Baseball is living up to 2020 standards with its lack of normalcy. It’s rather difficult to rank players on certain teams like the St. Louis Cardinals or Miami Marlins given their lack of playing time due to positive COVID-19 tests. In addition, many All-Star players are having historically horrific starts to their seasons. Here, we will focus on the underrated players who have shined through the adversity of this season. All of the players suggested are currently under 50% owned in ESPN fantasy leagues.
Owned in 25% of leagues, Spencer Turnbull is just one surprise for this Detroit Tigers team who is still at .500 despite dropping their last two games. Turnbull is off to a great start, with a 2.45 ERA and 14 strikeouts through 11 innings. Both of his starts came against the powerful, new look Cincinnati Reds lineup. Turnbull is generating a higher swing and miss rate to start the year than he ever has which increases his strikeout potential. The 27-year-old looks to develop himself as a top-end starter for the Tigers’ future. It’s important to watch the status of the Tigers matchup with the Cardinals the next few days due to St. Louis having multiple positive COVID-19 tests.
Marco Gonzales will make two starts this week for the Seattle Mariners at home against the Oakland Athletics and Colorado Rockies, giving him a good amount of fantasy scoring. Owned in only 20% of leagues, Gonzales has a 2.53 ERA in 10 and 2/3 innings against a stacked Houston Astros team and the Trout-less Los Angeles Angels. He has performed well in his starts so far compared to many other starters around his level. The Mariners’ schedule in the coming weeks favors him as well.
Teoscar Hernandez isn’t one of the young names that garner your attention on the Toronto Blue Jays, but he has had the best start. Through 28 at-bats, Hernandez has a .321 batting average with four home runs, six runs batted in, and even two stolen bases. Now owned in 45% of leagues, his ownership took a big jump from last week. He is a dual power/speed threat that will have many chances to produce runs in that lineup. Toronto had the weekend off after their series against the Philadelphia Phillies was canceled, but they are back in play Tuesday night against the Atlanta Braves.
The St. Louis Cardinals top prospect Dylan Carlson has yet to make his major league debut, but that should change very soon. The MLB date for teams to keep prospects in the minors for an extra year of control has passed and Carlson is expected to be called up. Owned in only 16% of leagues, the switch-hitter in 2019 batted .292 with 26 home runs between Double-A and Triple A. We’ll have to keep an eye on the Cardinals, however, as they are currently not playing while awaiting additional COVID-19 test results. When St. Louis returns to action, look for Carlson to cement himself in the Cardinals Outfield.
Deeper League Option
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ben Gamel is a sneaky option to consider adding in leagues with deeper rosters. Owned in only 2% of leagues, Gamel has been the fourth outfielder on the Brewers. Unfortunately for the Brewers, Lorenzo Cain has opted out of the remainder of the season. This creates a huge increase in opportunity for Gamel. He will become an everyday outfielder for the Brewers. Gamel has been clutch this year when given the chance hitting a home run and four RBI. With Cain out, Gamel has a good chance to move up in the lineup and see more run-scoring chances.
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