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An abundance of Pirates in this week's priority fantasy baseball pickups

Andy Behrens
·4 min read
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If you don't have at least a few roster problems by this point in the season, your team is an outlier. Well done, gamer. But the rest of us have a few fantasy issues to address. Here's a six-pack of widely available potential pickups, for those with pressing needs ...

Bryan Reynolds, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates (33% rostered)

Reynolds delivered an extremely promising rookie season back in 2019, slashing .314/.377/.503 with 16 homers and 57 XBHs over 134 games. His production fell off a cliff in the mini-season last year, but he's rebounded nicely so far in 2021. Reynolds raked in the spring (.906 OPS) and he's carried it into the regular season, hitting the occasional bomb ...

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... while batting .308 with on-base ability (.400). He may not have elite power, despite the blast above, but he'll clear the fence often enough to help those of you in deeper leagues. We can believe in the average, too, because we've seen him hit .300-plus before. He's batting third for the Bucs (because someone has to), a prime spot for run production.

J.T. Brubaker, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates (46%)

This will serve as last-call on Brubaker, who continues to pile up Ks, just like last year. He's opened his season with 18 whiffs in his first 15.1 innings, delivering excellent ratios (1.76/1.04). Brubaker offers mid-90s heat and evil breaking stuff. I'll concede that I'd been hoping he'd get a start this week against the Tigers and not the Twins, but the Ks are gonna be there pretty much every time he takes the mound, regardless of opponent.

Dane Dunning, SP, Texas Rangers (43%)

Have a look at some of the flailing, silly swings Dunning has coaxed so far this season, en route to a 0.80 WHIP:

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He ditched a pitch that wasn't necessarily working for him and the early-season results have been stellar. Dunning has allowed only one run and two walks in his first 15.0 innings while striking out 16. He has a revenge game on deck against a frisky White Sox lineup this week (not ideal, but fun). He's passed the eye-test to this point, so don't hesitate to make the add.

Carson Kelly, C, Arizona Diamondbacks (33%)

We highlighted Kelly's early-season performance last week, and the homering has continued. He's gone 12-for-32 so far with three bombs and more walks (12) than strikeouts (10). Before you roll your eyes and assume there's no room for growth with Kelly, we'll remind you that he's still only 26 years old and he reconstructed his swing in the offseason. This is exactly the sort of scenario that leads to a breakout. He's a nice flier if you're hurting at catcher, a minefield of a position.

Tejay Antone, SP/RP, Cincinnati Reds (31%)

Yeah, OK, fine: Antone isn't closing and he's not starting, so he's not likely to give us many saves or wins any time soon. But let's also remember that most Yahoo leagues have an innings cap, so middle-relievers with brilliant ratios and high K-rates are plenty valuable. Antone has whiffed 17 batters in just 10.2 innings and he's yielded just four hits and four walks. He has flamethrower heat and an obscene curve:

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If he eventually finds his way to either the ninth or the first, he'll have must-add status.

Justin Upton, OF, Los Angeles Angels (13%)

Folks, Upton is binging. And when he's binging, you want him. This is pretty simple stuff. He nearly broke Statcast on Wednesday when he exit-velocity'd the [expletive] outta this ball:

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That's 116.5 mph off the bat, which we don't see every day. So, um ... wow. Upton has homered three times in his last four games and he's coming off a ridiculous spring (1.138 OPS). Add wherever you need a power boost.