Weekly Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: An Answer at Shortstop
This far into the season, it can be easy for successful teams to rest on their laurels and get complacent, as well as struggling teams to give up and throw in the towel. But really, it’s quite easy for good teams to lose their edge, and it’s definitely not too late to get out of the cellar and back to being competitive. Good fantasy owners are always on the prowl for an advantage. Lucky for y’all, I’ve done all the work and sorted through all the numbers to find five great under-the-radar options for big weeks. Enjoy.
Note: All ownership statistics are current as of 11:00 pm EST on 6/8/14, and are an average of ESPN, Yahoo and CBS numbers.
Nick Castellanos - 3B/OF, Detroit Tigers
Castellanos has been hot lately, managing to raise his average to .271 after hitting .611 with a home run, run batted in and stolen base this past week. As I'm sure you're aware by now, I'm all about playing the hot hand, and Castellanos should have a big series at home (his best split is at home versus right-handed pitching, hitting .313) against a Minnesota Twins’ trio of righties with a combined 11-14 record and 4.67 ERA. Even on the road against the Chicago White Sox, Castellanos should be just fine against Hector Noesi and Andre Rienzo (combined 5-7, 5.27 ERA). Chris Sale is really the only matchup you need to avoid.
Josh Willingham - OF, Minnesota Twins
Over the last two weeks since returning from the DL, Willingham has been on a tear, hitting .310 with 4 home runs and 12 RBI. All of the Twins’ games are on the road this week, where WIllingham has his best split, hitting .324 (11-34) with a double, 3 homers and 8 runs batted in. Like I said above, I like to roll with the hot hand, and Willingham is a historically streaky hitter, which allows us to ignore the matchups against the Toronto Blue Jays and Detroit Tigers. He’s going to produce, regardless of the matchup.
Adam Lind - 1B, Toronto Blue Jays
Lind has been a man on a mission since returning from the DL on May 8th, but due to his platoon status, he’s still flying under the radar, as he’s currently only owned in 63% of leagues. He’s been crushing right-handed pitching at home and on the road, hitting .375 with 12 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers and 18 RBI. The Blue Jays face all righties this week, and Lind should be able to do work against a Twins group that is 12-14 with a 5.07 ERA, and a Baltimore a 12-15 Baltimore Orioles bunch with a 4.88 ERA.
Lonnie Chisenhall - 1B/3B, Cleveland Indians
Yes, I know I wrote about Chisenhall last week, but for some reason he’s still flying under the radar at only 65% ownership. He put up big numbers yet again this past week, hitting .318 with a homer and 8 RBI. This is kind of a no-brainer, as he faces all righties again this week, with the exception of Jon Lester. Get him in the lineup and reap the benefits.
Alcides Escobar - SS, Kansas City Royals
The Royals’ speedy shortstop has kicked things into high gear so far this month, posting a .417 average with 3 RBI, 2 runs scored and a stolen base. One of Escobar's two best splits come at home against right-handed pitching (.282, 9 doubles, 11 runs and 10 RBI) with favorable matchups against Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer. The other comes on the road against lefties (.407, 1 home run, 4 runs and 5 RBI) with solid matchups against Jose Quintana and John Danks. Vidal Nuno (1-2 record, 5.33 ERA) and Hector Noesi (1-4, 5.29) shouldn’t be anything to worry about either. Escobar is still only owned in about 71% of leagues, technically qualifying for sleeper status, which can’t foreseeably last forever if he continues to get on base and rack up the stolen bases and runs.