Week 6: Podcast ||
Ooh, I really like these.
I know I'm supposed to like my sleeper picks equally, like they're my children or something, but I'll be honest: Most of the time, I'm faking it. The powers that be say I need to come up with 10 every week, so I scratch and claw for something that sounds well-reasoned and pure. But I don't want to start those bums. Owned in less than 80 percent of leagues means owned on the diamond, amirite?
I'm amazed how often it works out.
But these? These are my heart's desire, the offspring of not just research and reason but a third entity: belief. These aren't just "the best of what's out there," they're the best ... of what's out there.
Which isn't to say my approach has changed. These players stand out mostly for their matchups, splits or recent performance. It just so happens that many of them figure to be useful beyond even this week.
So while the vast majority of your roster is still undroppable, you can afford to act a little more aggressively with these particular names if you're not liking the look of your lineup.
Jorge Soler Kansas City Royals RF
|Jorge Soler's improved plate discipline, in addition to helping his points-league value, suggests he's maturing as a hitter, and his 47.1 percent hard contact rate (according to FanGraphs) suggests he's behind pace in the home run department. He's batting .429 (9 for 21) with a 1.214 OPS against lefties so far, and will get to feast on five this week.
Max Kepler Minnesota Twins RF
|The Twins have some of the best matchups of any team this week, drawing the White Sox staff for four of their seven games, and are scheduled to face only one lefty. Lefties are what have held Max Kepler back in his career -- he's batting .187 with a .555 OPS against them -- so between that and the greatly improved contact rate, he's poised for a big week.
Brandon Belt San Francisco Giants 1B
|Brandon Belt's power early this year has caught some by surprise, but he made gains in that area last year, too, before a season-ending concussion. Pitchers like Eric Lauer, Clayton Richard and Brandon McCarthy this week don't figure to slow him down.
Teoscar Hernandez Toronto Blue Jays RF
|Teoscar Hernandez has hit nothing but rockets since returning from the minors, his line-drive and hard-contact rates both off the charts, which has seemingly relegated Curtis Granderson and Randal Grichuk to a platoon. No way you sit a hot hand like him with eight games on tap (thanks to a doubleheader Thursday).
Yonder Alonso Cleveland Indians 1B
|The Indians also benefit from said doubleheader. Yonder Alonso has had horrible BABIP luck so far, but he's still elevating the ball like a year ago and has put any questions about his power to rest. Even if some of the worst the Rangers and Yankees can throw at him aren't enough to turn him around, he has eight games to work with.
Francisco Cervelli Pittsburgh Pirates C
|Francisco Cervelli is now a verified member of the fly-ball revolution, both in terms of intent and result. He's hitting fly balls nearly twice(!) as often as a year ago, and it's resulting in more extra-base hits. Already a good contact hitter, he's potentially a top-10 catcher now, and the Pirates matchups are good enough this week for me to recommend him here.
Curtis Granderson Toronto Blue Jays RF
|Curtis Granderson has started every one of the Blue Jays ' game against righties this year and none against lefties, which is probably a big reason why the 37-year-old is batting .317 (19 for 60) with a .989 OPS. And if the trend holds, the Blue Jays are facing seven righties in their eight games this week, including mashables like Lance Lynn and Phil Hughes .
Jeimer Candelario Detroit Tigers 3B
|Mostly a hot-hand play, Jeimer Candelario has ranked among the top-scoring third basemen in back-to-back weeks, and surprisingly, it's more because of his power than his plate discipline (which hasn't manifested yet). If he has managed to thrive without even doing some of the things he's best at, I like him in a week he's facing the Royals pitching staff four times.
Eugenio Suarez Cincinnati Reds 3B
|Eugenio Suarez already has a two-hit game and a four-hit game in four games after a hurried return from a fractured thumb, so health shouldn't be a real concern at this point. And with matchups against Jhoulys Chacin, Brent Suter, Wei-Yin Chen and Dan Straily, it's a good time to get him active again.
Trey Mancini Baltimore Orioles LF
|Trey Mancini's power stroke has come around a bit lately, giving him seven extra-base hits in his past 10 games. Batting leadoff for the Orioles, he'll have plenty of opportunities to do damage against the Angels and Athletics pitching staffs.
Best hitter matchups for Week 6
1. Indians TEX3, TOR2, @NYY3
2. Blue Jays @MIN3, @CLE2, @TB3
3. Twins TOR3, @CHW4
4. Reds MIL3, MIA3
5. Orioles @LAA3, @OAK3