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:
Yolmer Sanchez – Chicago White Sox – Infielder
He’s been surprisingly productive this season, especially against right-handed pitching:
- RHP – .276, 10 HR, 36 RBI, 43 R, 7 SB
- LHP – .255, 1 HR, 16 RBI, 15 R, 1 SB
He has three times as many AB against righties (332 vs. 110), and he’s settled in as the leadoff hitter against them. That’s an enviable spot to be in right now, as the White Sox have been one of the highest scoring teams September (81 runs scored are tied for the third most).
You can argue that he doesn’t have a true carrying skill, without big power (11 HR) or speed (8 SB in 16 attempts), and he also hasn’t done a tremendous job of getting on base overall (6.5% walk rate). The problem is a poor approach at the plate (11.0% SwStr%, 35.0% O-Swing%), so looking for long-term appeal would be a mistake. That said the season is almost over so we aren’t thinking past the next few weeks. Right now he’s hot and scoring a ton of runs, and that gives you an advantage, so ride him while he’s going well and then be prepared to move on.
Verdict – Roll with him
Steve Brault – Pittsburgh Pirates – Starting Pitcher
At this point in the season planning on a two-start pitcher is a tricky business, because rotations are always being shuffled for various reasons. Brault represents an intriguing opportunity, though as we’ve said multiple times any young starter is going to carry significant risk and could be shutdown. He’s thrown 155.2 innings in a season before (2015), though he was at 108.2 last season and is now at 145.0 this season. In other words there shouldn’t be an innings limit to maneuver, though the team could limit him to an extent based on the jump from ’16. That said he showed an intriguing skill set while at Triple-A:
- Strikeouts – 8.15 K/9
- Control – 3.29 BB/9
- Groundballs – 52.2%
The strikeouts haven’t been there in the Majors quite yet, though Milwaukee represents an opportunity to pile them up. Also neither offense he’s facing (Milwaukee and St. Louis) have been particularly potent in September. That said they both also remain in the race for a Wild Card spot and aren’t about to give away games, plus both offenses have the potential to score a lot of runs in a hurry.
If you are chasing W then this isn’t the smartest play, especially since he’s not a guarantee to protect your ratios. There’s upside, but far too much risk in the matchups.
Verdict – Only for the desperate
Sources – Fangraphs, MLB.com