Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw discusses four low-cost hitters worth adding to your fantasy roster this week.
Todd Frazier, 3B, Reds
At first Todd Frazier looked a lot like an all-or-nothing guy. He has some pop, but his average has been low and he does not draw many walks. However, over the last few weeks he has enjoyed the chance to play everyday and have confidence that he will not be pulled. Ever since, Frazier has found a comfort zone, hitting both right-handers and southpaws alike.
After blasting five home runs last month, Frazier is hitting .296 in June and the strikeouts are in decline while the walks are increasing in frequency. The power is legitimate and his minor league record suggests there could be many more stolen bases coming. Frazier is an excellent buy-low option who may have secured the starting third base gig for the long-term in Cincinnati.
Justin Maxwell, OF, Astros
Justin Maxwell is a name from the past for Nationals fans. He contributed in bits and parts of seasons, but never offered the consistency needed to stick. Last season he played with the New York Yankees Triple-A affiliate and in just 176 at-bats, he sent 16 bombs over the fence. Now he’s getting a shot with the Astros and he has shined with six home runs in 93 at-bats.
On the other hand, his .237 average has kept him on the bench a bit too often to contribute in fantasy circles. All of that could change, as Maxwell is showing some signs that he has something to offer. He has three home runs in nine games this month and is hitting .277 at Minute Maid. Odds are his low average will limit his playing time, but Maxwell does have the power potential that may make you roll the dice.
Norichika Aoki, OF, Brewers
In Japan, Aoki once hit 20 home runs and in another year surpassed 30 bases. However, the Brewers were not expecting a five-tool talent when they signed the 30-year-old to a two-year deal with $2.5 million guaranteed. However, in a disappointing season for the Brewers, Aoki has been excellent. He is batting a clean .300 with three home runs and five steals. He is currently riding a five-game hit streak with nine hits, two home runs, and three steals over that stretch.
Brett Wallace, 1B, Astros
The 13th pick of the 2008 draft, Brett Wallace has seen it all. He’s been drafted twice, traded three times, and after being a pleasant surprise with a .388 average in the first month of the season, his numbers took a serious downturn, resulting in a demotion to the minor leagues.
After opening the season at Triple-A with the main goal of developing some power, he was called up to the Astros. Through seven games he is hitting .400 with two home runs. The odds are against Wallace sustaining these numbers. He did not offer much of an average in the minors and still must prove that the power is legitimate. Regardless, he will have every chance to succeed with the Astros and should be in their lineup on a daily basis.
Shaw also responds to a question about what fantasy managers should do about Cliff Lee in the Bloomberg Sports Twitter Stumper of the Day.
Question: I’m considering trading Cliff Lee right now. He has 10 starts and zero wins. Is anyone in the same boat? Do you think I’m crazy?
Answer: Yes, you are crazy! Wins are just one category, and Lee has been astounding at the other three: he has a 3.18 ERA, more than a strikeout per inning, and a dominant 1.05 WHIP. Plus, he’s expecting to eventually get Ryan Howard and Chase Utley back. He will get his wins and you’ll be happy you kept him.
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