|Name||Position||Team||ESPN Own %|
|César Hernandez||2B||Cleveland Indians||27|
|Ji-Man Choi||1B||Tampa Bay Rays||21.5|
|Ty France||2B, 1B||Seattle Mariners||31.1|
|Avisaíl García||OF||Milwaukee Brewers||56.3|
|Odúbel Herrera||OF||Philadelphia Phillies||9.2|
1. César Hernandez | 2B | Cleveland Indians
César Hernandez is the epitome of a fringe fantasy player. Some months he gets mass dropped onto the waiver wire, just to have people rush to pick him back up a few weeks later when he starts getting hot. There’s plenty of reason to consider rostering Hernandez now, however. For starters, with whatever production he has given so far in 2021, he’s likely to get better. His career numbers indicate he’s underperforming a tad (although this is happening around the league to quite a few players). That being said, some of his underlying metrics look promising. His plate discipline is well above average with his K%, BB%, Whiff%, and Chase Rate all at or above the 63rd-percentile. In addition to this, his Average Exit Velocity and Expected Slugging are both at or above the 60th-percentile. He’s not going to win you your league, but he might certainly provide more production than a few alternative options right now.
2. Ji-Man Choi | 1B | Tampa Bay Rays
After sitting out for the first month and a half, Ji-Man Choi has been playing nearly every day for the last few weeks. Over those 13 games and 52 plate appearances, Choi is slashing .317/.462/.561 with two home runs, 10 RBIs, and a 16-to-10 strikeout-to-walk ratio. While 2020 was a year to forget for Choi, he demonstrated enough pop in 2018 and 2019 to be worthy of consideration. Now that he’s back and off to a hot start, consider rostering him for now and see what you have going forward.
3. Ty France | 2B, 1B | Seattle Mariners
It didn’t take long at the beginning of the season for people to rush to add Ty France. Through his first 16 games, France slashed .305/.400/.525 with three home runs, 10 RBIs, and an 18-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio. However, he followed that with a 21-game stretch in which he slashed .167/.277/.236 with no home runs and only four RBIs before hitting the IL. Since returning, he’s slashed .345/.387/.414 with no home runs, six RBIs, and a 5-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio over eight games. Keep in mind, France is only 26, was a well-regarded prospect, and has metrics to show that while he might not punish the ball with the likes of Giancarlo Stanton and Vlad Jr., his plate discipline and contact skills establish a baseline as a solid major league hitter.
4. Avisaíl García | OF | Milwaukee Brewers
How can Avisaíl García continue to be disrespected? Through 49 games, García is slashing .244/.312/.452 with ten home runs, 30 RBIs, a 48-to-14 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and four stolen bases. While these numbers are not eye-popping, his 109 OPS+ indicates he’s been an above average hitter this year. Are you smashing Jarred Kelenic or Andrew Vaughn into your lineup every day and hoping one day they’ll emerge into bonafide superstars? If this describes you, it’s time to reconsider your outfield. At just over 50% owned, consider replacing an underperforming outfielder with García for the time being.
5. Odúbel Herrera | OF | Philadelphia Phillies
So far in 131 plate appearances, Herrera is slashing .276/.346/.448 with four home runs, 12 RBIs, and a 23-to-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His OPS+ of 122 is more in line with his 2017 and 2018 numbers as opposed to 2019 and 2020. There are some underlying metrics to back this up, as well. His Average Exit Velocity, HardHit%, and Expected wOBA are all as high as they have ever been, while his strikeout rate is as low as it has ever been. Much like Garcia, many fantasy owners are starting less-producing outfielders on their name alone. As for now, pick up Herrera and ride the solid production as long as it lasts.