Franmil Reyes: He entered 2018 buried on prospect rankings lists but busted out with a 196 wRC+ in Triple-A, forcing his way to San Diego. Reyes started off slowly with the Padres, batting .167/.219/.267 over his first 30 at bats but has since homered in three of his past four games, and with Franchy Cordero hitting the DL and Wil Myers at least a month away from returning, Reyes should continue to see regular playing time. Strikeouts are going to remain a problem and make him a BA risk, but Reyes’ power is very real. It’s obviously a tiny sample, but his Statcast numbers are through the roof (96.3 mph average exit velocity, 52.0 Hard Hit%, 24.0 Barrel%. League average = 87.3 mph, 34.0%, 6.0%), which reveals plenty of upside beneath an otherwise weak-looking .689 OPS. Reyes is just 22 years old, has been moved up to fifth in San Diego’s lineup and is owned in just 15 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Kyle Gibson: Over his last seven starts, Gibson has a 3.21 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP with 46 strikeouts over 42.0 innings. The former first-round pick has increased his SwStr% every season he’s been in the league, and this year’s impressive 12.2% ranks No. 22 among starters, just one spot below Luis Severino and a couple ahead of Stephen Strasburg. Gibson is still available in more than 80 percent of leagues.
Kyle Crick: Felipe Vazquez sports a 4.84 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP and has blown four saves in his last six appearances while also dealing with forearm discomfort, so the closing job could easily be for the taking in Pittsburgh. Crick has been pitching in the highest leverage non-save situations for the team lately and has a 1.93 ERA with a good enough fastball to get the job done should he overtake the closing role. And beware of his quick pitch. Michael Feliz could be another option.
Kyle Barraclough: All the Kyles! The writing has been on the wall for a while, but it looks like Barraclough is finally going to take over as the Marlins’ closer, and as Andy Behrens pleaded, please go pick him up. Barraclough is still somehow available in more than 55 percent of leagues.
Carlos Rodon: He’s ready to return to the White Sox’s rotation next weekend after recovering from shoulder surgery. While he’s in far from an ideal situation (Chicago has scored the third-fewest runs in MLB yet plays in an extremely HR-favorable park), has always had major control problems and is coming back from surgery on his throwing shoulder, Rodon was the No. 3 pick in the 2014 draft, owns a career 9.2 K/9 mark in the majors and has reportedly been hitting 93-95 mph during his rehab starts. He’s still available in more than 90 percent of leagues.
John Ryan Murphy: He’s homered in three straight games, giving him five long balls over his past seven contests (six starts). Murphy is now getting the majority of starts at catcher for Arizona (and it’s also nice to know ahead of time when he’s sure to sit, which is when Zack Greinke starts), so he’s certainly worth adding at a position that’s been as bad as ever in 2018. Murphy has fewer than 80 at bats, and his eight homers are tied for third-most among all catchers…Max Stassi is another C available in most leagues who’s worth giving strong pickup consideration.
Max Muncy: He posted OPSs of .660 and .565 during his first two seasons in MLB, so this year’s .847 is a bit out of nowhere, although Muncy did have a 139 wRC+ at Triple-A in 2017. He’s getting a chance at regular playing time with the Dodgers right now, is 1B/3B/OF eligible, and he’s really hitting the ball with authority (91.3 mph avg. exit velocity, 47.2 Hard Hit%, 19.4 Barrel%).
Jaime Barria: He has a 2.48 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP on the year, and the only start in which he’s allowed more than two runs this season came in Yankee Stadium (when he allowed four, although admittedly he had another poor outing back in April in which he left early). Barria won’t give you a ton of innings given that he rarely goes deep in games, but it appears the Angels may keep him in their six-man rotation (where injuries are sure to strike as well). Barria owns a 12.4 SwStr% and is available in more than 75 percent of leagues.
Clay Buchholz: His 1.50 ERA comes with a .163 BABIP and a 97.8 LOB%, but that’s not surprising, and no one is rushing out to grab Buchholz at this stage of his career. But he did just sport a 9:1 K:BB ratio Friday night during his third straight solid start to open his season, when he’s also produced a 10.4 SwStr%. Buchholz has a decent pedigree, and the humidor has really limited homers at Chase Field, so he’s an option in deeper leagues.
Harrison Bader: He has five homers, six steals and 19 runs scored in fewer than 100 at bats this season and is now getting more regular playing time. Scott Pianowski recently made a strong case on why Bader should be added to your team.
Yairo Munoz: He has a .296/.345/.444 line while filling in for Paul DeJong, even homering twice with seven RBI and a steal over the past five games. Munoz is just seven-percent owned and worth a look in deeper leagues for those in search for SS help.