This week’s fantasy baseball first baseman review will help you identify first basemen available in 50% or more of Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues. For deep league players, the third is available in 85% or more of Yahoo! leagues. [Jeff]
Danny Valencia, Seattle (19% owned)
Valencia burned a lot of people when his 2016 fantasy baseball results did not match the pre-season hype. Fast forward to 2017 and it doesn’t matter what he does, he stays on the waiver wire. He keeps showing up on this list without any real change in his ownership percentages. He’s hitting .340 over the last two weeks, with 18 runs scored, 11 RBI and three dingers. Everything in his batted ball profile looks legitimate; if you end up in a pinch, Valencia is worth a look. His third base eligibility doesn’t hurt, either.
Justin Smoak, Toronto (16% owned)
Smoak has swung an exceptionally hot bat over the last month, as he has notched seven home runs and an astonishing 22 RBI in that span. He’s scored 17 runs and hit for a .290 average in the same span. There’s some real legitimacy to Smoak’s power surge. According to Baseball Savant, he gets a barrel (a very well-hit ball) 10.1% of the time. He is one of 18 players in the league to have a barrel figure over 10% (Aaron Judge, unsurprisingly, is #1 with a barrel in 14.5% of his at bats). He’s also striking out at a career-low rate.
Justin Bour, Miami (12% owned)
Bour, like Valencia, received a great amount of preseason hype last year, and like Valencia, he did not deliver. Power is Bour’s calling car, and power is what he delivers. He has four home runs in his last five games started, so he’s running exceptionally hot right now. The Marlins sat him against lefty semi-ace Dallas Keuchel Tuesday, so watch out for platooning. That should help him in deep leagues, however, as his flailing against lefties won’t hurt you so much in the average category. Just keep an eye out for his opponents.
Thanks to an extremely above-average exit velocity but below-average launch angle, Bour launches mostly lasers instead of booming shots. This means he brings the power, and does so without the launch angle. Last year in about a half season he had a .268/.347/.526 slash line with 15 bombs; if he brings that this year, that means a thirty dinger player is sitting on your waiver wire.