Here we are at the precipice of Week 5. Yet another round of injuries have swept through, leaving fantasy owners grasping at straws. Let’s keep it short and sweet this week and just jump right in: Here’s a look at five under-the-radar candidates poised to have big weeks.
Josmil Pinto - C, Minnesota Twins
With Oswaldo Arcia and Josh Willingham doing their thing on the DL, Pinto has seen plenty of regular at-bats and has made the most of them. The .230 average leaves a bit to be desired, but it’s actually on the upswing. Pinto’s .405 OBP and .395 wOBA show that he’s a patient hitter, which means he’s going to continue to make contact (five home runs and nine RBI) or get on base (17 walks, 12 runs scored) frequently. If you need more evidence, he’s currently sporting a .897 OPS and finished last season with a .963 on-base plus slugging. Pinto is set up for a big week, and will likely continue to be dirt cheap in daily leagues, along with being widely available on the fantasy waiver wire.
Khris Davis - OF, Milwaukee Brewers
Davis got off to a slow start this season, but really picked things up on Milwaukee’s first road trip. While he’s hitting just .135 (5-37) at home, Davis has been a force on the road, going 17-46 with five doubles, five RBI and a .370 average. He started to pick things up against the Cubs this past weekend, so he should carry that momentum into two series on the road this week. Look for Davis to hold down the fort at the backend of the Brewers lineup and put up another solid road trip.
Alex Wood - SP, Atlanta Braves
How about the Braves starters lately? The team is surging, led by a patchwork rotation that continues to surpass expectations. At first glance, Wood's 2-3 record may turn some off, but sometimes you can’t help a lack of run support. Despite the record, Wood has an impressive 1.54 ERA and 0.97 WHIP to go along with 35 strikeouts (12th most) and only 7 walks. His 3.18 nERD is the 29th-best in the bigs, and his 4.99 Fantasy Score is the 13th. Wood has extremely similar splits at home and on the road, which is a good thing, as he makes two starts this week at the Miami Marlins and at home against the San Francisco Giants. I have a thing for two-start pitchers, and Wood should be a good value this week. The numbers suggest he’ll continue to impress.
Alcides Escobar - SS, Kansas City Royals
Escobar has been one of the few Royals producing steadily this season, yet he continues to fly under the radar. his .299 average, 1.03 nERD (91st) and 2.42 Fantasy Score (88th) are all on the rise, thanks to a 12-game stretch where he hit .400 (16-40) with five doubles, a homer and a couple of stolen bases. When you look at the splits, Escobar does the best at home against right-handed pitchers, which is perfect for this week. The Royals have two sets of games at home against the Toronto Blue Jays and Detroit Tigers, in which they face four righties in those six games, including Dustin McGowan, Drew Hutchison and Rick Porcello. Escobar is going to have a big week, book it now.
Eric Young Jr. - OF, New York Mets
Young Jr. is off to a pretty hot start. The Mets’ outfielder’s .226 average leaves you wanting more, but you can’t bat an eye at his 19 hits, 20 runs (fourth most in the bigs), 4 RBI, 12 stolen bases (second) and .333 OBP. So far this season, Young Jr. has put up his best numbers on the road, hitting .333 with 12 hits, a triple, 12 runs, 3 RBI and 9 stolen bases. The Mets have the second-easiest hitting schedule this week with all of their games on the road, including four at Coors Field, where everyone rakes. I fully expect Young Jr. to put up big numbers this week.