B/SS/OF eligibility at some point if he continues to hit his way into the lineup.
This 23-year-old starter for the Minnesota Twins is impressive is a ton of ways. He brings the precise combination of swinging strikes and ground balls you want from a stud limiter of baserunners. Romero averaged 96.4 MPH on his fastball in his first start and carried a nasty slider/changeup combo. He has more than one above-average offering, and if everything is feeling right, he will dominate opposing batters any given start. Romero has also had a steady progression through the minors without very many hiccups. He seems to be an overlooked prospect that is cheaper than some of the top arms but provides a similar ceiling. I’m ignoring most of the season-long projections with him because overall it is hard to put a number on a fresh call-up. Whatever the end of season stat-line looks like, the bid this week is all about upside, and he has a ton. Romero will be less than Germán, after what he was able to accomplish Sunday, but ultimately maybe even better.
Out of nowhere, Caleb Smith has been incredible to start the season. Well, that’s relative. He has been insane as far as what our expectations were for Caleb Smith. In his 7 starts, producing a 12.4% SwStr% on his repertoire of fastball, slider, changeup, Smith has posted reliever like numbers for K%. So far, accumulating 48 K in just 34.1 IP, he is 6th in K%, but 15th in K-BB% due to his problem with walks. He hasn’t been the best at limiting hard contact either which is not preferable. However, another lefty with devastating breakers who succeeds by walking and striking out the world and manages to allow hard contact without getting blown up? Sounds familiar right? I have heard the Robbie Ray comparison thrown around a few places lately and it’s early on, but this is the best time to buy into a breakout. Get him for cheap where you can, and I hope that he ends up being that guy who sticks all year despite the BB% and LD/FB Exit Velocity. The upside he has shown thus far is tremendous and also reminds me of a Brad Peacock-esque performance from last season. Tons of strikeouts and walks, but he’s going to throw a ton of innings on a bad team and get every chance to provide your fantasy team with value.
(Forgoing the write-ups to get some more names out on the table.)
Travis Janikowski, OF, San Diego Padres (NL) [Speed/Power, Prospect fatigue]