by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
We all know the big names and whether or not we believe in them. However fantasy titles can often be won or lost by your ability to find lightning in a bottle from an under-the-radar addition. Let’s take a look at two players who could make an impact down the stretch and try to decide if they are worth adding or not:
Mikie Mahtook – Detroit Tigers
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Mikie Mahtook in the Majors, as he played for the Rays in both 2015 and 2016, but this is definitely his most successful run. Through Wednesday he was hitting .300 with 9 HR, 29 RBI and 38 R over 250 AB, and he’s shown improvements across the board.
Line Drive Rate – 22.7%, after posting a 14.4% mark last season (185 AB). The improvements have led to a .355 BABIP, a number that is likely unsustainable but he should be able to maintain something in the .320-.330 range. That’s especially true as he’s dropped his fly ball rate (32.0%).
Strikeout Rate – 20.9%, compared to a career mark of 56.7%. He’s improved across the board in regards to his Whiff%, showing that it very well could be for real:
- Hard – 7.37%
- Breaking – 10.40%
- Offspeed – 15.00% (he was at 28.24% last season)
He’s also stopped chasing outside the strike zone (29.0%), further supporting the improvement.
Popup Rate – He’s at 9.7%, compared to a 17.9% mark a year ago.
Interestingly, outside of the strikeout rate these underlying numbers mirror his marks from a brief run in ’15 (105 AB):
- Line Drive Rate – 23.3%
- HR/FB – 28.1% (he’s at 14.5% this season)
- Pop Rate – 6.3%
That would further support the production from this season. That’s not to say that he can maintain these numbers, especially given the BABIP, but there’s certainly a lot to like and he’s well worth the addition in deeper formats.
Matt Olson – Oakland Athletics
He’s produced plenty of power, with 8 HR over 89 PA to start the year in the Majors. However it’s come at a great price, as he’s hitting a meager .213. The problem is two-fold:
- Strikeouts – 36.0%
- Line Drive Rate – 12.8%
His contact rate has been abysmal, with a 16.0% SwStr%. Considering his 11.9% mark at Triple-A it’s not completely unbelievable, and he’s been bad against all types of pitches (his best Whiff% is 14.29% against offspeed pitches). If he can’t correct that issue it’s going to be impossible to trust him.
Things become even more concerning, because while he does have power does anyone really expect him to maintain a 42.1% HR/FB? Things are likely going to regress, and potentially significantly, which makes Olson an easy player to ignore.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
Make sure to check out our Mid-Season Top 50 Prospects by clicking here!