Note: FanDuel is hosting a one-day Fantasy Baseball league tonight. It's $5 to enter and pays out $100,000 in cash prizes. First place wins $10,000. Sign up now!
All right, maybe we need to pay attention to Mitch Moreland.
He didn't seem like he'd have much staying power given his major-league career up to this point. At a position as deep as first base, it takes more than just a 20-homer season to move the needle, as Moreland himself showed in 2013. But with two more home runs Monday, he's now on pace for 25 this season.
And that's after missing three weeks earlier this year to have a loose body removed from his elbow. Project the same pace over 162 games, and he's at 34 home runs.
That is enough to move the needle, even for a player who walks more like Joey Butler than Joey Votto. Most of us considered Mark Trumbo to be a top-12 first baseman back when he was a 30-homer, 30-walk guy a few years ago, and unlike Moreland, he was a liability in batting average.
The power for Moreland does seem to be legitimate. Among the 91 players with at least nine home runs, his are the 13th-longest, averaging 410.8 feet. While age 29 does seem kind of late for a power breakthrough, manager Jeff Banister does offer one possible explanation.
"Mitch is a guy that really liked to tinker with his own swing," Banister told MLB.com. "Made subtle changes along the way when he wasn't having success. What I think, if anybody has been stubborn with their approach all year long, Mitch has been that guy. He has been rewarded to this point with his success. Any time you can stay with your approach, it's going to give you consistency."
Of course, there's still that issue of Moreland playing the deepest position in Fantasy. It's one thing for him to rank 18th at the position in Head-to-Head points per game, but chances are you're not dumping Eric Hosmer, Carlos Santana or Victor Martinez for him just because they rank below that. So while I do think Moreland is worth adding in more leagues than not, he may not be the most attractive Ranger on the waiver wire right now.
Rougned Odor, 2B, Rangers (47 percent owned)
A middle infielder with Odor's kind of upside doesn't normally go overlooked in Fantasy. He was the 42nd-best prospect according to Baseball America coming into last year, and if injuries hadn't forced him to the majors at age 20, he may well have been top 20 this year.
He had already demonstrated power and speed at that young age -- two attributes he has also demonstrated since returning from the minors June 15, contributing two home runs and four stolen bases with a .405 (17 for 42) batting average in 14 games. His early-season struggles dilute those numbers, which I'm guessing is why he's overlooked, but they were sandwiched between a .296 batting average in the majors last September and a .352 batting average at Triple-A Round Rock just a few weeks ago.
He has at least one 20-20 season in his future and probably more upside than Kolten Wong in the long run. Age 21 still seems kind of early for it, but I wouldn't want to risk him breaking out for someone else.
Cody Anderson, SP, Indians (30 percent owned)
If nothing else, Anderson has proven he has the Rays' number. After shutting them out over 7 2/3 innings in his major-league debut June 21, he limited them to just two hits over eight innings Monday, retiring the first 19 batters he faced.
Once again, the strikeouts were low, as they were in his 13 starts between Double- and Triple-A. But with an average fastball velocity of 94.1 mph, it's clear he has good stuff.
What's also clear is how efficient he is with it. His 1.8 walks per nine innings were the key to his breakthrough in the minors this year, and he has issued just one walk in 15 2/3 innings so far in the majors, throwing two-thirds of his pitches for strikes.
Obviously, we need to see him do it in more than just two starts and against a team other than the Rays, but any pitcher with the ability to go seven innings consistently is rosterable in Fantasy.
Cesar Hernandez, 2B/3B/SS, Phillies (13 percent owned)
Chase Utley's injury might end up being one of the best things that could have happened for his Fantasy owners, provided they were the ones to pick up his replacement, Cesar Hernandez. After all, Utley was looking like a lost cause at age 36.
Granted, Hernandez is a completely different player -- a speedster rather than a slugger -- but so far, nobody would complain about his production in a full-time role. He's batting .455 (15 for 33) in eight games since assuming everyday duty, bringing his season mark to .277, and certainly his minor-league performance would back it up. He hit .294 over eight years there. His strikeout rate would also suggest it's not just a matter of luck.
Sure, he had been a non-factor in the majors until now, but you can't make an honest assessment of a player until he plays regularly. As with most matters of skill, repetition is critical.
With his base-stealing ability, Hernandez need hit only .270 or so to factor in mixed leagues, especially since he's eligible at shortstop. What's Elvis Andrus doing for you than he can't?