Willy Adames, Adalberto Mondesi offering category juice

Yahoo Sports
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/9893/" data-ylk="slk:Willy Adames">Willy Adames</a> knocked a home run in Tuesday’s loss to the Yankees (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Willy Adames knocked a home run in Tuesday’s loss to the Yankees (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Although Willy Adames has been a rated prospect for four years, his fantasy upside has been open to debate. Some of his scouting plaudits were couched in things that might not be directly helpful to our pursuit. Adames earned high points for makeup and defense; good things, but non-primary factors.

But after what I’ve seen from Adames in recent games, I don’t care about any of that. Perhaps for the 22-year-old infielder, the future is now.

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Adames raised his OPS by 120 points over his last week, with a 12-for-25 run. He’s homered twice in that stretch, and he stole bases in four straight games last week. The Rays are still slotting Adames in the bottom third of the order, but at least they’re committing to him. He’s started nine straight games, and 19-of-21.

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Adames had a .286/.353/.412 slash in his 64 games at Triple-A Durham, but just four homers and three steals. He’s already jumped to six homers and five steals in 46 Tampa games. The .253/.304/.396 slash doesn’t wear as well, but if the category juice is going to be part of the story, count me in. We love those stolen-base streaks — they keep the green light on, and often lead to sustained aggressiveness on the bases.

I’ve been adding Adames liberally over the last week, but he’s still unowned in about 75 percent of Yahoo leagues. He’s playing shortstop for Tampa, but qualifies at both middle-infield spots.

If your needs are more directly tied to stolen bases, post-hype sleeper Adalberto Mondesi is trying for your attention. Mondesi had four hits and three steals in Tuesday’s loss to the Jays, and over the last month he’s hitting .316 with an MLB-best 10 steals (Trea Turner also has 10).

Mondesi’s game might be best followed but not directly watched. Although he’s batting .279 for his 38 MLB games this year, his OBP is under .300. Roll it up to the plate, he’ll swing at it. Kid Mondesi has  struck out 37 times, and walked just three times, in 133 plate appearances.

Alas, fantasy baseball is a game about numbers, not a beauty contest. Style points mean nothing. If Mondesi can find his way into first base tonight, he’ll probably be trying to swipe second. Even if that average is screaming for a correction, he has a reasonable path into some of our lineups. Like Adames, he qualifies at both middle-infield spots.

Mondesi, still just 23, is available in 90 percent of Yahoo leagues.

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