By Fred Zinkie
Special to Yahoo Sports
Today marks exactly one month since we arrived at the All-Star break, and much has changed in recent weeks. For gamers who are looking to spark their lineup, the following 10 hitters are all readily available in Yahoo leagues and have been difference-making assets in the past 30 days.
Mike Tauchman, OF, Yankees
Tauchman has some factors working in his favor, mainly a hitter-friendly home park and a spot in a potent lineup. But his batted-ball profile is mediocre (31.7 percent hard-contact rate, 32.0 percent fly ball rate), and his good luck (.372 BABIP, 25.6 percent HR/FB rate) likely isn’t sustainable. I would ride Tauchman for his favorable matchups this week but be ready to jump off as soon as he cools off.
Keston Hiura, 2B, Brewers
Hiura has wheels (seven swipes) and the ball jumps off his bat (46.0% hard-contact rate). Those two qualities alone should get him a roster spot in most mixed leagues. But the rookie also strikes out too often (31.0%) and has greatly benefited from a .407 BABIP. I know that a slump could be coming, but I want to roster Hiura anyway.
Oscar Mercado, OF, Indians
After being overshadowed by other freshmen during a rash of promotions earlier this season, Mercado may wind up being the best rookie asset who debuted during May. The 24 year old is flashing his anticipated speed (nine steals) while also showing more power than anticipated (nine homers). His .321 BABIP could even have some room for growth when factoring together his plus speed and penchant for hard contact (39.9%). This is definitely a player you want to add.
Bryan Reynolds, OF, Pirates
Gamers who are looking to creep up in the batting average category should likely give Reynolds a lineup spot. After all, his .334 average ranks fourth in the Majors. The 24 year old has definitely been lucky to own a .412 BABIP, but he has earned some of his success by using all fields while logging a 46.4% hard-contact rate and a 23.8% line drive rate. I’ll take the over on Reynolds posting a .300 average from this point forward.
Jason Kipnis, 2B, Indians
Kipnis should be rostered in all 15-team leagues and many 12-team formats. The veteran is unlikely to spark a championship run, but he has some category juice (11 homers, six steals, 52 RBI), and he is no longer a batting average drain (.258 average). He is also part of a lineup that got a big boost at the end of July. I know that Kipnis is the least interesting player in the article, but he isn’t the least desirable.
Rougned Odor, 2B, Rangers
Dropped in many leagues when he struggled to hit for average at the outset of the season, Odor has posted a bearable .241 batting mark since the All-Star break. And the second baseman has always been a power-speed asset, providing 20 homers and eight steals to this point in 2019. I was a big fan in buying low on Odor at the beginning of July, and I’m not backing down now. His sometimes-low batting averages will seem like less of a big deal when he finishes the year with 30 homers and a dozen swipes.
Amed Rosario, SS, Mets
Rosario has been an across-the-board contributor in the second half, batting .344 with three homers and four steals. A .382 BABIP has certainly helped his cause, but the shortstop has also given himself more of a chance by cutting his strikeout rate to 14.1% (22.2% in the first half). His other plate skills and batted-ball data are somewhat flat, but reducing his whiffs to an elite level could be the key for Rosario to give his fleet feet more chances to make an impact.
Mike Yastrzemski, OF, Giants
There are so many reasons to doubt Yastrzemski. He’s a 28 year old rookie who must endure a power-stifling home park and has subpar plate discipline. But he’s making excellent contact (40.9% hard-contact rate, 23.6% line drive rate, 40.8% fly ball rate), and his 15.6% HR/FB rate is a sustainable mark. I’m not ready to grab Yaz in 12-team leagues, but he’s a worthy gamble in 15-team formats.
Jorge Soler, OF, Royals
I’m not sure what Soler has to do to get a roster spot in the 29% of Yahoo leagues in which he remains available. After all, the slugger ranks sixth in baseball with 31 homers and 14th with 79 RBI. Sure, he doesn’t hit for a high average or steals bases, but Soler needs to be rostered everywhere.
Ryan McMahon, 1B/2B/3B, Rockies
After a long and winding road, the Rockies may have returned to where they started in Spring Training in search of a second baseman. McMahon has been a solid combination of power and speed since the All-Star break, batting .293 with five homers across 82 at-bats. Sure, he has massive home (.869 OPS) and road (.674 OPS) splits this year, but that’s the case with nearly every Coors Field member. This isn’t the time to doubt the Colorado potion — use McMahon for all home games down the stretch.