by Will Overton
It’s always fun to be watching for the next big thing in fantasy baseball. We all want to be “first” to jump on the most recent call up who is oozing with potential and upside and grabbing the right young guy can be a game changer for your season. All I’m going to say is don’t get stuck on this one theme.
There are veteran bats that can get overlooked on the waiver wire. The guys we’re going to talk about here might not have the names that pop, but they can still bring the value:
Carlos Gonzalez – OF, Colorado Rockies
We all know that Gonzalez is a slow starter and this year was no different, but this year he is coming off what was a disappointing 2017 campaign. This means he got a lot less grace from fantasy owners and he is now owned in less than 20% of leagues. In true Gonzalez fashion, things are heating up.
Gonzalez is 11 for his last 27, including a stretch of five games in which he had multiple hits four times. What might be more important is that he has started six of the last seven games after a stretch where it looked like he might be headed for a platoon. I don’t believe he is the same player, but there is still value when he has things going and he still plays home games in Colorado, so don’t just pass him up.
Yonder Alonso – 1B, Cleveland Indians
For some reason it’s hard to get excited about having Alonso on our fantasy teams, even after his power breakout of the last year and a half. He has taken over as the Indians everyday first baseman and has been holding his own. He has pretty consistently produced this season and finished off the month of May on a hot six game hit streak. He has 11 HR and 33 RBI, which puts him on pace for 25 HR and 80 RBI which is more than adequate for a corner infielder, and Alonso, boring pickup he might be, should be owned in more leagues.
Jose Iglesias – SS, Detroit Tigers
Here is a name that has been around for several years, but fantasy owners have just become accustomed to ignoring him. Iglesias is the classic defensive whiz shortstop who doesn’t do anything for you in fantasy, except maybe bring a decent average. Things are changing this year under Ron Gardenhire and the fantasy value of Iglesias is benefiting.
We’ve always known that he has top end speed, if you watch him play it’s clear. Unfortunately, Brad Ausmus was anti-baserunning and Iglesias hasn’t been able to show it on the stat sheet. He has nine steals already this season, which is just two shy of his season high. So you’re looking at someone who is on pace to clear 20 SB and, partially due to the base running, is also on pace to have a season high in runs scored. He isn’t a must own or anything, but it’s time to stop just ignoring him.
Ben Zobrist – 2B/OF, Chicago Cubs
Zobrist continues to be the Cubs do it all guy, starting games at four different positions this year, and splitting his time pretty evenly between 2B, LF and RF. He missed time with a DL stint in April and despite a strong May (3 HR and 16) and the fact that he is hitting .306 overall, he is owned in 40% of leagues. Zobrist is an OBP machine with his 22 walks, and while he won’t blow you away in any one category he’ll produce across the board. He hit a surprisingly low .232 last season, but that seems to be behind him and at a weak position (2B), he’s worth a grab from the wire.
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