There is no question that keeping tabs on every player in the majors can be a daunting task if this isn’t your full-time job. The massive number of injuries has increased the big-league player pool significantly and with the shortened length of time for DL stints, the revolving door continues to spin at a rapid rate. Throw in the Super-Two deadline passing and the door spins faster.
Tracking your own team is easy, but to sit and study the rosters of your opponents as well as keeping up to date with the stats of those sitting on your waiver wire can be insanely time consuming. Inevitably, some performances, whether they’re really good or really bad, slip through the cracks and before you know it, you’ve missed Didi Gregorius’ 16-game hit streak or that Michael Fulmer hasn’t allowed a home run in his last 52 innings. So with that, we’ll take a look at some potentially overlooked surging hitters who may warrant your attention on the trade market or even possibly the waiver wire.
Odubel Herrera, OF PHI – He’s been super-streaky this season and you’ve likely heard a number of analysts, including myself, crap on him throughout these first two and a half months of the season. Remember that 0-for-5 with five strikeouts back in late May? Yuck! But over the last two weeks, Herrera has batted .358 with a .382 OBP and has two home runs with 11 RBI and 10 runs scored. The lack of stolen bases is a bummer and he’s currently 0-for-11 over his last two games (with Chris Sale on the bump against him tonight), so your window for this latest surge may have already closed, however, because he hits atop the lineup, he’s worth your attention for when the next wave hits.
Kole Calhoun, OF LAA – Far too many people have written off the Angels since Mike Trout hit the DL which is an easy mistake to make. But while we’re not looking at any world-beaters on this roster, Calhoun has certainly stepped up his game with a .362 average, five home runs and 14 RBI over the last two weeks. Just as we track year-to-year progress for pitchers, we can do the same for hitters and Calhoun is a great example. His 26-homer season saw an increase in strikeouts and decrease in batting average while last year the power ticked down a bit but so did the K-rate while the average climbed. His current .236 average is miserable, but he and his BABIP are trending up and he’s got the makings of putting it all together by year end.
Lorenzo Cain, OF KC – Offensively-speaking, the Royals have been a dumpster fire through most of this season, but Cain has been quietly chugging along and doing his thing. His overall numbers -- .272 with seven home runs and 12 stolen bases – appear to be strong, but keep in mind that five of his home runs have all come in the last two weeks. Also note than none of his steals have come in these recent weeks. It’s been one without the other and, hopefully, as the season continues he starts putting it all together at the same time.
Jonathan Schoop, 2B BAL – Over the last two weeks, Schoop, who, at times, has struggled in the batting average department, is slashing .347/.418/.694 with four home runs and 12 RBI over the last two weeks. He’s hit safely in each of his last four games and has five doubles to go with his four homers this month. It might have been nice if he could have been bumped up from the sixth spot in the order with Chris Davis out, but Buck Showalter doesn’t want to upset the flow too much here so Schoop will stay right where he is. The interesting thing to note is that, since a three-game hitless streak early in April, Schoop has never gone 0-for in back to back games this season. That .289 average may not stay that high all year, but he seems to have found some nice consistency at the plate these days.
Franchy Cordero, OF SD – When Manny Margot landed on the disabled list, the door opened nice and wide for Cordero to see some consistent at-bats in the Padres outfield. He was up-and-down when he first came up in late May, but over the last two weeks, he’s batted .350 with three home runs, nine RBI and one stolen base. Obviously, facing Reds pitching over the last three games has given him a new power-life as those three homers and five of his RBI have come against Cincinnati. But the Padres really don’t have anyone all that impressive to stand in his way, so as long as Cordero continues to produce at a reasonable rate, he should continue to see the playing time even when Margot comes back. Of course, Travis Jankowski is still looming on the horizon with an expected mid-July return date and then there’s this guy…
Jose Pirela, 2B/OF SD – The DFS community has been loving on Pirela who, until Wednesday, had a seven-game hit streak with six multi-hit performances in that span. Seasonal folk have also caught on and Pirela was one of the most-added players this past weekend, yet, his overall ownership percentages are still under 15-percent over at ESPN.com. He’s never been projected as someone who will hit for a whole lot of power or swipe a ton of bases, but while he’s seeing regular at-bats and hitting leadoff for the Padres, he’s definitely worth your time. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget the multi-position eligibility as that’s been a huge asset for fantasy owners this season.
Todd Frazier, 3B CHW – Ah, good ol’ recency bias, amirite? A horribly slow start to the season had fantasy owners dropping Frazier like he was fantasy herpes, but he’s now batting .302 with three home runs and eight RBI here in June. Now granted, it’s ebb and flow with this guy as he’s currently 0-for-12 over his last three games, but we should know by now that it’s not about batting average with this guy – it’s strictly about the power. Cut from the same cloth as hitters like Chris Davis and Joey Gallo, it’s lots of home runs and, if you’re lucky, a .240-ish average by the end of the year. If you’re struggling in the batting average department and need power, looking elsewhere might not be a bad idea, but if you’re solid in the average category and looking for a power boost, he should provide you with enough assistance.