Add These Potential Fantasy League Winners From The A’s

These A's sluggers could decide fantasy playoff and pennant chases.

League winners can be the players fantasy managers draft at the beginning of drafts each spring. They can be the late-round steal who significantly outperforms their average draft position. They can be the waiver wire addition who provides similarly outsized production compared to other players acquired in a similar fashion. League winners can tick some of those boxes while also providing above-average fantasy production at a position that isn’t particularly deep league-wide.

Whatever the case may be, generally speaking, adding players who fall under one or more of the above categories tends to lead to fantasy success – thus the search for those kinds of players, whether they have plenty of name value or are vastly underrated, is crucial.

This week, our search for said players leads us to Oakland, where the A’s currently employ a pair of sluggers who could play key roles in not only deciding fantasy playoff places but also the subsequent fantasy playoff match-ups that’ll follow.


Shea Langeliers


Before we delve into the league-winning upside here, there is one quick thing to get out of the way, one stat that may weigh down Langeliers’ fantasy potential fro the moment, but one that has the potential to correct itself at some point, near or far.

OK, ready?

The Oakland catcher draws the unfortunate distinction of hitting just .194 with a .245 on-base percentage entering play Wednesday. And while his plate discipline metrics are hardly anything to write home about, the 26-year-old should soon see his batting average increase, at least a bit at some point due to some serious positive regression potential.

Despite the higher swing-and-miss metrics, Langeliers is still posting the fifth-lowest BABIP (.210) among hitters with a minimum of 200 plate appearances this season. Jo Adell is at .203, Eddie Rosario is sitting at .204. Hunter Renfroe’s BABIP is .207. Christopher Morel, Keibert Ruiz and MJ Melendez are all at .209.

That’s it.

Positive regression, as it were, is coming.

And even if Langeliers’ batting average doesn’t increase too much, he’ll still solidify his place as arguably one of fantasy’s best catchers this season.

The 26-year-old has already proved to be an elite power option behind the plate (and in general), with a position-leading 13 home runs. Cal Raleigh (11) and Logan O’Hoppe (10) are the only other backstops who’ve reached double digits.

Overall, Langeliers is also sporting a 16.4% barrel rate so far. Exactly the same as Taylor Ward so far, and behind just nine qualified hitters, regardless of position. Put another way, here is a large selection of hitters who have a lower barrel rate than the A’s catcher this season.

All told, when looking more at the bigger picture where power production is concerned, Langeliers is one of just 18 players in the league to rank in the 89th percentile or better in xSLG, xISO and barrel rate.

Rostered in just 24% of leagues, per FantasyPros data, Langeliers is also considerably underrated by fantasy managers. Once the BABIP starts to even out, the Oakland backstop should realistically see his rostered rate rise above 70%.

Add him now before that happens.

Furthermore, with none of Yainer Diaz, Jonah Heim and Mitch Garver exactly lighting the world on fire and J.T. Realmuto on the injured list, the upside of adding Langeliers extends just beyond that of the impact he could make for your team, but the (comparative) positional advantage you’d have over some of your league mates, something that can make all the difference at the end of the season in the final standings.


Brent Rooker


Remember those 18 players (including Langeliers) who entered play ranked in the 89th percentile or better in xSLG, xISO and barrel rate? Here’s the full reveal on that last. You may recognize a familiar name on that list.

Batters Ranking In the 89th Percentile or Better in xSLG, xISO and Barrel%

Overall, the slugger is batting .257 with a .337 on-base percentage, 14 home runs and a pair of stolen bases in 276 plate appearances this season, adding 28 runs scored and 45 RBI in the process. His wRC+ sits at 140.

And while many of those numbers (not to mention a .208 average and a .695 OPS in 86 plate appearances this month) point to production somewhere between decent and solid, there’s more to the story here.

The wRC+ alludes to this a bit, but a slightly deeper dive into Rooker’s quality of contact metrics shows an elite slugger with advanced metrics that tell a decidedly different story. One that features a hitter who seems likely to be significantly more productive moving forward.

Entering play Wednesday, the 29-year-old was sporting a .367 xwOBA and a .542 xwOBAcon, to go along with a .539 xSLG, a 16.1% barrel rate, a 51.7% hard-hit rate and a 10.1% walk rate.

During that stretch in June where Rooker has hit just .208 with an OPS below the .700 mark? He’s also sporting a 17.8% barrel rate and a 57.8% hard-hit rate during that span.

An overall 36.6% whiff rate and a 35.1% strikeout rate are certainly unideal, but the slugger’s walk rate helps mitigate some of those swing-and-miss concerns, particularly in leagues where on-base percentage is part of the scoring.

And while Rooker is sporting a somewhat high .363 BABIP on the season, his ability to make loud contact when he puts the ball in play should continue to lead to good things from a fantasy standpoint.

Even in the event that Rooker’s season-long stat line doesn’t feature eventual improvements in counting stat production as his quality of contact metrics suggest, and his numbers more of is a reasonable facsimile to his 2023 production, he’ll be an extremely undervalued hitter. One who, currently rostered in just 50% of leagues, per FantasyPros data, could swing fantasy playoff chases with his power production.

But Rooker’s underlying numbers suggest there’s potential for much more here. That potential (at least from a fantasy standpoint) could rise even more so if Rooker is traded in real life. Of course, that last bit is entirely speculative, but if the rebuilding A’s deal the slugger to a team with a more fantasy-friendly lineup and ballpark the slugger would have the potential to finish the year among the top 15 fantasy players at his position.

Brent Rooker In 2024 and 2023


Ben Rosener

Ben Rosener is baseball and fantasy baseball writer whose work has previously appeared on the digital pages of Motor City Bengals, Bleacher Report, USA Today, FanSided.com and World Soccer Talk among others. He also writes about fantasy baseball for RotoBaller and the Detroit Tigers for his own Patreon page, Getting You Through the Tigers Rebuild (@Tigers_Rebuild on Twitter). He only refers to himself in the third person for bios.

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