Lose Kershaw in fantasy? Blind resumes highlight June gems you should know

In a world where the Cleveland Indians rip off 12-straight victories – their longest winning streak since 1951 – it should come as no surprise that some unsung heroes hung with and, in some cases, outperformed the crème of the fantasy baseball crop over the past 30 days.

MLB fans and fantasy owners connect names like Clayton Kershaw (now of the 15-day DL), Jake Arrieta, Mike Trout, and Bryce Harper with consistent and reliable production on the mound and at the plate. However, after dissecting these roto-friendly stats over the past month, a number of cagey veterans and stars on the rise also deserve your attention as names to know.

All stats through 6/29/16 – last 30

Starting Pitcher  QS IP K ERA WHIP June xFIP
Player A 4 36 45 3.25 1.06 3.52
Player B 5 42 45 2.14 1.07 3.18
Player C 4 33 36 1.64 0.79 3.17

Did you lose Clayton Kershaw to the 15-day disabled list with no timetable for return? Well, you’re out of luck because he’s a generational talent. However, check out these starting pitchers below as well as Adam Meyer’s three-pack of waiver wire targets.

Only two pitchers struck out more hitters than Player A and Player B over the past 30 days – Jose Fernandez and Max Scherzer. Now, tell me how many of you rattled off Danny Duffy and Matt Shoemaker as strikeout kings in June? Both are available in more than 50 percent of leagues on FS.com.

Opposing hitters managed just a .171 average (.224 OBP) against the Brewers’ Zach Davies over the past 36 innings. In 18 Triple-A starts last season, his ERA lived below 3.00 with a K/9-rate north of 7.00. While the days of 1.64 ERA / 0.79 WHIP may be short lived (he gave up 6 ER while I wrote this), if Davies is a 3.50 MLB pitcher in the NL Central, I know plenty of fantasy owners who would take advantage of his availability given the chance.

Catcher HR R RBI SB OBP June BABIP
Player A 5 14 16 3 0.318 0.286
Player B 7 10 20 0 0.279 0.171
Player C 3 8 15 0 0.408 0.431

Giants’ catcher Buster Posey is owned in 99 percent of fantasy baseball leagues and rightfully so. He posted a .369 on base percentage with 18 runs, 12 RBI and a homer over the past 30 days. However, look at Catcher A, B and C’s blind resumes. While Player A and B fall short to match Posey’s ability to reach base, their other roto-friendly stats are a positive, while Player C’s OBP trumps Posey’s and with three dingers, showcased some pop.

Derek Norris, Evan Gattis and Kurt Suzuki are Players A, B and C, respectively, and are owned in less than 30 percent of leagues on FS.com. Also worth noting, that Gattis’ .171 BABIP is an extreme sign of bad luck and while he may not be Ted Williams, his number should continue to improve.

First Baseman HR R RBI SB OBP June BABIP
Player A 6 17 17 0 0.330 0.303
Player B 5 16 15 0 0.316 0.263
Player C 2 7 9 4 0.365 0.365

Anthony Rizzo, Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt, and Edwin Encarnacion are all – for the most part – household MLB names. The foursome are also owned in 99 percent of fantasy leagues on the site. While the gap between top tier and second tier first basemen is endorsed by the Grand Canyon, our three blind resume producers could help fantasy owners out in deeper leagues and/or where you must start a corner infielder.

Player A is the Rockies’ Mark Reynolds. The marriage between Coors Field and Reynolds power stroke is almost too good to be true. Consistent at bats for the 32-year-old masher in what could have been a platoon scenario with the Rockies has made a positive difference. He was one of only six first basemen to post 17-or more runs and RBI over the past 30 days.

Look at Logan Morrison – Player B – enjoying a surge in production over the past week. His strikeout rate is up about five percent compared to career norms, which could keep owners away, but definitely a corner infielder candidate. Player C, Marwin Gonzalez, made the cut because corner infielders with .365 OBP and four stolen bases don’t pop up on the radar very often. His month was solid, but he’s only reached safely six times over his past 26 at bats.

Second Baseman HR R RBI SB OBP June BABIP
Player A 5 25 18 1 0.393 0.402
Player B 8 20 16 2 0.408 0.302
Player C 5 15 17 1 0.337 0.311

With a combination of power and speed, Astros’ second baseman Jose Altuve is posting numbers that will make Joe Morgan proud. He blasted four homers with 19 runs, 16 RBI and six steals over the past 30. Now, look at Player A. The Orioles’ Jon Schoop is the real deal folks. Yes, the BABIP for the season and June are inflated, but the guy has hit for power throughout the season. Just this week, his fantasy ownership percentage rose above 50 percent.

Player B, Danny Espinosa has displayed the power + speed combo before back in 2011-12. Providing consistent production has been his bug-a-boo as he’s struggled to improve on a career-.230 batting average. He is, however, on pace for 24 homers for the Nats this season.

Player C, Devon Travis, got a late start to the season due to injury and falls into the "out-of-sight, out-of-mind" reasoning bucket. But Travis has been lauded as a top prospect in the minors for a few years. The OBP could improve, but those in need of middle infield assistance should keep tabs on this guy who is owned in less than 20 percent of leagues.

Third Baseman HR R RBI SB OBP June BABIP
Player A 8 13 22 0 0.314 0.230
Player B 5 11 16 1 0.361 0.324
Player C 5 12 13 0 0.307 0.242

Only Kris Bryant, Evan Longoria and Jake Lamb hit more home runs than Player A during June. Justin Turner should see an uptick in ownership with an unlucky .230 BABIP combined with those roto-friendly eight homers, 13 runs and 22 RBI. He’s only owned in 26 percent of leagues!! He hit .294 with a .370 OBP in 2015.

Player B is the Indians’ Lonnie Chisenhall. He enjoyed a similar stretch of high-end production in 2015 before the other shoe dropped and he lost his place in line. Chisenhall and the Tribe are rolling, but just be cautious when investing in Indians’ bats that don’t belong to Francisco Lindor.

Player C is the Phillies Maikel Franco. He tore the cover off the ball during spring training leading to an inflated average draft position in late-March. When Franco’s spring success didn’t translate to the regular season his ownership percentage dipped below 50 percent. The June surge helped boost it back up to 56.5. The .242 BABIP suggest sunnier days are ahead.

Shortstop HR R RBI SB OBP June BABIP
Player A 5 18 17 3 0.327 0.315
Player B 5 11 20 3 0.333 0.339
Player C 3 14 17 2 0.364 0.352

What was once the shallowest of fantasy position pools, fantasy shortstop has enjoyed a roto renaissance of sorts. When you look at the numbers Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, and other shortstops are posting, it makes you forget that it was Troy Tulowitzki or bust at one time. However, if you missed the boat on the top 10 shortstops in the draft or bought stock in Trevor Story the first week of April, it can still be a bumpy ride.

The blind resume on-base percentages aren’t great, but Marcus Semien (Player A), Javier Baez (Player B) and Didi Gregorius (Player C) have made strong cases for starting at middle infield and/or bench roster slots. Semien’s strikeout rate still sits north of 20 percent, but has hit 15 homers in 78 games this year after hitting 15 HR in 155 games last season.

The knock on Baez’s is all-or-nothing production game-to-game. He only had five multiple-hit games in June. The fact he has 2B / SS / 3B eligibility may make up for some of those knocks on his game.

Gregorius finished June with homers in back-to-back games.The one-time top prospect in the Reds’ organization had to reboot his career twice with the Diamondbacks and now Yankees. So, it may be that his mind is finally at ease and he can just got out and play ball.

Outfielders HR R RBI SB OBP June BABIP
Player A 6 17 16 8 0.294 0.323
Player B 3 14 15 0 0.425 0.387
Player C 7 10 13 1 0.305 0.353

The top five stolen base leaders among outfielders combined to hit only six homers over the past 30 days . Melvin Upton smacked six by himself and swiped eight bags. He’s one of only 13 outfielders with 17 runs and 16 RBI during that stretch. Upton still strikes out too often – 26 percent – but he’s on pace to have his best fantasy season since 2012.

Outfielders B and C are Jayson Werth and Yasmany Tomas. Both are waiver wire options that will probably be there tomorrow and if they aren’t, wait a week. Tomas’ June power should intrigue us more, but he sacrificed consistent contact for power as he struck out 35 percent of the time over the past month. Also see: grip and rip mentality.

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