Fantasy pickups: Chris Young, Franklin Gutierrez, Lucas Duda, David Phelps
Below are players you should consider adding to your fantasy teams. The percentages listed next to each player are the ownership percentage in NFBC leagues. Also, all the data is up until May 18.
Chris Young, OF, Athletics, 52 percent: Saturday, Chris Young came off the DL from a strained quad and played in right field. The opening day starting right fielder, Josh Reddick, is still on the DL with a strained right wrist with no timetable for his return. It’s possible Reddick could play during the Athletics next homestand, but it seems unlikely at this moment. As an aside, I’m really worried about Reddick. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up having wrist surgery and misses the rest of the year. With Reddick out, Chris Young becomes the everyday right fielder. I wasn’t buying Chris Young in the preseason, not because of his skill set, but I didn’t know how he was going to get the 500+ at-bats necessary to be fantasy relevant for mixed leagues. When healthy, which he appears to be, Chris Young is a perennial 20/20 player and most importantly, is going to get every day at-bats at least for the next two weeks.
Franklin Gutierrez, OF, Mariners, 38 percent: Gutierrez quietly began his rehab assignment in triple-A Tacoma a few days ago and could be back in the majors any day. Having played only 148 games the past three seasons, Gutierrez has earned the injury-prone label, but I believe bad luck has been his problem. In 2011, he had stomach problems that went untreated in the offseason. Then, after a torn oblique muscle ended his 2011 season three weeks early, Gutierrez tore a pectoral muscle during a routine throwing drill and was sidelined more than two months. The Mariners will try to ensure his health the rest of the year by playing him mostly in right field. His skill set is very similar to Chris Young in that, if he’s healthy, he has 20/20 upside. Fantasy owners should temper expectations and be ecstatic he’s a 15/15 player the rest of the year.
Lucas Duda, OF, Mets, 80 percent: With Ike Davis’ struggles at the plate, the Mets are going to need to find a cleanup hitter. Duda is the best option available. What about John Buck? After his great three weeks to begin the season, Buck has a slash line of .176/.274/.311. There are issues with Duda’s approach at the plate, which makes him easily exploitable. His biggest problem is he’s trying to pull every pitch to right field. Like saves, RBIs are a function of opportunity rather than skill. With David Murhpy and David Wright hitting second and third, if Duda can hit like he did to begin the year, he should drive in a lot of runs.
David Phelps, SP, Yankees, 59 percent: With Ivan Nova still bothered by an inflamed right tricep, Phelps’ spot in the Yankee rotation seems secure at least for the next two weeks. What I like most about Phelps is the ability to miss bats. This year he’s striking out a little more than one batter an inning and is generating ground balls 50 percent of the time. For more detailed information checkout my piece I wrote a few days ago.