Each week, Collin Hager uses his HVaC Scoring System to let you know whom to start and drop this week in head-to-head fantasy baseball leagues. This week’s must-starts:
Drew Smyly, LHP, Rays
Nearly a third of owners in ESPN leagues can still grab Smyly. The HVaC thinks you should be one of them. Smyly checks in as the No. 26 pitcher overall. His trade from Detroit to Tampa Bay may have brought him to a division that is far more friendly to the offense historically, but it should not scare owners away.
Smyly has shown remarkable consistency in some key areas for pitchers. His BABIP has been between .290 and .295 the last three seasons. In two of the last three years, his HR/9 numbers have been right around 1 (better than that last season) and his strand rate is actually down four points from last year’s 81 percent.
The biggest change has been a reliance on his slider more this year than last. Batters are hitting just .196 against the pitch this season and he is running a 32 percent strikeout rate when he uses the pitch.
How much more is he throwing it? More often than his fastball all at the expense of his cutter. Smyly is worth the addition in every sense of the word and should be added in all formats.
Drew Stubbs, CF, Rockies
Stubbs stands to be the biggest beneficiary from the injuries in the Colorado outfield. While his BABIP of over .400 is nothing he has seen before, he should end the season near a 20 home run/20 stolen base player. Some may feel his ISO is high, but looking back to 2009 and 2010, he has produced at this level in the past. All these numbers add up to making him a top 40 outfielder and an add for fantasy owners.
Marcell Ozuna, OF, Marlins
Ozuna is on the fringe of the top 40 outfielders at No. 41 and there is still time to own him. While seeing a 25 point jump in ownership across ESPN leagues this last week, Ozuna is still there for the taking. The red flag is that there is nothing to compare against for a player in his first full big-league season. Yes, Ozuna has shown this power before, but only at Class A.
His average is consistent to what we saw last season in a limited number of games. All that despite a drop in contact rates that have driven up his strikeout numbers. Owners who can grab him still should, as his power will be a benefit down the stretch.
Wil Myers, OF, Rays
Myers entered the season as one of the more highly rated outfielders, but injuries have pushed him well down the list. Now back in the lineup, he checks in as the No. 57 outfielder, making him a good add in deeper leagues. Myers has shown the ability to put up strong numbers and we saw that in limited action last season. His power and average should help owners, making him a sneaky add for the playoff push.
Desmond Jennings, OF, Rays
Jennings’s ownership is down six points across ESPN leagues from last week. If you owned him before, there is no reason to make a change now. Jennings has hit .244 in August and his overall numbers or nearly on an exact pace to where they were last season. His speed and run production put him better than a full deviation on the positive side of the curve and have him as a top 30 outfielder.