Fantasy Baseball: Top 10 sleeper hitters for Week 22 feature Mallex Smith, Harrison Bader
The Twins have a number of emerging options poised to make an impact in Week 22 (Aug. 20-26), but it's a couple of hot-hitting outfielders who have caught Scott White's eye.
It's another one of those weeks, the sort that have been seemingly all too rare in 2018 even though the distribution is the same as always.
What's more apparent: The Twins have a ton of intriguing hitters owned in less than 80 percent of CBS Sports leagues, which means when they have they have favorable matchups, sort of the Mets last week, they're going to dominate this list.
But it's the back half of the list they're dominating. Let's see who's at the top.
Clearly the most overlooked hitter in Fantasy (and not just because he has eight stolen bases in August), the newly minted Rays leadoff man is the 12th-best outfielder in points leagues since the start of July. Mallex Smith figures to keep rolling with four games against Royals pitchers to open the week.
Harrison Bader's defense will ensure he sticks in the lineup down the stretch, but just for good measure, he's batting .357 (20 for 56) with three homers and three steals in August. He has also crushed lefties, batting .318 with a .933 OPS, and the Cardinals have three on the schedule this week.
This high-floor hitter has been a steady contributor since the All-Star break, batting .294 with an .839 OPS. Johan Camargo's high contact rate makes him a safe bet to make the most of a favorable seven-game slate against Pirates and Marlins pitchers.
Stephen Piscotty has slowed down in August after crushing it in June and July, which is probably the only reason he's available in half of CBS Sports leagues. He's due for more BABIP correction, though, and has the matchups to accomplish it, going against hittable pitchers like Bartolo Colon, Yovani Gallardo, Ariel Jurado, Kohl Stewart, Jake Odorizzi and Ervin Santana.
Max Kepler has been quietly productive over the past few weeks, batting .264 with seven home runs and an .867 OPS in 37 games to make him the 20th-best outfielder in points leagues during that stretch. It's his better format because of how much he walks, but he may be worth using even in categories leagues with seven games against the White Sox and Athletics.
Miguel Sano is as boom-or-bust as any player in the majors, which is why he ended up spending six weeks in the minors. His strikeout rate hasn't been quite as laughable since returning, and with four homers in his past nine games, there's hope he keeps slugging against homer-prone pitchers like Lucas Giolito, James Shields and Mike Fiers this week.
Despite missing two months with a fractured foot and then struggling to regain his form in the minors, David Dahl has started 10 of the Rockies' 12 games since returning to the big leagues and flashed his potential with a homer and a steal Thursday. A full week of home games may be what puts him back on the map in Fantasy.
After a two-week stretch in which he homered close to every other day in June and July, Avisail Garcia has gone cold in August, and because he so rarely walks, he's next to useless when cold. But he did hit a home run on Sunday, leading into a seven-game week with four against the clearly diminished Tigers pitching staff. He's also scheduled to face three lefties this week, against whom he's batting .304 with a .917 OPS.
Digging deeper into the Twins lineup, we find a guy who's gone 22 for 58 (.379) since coming over in the Brian Dozier trade, including 5 for 5 Thursday. Logan Forsythe never seemed comfortable with the Dodgers, where he didn't get to play as regularly as he did with the Rays or he is now, and the favorable matchups allow for a low-risk trial run if you need help up the middle.
Is Forsythe really the better option than Jorge Polanco, though, who has returned from an 80-game PED suspension better than ever, performing like the 12th-best shortstop in points leagues during those 41 games? He's not a big category standout but has been kind of a poor man's Jurickson Profar, if that's something you're into, and of course has the favorable matchups this week.
Best hitter matchups for Week 22
1. Braves @PIT3, @MIA4
2. Athletics TEX3, @MIN4
3. White Sox @MIN1, MIN2, @DET4
4. Twins CHW1, @CHW2, OAK4
5. Rockies SD3, STL3
Worst hitter matchups for Week 22
1. Angels @ARI2, HOU3
2. Mariners HOU3, @ARI3
3. Royals @TB4, CLE3
4. Red Sox CLE4, @TB3
5. Padres @COL3, @LAD3
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