|Name||Position||Team||ESPN Own %|
|Jorge Soler||OF||Atlanta Braves||59.5|
|Kyle Farmer||3B, 2B, SS||Cincinnati Reds||41.2|
|Rafael Ortega||OF||Chicago Cubs||25.3|
|LaMonte Wade Jr||1B, OF||San Francisco Giants||13.2|
|Aledmys Díaz||3B, 2B, OF||Houston Astros||15.4|
1. Jorge Soler | OF | Atlanta Braves
Do we believe in Jorge Soler again? In all reality, it’s probably not very wise to use his one miraculous 2019 season as a gauge for what we should expect out of him. Instead, we have six other seasons to prove that he’s likely not the .922 OPS, 48-homer monster that we now expect him to be. He began the season with the Royals hitting pretty abysmally, slashsing just .186/.283/.318 in 285 plate appearances through the month of May. Soler had played himself entirely out of fantasy relevance at that point. However, he began turning things around in July before being traded to the Braves and playing his first game with Atlanta on the 31st. In 92 plate appearances, Soler slashed .244/.326/.598 with 18 runs, nine home runs, 13 RBIs, and a 20-to-10 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Say what you will, but maintaining an OPS of .900+ over the course of an entire month is not particularly easy to do. Now Soler enjoys the benefit of hitting in a much better lineup, surrounded by the likes of Freddie Freeman, Austin Riley, Dansby Swanson, and fellow trade acquisition Adam Duvall. It remains to be seen if he can keep this up, as not everyone is ready to forgive three straight months of horrible production, but there’s a decent chance Soler provides a lot of value down the stretch.
2. Kyle Farmer | 3B, 2B, SS | Cincinnati Reds
Kyle Farmer is a positionally versatile player that should be considered at this point. We’re not talking about a breakout superstar here, as he’s 30 years old and has been in the league for five years. He’s not going to win you your league, either. However, he’s been absolutely crushing it for over a month now and can provide your fantasy team with a ton of value. Since the beginning of July, in 103 plate appearances, Farmer is slashing .366/.427/.645 with 18 runs, five home runs, 11 RBIs, one stolen base, and a 16-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio. For somebody that is eligible at so many different positions, that’s pretty hard to pass up. He’s not making a ton of hard contact, but his contact skills are superb and he’s putting it together right now for the Reds.
3. Rafael Ortega | OF | Chicago Cubs
Owned in roughly one-quarter of leagues, Rafael Ortega has quietly been good for quite some time now. Much like Farmer, we’re not talking about a breakout candidate here. Ortega has been in and out of the league since 2012 and is now 30 years old. However, he was given a shot at an everyday role in late May and hasn’t given up the job yet. In 132 plate appearances, Ortega is slashing .311/.359/.525 with 17 runs, six home runs, 15 RBIs, four stolen bases, and a 33-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Yes, the strikeouts and walks are not encouraging. However, he’s managed to keep both his batting average and OPS up throughout that. There’s no guarantee that he can keep this up, but plug him into your lineup for the time being until he cools down.
4. LaMonte Wade Jr | 1B, OF | San Francisco Giants
What a story LaMonte Wade Jr has been for the surging San Francisco Giants. As if they needed more support, Wade Jr has come in this season and has been absolutely incredible for them. He came up through the Twins farm system and made his major league debut with Minnesota before ultimately being traded to the Giants this past offseason. Considering how the Twins have since released the pitcher they got back in that trade, it’s safe to say the Giants seem to be on the winning end of that exchange. In 192 plate appearances, Wade Jr is slashing .246/.332/.551 with 27 runs, 13 home runs, 30 RBIs, three stolen bases, and a 47-to-19 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Originally profiling as more of a contact hitter, Wade Jr seems to have sacrificed that a bit in exchange for just a little more power and he has found a decent balance of that in 2021 leading off for the NL’s best team. His Average Exit Velocity, HardHit%, K%, and BB% are all balancing out as pretty solid numbers right now. Considering he was quickly penciled back into the lineup after the back injury scare, don’t be afraid to make the move and pick him up.
5. Aledmys Díaz | 3B, 2B, OF | Houston Astros
Since returning from a fractured hand sustained in early June, Díaz has become impossible to ignore. Before the injury, he was batting .278 with a .776 OPS in 126 plate appearances. Since returning, he’s hitting .346 with a 1.101 OPS. To be fair, it’s only been 27 plate appearances and by no means would we expect him to sustain the latter numbers. However, if you use his April and May numbers as a floor for what you can expect, and consider he’s red-hot right now and hitting in the awesome Astros lineup, he’s hard not to pick up. His strikeouts and Average Exit Velocity are right around career average, and his HardHit% is up from what you could normally expect from him. Especially considering his positional flexibility, pick him up and ride out this hot streak plugging him into various spots in your fantasy lineup.