Typically when we go through one of these fantasy baseball MLB player spotlights, we are trying to answer a simple question: Should you look at acquiring this player for your 2022 fantasy baseball lineups? That might be because he is largely available in leagues on the fantasy baseball waiver wire. Or the player seems to be undervalued by most fantasy managers, so you might be able to acquire him in a trade at a reasonable cost if it's a fit for your team. This week isn’t any different with Leody Taveras, but we are going to look at him from a more pessimistic angle. The Texas Rangers outfielder has risen up fantasy baseball rankings and MLB projections recently while being a top waiver wire add. Is former MLB top prospect worth adding onto your own fantasy baseball teams via waivers or trade? Or should we be more cautious with Taveras despite his increased fantasy baseball stock? Let's take a closer look at the Rangers outfielder as he headlines the latest MLB trends and top performers.
Leody Taveras Fantasy Baseball Player Spotlight
Don’t get me wrong, Taveras is very capable of providing value for your fantasy baseball lineups. The questions, for me at least, come down to how much power he really has and if he can show enough offense to remain in the Rangers everyday lineup. Furthermore, is he worth using up a waiver wire pickup or spending your FAAB – which could be getting quite slim by now. Given that he is available in 43 percent of Yahoo leagues, these are all interesting questions with fantasy baseball managers always looking for roster help.
There is certainly reason for people to go and acquire Taveras based on what he has done in 31 games this season. As of Friday, he has a .344 batting average to go along with three home runs and five stolen bases. I mean, those stolen bases alone are valuable as they are among the most sought-after commodities in fantasy baseball. The Texas outfielder is also showing some power over the last two weeks with a .730 slugging percentage – fourth highest among outfielders in that time span – including eight doubles and a home run.
Again, that's a solid two weeks for a player that you didn’t need to draft. At this point, you are likely thinking: “Wait, I thought you said this article was going to be pessimistic. All of these things sound great about Tavares. Shouldn't I be putting all of my FAAB out there right now?” Well, this is where the rub comes in. While all of these things sound great, they are only great if you managed to have him your fantasy lineup over the last two weeks.
The problem here is that outside of the stolen bases, very little of the rest of Taveras' performance looks sustainable. Let’s start with his batting average, which currently sits at .344. This average is largely being held down by a .431 BABIP, which is sky high. Getting a hit on 43% of balls put in play isn’t sustainable, even the game's best hitters, and that number will correct itself. Even if his BABIP goes down to his Triple-A mark of .349 from earlier this year – which is generous – that means that Taveras is likely to have a sustained stretch where he isn’t getting hits at all. Now add in that he draws a walk just 4.2% of the time so far and just 6.5% in his career, including the minor leagues. That means his most valuable asset to you, his speed, is likely to be inaccessible over that period of time when he hits a hitting slump and isn't walking.
So, at this point, we should be willing to subtract a healthy portion of Taveras' average and no stolen bases as well. This only leaves us with power left. Not so bad, everyone needs home runs on their team. Well, his 14.4-degree launch angle supports an ability for him to hit home runs, and he is hitting the ball hard quite often at 42.6% of the time. However, the Texas outfielder really isn’t hitting the ball with the barrel of the bat (just 2.9%) and his average exit velocity isn’t great either. That leads to him having an xSLG that is more than 200 points below his actual slugging percentage – which also points to some severe regression coming.
At the end of the day, I will understand if you still feel the need to run out and get Tavares on the waiver wire or through trades. Logic says, though, that what he has done won’t last. Still, if you can get another week or two where he is hitting and stealing bases, then that can be enough before you move on to someone else on the waiver wire. The real message here is, don’t get too tied to this player. Without changes being made to how he is hitting the ball, Taveras could find himself back in Triple-A not long after his current hot streak ends. So, if you roster him, now is an ideal time to sell in trades. If you're hoping to add him off waivers and you’re playing in a FAAB league, make sure you don’t overbid as it may leave you with some regret come September.
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Related MLB Links:
- July Fantasy Baseball Player Rankings
- Fantasy Baseball Daily Round-Up
- 2022 MLB Statistics
- MLB Streaks & Trends: Leody Taveras Playing At An Elite Level
- Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Targets
- Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch