Fantasy Baseball: Top 10 sleeper hitters for Week 21 features big potential with Aaron Hicks, Joc Pederson
With the help of some platoon advantages, Chris Towers runs down 10 sleeper hitters you want in your lineup this week.
Scott White lucked out in Week 20. He had a whole host of hitters to choose from for his list of the best sleeper options thanks to a schedule featuring seven games at Coors Field.
I don't have that luxury with the Rockies going on the road for six games. Their matchups aren't bad, but there's still nothing quite like that thin Denver air to boost Fantasy value.
Still, there are plenty of opportunities for Fantasy owners to find value here -- don't you worry. With the help of some platoon split data, we can pinpoint a handful of matchups you need to take advantage of.
Among hitters owned in less than 80 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, here are my 10 favorite to go pick up and start for Week 21.
Aaron Hicks N.Y. Yankees CF
|At some point, you have to just accept that track record doesn't mean much. Aaron Hicks ' career has been defined by disappointment, but his 2017 has been nothing short of tremendous. An injury slowed him, but he still has four walks and two homers in eight games since his return, so the skills don't seem diminished much. With three games against lefties among the New York Yankees ' six games in Week 21, expect Hicks to mash this week.|
Joc Pederson L.A. Dodgers CF
|Joc Pederson still doesn't play every day against lefties, and he's in the midst of a slump that has seen him go just 1 for 34 in the month of August, so this might not seem like the best time to use him. Nonsense, I say. Pederson is still a talented hitter, one who sports a .782 OPS against right-handed hitters for the season, in spite of a .236 BABIP. Pederson crushes righties, and that's all the Los Angeles Dodgers have on the schedule for Week 21: Seven straight righties. Your league-mates may have soured on Pederson, but this is the right week to trust him.|
Kyle Schwarber Chi. Cubs LF
|Kyle Schwarber has been exactly who we hoped he would be since his return from the minors. In 33 games, he has crushed eight homers, while hitting .278/.371/.588. Oh, he still strikes out more than you'd like, and the Chicago Cubs are still shielding him from lefties when possible, so his relatively low ownership makes sense. However, like the Dodgers, the Cubs aren't expected to face any left-handed pitchers in Week 21, a great sign for Schwarber. He may not start all six games, but it wouldn't be a surprise, and he is still crushing righties, with 18 homers in 290 plate appearances. Schwarber should continue his strong run of recent play.|
Mitch Moreland Boston 1B
|Mitch Moreland just can't hit lefties, so he doesn't. The career .671 OPS hitter against southpaws has started just seven times against lefties this season, so don't expect him to be in the lineup against Wade Miley on Saturday. We should expect to see a lot of him the rest of the time, however, with six righties on the schedule – a few of whom Moreland has a history of success against. Add in seven games at Fenway – where Moreland has an .815 OPS this season – and he has a nice opportunity, even if he does have to face Corey Kluber .|
David Freese Pittsburgh 3B
|David Freese has carved out a nice niche in Pittsburgh, manning the corners with dependable production in recent years. He is mostly just trying to keep his head above water against right-handed pitchers but absolutely mashes lefties to the tune of a .918 OPS on the season. With three on the way in Week 21, you have to like his chances of contributing for your team this week.|
Ian Happ Chi. Cubs CF
|The nice thing about Happ is, he has plenty of positional flexibility. Between second base, middle infield, outfield, and utility, you should be able to find a place for him in your lineup when he deserves it. He has deserved it in August, with a .946 OPS, and with six games on the way against righties, Happ has a great opportunity in front of him. It's been an up-and-down season for him, but don't be afraid to rely on Happ in Week 21.|
Melky Cabrera Kansas City RF
|Melky Cabrera might be the most boring player in Fantasy. Pretty much every season, he finished with an OPS between .780 and .810 – he has been between those two marks in four of seven seasons – and there just doesn't seem to be much upside. He hits for a high average and between 12 and 18 homers every year. Like clockwork. Still, he has six righties on the mound this week, and the Kansas City Royals should avoid Corey Kluber in their weekend series. That should help Cabrera have a fine week. He's always fine.|
Yan Gomes Cleveland C
|Gomes will likely never reach the highs of his early-career success, but the one thing he can still do is hit lefties. He sports an .849 OPS against them for the season, with five homers in 91 plate appearances, and gets four lefties on the schedule to just three right-handed pitchers. The bar at catcher is low, but Gomes is still owned in just 14 percent of leagues, reflecting his overall mediocrity. However, with this kind of week ahead of him, Gomes makes sense as even a No. 1 catcher option.|
Ezequiel Carrera Toronto LF
|We're scraping the bottom of the barrel here, but Carrera is actually having a better season than you think, with eight homers and seven steals in 256 plate appearances. The homers are a career-high, a sign that he is taking advantage of a favorable hitting environment, as well as Toronto's well-established history of getting the most out of fringe-y hitters. The fact that he has started only five games against lefties doesn't hurt either. Carrera won't have to see any lefty starters this week, with six games on the way against the platoon advantage, so give Carrera a chance.|
Austin Jackson Cleveland CF
|Austin Jackson has been a heck of a pickup for the Cleveland Indians , hitting .317/.385/.506 in 54 games. What's the secret? He has faced nearly as many left-handed pitchers as righties. The Indians are stacked, which makes it easy for them to pick and choose their spots with him, but Jackson should get plenty of playing time this week. The Indians face four lefties in Week 21, and still don't have Michael Brantley around, so Jackson should be a solid contributor for you.|
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