Fantasy Baseball Pickups: Mitch Moreland and others to add

<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/teams/bos" data-ylk="slk:Boston Red Sox">Boston Red Sox</a>’s <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/8772/" data-ylk="slk:Mitch Moreland">Mitch Moreland</a> highlights this week’s look at fantasy baseball pickups (AP Photo).
Boston Red Sox’s Mitch Moreland highlights this week’s look at fantasy baseball pickups (AP Photo).

Mitch Moreland: He has a .318/.393/.636 line on the year and has been hitting cleanup for a Boston team that’s scored the second-most runs in MLB this season yet is owned in just 40 percent of leagues. Moreland is also looking at more playing time now that Hanley Ramirez has been designated for assignment, although that move may ultimately help Eduardo Nunez’s playing time more with Dustin Pedroia due back soon. Still, the move opens up a bigger role, and even if Moreland continues to sit against some lefties, that will just keep his BA up, and his terrific start to the year doesn’t appear overly fluky. His exit velocity (93.5 mph) and Brls/PA (9.8) both rank in the top-15, and if Moreland qualified, his 173 wRC+ would be tied for fourth-best in baseball with J.D. Martinez (making that three Red Sox in the top-five), and few parks help boost batting average for lefties more than Fenway. Moreland should be universally owned at this point.

Ross Stripling: He was dominant Friday and now sports a 1.50 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP with a 26:0 K:BB ratio over his last three starts (18.0 innings). Stripling doesn’t have an overpowering fastball, but his three other pitches are all effective, and there’s a spot in Los Angeles’ rotation for the taking. His 1.97 FIP is second-best among starters, yet Stripling is available in more than 60 percent of leagues.

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Ryan McMahon: He’s heating up in Triple-A, and the Rockies could use help at either second base (a position McMahon is trying to learn) or first base, where they have been getting historically bad production, so McMahon should get another chance in Colorado soon. He’s still available in 95 percent of leagues, and there will be a lot of runs scored in Coors Field during the summer months.

Jose Alvarado: The Rays were going to trade Alex Colome at some point, but the move happened sooner than expected, leaving fantasy owners guessing who’ll now work the ninth inning in Tampa Bay. Alvarado has pitched well this season (2.95 ERA, 0.98 WHIP), and he’s probably the slight favorite for saves right now, but his control is shaky, and he’s a left-hander, so others like Chaz Roe could also be a factor.

Alex Reyes: He’s dominating his rehab starts, and St. Louis management has even said recently Reyes won’t have an innings limit once he’s recalled. Andy Behrens has a longer take on why Reyes definitely should be added in your league.

Daniel Mengden: He owns a 3.30 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP but few seem to be buying in, as Mengden is owned in just 28 percent of leagues. He doesn’t possess overpowering stuff, but his control has been truly elite (his 0.94 BB/9 ranks third-best among all starters). Mengden’s changeup is a strong offering, and he benefits from a pitcher’s park, although his value gets knocked down some in leagues with an innings cap thanks to his low K rate.

Brandon Crawford: He ended May 1 with a .536 OPS but has hit .447/.482/.671 with a 12-3-18 line over 21 games (76 ABs) since. Crawford has quickly gone from having one of the worst months of his career to currently owning the highest wRC+ (122) of his career. That wRC+ ranks No. 6 among shortstops this year, one spot ahead of the slumping Didi Gregorius. Of course, there’s a big difference between playing in the Yankee lineup and stadium versus the Giants and AT&T Park, which will always limit Crawford’s fantasy upside, but he’s hitting as well as ever right now and still available in half of leagues.

Joe Musgrove: I included him during last week’s column, but Musgrove is worth mentioning again after tossing seven scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and no walks during his season debut. Musgrove has upside now in the National League and is owned in just a quarter of leagues.

Greg Bird: He’s likely gone in your league but is still out there in 45 percent of them. Bird was activated off the DL on Saturday, and he was one of my favorite breakout candidates entering 2018 before going down. Bird has the upside to be a difference maker from here on out.

Ryan Tepera: Roberto Osuna could be looking at a “significant ban,” Tyler Clippard has allowed seven earned runs over his last four appearances, and Seunghwan Oh pitched the seventh inning Friday, when Tepera recorded a save during Toronto’s 6-5 win (he did surrender a run while doing so). He looks like the current favorite to close for the Blue Jays and is owned in just 12 percent of leagues.

Brandon Nimmo: He’s hitting leadoff while quietly sporting a .430 OBP this season, but all those walks haven’t impressed fantasy owners too much, as he’s available in more than 85 percent of leagues still. But Nimmo has increased his launch angle by nearly a full 10 degrees this season compared to last (9.6 to 19.1), so he looks like a different hitter who requires a new set of expectations.

Follow the Yahoo fantasy baseball crew on Twitter: Andy BehrensDalton Del Don, and Scott Pianowski

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