In last week’s top 10, we detailed some struggling players that are showing signs of turning it around in the second half of the season. This week we pinpoint an area that fantasy owners might need a little bit of help in.
Ah, power. Everyone loves it and never seem to have enough of it. You know the old saying, “Pitching and defense win championships?” Well, that’s not the case in fantasy baseball. Power is the name of the game. Home runs are up across the league in general, and probably in your fantasy league too. However, there’s always a team or two that could use a power boost. If your team happens to be one of them, check out the 10 names below that could help you out and not cost you much to get.
10. Tom Murphy (C – COL)
It might not have happened quite yet, but Murphy is going to get additional playing time as the season progresses. His offensive upside is too great for him to be rotting away on the bench, starting only once or twice per week. We all know what can happen when you combine plus-power and Coors Field.
The good thing about Murphy is that he’s not just a power-only hitter like most catchers. He should be able to keep his average at least above .250. You might want to take a wait-and-see approach with Murphy until he starts getting additional playing time, but he could be a great power source from the catcher position in the second half of the season.
9. Rhys Hoskins (1B – PHI)
If we knew for sure when he’d be up, Hoskins would rank much higher on this list. All he’s done since the start of 2016 has been flat out mash. During the 2016 season, he was second in the Double-A Eastern League with 38 home runs and 116 RBI to go along with a solid .281 average in 498 at-bats. He’s been just as much of a terror this year against more advanced pitching in Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Through 252 at-bats this season, Hoskins is hitting .302 with 17 home runs and 55 RBI.
The main reason why he’s not hitting in the middle of the Phillies lineup yet is that he’s slow and limited to being a first baseman. Philadelphia currently has Tommy Joseph manning that spot, and while he hasn’t been lighting the world on fire, he’s been hitting well enough to keep his job. That could change soon if Hoskins keeps destroying Triple-A pitching. If you can afford to stash him on your bench, Hoskins is a highly recommended power add.
8. Mike Zunino (C – SEA)
Throughout his career, Zunino has always had plus power. It was just a matter of if he would hit enough to showcase that power. So far in his career, that mostly hasn’t been the case. Until this year, that is. Zunino started out slowly but has been on a torrid pace for the last month and a half. Over the past month, he’s hitting .310 with eight long balls. In fact, only Justin Upton and Paul Goldschmidt have more RBI than Zunino’s 27 over that timeframe.
As good as the last month has been for Zunino, the month prior was equally as bad. That’s just the kind of player he is. If you add him, expect some long dry spells, but he should have another stretch or two where he’s a highly productive player for your team.
7. Trey Mancini (1B – BAL)
This might be only a short-term add until Chris Davis comes back, but if Mancini continues to hit like this, Buck Showalter will figure out a way to get him in the lineup every day. Mancini was already a productive player for Baltimore but has been thrust into a full-time role with Davis on the disabled list.
There’s plenty of power in Mancini’s 6-foot-4 frame, and he’s shown that by hitting 12 home runs in his first 198 at-bats this season. To add to that, he’s been hitting in the vicinity of .300 for most of the season and currently sits at .313. He’s stuck out in 29.3% of his at-bats, so that average probably won’t stay this high going forward, but Mancini is proving to Showalter that he’s capable of being a productive everyday player. He should be good for another 15-20 home runs the rest of the way if he continues to play every day.
6. Ian Happ (2B/OF – CHC)
Even with power on the rise, it can still be difficult to find power from middle infielders, especially at second base. You have your constant power threats like Robinson Cano and Brian Dozier, but usually, you have to dig deep to find power at this position. This is where Ian Happ comes into the picture.
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) June 14, 2017
Through his first 118 at-bats, Happ has provided quality powers numbers. His average has been wildly inconsistent, but the 10 home runs have been a welcome sign for fantasy owners. As long as he stays in the lineup on a regular basis, he should be able to pop another 15-20 long balls before the season is over. Watch out for this Cubs lineup in the second half. They’re too talented to stay dormant for long.
5. Aaron Altherr (OF – PHI)
One of the lone bright spots, and maybe the only bright spot, on a terrible Philadelphia Phillies team, has been Aaron Altherr. There aren’t much more physically gifted players in the league than Altherr. He has a strong, athletic 6-foot-5 frame that can generate easy power. However, like a few others on this list, he has struggled with consistency. In April, Altherr hit .295, then .300 in May, but a paltry .225 so far in June.
With no real challenge to his playing time, Altherr is going to continue to receive plenty of at-bats over the remainder of the season. The batting average is sure to fluctuate, but the power should remain steady. A lot of fantasy owners have jumped ship on Altherr in recent weeks due to his current cold spell. Now might be the right time to add him if you can before he goes on another tear.
4. Hunter Renfroe (OF – SD)
We all know that Petco Park is notoriously an extremely pitcher-friendly ballpark. It has been known to make good power hitters seem average, and moderate power hitters almost non-existent. However, certain players have been able to make it work. The latest one to figure out Petco from a power perspective is rookie outfielder Hunter Renfroe.
Throughout his minor league career, Renfroe consistently displayed plus power. The batting average has been pretty fluctuant, but that’s normal for players that strike out as frequently as Renfroe does. He’s currently on pace for 35 home runs and 80 RBI this season. If you’re looking for a cheap “power-only” hitter and can stomach the low batting average, then Renfroe is your guy.
3. Steven Souza Jr. (OF – TB)
The fact that Souza Jr. is owned in only roughly half of fantasy leagues is a downright shame. Do yourself a favor and stop reading this right now and add him if you need an outfielder or some power. Now that that’s out of the way, let me explain why Souza needs to be owned much higher in fantasy leagues.
Ever since Souza got drafted by the Rays, he’s possessed a tantalizing blend of power and speed. He doesn’t run as much anymore, but he has made up for that by having the best power season of his young career so far in 2017. The home run pace he’s currently on would put him in the low to mid-30s at season’s end. The batting average gains aren’t a fluke, either. Souza has more than doubled his walk rate from last season (6.6% to 14.2%) and has cut his strikeout rate down from 34% to 28%. There’s no reason why he won’t be able to continue this pace for the rest of the season.
2. Matt Davidson (3B – CHW)
There are two numbers that stick out when talking about Matt Davidson. First, he has 17 home runs in just 196 at-bats, which translates to one home run every 11.5 at-bats. To put in perspective how good that number is, everyone’s favorite April breakout player, Eric Thames, has the exact same home run rate. The other, more alarming stat, is that he’s struck out in a whopping 41.8% of his at-bats. Yes, you read that correctly. His current .265 average doesn’t jump off the page, but if he continues striking out that often, it’s bound to drop 20 to 30 points.
Like Mancini, Davidson has been gaining playing time as the season progresses. He could be looking at even more playing time if (more like when) Todd Frazier gets dealt. Even with the batting average concerns, the power is for real. Davidson should be finding his way onto more fantasy teams in the not so distant future.
1. Matt Adams (1B – ATL)
One of these days, Adams is going to figure out if he’s a good hitter or not. I know, he hasn’t figured that out yet, but it’s bound to happen, right? After starting his career as a productive slugging first baseman with some upside for St. Louis, Adams floundered out for a few seasons and lost playing time. He was traded to the Atlanta Braves earlier this season to serve as an injury fill-in for Freddie Freeman. I think it’s safe to say the Braves have gotten a lot more than they were expecting.
Have a day, Matt Adams!
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) June 4, 2017
In 124 at-bats since coming to Atlanta, Adams has slugged 12 home runs to go along with 31 RBI and a .298 average. Due to how well he’s been hitting, Atlanta is pondering moving Freeman over to the hot corner when he returns. All so they can keep Adams bat in the lineup. If that does indeed happen, expect his current 50 percent ownership to skyrocket. If he’s available in your league, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add him. He can provide both short-term production and be a speculative high-upside power addition for the rest of the season.
Thank you for reading another edition of the Fantrax Weekly Top-10. Check back next Saturday as we analyze 10 affordable speed additions. Got a question about a player not covered here? Feel free to comment below of ask on Twitter @EricCross04.