Each week we identify seven hitters who are rostered in fewer than 15% of fantasy baseball leagues who should be on your radar. For the most part, the players included in this article are best suited for inclusion in deeper leagues (12 teams or more). With injuries continuing to create holes in fantasy baseball rosters, and young prospects being promoted from the minor leagues, you may need to eventually rely on some of the players referenced in this article in order to field a competitive fantasy lineup. We reference Fantasy Pros’ roster percentages (as of Sunday afternoon) in this article.
Jose Siri, OF, HOU, (4%)
Jose Siri may not play every day, but if you play in a league that allows daily lineup changes or are someone just having fun playing some DFS fantasy baseball, he’s someone you need to familiarize yourself with. He’s only had 18 ABs but with his .444/.500/.778 triple slash, when the Astros ask Siri to produce, he’s obliged. Siri is a seasoned 26-year-old rookie who possesses excellent power and speed. He’s only played in nine games, and he already has three SB. Siri strikes out a lot but he’s an above-average fielder and with Michael Brantley on the IL due to knee soreness, he should continue to get semi-regular at-bats.
Willie Calhoun, OF/DH, TEX, (2%)
Willie Calhoun’s 2021 season is finishing up much like his 2020 season. He’s coming off an injury (forearm fracture), playing every day, and trying to convince the Rangers that he is someone who should have a regular role on their 2022 team. As we mentioned when we first featured him in this column’s week four edition, he’s a former highly regarded prospect who has had bad luck when it comes to injuries. He’s got a very good hit tool which includes 20+ home run power. If he can stay healthy for a 162-game season he’ll likely prove his fantasy viability.
Kyle Isbel, OF, KC, (1%)
Kyle Isbel was featured in this column way back in the first week of the season. He spent the first few weeks of April with the Royals but was sent down to the minor leagues after posting a 41.7% K rate against big-league pitching. He fared much better against Triple-A pitchers. In 104 games for the Omaha Storm Chasers, Isbel batted .269, hit 15 HR, and stole 22 bases. More importantly, he cut his strikeout rate down to 20.2%. With Michael A. Taylor on the family medical emergency list and a free agent at the end of the season, the Royals took a second look at Isbel to determine what type of role he might have next season. He’s got a good glove and a good bat and should be on your watch list.
Ryan Vilade, OF, COL, (<1%)
Ryan Vilade is another young prospect who should be on your watch list. MLB Pipeline ranks Vilade as the Rockies’ fifth-best prospect, and after spending the 2020 season at their alternate training site, he played for the Rockies’ Triple-A affiliate where he batted .286 and smacked seven HR, 27 doubles, and stole 12 bases in 104 games. If Vilade finds a way to convert some of those doubles into home runs he can be a dangerous future offensive force. The Rockies often frustrate fantasy baseball managers when it comes to how they manage their young players’ playing time once they hit the major league level. However with the team in full rebuild mode, even though they’ve got a crowded outfield, they’ve got nothing to lose but to try and find some playing time for Vilade moving forward.
Lewin Díaz, 1B, MIA, (<1%)
Lewin Díaz’s overall season-long stats may be ugly but the power-hitting first baseman’s bat is starting to show signs of life. He’s batting .300 with two HR in his last eight games. Díaz has five HR in 25 big league games on the season and had hit 20 for the Marlins’ Triple-A affiliate prior to being recalled to the major leagues. With Jesús Aguilar on the IL, Díaz—who the Marlins hope will be their first baseman of the future—has been getting more consistent playing time and it’s helped him to become more confident and comfortable at the plate as the season has progressed. If you play in a deep or NL-only league and your fantasy lineup needs that little extra push in the HR category, Díaz could be exactly what you’re looking for.
Breyvic Valera, 2B/3B, TOR, (<1%)
Breyvic Valera has been getting semi-regular at-bats for the Blue Jays with Cavan Biggio on the IL and is worth using in daily and DFS leagues due to his ability to hit left-handed pitching. Based on a small sample size (18 ABs), Valera is batting .389/.368/.444 against southpaws this season. Valera, who has been a journeyman utility player, has always possessed a good hit tool. In 11 minor league seasons, he posted a .300/.362/.400 triple-slash and has displayed good speed, swiping 112 bases during that time period.
Romy Gonzalez, 2B/3B/OF, CHW, (<1%)
Romy Gonzalez is another prospect who should be on your watch list. Over the past week, he’s started games for the White Sox as their second baseman, third baseman, and right fielder. He posted a .275/.357/.525 triple slash, hit 23 home runs, and swiped 22 bases while splitting time between the White Sox’s Double and Triple-A affiliates this season. Gonzalez has had more success against left-handed pitching in his (very) brief major league career, but his overall playing time will probably be too sporadic for you to use him in fantasy on a regular basis for the rest of the season. However, you should follow his progress—the White Sox will likely give him a long look this upcoming spring training. Keep an eye on him as a potential future fantasy asset.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter and @justinparadisdesigns on Instagram)