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Fantasy Baseball: 5 outfield-eligible players who could help fill the Bryce Harper void

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Let’s get rid of the obvious. None of the fantasy baseball players can replace one for one Bryce Harper. The All-Star outfielder hit a great .318/.385/.599 with a .985 OPS and 15 home runs. He played like a clear NL MVP candidate.

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But now he’s set to be out indefinitely after breaking his thumb in a punch. Blake Snell innings.

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So yes, no player will replace Bryce Harper’s production, which is no consolation to the fantasy managers who picked the top 10 draft picks to pick the Phillies superstar.

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However, Fantasy Managers can find a productive, maybe even underrated, outfield player or several to fill the position slot while their star is on the mend.

You can try to make a fantasy trade to make up for the loss of Harper, but here are five low roster players to consider on the waiver wire today if you’d rather go the traditional route.

Garrett Cooper, Miami Marlins (39 percent of participants)

Cooper excelled in June, scoring 29-of-80 to bring his season line up to .307/.372/.452 with a .824 OPS. Statcast maintains this excellent line, with its expected average and lag currently at 0.298 and 0.499, respectively.

Cooper may not show Harper’s dynamic performance, but he will help solidify your average and provide an incredible shot. There’s also room for underrated running and RBI potential with Cooper usually hitting in the middle of the order for the amazing Marlins offense who can just play in a park that doesn’t seem to suppress the scoring anymore. He also qualifies at first base, which is always a plus.

Jorge Alfaro, San Diego Padres (33% of participants)

Let’s see: The outfield-qualified Catcher hits high in batting order for a solid offense, who finally gets the consistent playing time he deserves. What’s not to like?

Alfaro’s bat has always had some serious potential, even since his days in Miami, and he could realize that potential now that he has more options. Alfaro’s expected numbers are now 0.271 (average) and 0.571 (lag); those are drool-worthy marks for any fantasy hitter in today’s MLB, not to mention CATCHER. His current BABIP is only 5 points higher than his career score, so it doesn’t look like it’s just some kind of blip on the radar.

San Diego will need an Alfaro attack with Manny Machado still on the sidelines. Ride the wave.

Jack Suwinski, Pittsburgh Pirates (15%)

Speaking of riding the wave, another Pirates rookie striker is making an impact. Suwinski struck a hot note in the energy department to kick off his MLB career. Pittsburgh’s 28th-seeded prospect hit as many as 12 home runs in 171 at-bats; it was hard to foresee it.

Jack Suwinski (65), left fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, has some fantastic value.
The strength of Jack Suwinski made a fantastic impression. (Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Of course, Suwinski has a major warning label: he can single-handedly undermine your average category. That being said, the current .242 BABIP might mean the youngster is a little out of luck (his average exit rate of 112.4 does inspire some confidence that his fortunes could change), but he will have to cut his ugly 31.6K percentage mark for start. For what it’s worth, he never hit more than 28 percent of the time in the minors; of course the majors are a different beast.

Suwinski isn’t the first unsung prospect to hit MLB this year. If you can stomach Suwinski’s average failures – let’s say if you have guys like Luis Arraes as well as Michael Brantley in your team – he’s worth keeping an eye out for potential dynamic power and underrated speed while the good times last.

Jace Peterson, Milwaukee Brewers (14%)

This pick is exclusively for deep league fantasy managers who are looking not only for a replacement outfielder, but someone who can secure a stolen base increase.

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Peterson now has up to nine stolen bases per year in limited playtime for the Brewers. He also has six home runs, so a 10-15 season could be on the cards, especially with Peterson getting more playing time as a multi-position defenseman.

Max Kepler, Minnesota Twins (28%)

Full disclosure: Max Kepler may be my favorite choice from this group, solely because it could be until the end of the season.

If you open the Kepler’s Statcast page, you will see the magnificent red sea. Kepler is currently cutting a modest 0.244/0.348/0.401, but Statcast says he should move up to 0.305 average and 0.523 chops (not to mention 0.393 xwOBA).

Of course, Kepler’s problem has been the same as ever: he’s been battling southpaws (he has a disappointing career-wide .642 against them), but there may be signs of hope this season. The 29-year-old outfielder hit .747 OPS this year against left-handed pitchers (not to mention .360 OBP, which is good for his scoring potential in a strong Twins lineup).

You’ll want Kepler on your lineup if (and when) his expected Statcast numbers start to take shape on the playing field.


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