Need roster help in a deep league? The following three players are all widely available and could be a fantasy boon in the coming weeks.Brandon Finnegan, starter, Reds
The lefty last started in The Show on April 15 before hitting the disabled list with a strained left lat. He started
Need roster help in a deep league? The following three players are all widely available and could be a fantasy boon in the coming weeks.
Brandon Finnegan, starter, Reds
The lefty last started in The Show on April 15 before hitting the disabled list with a strained left lat. He started a rehab assignment at the Double-A level on June 11, and he's made three starts totaling 12 innings -- adding an inning in each start after pitching three in his first rehab turn. In his three starts in the Minors this year, he's allowed just three walks while striking out 10 of the 44 batters he's faced.
The 24-year-old pitcher was excellent in his first start of the year before a pair of clunkers in advance of his DL stint. Last year, he registered a 2.93 ERA (4.45 FIP, 4.29 xFIP and 4.25 SIERA), a 1.29 WHIP, a 10.6 percent walk rate and a 24.6 percent strikeout rate in 13 second-half starts spanning 70 2/3 innings. The southpaw's below-average control will lead to the occasional clunker and likely prevent his WHIP from being helpful, but his ability to punch hitters out at a high clip helps offset his penchant for issuing free passes. It appears he won't need another rehab turn and should be back in Cincinnati's rotation early next week.
Lonnie Chisenhall, outfielder, Indians
Chisenhall hasn't received enough plate appearances to be a qualified hitter this year, but among hitters with a minimum of 150 plate appearances, he ranks sixth with a 51.8 percent fly-ball rate. That mark easily represents a single-season high, surpassing his previous high of 42.1 percent set in both 2011 and 2013. In addition to bumping up his fly-ball rate, he's sporting new career highs in HR/FB rate (17.5 percent) and hard-hit rate (33.6 percent). Chisenhall's 10 homers thus far this year are just three short of his high of 13 totaled in 533 plate appearances in 2014. Like many others, Chisenhall's enjoying a power boost, and he's really making the most of it by lifting the ball at one of the highest rates in the Majors.
Looking past the power, there's more to like about him. He's not a total dud on the bases with two stolen bases this year after swiping six in 126 games last year. He's also been a helper in batting average, hitting .299 this year while posting a completely normal BABIP. His OBP sits at a career-high .364, thanks in large part to working walks at a career-high clip (9.1 percent).
Also, he is doing everything in his power to prove he doesn't need to be platooned. In an admittedly small sample of 30 plate appearances, Chisenhall has smacked a pair of homers with a .348/.444/.652 slash line, a 13.3 percent walk rate and a 20 percent strikeout rate against lefties. Even if he reverts to a below-average hitter in same-handed matchups, he's a .276/.327/.446 hitter against righties since 2014 and in the midst of a career year. With Michael Brantley on the disabled list, Chisenhall has received a lineup boost, hitting fifth. Even if he drops lower in the order when Brantley returns, Chisenhall should chip in run production stats and nicely round out his fantasy contributions.
Ben Gamel, outfielder, Mariners
I'll preemptively state I'd prefer Chisenhall to Gamel slightly if both outfielders are available, but as Gamel's inclusion in this piece indicates, I believe he's worthy of fantasy love, too. The 25-year-old outfielder is flourishing in his first full season in the Majors after a cup of coffee with the Yankees and Mariners last year. Prior to Wednesday's game, he was hitting .354/.414/.487 with a 9.5 percent walk rate, a 24.9 percent strikeout rate, three homers and two stolen bases.
Gamel's .471 BABIP jumps off the page as fluky and surely will drop, but I'm bullish on his chances of besting the .338 BABIP projected by ZiPS and the .335 BABIP projected by Steamer the rest of the year. Gamel's run a .365 BABIP in the Minors since reaching the Triple-A level in April of 2015 and hit .303/.365/.443 with an 8.7 percent walk rate and an 18.4 percent strikeout rate over 263 career Triple-A games. The left-handed-hitting outfielder can also continue to be a major asset in batting average by whittling his strikeout rate closer to his Triple-A mark. With a discerning eye (22.3 percent chase rate) and above-average contact skills (8.6 percent swinging-strike rate), there's reason to believe he can do so.
A version of this article first appeared at FanGraphs.
Josh Shepardson is a contributor to MLB.com