Fantasy Baseball: Top 10 sleeper hitters for Week 14 feature Jesus Aguilar, Ketel Marte
Players like Michael Conforto and Ketel Marte aren't just hot-hand plays. No, Scott White has him among his top sleeper hitters for Week 14 (June 25-July 1).
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Some weeks, it's hard to distinguish the good matchups from the bad, much less organize a top five for each.
But then there's Week 14 (June 25-July 1), the week when all the great pitchers united against one team.
Yeah, I've provided you with a list of the five worst matchups for the upcoming period at the bottom of this column, as always, but it's really more like a terrible one, a not so-great-one one and three that could be better. And while I'm not suggesting you should sit all of your Rays against the Nationals and Astros pitching staffs ... actually, I am suggesting just that. Not a lot of upside at risk in doing so. Maybe you stick with Wilson Ramos at catcher, but that's it.
No, you'd be much better off going with any of these 10, all owned in less than 80 percent of CBS Sports leagues.
Even with Elvis Andrus back from a fractured elbow, the Rangers are finding places for Jurickson Profar to play, which makes sense given that he's a top-10 second baseman and top-12 shortstop in points leagues despite some horrible BABIP luck. Here's betting his luck turns against Padres and White Sox pitchers this week.
Jesus Aguilar's playing time has been less consistent since Eric Thames returned from the DL, but he's still making the most of his chances, going 11 for 28 (.393) with five homers and two doubles in eight games. The fact Ryan Braun is dealing with thumb soreness should help Aguilar take advantage of the Royals and Reds pitching staffs this week.
Michael Conforto made an adjustment to his swing recently, realizing he was starting it too early, and the results present a stark contrast to his earlier work. He's 12 for 37 with two homers, four doubles and six walks to eight strikeouts in his past 10 games. He has historically done most of his damage against righties, and the Mets have five of those on the schedule.
By now a fixture on this list, Jeimer Candelario gets another chance to reward my confidence in him with seven games against Athletics and Blue Jays pitchers. He's still reaching base at a .302 clip in June despite batting just .169.
You may be surprised to learn that since taking over as a regular player April 19, Teoscar Hernandez is a top-20 outfielder in both points and categories leagues. So he's verging on must-start status, much less being a sleeper. He does face Justin Verlander and Charlie Morton to begin this week, but he faces Dallas Keuchel, Matthew Boyd, Jordan Zimmermann and Blaine Hardy to end it.
Perhaps no hitter has made more strides than Ketel Marte in June, not only hitting five of his six homers in the month but also doing it with a rising fly-ball rate that suggests more is to come. Seeing as he's batting .324 with a 1.079 OPS over his past 20 games, you have to like his chances against some of the worst the Marlins and Giants can throw at him. In fact, the Diamondbacks have the best matchups of any team.
Adrian Beltre hasn't offered much since returning from a hamstring injury at the end of May, but he has played fairly consistently despite his 39 year of age and propensity for injury. And he's still batting .314 with good plate discipline, so you'll want to take advantage of his favorable matchups against Padres and White Sox pitchers.
As the everyday first baseman in Detroit with Miguel Cabrera down, John Hicks is poised to have more at-bats than almost any catcher-eligible player, which is a huge advantage at a position where there are so few game-changing bats. He becomes one on volume alone, and seven games against Blue Jays and Athletics pitchers is a good time to introduce him to your lineup.
Injuries to the Diamondbacks outfield compelled them to acquire Jon Jay from the Royals in early June, and he has batted leadoff almost every day since. That's notable in its own right, of course, but then when you consider he's batting .343 with 34 runs scored over his past 42 games, you can see how he might be usable with the Diamondbacks having the most favorable matchups of any team this week.
The Reds don't exactly have dream matchups this week, but they do face six righties in seven games, which should improve Jesse Winker's chances of continuing his recent surge. Even before hitting a three-run homer Sunday, he was batting .321 with three homers and a .956 OPS in his past 16 games -- numbers more in line with his batted-ball profile than was his early-season power drought.
Best hitter matchups for Week 14
1. Diamondbacks @MIA4, SF3
2. Rangers SD3, CHW3
3. Brewers KC2, @CIN4
4. Pirates @NYM3, @SD3
5. Mariners @BAL4, KC3
Worst hitter matchups for Week 14
1. Rays WAS2, HOU4
2. Yankees @PHI3, BOS3
3. Royals LAA1, @MIL2, @SEA3
4. Nationals @TB2, @PHI4
5. Rockies @SF3, @LAD3
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