Like the Mets coming back to steal a ninth inning win, we are doing the improbable and shuffling it up with the Top 100 hitters for the rest of the fantasy baseball season. Maybe the Mets’ comeback is more impressive than this shuffle, but I still cannot imagine the Mets being must watch baseball! With that out of the way, we have some big moves this week with injuries to key players (see Eloy Jimenez) and returns for others (see Ramon Laureano). We also now have a month of insight to tell us who is real and who might simply be a mirage. In the spirit of Bill ‘Spaceman’ Lee, dig in to the rankings like a cosmic snowball means no tomorrow. Bonus points for those few that follow the reference!
- Rowdy Tellez – Rowdy busted out in a big way earlier this week with a two homer, eight RBI game against the Reds. With a top 10% barrel rate and xBA, Tellez has an intriguing power and average combination that is not too frequent in the game. Generally, a platoon bat with concerns against lefties, he has hit well against them in limited action so far this year. Buy now and ask questions later.
- Taylor Ward – Ward has been a hot pick name over the last few weeks as he laid claim to the Angels leadoff role. It certainly never hurts to be hitting in front of Trout and Ohtani. He has had a fair bit of luck but there also has been some skill progression with his plate discipline. He is not this good, but an overall pleasant surprise.
- Jeff McNeil – McNeil was a fantasy darling his first few seasons thanks to positional flexibility and a well-rounded profile. Looking at his Statcast profile, we are seeing much more 2020 than 2021. That means a solid middle infield option that should deliver a 10/10 season but with a .300+ average. He isn’t going to blow you away, but very useful for the price of admission.
- Jo Adell – There is not much to say here. Adell has immense talent, but with limited playing time and disappointing results he is going to need to prove he is ready in the minors. He will be back, but it will be later this summer. Feel safe to drop in single season leagues.
- Joey Votto – Votto found renewed life in 2021 selling out for the flyball and the ensuing homers. Unfortunately, that season looks to be more of an outlier at this point than a sustaining approach. Maybe the league is adjusting as he has seen more breaking balls this season than any other in his career. Maybe his age is starting to catch up. Either way, Votto is best left to the waiver wire until we see sustained signs of life.
- Ha-seong Kim – With more and more playing time, one of the best players to come out of Korea in years might be carving out a place in San Diego. That lineup is still crowded and he would be difficult to utilize in weekly leagues since he is not playing every day. However, he seems to be adjusting with his plate approach and the results are starting to follow.
- Max Kepler – Kepler has been a solid fantasy option before but then disappeared from the scene over the last few years. I tend to think Kepler simply had a hot week and can be left to the wolves. But, I will be watching to see if he can extend the run a bit.
- Willy Adames – Willy has been racking up the counting numbers near the top of a strong Brewers lineup. 5th in runs scored and 16th in RBI, he is hard to ignore. He is better than his current average and if the Brewers can continue to be a top 5 offense there is some intrigue. He sneaks into the back of the Top 100 this week.