by Stephen McFadden
Daniel Descalso – Arizona Diamondbacks – 1B, 2B, 3B, OF
40% ownership in CBS leagues, 32% in Yahoo leagues
Descalso is an easy name to overlook in fantasy circles. The 31-year-old journeyman has never really been relevant in anything but the deepest of the leagues. but his recent hot streak combined with his on-base prowess and elite plate discipline make him worth a look.
Descalso has a 14.4% BB% rate, good enough to pull his OBP up to .383. He has already homered 8 times in only 209 plate appearances, only two off his career high that he accomplished in nearly twice as many plate appearances last year. While it’s still too early to know the effect of the humidor, Chase Field ranks as a below average environment for home runs this season (22nd in ESPN’s park factor, compared to last season when it produced the 4th highest total of home runs.
He has hit 5 of his 8 home runs at Chase Field, so he’s showing power he has never really had before in a park where other hitters are finding it harder to homer. His underlying numbers suggest a new approach that is definitely paying off. With a 48.4% FB% he is putting the ball in the air more than ever, easily eclipsing last year’s previous career high of 43.2%. The 13.1% HR/FB% doesn’t scream regression and his 44.4% Hard% and 21.4% line drive rate support his elevated BABIP of .339.
He will cool off a bit (he has a .509 OBP over the last two weeks), but he will continue to be an excellent injury fill-in right now with his multi-position eligibility. The Diamondbacks are slotting him regularly 5th in the batting order so he will have continue to have opportunities to knock in runs while getting on base at a high rate.
Robinson Chirinos – Texas Rangers – C
27% ownership in CBS leagues, 9% in Yahoo leagues
Chirinos is a champion of the three true outcomes approach. The slugging catcher has a massive strikeout rate at 40.7% with a 10.1 BB%. He has 8 home runs on the season, good enough to put him in a tie for 9th among catchers.
After a horrible start to the season in which his OBP didn’t reach .230 until a month in, Chirinos has picked it up in the last three weeks. He has an OBP of .400 over that span, bringing it up to a more respectable .307 overall. In June he has BB/K rate of 0.43, a vast improvement over his May mark of 0.27.
While he’s not making contact as much as last year (down to 63.4% from 70.3%), when he does it is much louder. His Hard% of 47.8% is up from l35.5% and his Soft% is down to 11.1% from 16.7%.
Chirinos is a good option in two catcher leagues or in a deeper one catcher league. His horrible April most likely still has him on the waiver line but he will be a cheap source of power and OBP going forward.
Colin Moran – Pittsburgh Pirates – 1B, 3B
26% ownership in CBS leagues, 5% in Yahoo leagues
Right now Moran is most known for being the prospect that netted the Astros’ Gerrit Cole, but the young third basemen is quietly developing into an ideal contributor in an OBP league. His OBP is at healthy .360, 7th among qualified 3rd basemen and 8th for 1st basemen.
Moran’s BB% of 11.1% and 16.4% K% show how advanced the plate discipline is for the 25-year-old. His underlying numbers further illustrate his elite batting eye. He is swinging at pitches outside of the zone at 26.4% versus the league average of 30.3% with a SwStr% of 9.1% versus the average 10.6%.
The power hasn’t really been there yet as he only has 7 home runs, but he is still improving in his first season with regular at-bats. His 13.5% HR/FB% leaves room for more home runs to come in the future. Additionally, he is demonstrating more willingness to hit the ball in the air (35% FB%) than he showed throughout his minor league career. As he gains more experience, the home run total should climb.
In deeper leagues where having players with multiple positional eligilbiity is key, Moran is a solid option for his on base ability and potential to develop more power.
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