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A little extra flavor never hurts. Especially when puttin’ together a fantasy squad.
When I’m in the kitchen I make moves. If something aint selling, I take it off the menu. If a staff member isn’t doing their job, they’re gone. That’s how I run my fantasy teams.
Each week I will hit you with the players moving up the rankings that you NEED to know about. I don’t care if it is the No. 8 hitter on the Cubs or the No. 4 starter for the Astros. If they are producing, you’re gonna know about it.
Now that the sample sizes are starting to grow, we can start to see trends, whether positive or negative. However, in this column we are only talkin’ about the guys on the rise due to recent production or increased playing time. No one his perfect, so I might swing-and-miss from time to time, but that is the beauty of fantasy sports. Let’s get to it shall we?
Brock Holt, 1B, 3B (BOS)--The Red Sox may be sitting six games under .500 through Thursday’s game, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any bright spots in their starting lineup. Through 131 at-bats, Holt is slashing .336/.373/.466 with one home run, 15 RBI and three stolen bases, have secured a spot atop the Red Sox lineup while being the team’s most consistent hitter. Although he’s shown he can get the job done at the big league level, there is some concern that there is too many players and not enough at-bats to go around once everyone is healthy. He has been fortunate that Stephen Drew has played in only four of his first 10 games since signing with the Red Sox, which has left Xander Bogaerts manning shortstop in Beantown. So for now ride him while he is hot, considering he has gone 12-for-30 (.400 BA) over his last seven games.
Daniel Santana, SS, OF (MIN)--It seems like every week I am discussing a member of the Minnesota Twins, and that tradition is not changing this week. Santana was the feature in this week’s Chef’s Table column so I won’t get to in-depth again, but in cased you missed it you can find it here. Through 86 at-bats, Santana is slashing .372/.407/.500 with two home runs, 12 RBI and four stolen bases, continuing to be a driving force atop the Twins lineup. Although he spent most of his time at shortstop coming up through the Twins farm system, the Twins will continue to deploy him in center field as long as he stays hot. Let’s not kid ourselves, the power production will likely cool off eventually, but as long as he continues to get on base at a high clip, he can be a good source of runs and help out in the batting average category nonetheless.
Drew Stubbs, OF (COL)--With both Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer on the disabled list, Stubbs has seen a increase in playing time, making him an intriguing add heading into the weekend. In the month of June, Stubbs is 10-for-31 (.323 BA) with four extra-base hits (1 HR) six RBI and eight runs scored hitting in the middle of the Rockies batting order. Although he is historically bad against right-handed pitching in his career (.228/.295/.358), the Rockies will give him a chance to start every day in center field and his power/speed combo makes for an interesting add for those in need of a boost from the outfield position as long as you are not in a league that counts strikeouts as a category (28.8 percent strikeout rate).
Tommy La Stella, 2B (ATL)--Since being promoted back on May 28, La Stella has given the Braves everything they could have asked for both at the plate and at second base. He has already logged seven two-hit games through his first 13 contests, now sporting a .378 average and .429 on base percentage. While he is not going to hit for power by any means (21 HR in 1,013 minor league AB), he is down right a professional hitter having struck out only three times in the early going. Outside of the batting average category there really isn’t much he is going to offer, but as he continues to mature his fantasy value is only going to go up from here, making him a great add in all league formats.
Russell Martin, C (PIT)--It has been a few years since Martin has been a fantasy consideration behind the dish, but in 2014 he has turned back the clock and is now someone you need to notice. Through 111 at-bats, Martin is slashing .279/.413/.414 with three homers and 18 RBI, even having contributed three stolen bases along the way. Back in his days with Dodgers (2006-2009) he displayed a rare power/speed combo that is non-existent from the catcher position and is starting to show signs of that again with the Bucs. His major issue the last few seasons has been in the injury department, but the fact that he has been able to move around fast on the base paths indicates he is finally back at 100 percent health. While it is unlikely he will be able to maintain his ridiculously high on-base percentage, his power is the real deal and should stay consistent as long as his health holds up.
Chase Anderson, SP (ARI)--There is a new man in the desert that demands your attention and it isn’t top pitching prospect Archie Bradley. Through his first five big league starts, Anderson is 5-0 with a 3.14 ERA and 1.15 WHIP with owning a 22:7 K:BB rate over 28.2 innings. Despite a ground ball-to-fly ball rate 0f 0.66, he has managed to work through some tough innings and has continues to make the jump from Double-A to the big leagues look like the right call by the front office. Considering the lack of production from others throughout the Diamondbacks starting rotation, Anderson is gong to be a mainstay until he proves the team otherwise so adding him in deep leagues would be the right call while he continues to get the job done. He is currently owned in less than 20 percent of leagues throughout the major providers.
Kevin Gausman, SP (BAL)--After another solid start on Thursday, the Orioles up-in-coming hurler has likely earned a spot in the starting rotation for the foreseeable future. In his last two starts, Gausman has allowed just two earned runs while fanning nine batters over 13.0 innings, more importantly led to a two wins for the Orioles. The Orioles will have to make a decision once Miguel Gonzalez returns from an oblique injury, but it is going to be very difficult for the team to send Gausman back to the minors if his recent success continues. For now, he should be added in both AL-only and deep mixed league formats as he should only get better as the season progresses.
Edinson Volquez, SP (PIT)--The Pirates have been known for resurrecting underperforming pitchers, with Volquez being the latest success story. Although his season didn’t start as planned, Volquez has certainly been pitching well enough to warrant some attention in deep league formats. Over his last five starts, Volquez has allowed only eight runs while managing to give up two or less walks in four of those trips to the mound. While we all know his recent production could turn to disaster as fast as he has moved up the rankings, there is still value to be had here. Just know once the warning signs start to show it is time to move on and find the next waiver flavor.
Jeurys Familia, RP (NYM)--For those who like to speculate, the Mets may have a new closer in the upcoming days with the recent injury to Jenrry Mejia. The Mets current closer suffered a back injury on Thursday night and the team has yet to determine if he will be out for an extended period of time, and Familia would be the beneficiary. Through 33.2 innings of relief, Familia is sitting on a 2.67 ERA and 1.19 WHIP while striking out 30 batters, allowing just one home run in that span. Although he has had trouble with free passes (14 BB), there is still value here if the opportunity falls on his lap. At least for short term purposes.