Fantasy Baseball

2019 Fantasy Baseball: Niko Goodrum and widely available one category contributors

By now, you’ll most likely be looking for some specific assistance with your fantasy teams. You may be a bit light in pitching, lacking on some offense or perhaps a bit of both. If you’re fortunate enough, you will just need a bit of help in one category.

It’s unlikely you’ll be able to pick up someone at this juncture who can be a big asset until the end of the season, without getting your hands on any new potential prospect call-up. And trades aren’t always possible, depending on what your need is or who you’re competing against.

But those of you who are just lacking in one category, you should be able to still find someone of use who’s not rostered in your league yet. And it’s these individuals who we’ll seek out here.

These are the basic 5×5 rotisserie categories we’ll be looking at and finding one player widely available who should assist in bumping you up the standings by contributing significantly in just one of the categories.

Runs

Garrett Cooper; Yahoo 29%, ESPN 15%

It feels strange endorsing any Marlins’ hitter, but Cooper has found himself batting second in the order almost everyday now, whether playing in right field or first base (he’s eligible at both positions). Hitting second in any lineup will produce runs and Cooper has crossed the plate 25 times in just 36 games, which equates to 112 runs over a 162-game season. His elevated BABIP suggests his .300+ average will drop but his OBP is currently .384 suggesting he will still get on base and score enough runs to help your team.

RBIs

Todd Frazier; Yahoo 3%, ESPN 3%

Gone are the days Frazier would swipe double digit bases or hit 30+ homers, but he’s still driving in runs. Having started games hitting anywhere from third to seventh in the Mets’ lineup, most of his starts have come either fifth or sixth giving him opportunities to get RBIs. Strangely, despite his batting average being .197 when hitting fifth in the order, he’s got 10 RBIs in 16 games and he only has 4 RBIs in 13 games when hitting sixth with a .400 average. In his 41 starts, Frazier has collected 24 RBIs which translates to 95 over a 162-game season. That’s on a Mets team who are seemingly determined to never reach the playoffs.

Home Runs

Renato Nunez; Yahoo 30%, ESPN 19%

Nunez has quietly hit 16 home runs in 70 games this year, which equates to 37 over 162 games. Playing in Baltimore, he has the luxury of a hitters’ ballpark but the disadvantage of being on a terrible team. His 38 RBIs and 33 runs tell their own story. Mainly eligible at third base, only seven other qualified third baseman have a higher ISO than Nunez’s .235 and his hard-hit rate is higher than Kris Bryant’s and Rafael Devers’ so the power looks legit and should maintain for the rest of the season.

Steals

Niko Goodrum; Yahoo 23%, ESPN 11%

The ultimate super utility guy, Goodrum hasn’t shown the base stealing ability his speed should offer up. According to Statcast, Goodrum is around 25th overall in sprint speed to first base, but that’s only translated to seven stolen bases this year. The good news is three of those seven steals have come in the last two weeks. So maybe he’s being greenlighted more and could top 25 steals by the end of the season. You can fill in almost any roster spot with Goodrum when he’s starting for the Tigers and you should see some valuable steals heading your way.

Batting Average

Bryan Reynolds; Yahoo 31%, ESPN 25%

Having appeared to relegate Gregory Polanco to a reserve outfield role, the rookie Reynolds has seized his opportunity with his .353 batting average. You may look at his .438 BABIP and expect it to plummet, but Reynolds has an above average line drive rate to go with a high hard-hit rate which should help maintain that average north of .320. Since making his minor league debut in 2016, Reynolds’ lowest average in any season has been .302 so he’s got the pedigree to maintain it.

Wins

Michael Pineda; Yahoo 13%, ESPN 8%

Wins are the most unpredictable thing in Fantasy Baseball, but someone primed to scoop up plenty until the end of the season is Michael Pineda. Consider that the Twins’ division rivals all rank in the bottom 10 for most runs scored in the MLB and the Twins rank first. The Twins have 51 games left against divisional rivals, so Pineda is in line for ten starts against them. Pineda has only once failed to complete five innings (thus qualifying for a win) since his first start in which he threw four shutout innings.

Saves

Ian Kennedy; Yahoo 40%, ESPN 9%

You can certainly find other relievers who’ll get saves throughout the year, closers will get hurt and some will get traded. But if you want to pick up someone now and ride them the rest of the season, Kennedy should be your guy. He’s quietly picked up the last six saves for the Royals and whilst opportunities aren’t going to be too frequent, the Royals won’t be blowing teams away either.

ERA

Tanner Roark; Yahoo 20%, ESPN 11%

Roark has put together a solid season so far, without really dazzling. He’s not going to get a load of wins, nor will he strike out more hitters than then league average. His WHIP is fairly lofty, but he’s sporting a 3.63 ERA which could actually come down a bit given his FIP is sitting at 3.30. If you need to make up ground in ERA, it’ll be difficult to do so significantly, and Roark is someone who will likely be your best bet at doing it.

WHIP

Ryan Yarbrough; Yahoo 7%, ESPN 5%

The regular “follower” to Ryne Stanek, Yarbrough’s workload varies each outing. His results have been pretty varying too. But his one constant has been an excellent WHIP which currently sits at 1.03 over 51.1 innings of work, largely due to only allowing nine walks this year. It’s not often a pitcher can have such a low WHIP when their ERA is north of five so there’s no reason to think the WHIP is going to suddenly inflate.

Strikeouts

Trent Thornton; Yahoo 5%, ESPN 3%

Thornton hasn’t necessarily got the high strikeout rate you might want, but he’s K’d 80 hitters in 76.1 innings which is likely more than any other starting pitcher so readily available. But it’s also volume you need, and those 80 strikeouts have come in 15 starts so another 15 could yield another 80 K’s. Thornton has also managed seven or more K’s in six starts and has four or more in ten of his last eleven starts.

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