Fantasy Baseball Mailbag: Friday 6/17/16

D.J. LeMahieu has posted tremendous numbers the first two months of the season. Should we be buying him in dynasty?

We're here to try and help you navigate the ever-changing landscape that is fantasy baseball. It's not easy to keep up with all of the day-to-day fluctuations, so it can help to have someone to bounce ideas off of. That's what our daily mailbag will look to do.

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Now, enough of that. Let's dig into today's mailbag and see what's popping in the world of fantasy baseball.

Willson Contreras is certainly the talk of the town, as we featured him in our mailbag yesterday, discussing various scenarios in which he could have fantasy viability. This is certainly a unique one, though, Colin, and in your case, I'd stick with Matt Wieters.

Contreras currently appears as if he'll be serving as the team's third catcher, which wouldn't mean a whole lot of playing time. Although he could potentially play elsewhere in the field, that's too much of an uncertainty right now to really bank on it. He could end up just sitting more often than not, and that's going to kill you in points leagues, and it would have a negative effect on all non-average categories for Roto leagues. I'd pounce if he were to start seeing the volume of an every-day player, but there's just not quite enough clarity right now to warrant it.

While it sucks not to be able to pounce on the potential next big thing, you're actually sitting pretty with Wieters on your roster. His batted-ball stats aren't overly impressive with a 30.6% hard-hit rate and 24.2% soft-hit rate, but his situation is borderline perfect. He's batting sixth for one of the best offenses in baseball in one of the league's best parks for offense. That's a better situation than you're going to find with almost any other backstop on the wire, including Contreras.

Additionally, things may be getting a wee bit better for Wieters in his peripheral stats. He's still making weak contact too often, but other aspects of his game have been trending in the right direction the past three weeks.

TimeframeWalk RateStrikeout RateFly-Ball RateHard-Hit Rate
Through May 27th5.8%25.0%32.9%28.9%
Last Three Weeks10.3%19.0%35.0%34.2%

It's still too early to fully buy into Wieters' improvements -- and, again, his soft-hit rate is too high -- but combining these shifts with his quality situation is enough to warrant forward-looking confidence. It's annoying to miss out on Contreras, but you'll be all right with Wieters there to fill the void.

Friends don't let friends pass on Evan Gattis against a lefty. Between "El Oso Blanco," Dae Ho Lee (Pig Tiger), and Welington Castillo (Beef Mode), you've got some dope nicknames all in good spots for the slate, and Gattis is high up on that list.

In his career, Gattis has a 37.3% hard-hit rate and 38.1% fly-ball rate against lefties while striking out just 16.4% of the time. That killer combination has allowed him to post a .265/.305/.489 slash that may actually be a bit low based on his peripherals. He's facing John Lamb, who has a 12.5% strikeout rate and 38.3% hard-hit rate against righties this year, so it's easy to see why Gattis would be one the top options.

Gattis is great because his results are matching his batted-ball stats, but from a game-theory perspective, I may actually prefer Castillo tonight.

The best part about Beef Mode is that he is in the middle of a wretched slump. Now, why would that possibly be a good thing? Because it has driven his price down to $2,900 on FanDuel, and it's going to scare off potential suitors who peep his blood-stained game logs. Although he has been striking out more over the past three weeks, his soft-hit rate is still just 6.9%. When you toss in his complete destruction of left-handed pitching (a 54.7% hard-hit rate and 14.3% strikeout rate this year), he'd be hard for me to pass up given the potential for low ownership.

Because you don't have to worry about ownership in cash games, I'd lean Gattis' way there because he hasn't had the same recent issues with strikeouts, and his matchup is a bit easier. But if we're talking tourneys -- where you want to differentiate and exploit biases -- give me Castillo for tonight.

Holy cats, Batman. That's an awesome trade for you. Not only do you get the better (and almost four years younger) pitcher in Clayton Kershaw, but you also get one of my favorite dynasty buys right now in DJ LeMahieu. Positive grades abound here.

I probably don't need to tell you why Kershaw is the better pitcher, so let's instead focus on why LeMahieu is so intriguing right now.

LeMahieu has always had the ideal situation in playing at a middle-infield spot with his home games at Coors Field. He had just never been able to fully capitalize on that, logging slugging percentages below .400 each of the past three years. He's a new player this year, though.

Let's compare the 2016 version of LeMahieu to his 2015 self in the categories we want to look at first to determine whether or not a player's improvement is legit. Across the board, this dude should have you seeing stars.

SeasonWalk RateStrikeout RateHard-Hit Rate

Do you want to hear the dirty little secret about each of those stats? LeMahieu bests Francisco Lindor in all of them. Obviously, you'd rather have Lindor because of his age and shortstop eligibility, but the drop off isn't as big as it would have been three months ago.

If you're in a dynasty league (or even season-long, too), I'd be sending out feelers to LeMahieu owners to see where they stand. It's buying high, but that's not a bad thing when there are reasons to believe it's sustainable, and that's the case with LeMahieu.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have zero exposure to him, and I need to change that ASAP.

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