What’s up, everybody? We’re working our way through the shortened season while trying to avoid the COVID potholes. The Marlins will be returning to action today albeit with 19 new players as 18 players tested positive and Isan Diaz opted right on out of that clubhouse. One silver lining is the Marlins are calling up Monte Harrison to the big league club. The power/speed prospect played just 58 games in 2019 after having wrist surgery following an injury diving for a ball in the outfield. Harrison still managed 9 homers and 20 stolen bases in AAA before the injury. That’s after putting up a 19HR/28SB performance in AA the year prior. The only knock on Harrison is his plate discipline as the Marlins prospect posted strikeout rates of 36.9% and 29.9% the last two years. Although he did manage to make gains in his walk rate, raising it to 10.2% last year. With Harrison getting the call and starting his service time, the Marlins have no reason to not give him at-bats. Monte Harrison is rostered in just 1.7% of ESPN leagues and 8% of CBS Sports leagues, so if your team needs a shot in the arm, grab him now as he could help out in both homers and stolen bases. Let’s take a look at some other players that may give you a head start on your competition.
Cristian Javier, SP (21.3% ESPN; 61% CBS) – For the 78.7% of you playing on ESPN that missed it, Javier threw a gem in his first start. The Astros righty worked into the sixth inning, striking out eight Dodgers while allowing just three baserunners. To me, the most impressive part about this start is the strikeouts against a Dodgers team that has struck out at the second-lowest rate on the year (19.5%). This week, Javier gets a matchup in Arizona (humidor) against the Diamondbacks who are D.F.L. in the league in wRC+. If we’re looking ahead a little, Javier lines up to then face the Giants in Houston, followed by the Mariners in Houston, and then the Padres in San Diego. This makes Javier more than just a streamer, he’s a player you’ll want to hold on to moving forward.
Jason Castro, C (3.9% ESPN; 16% CBS) – One catcher to keep an eye on is Jason Castro. According to Baseball Savant, Castro’s barrel rate places him in the 85th percentile of hitters while his xwOBA lands in the 91st percentile. He is batting just .211, but if he continues to barrel up the ball at this rate, I’d expect things to turn around in a hurry.
The first Coors series is in the books and the Padres did not disappoint (except Jurickson Profar, who went 0/13). The Padres and Rockies averaged just short of 13 runs per game in the three-game set. The Giants are currently playing in Coors, so hopefully, you stocked up on them for the early part of this week. I personally grabbed Donovan Solano, who’s picked up where he left off in 2019 by batting .484 in the early going. We have to look ahead slightly to see the next Coors bats, but starting on August 10th, the Diamondbacks start a three-game set followed by three games by the Rangers. You’ll have to keep an eye on the D-Backs to see if any of these fringe bats heat up, but Coors might be just the spot that Jake Lamb (1.6% ESPN; 8% CBS) or Nick Ahmed (6.6% ESPN; 21% CBS) need to get right.
Checking in on the stolen base situation, the Padres continue to lead the pack with 14 steals as a team. They’re continuing to be aggressive on the basepaths as Tommy Pham and Fernando Tatis Jr. are ranked 1 and T2 in steals. The Seattle Mariners have stolen the second-most bases in the league and hit double digits with 10. If you’re searching for speed, Shed Long Jr. (5.4% ESPN; 13% CBS) has three steals on the year and has led off against righties. In New York, Mike Tauchman (3% ESPN; 35% CBS) has stolen three bags in just 10 plate appearances this year. If Brett Gardner continues to struggle at the dish, don’t be surprised if Tauchman gets extra at-bats in his stead. If you’re in a daily league, Tauchman could be a streaming hitter until he gets regular plate appearances.
Finally, looking at the catching side, Arizona has continued to be a team to allow stolen bases. They’ve allowed 14 steals on the year and it doesn’t matter if it’s Carson Kelly or Stephen Vogt. This week they face the Astros and the Padres for three games apiece. If you need steals for this week, Myles Straw (.5% ESPN; 3% CBS) could be an option to grab. The Astros backup infielder has three steals despite playing in just four games. Another catcher to potentially stream against to pick up cheap steals is Max Stassi. The Angels’ backup catcher allowed the Mariners to go 5/5 in three games last week.
Good luck this week!!