Fantasy Baseball Week 6 Preview: Top 10 sleeper hitters feature Shin-Soo Choo, Carter Kieboom
Our Scott White considers the startability of Carter Kieboom and looks at some of his favorite hitters for Week 6.
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Two of the game's biggest hitting prospects debuted over the weekend.
For the biggest of all, Vladimir Guerrero, there was never any doubt what you would do with him. His bat skills are off the charts. You most likely invested one of your first six picks in him. The fact the Blue Jays have favorable matchups in Week 6 (April 29-May 5) is but a quaint footnote. You're starting him.
For Carter Kieboom, though, it wasn't so obvious what approach you should take ... until the Nationals started him all three games this weekend. He homered twice and looks like he'll be the man at shortstop until Trea Turner returns a few weeks from now. After that, who knows?
The Nationals do have favorable matchups this upcoming week, it's worth pointing out, and because Kieboom remains less than 60 percent owned, he's a rather obvious choice for one of my top 10 sleepers hitters, all of whom are owned in less than 80 percent of CBS Sports leagues.
He's not No. 1, though.
Yandy Diaz keeps appearing on this list, usually at the very top, which means Fantasy players are sleeping on what appears to be one of the season's more definitive breakouts. With a high-contact bat, plus on-base skills and newfound power, he's an easy call with seven games against the Royals and Orioles pitching staffs.
Here he is. Sure, Kieboom is batting ninth for the Nationals, but with two home runs already, it doesn't look like he's overwhelmed by major-league pitching. He's not projected to be just an all-or-nothing-slugger either, so perhaps we'll see the full extent of his skills in a seven-game week against pitchers like Adam Wainwright, Daniel Hudson, Zach Eflin and a struggling Miles Mikolas.
Ryan McMahon has seven games this week as well, including three at home, so even though he has had a fairly quiet return from the IL apart from a two-homer game his first day back, he gets the benefit of the doubt for at least one more week.
Justin Smoak has so far looked like the high-OPS bat we saw two years ago — walking at an even higher rate, in fact — and while his 2017 is to this point the exception in a mostly lackluster career, it doesn't change the fact he's an enticing play against some of the bottom feeders in the Angels and Rangers rotations.
Even with the return of Todd Frazier, Jeff McNeil is still finding his way into the lineup at a variety of positions, as he well should given his growing reputation as one of the best contact hitters in the game. The Mets are scheduled to face six righties in their seven games this week, and most are low-end hurlers like Tanner Roark, Anthony DeSclafani, Tyler Mahle, Zach Davies and Jhoulys Chacin.
The Rangers are scheduled to play only five games this week, but with 10 other teams being in the same boat, it was inevitable some of the affected players would appear on this list. Shin-Soo Choo at least bats leadoff, which should maximize his plate appearances in those five games, especially since none of the pitchers on tap are left-handed. He has been walking as much as ever and piling up extra-base hits so far.
Gregory Polanco is another victim of the five-game-palooza, but his five games are against scrubby pitchers like Shelby Miller, Brett Anderson, Chris Bassitt and Frankie Montas. Recently back from shoulder surgery, it's only a matter of time before he's back to must-start status, and the back-to-back multi-hit games fresh off the IL were a good first step.
Yup, five games again, but at least three of them are at Coors Field. Eduardo Escobar got off to a miserable start this year but has done a nice job of course correcting here recently, putting together three consecutive three-hit games toward the end of Week 5. He won't be all the way back until he starts elevating the ball more, but he's a fine hot-hand play.
Though presently one of the hottest hitters in baseball, nothing Renato Nunez is doing is especially out of character. The BABIP is a little high, but the power production fits the profile from his days in the Athletics system and is backed up by high fly-ball and hard-hit rates. He opens this week with three games against the White Sox pitching staff.
Josh Reddick doesn't play quite every day for the Astros, but with five righties on tap this week, he should come pretty close. And since those righties are bottom-feeders from the Twins and Angels rotations, there's a decent chance he continues the streak that has him batting .400 (20 for 50) with three homers over his past 13 games.
Best hitter matchups for Week 6
1. Red Sox OAK3, @CHW4
2. Rockies @MIL4, ARI3
3. Rays @KC4, @BAL3
4. Mets CIN4, @MIL3
5. White Sox BAL3, BOS4
Worst hitter matchups for Week 6
1. Mariners CHC2, @CLE3
2. Marlins CLE2, ATL3
3. Angels TOR3, HOU2
4. Giants LAD3, @CIN3
5. Twins HOU4, @NYY3
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