Back by popular demand, this week’s article will kick off with a trivia question. With the MLB trade deadline now passed, our topic is trades and pop culture. Here is this week’s question: In an episode of the TV show “Seinfeld,” George was thought to be dead by his employers at the time, the New York Yankees. George Steinbrenner thus visits his home to inform his parents. Instead of being grieved about his son’s “death,” Mr. Costanza attacks Steinbrenner for trading which player in 1988? Answer at the end of the article.
Now on to this week’s recommendations of players owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues. Stats as of August 4.
Amed Rosario, SS, New York Mets
Rosario is considered one of the more exciting young players in the game. He’s a potential plus hitter that’s more than capable of playing shortstop in the big leagues for years to come. Rosario hit .328 with 58 RBI and seven home runs through 94 games with Triple-A Las Vegas this season. He’s walked 23 times and stuck out 67, and stolen 19 bases in 27 attempts. Fantrax writer Greg Jewett gives more details on Rosario’s skills in a recent article.
Marcus Semien, SS, Oakland A’s
His average may not be pretty as a career .245 hitter, but Semien’s upside is cheap power and speed. This power-speed blend makes him a nice buy in most leagues. Semien missed a good part of the season after fracturing his wrist in April, but in his first 24 games back, he hit .258 with four homers, 14 RBI, three stolen bases, with a .318 on-base percentage and a .740 OPS. Much of this is due to a small 8.1 soft-contact rate.
RotoRadar LIVE: Marcus Semien with the GRAND SLAM for @Brittinghamt and @OptimusRadar.
*RETWEET IF YOUR PROVIDER FADED HIM TO WIN A PRIZE* pic.twitter.com/EciSNv6iHQ
— RotoRadar (@RotoRadar) August 1, 2017
Adam Conley, SP, Miami Marlins
Despite his tough outing on Friday, Conley remains a good waiver wire candidate as he has a 2.42 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in four starts since rejoining the Marlins rotation in July. Before Friday, he was 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA in his three starts since being recalled from Triple-A New Orleans. The hope is that Conley will pitch similar to what he did in 2016 when he started 25 games in the Marlins’ rotation last season, going 8-6 with a 3.85 ERA in 133 1/3 innings. He also set the club record for consecutive scoreless innings by a starter ( 11 1/3), and he’s come close on three occasions in his brief career to pitching a no-hitter. This is hopefully the form that Conley will return to for the Marlins and fantasy owners.
Manuel Margot, OF, San Diego Padres
Margot was named the National League Player of the Week for the week ending July 30th as he hit .500 with three home runs, a triple, two doubles, six runs scored and six RBI in seven games. A contact rate of 80% is a big reason that he has fared well, and has led to a 22.8% line drive rate. However, his 25.3% hard hit ball rate shows that he can find the big part of the bat more often than not. Hitting at the top of the lineup, Margot also provides some help with speed as he has 11 stolen bases in 75 games this season.
James McCann, C, Detroit Tigers
With Alex Avila now playing for the Cubs, there is a steady stream of playing time for McCann. Since late June, McCann is batting .385 with a .452 on-base percentage, a .615 slugging percentage and a 1.067 OPS, combined with 13 RBI, nine runs scored, six doubles and three home runs in those 73 plate appearances. A trip to the disabled list sidelined him for a couple weeks, but he has posted a .304/.364/.506 line since that return. He should see plenty of playing time now as he tries to solidify his role as top catcher in the Tigers lineup.
Derek Fisher, OF, Houston Astros
When the team dealt veteran outfielder Nori Aoki to Toronto at the trade deadline, it created a chance for Fisher to stay and see consistent playing time in Houston. In his first stint of playing time with the Astros, Fisher hit .278 with two home runs and three RBI before being optioned to Class AAA Fresno. According to Statcast, he has a 48.4% rate of batted-balls hit over 95 mph, which is 16th best among players with at least 30 batted-balls. His 21 homers and 16 steals in Triple-A this year show that he has the talent to produce in the big leagues.
Astros GM Jeff Luhnow on OF Derek Fisher: “Fisher is here and I don’t see him going anywhere."
— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) July 31, 2017
German Marquez, SP, Colorado Rockies
In his four second half starts, Marquez has a 3.38 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. Most owners shudder at the thought of owning a Rockies pitcher, but Marquez has had five consecutive quality starts with four of those coming at home in hitter-friendly Coors Field. In his arsenal, Marquez has a 99-mph fastball and nasty trap-door curveball. This has helped him strike out 33 batters in his past 26 2/3 innings.
Answer to trivia question: Jay Buhner