J.T. Realmuto: His OPS is up to .916 thanks to a big weekend in Coors Field, as his career-year continues. Realmuto is under team control through 2020 but is heavily rumored in trade talks, and while he has a prime spot in Miami’s lineup, getting out of that offense (the Marlins’ 83 wRC+ is tied for second-worst in MLB) and Marlins Park (no NL park has decreased run scoring more since the start of last season) can only help his already high fantasy value, even if he lands in just a neutral environment. Miami’s asking price is reportedly high and rightfully so given Realmuto’s strong defense, but the team is financially motivated to get a deal done. Realmuto hasn’t run as much as usual, attempting only two steals, but he ranks as the No. 110 fantasy player despite opening the season on the disabled list. Evan Gattis is the only catcher ranked higher (and just barely at No. 101), while the third most valuable fantasy backstop checks in at No. 220 overall (Yasmani Grandal). And Gary Sanchez just hit the DL. Realmuto owners have a leg up right now.
A.J. Minter: Arodys Vizcaino was recently placed on the DL, and while it’s possible it’s just a minor issue, he’s dealing with inflammation in his throwing shoulder that’s been ongoing all season. Minter hasn’t been as dominant as expected this year (1.39 WHIP), and Dan Winkler gives Atlanta another option to close (although Winkler worked the eighth while Minter pitched the ninth during the Braves’ 4-0 win Sunday). Minter’s control is still a work in progress, but the lefty throws hard (96.7 mph) and owns a 15.9 SwStr% with a minuscule 1.2 Barrel%. Vizcaino’s injury could prove serious, and the Braves keep winning games, so it’s a good situation if Minter can win the role. He projects as the team’s long-term closer.
Jose Bautista: He homered twice over the weekend and is now hitting .276/.476/.517 with more walks (22) than strikeouts (20) over 58 at bats with the Mets. In fact, only Joey Votto and Mike Trout have better on-base percentages than Bautista in June. He’s been hitting fifth in New York’s lineup, is also 3B eligible and is available in more than 90 percent of Yahoo leagues. It’s been a small sample, but Bautista has still been crushing the ball this season at age 37, recording a 94.0 mph average exit velocity (league average = 87.3) and a 50.0 Hard Hit% (league average = 34.1).
Odubel Herrera: Few players have been as hot as Herrera, who’s racked up six homers and a steal with a 1.414 OPS over the last nine games (40 at bats). He hits third in a park that’s increased home runs for left-handed batters by 20 percent over the last three seasons (fourth-highest over that span) and is just one long ball shy of last season’s total (14), as his launch angle has noticeably increased. Herrera has been a top-40 fantasy player in 2018, destroying his ADP.
Matt Olson: He’s homered three times over the past five games, and since sitting with a .676 OPS on May 13, Olson has hit .264/.342/.579 with 13 homers over 140 at bats. Olson’s homer-binge isn’t a huge surprise and should be considered fully legit given his highly impressive batted ball profile (he ranks top-15 in exit velocity, Hard Hit%, Barrel% and xwOBA). Olson still strikes out a ton, but he’s hitting the ball harder than ever while using all parts of the field (his Pull% has gone from 49.6 last year to 37.8 in 2018).
Carlos Martinez: He was pounded for seven runs (five earned) in Milwaukee during his last start and owns an 8.10 ERA and a 2.58 WHIP over 16.2 innings since returning from the disabled list, when he’s alarmingly walked 20 batters. Martinez’s velocity has fluctuated while returning from a lat injury, and whatever the reason, his owners have to be highly concerned at this point. Martinez has allowed a homer in back-to-back starts after having surrendered just one all year previously, and he gets a strong Cleveland offense next time out. It won’t be easy shopping Martinez, and it’s possible all he needs is time further removed from the injury, but all those walks are a big red flag.
Gregory Polanco: It looked like Polanco might finally live up to his potential when he was off to a huge first two weeks to start the season, but he’s slumped mightily since, hitting .208/.315/.361 over his last 183 at bats, finding himself benched each of the past three games (and four of the last five) in favor of Austin Meadows. Polanco has dramatically increased his launch angle (up to 20.9 degrees from his career mark of 10.8) and is hitting many more fly balls, trading power for batting average (his BABIP is down to .248 this season). Polanco has been a big disappointment.
Kelvin Herrera: He was traded to the Nationals and has taken a backseat to Sean Doolittle as the team’s closer, giving up two runs while working the eighth inning Sunday night. Herrera has been fantastic this year and was a great addition for the Nationals, but he lost most of his fantasy value with the trade. His owners can take solace in the fact Doolittle has never thrown 70.0 innings in a season during his career, and he hasn’t reached 55.0 since 2014.
Mike Zunino: He hit 25 homers over just 387 at bats last season, posting a .943 OPS after the All-Star break. The late season success hasn’t carried over (he feasted on September pitching with six homers and a .338/.420/.662 line), as Zunino is batting .121 with a whopping 17 strikeouts over his last 33 at bats. Zunino’s 40.5 K% would easily be the worst in baseball if he qualified (Chris Davis currently holds that distinction at 36.9%), and he’s been just the No. 19 ranked fantasy catcher this year.