|Name||Position||Team||ESPN Own %|
|Ryan Mountcastle||1B, OF||Baltimore Orioles||77.9|
|Jonathan Schoop||2B, 1B||Detroit Tigers||26.2|
|Patrick Wisdom||1B, 3B||Chicago Cubs||44.4|
|Justin Upton||OF||Los Angeles Angels||41.8|
|Miguel Anújar||OF||New York Yankees||12.7|
1. Ryan Mountcastle | 1B, OF | Baltimore Orioles
After a spectacular debut in 2020, in which he delivered a .333/.386/.492 slash line with five home runs, 23 RBIs, and 12 runs across just 140 plate appearances, Mountcastle’s 2021 began disastrously. Through April, he was slashing .198/.229/.286 with one home run, seven RBIs, eight runs, and a 30-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His 30 strikeouts in 96 plate appearances put him above the daunting 30% strikeout rate. Since then, while his strikeouts have only fallen a smidge, he’s slashing .296/.320/.557 with seven home runs, 25 RBIs (!!!), and 16 runs. To be fair, the continuation of strikeouts, with the lack of walks (just seven total walks on the season), is cause for concern. His plate discipline will certainly put a ceiling on his potential production, particularly in the batting average department. Keep in mind, he is still just 24 years old and was recently a well-regarded prospect in the Orioles’ farm system. After being drafted out of high school and turning pro at the age of 18, Mountcastle showed steady improvement throughout his minor league career before exploding onto the scene in 2020.
2. Jonathan Schoop | 2B, 1B | Detroit Tigers
Much like Mountcastle, the start of Schoop’s season left much to be desired. In fact, his April stats were eerily similar to Mountcastle’s. Schoop slashed .198/.230/.284 with two home runs, six RBIs, eight runs, and a 26-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Since then, however, Schoop has been rather productive. He’s slashed .292/.351/.504 with seven home runs, 22 RBIs, 15 runs, and a 27-to-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Perhaps more encouraging than the increase in power is the improvement in his plate discipline, showing an ability to take a few more walks. Keep in mind that dating back to his age 25 season in 2017, Schoop has a .264 average and .771 OPS in over 2000 plate appearances. His 465-to-97 strikeout-to-walk ratio is not encouraging, but he hasn’t killed anyone in the batting average department and has shown slightly above-average power (107 OPS+ during that span). Ride the hot hand and get the production out of Schoop while he’s hot.
3. Patrick Wisdom | 1B, 3B | Chicago Cubs
I’m hesitant to include him on this list, as I don’t want to be the one chasing points with Patrick Wisdom. However, how do you not pick up a player that belts eight home runs in his first 48 plate appearances of the season? Through those 48 plate appearances, Wisdom is slashing .364/.417/.955 with eight home runs, 12 RBIs, 11 runs, one SB, and a 17-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio. I wouldn’t dump much FAAB on him, or drop any player of significance for him, as all signs point towards Wisdom coming back down to Earth. For starters, in nine minor league seasons (drafted in 2012), Wisdom slashed just .244/.319/.440 with a 25% strikeout percentage. Also note, nine seasons in the minors! He’s also 29 years old, debuted in 2018 and still has his rookie status in-tact for this season. Needless to say, he doesn’t carry a ton of prospect pedigree. That being said, he’s hitting the snot out of the ball, as he carries an Average Exit Velocity of over 94 miles per hour. While he’s hot, milk everything you can out of him and then dump him when pitchers figure out how to approach him and he comes back down to Earth.
4. Justin Upton | OF | Los Angeles Angels
How many of your outfielders have 14 home runs, 29 RBIs, two stolen bases, and 30 runs? Well, Justin Upton does. At 33-years-old, Upton’s plate discipline still is not spectacular, but he’s getting the job done in many areas. In addition to his counting stats, he’s also posting a .230/.316/.497 slash line with career highs in Barrel%, Average Exit Velocity, Expected wOBA on contact, and HardHit%. However, he’s also posting a career high in K%, which along with an expected batting average of .239, don’t count on his actual batting average going up. However, it appears Upton can be a solid contributor in home runs, RBIs, and runs moving forward. He’s all but been written off after down numbers in 2019 and 2020, but so far he appears to be more in-line with his career numbers prior to 2019. As long as he can keep that up, he’s valuable in fantasy.
5. Miguel Andújar | OF | New York Yankees
Here’s a flyer if you ever needed one. Consider rostering Miguel Andújar. We might be a long ways away from when Andújar slashed .297/.328/.527 with 27 home runs, 92 RBIs, and 83 runs in 2018, but he’s still just 26 years old and looking to regain the 2018 form that had him finish second behind Shohei Ohtani in the AL Rookie of the Year voting. A torn labrum derailed his 2019 season, and a COVID-shortened 2020 season was a wash. He’s back though, healthy, and hitting well. While he only has 72 batted balls so far, his batted ball statistics are way up from his 2019 and 2020 numbers. He’s hitting the ball hard and more often than he has in the previous two seasons. There’s no guarantee that he can ever repeat his spectacular 2018 season. However, if there’s a chance, he’ll cost you virtually nothing and could provide some serious value here down the stretch.