It’s already approaching mid-May on the MLB calendar, and in fantasy baseball leagues. With a new week coming, here are five players to seek on the waiver wire in your league.
5. Ryan Schimpf, 2B, San Diego Padres
There may be no better “Three True Outcomes” hitter than Schimpf so far this season, with eight home runs, 36 strikeouts and 20 walks over 112 plate appearances. It’s not too much of a fluke either, as he hit 20 home runs with 105 strikeouts over 330 plate appearances in 2016.
Schimpf is a one category producer, with a low batting average and one stolen base over his first 118 big league games. But home runs are enough to make him worth adding in mixed leagues, and he should have eligibility at third bases (14 games last year).
ESPN Ownership: 7.2%
4. Michael Taylor, OF, Washington Nationals
Taylor has taken over as the Nationals’ center fielder since Adam Eaton went down with a torn ACL, and he’s hitting .357 (10-for-28) with two RBI, two stolen bases and four runs scored in seven games since then. His major league track record, while limited (251 games entering Sunday), is not great (.643 career OPS), but opportunity is knocking for Taylor.
Taylor is a top addition in NL-only leagues, as well as in deeper mixed leagues. Being part of a good Washington lineup is a rising tide for his fantasy value.
ESPN Ownership: 4.9%
3. Josh Harrison, 3B/2B, Pittsburgh Pirates
Harrison has at hit in 11 of his last 13 games, hitting .321 (17-for-53) with four home runs, nine RBI and seven runs scored over that span. He has become the Pirates’ everyday third baseman, with Jung Ho Kang (personal) unlikely to be back and David Freese (right hamstring) injured, but Harrison has eligibility at his customary second base and offers that bit of flexibility.
Harrison is off pace in stolen bases so far this season, with two in two attempts, but his overall batting average (.298) is just fine and a little bit of power seems to be back after he hit just four home runs in both 2015 and 2016.
Harrison’s ownership rate has essentially doubled recently, but there’s still room to add him and he’s a multi-category fantasy asset.
ESPN Ownership: 46%
2. Brad Brach, RP, Baltimore Orioles
Zach Britton missed half of April with a forearm issue, then returned for two outings this past week before landing back on the disabled list. Brach picked up five saves during Britton’s first absence, then picked up No. 6 on Friday night when Britton was rendered unavailable.
Britton seems sure to miss at least a few weeks, with a reported visit coming Monday to see noted surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache. So Brach will step back into the closer role for the Orioles indefinitely, and depending on Britton’s prognosis a rest-of-the-seasons stint is on the radar.
Saves are an unpredictable category for fantasy owners, but Brach has the chance to be a 2017 mainstay. Now is the time to add him in mixed leagues.
ESPN Ownership: 51.3%
1. Cody Bellinger, 1B/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Over his first 11 major league games, Bellinger is hitting .357 (1.199 OPS) with five home runs, 14 RBI and 11 runs scored. His hit his first career grand slam on Saturday night, and over the last two games the Dodgers’ top prospect has three home runs and nine RBI while stepping in at first base for an injured Adrian Gonzalez.
Bellinger is probably just shy of outfield eligibility in most fantasy leagues, with eight games played upon being called up. But he is listed as a first baseman in ESPN leagues, and presumably other league hosts, and if he keeps hitting Bellinger will have to find a place in the Dodgers’ outfield when Gonzalez returns.
Once he starts to make a repeat round against major league pitching, if not before, Bellinger’s pace will slow. But he is worthy of a roster spot in all fantasy leagues.
ESPN Ownership: 48.9%
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