Fantasy Baseball: Top 10 sleeper hitters for Week 24 feature Tyler White, Phillip Ervin
Every week, I’ve provided you with my favorite sleeper hitters owned in less than 80 percent of CBS Sports leagues.
But some hitters never graduate from that ownership threshold, which means you’ve seen many of the same names in this space over and over and over again.
Not in Week 24 (Sept. 3-9), though. Not when the list is halfway comprised of rookies.
. There’s an opportunity for even more fresh faces going forward.
Still owned in less than 50 percent of CBS Sports leagues, Tyler White is arguably the hottest hitter in baseball, having homered eight times in his past 20 games. He has a 1.026 OPS after putting together a 1.013 OPS at Triple-A Fresno and should be able to keep it going against pitchers like Kohl Stewart, Jake Odorizzi, Stephen Gonsalves and Brian Johnson.
Some swing changes that Kole Calhoun made during a two-week absence for an oblique injury in June continue to pay dividends. He s batting .296 over his past 18 games and .288 with 17 homers and a .929 OPS in 63 games since returning from the injury. No sense benching him against a bunch Rangers and White Sox pitchers this week.
Hunter Renfroe has responded well to more regular playing time, homering seven times in his past 15 games, including twice Saturday. The four Reds on tap for the Padres this week — Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, Matt Harvey and Cody Reed — are all known for giving up long balls.
The Rockies play all six of their games at home this week, and Carlos Gonzalez has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the thin air of Coors Field over the years, batting .331 with a .995 OPS there this year. His matchups this week feature four lefties, but he has been getting regular at-bats against them lately, batting a respectable .263 with a.728 OPS.
Harrison Bader, meanwhile, is a complete masher against lefties, batting .326 with a .945 OPS. The Cardinals are facing a couple of vulnerable types in Matthew Boyd and Francisco Liriano, and the righties — guys like Erick Fedde and Michael Fulmer — aren’t sure things themselves.
Franmil Reyes performance since his most recent stint in the minors hasn’t gotten much attention, but he’s batting .304 (21 for 69) with seven homers and a 1.021 OPS during that time. He returned with a reduced leg kick, which has helped keep the strikeouts down, and it doesn’t seem to have compromised his power. Plus, he has those same favorable matchups as Renfroe this week.
Joey Wendle‘s main contribution in Fantasy has been sort of a hollow batting average, but he has taken to running more all of a sudden, swiping four bags in his past six games. He has also hit .333 (32 for 96) since the start of August, so even if the stolen bases are just a fluke, he seems like a quality high-floor option against some of the worst the Blue Jays and Orioles can throw at him.
Capitalizing on the injury to Jesse Winker and the departure of Adam Duvall, Phillip Ervin has slowly hit his way into a more regular role for the Reds — and in a way that’s backed up by his quality of contact. If he can sustain a top-five line-drive rate and an approach that has him hitting the ball the other way nearly as often as he pulls it, he’ll profile as a high-BABIP guy with decent pop. He’ll face the Padres pitching staff four times in a seven-game week.
The most impressive thing about Willy Adames‘ August, which saw the rookie hit .318 with five homers, is that his strikeout rate was only 25 percent — much closer than what we saw in the minors and more tenable than the 33 percent rate he offered in June and July. The Rays have the most favorable matchups of any team this week, squaring off against Thomas Pannone, Ryan Borucki, Aaron Sanchez, Dylan Bundy, David Hess and Yefry Ramirez.
Luis Urias hit his first home run Friday and has started and batted second every game since arriving in the majors Tuesday, putting him in a prime spot for at-bats and runs scored. His high contact rate and line-drive approach should give him a high floor from week to week, and with four games against the Reds pitching staff, he might have a pretty good ceiling, too.
Best hitter matchups for Week 23
1. Rays @TOR3, BAL3
2. Indians KC3, @TOR4
3. Reds @PIT3, SD4
4. Pirates CIN3, MIA3
5. Cardinals @WAS3, @DET3
Worst hitter matchups for Week 23
1. Braves BOS3, @ARI4
2. Dodgers NYM3, @COL3
3. Red Sox @ATL3, HOU3
4. Blue Jays TB3, CLE4
5. Mets @LAD3, PHI3