Zach Wheeler (SP) NYM - I'm starting to believe in Wheeler, and another 7 shutout innings against the Braves with 9 K's on Saturday doesn't hurt. The control has gotten better, which was the biggest obstacle to his success, and he's maintaining his velocity better over the past month or two than he ever has before, as he's consistently between 96-98. He's avoiding hard contact more often as well this season, and the chase rate and swinging strike rate back all of this data up. It may be as simple as Wheeler finally being fully healthy for the first time in four years, but whatever it is, I am fully on board with Wheeler being at least an SP5 right now in 12-team leagues, meaning he absolutely should be owned across the board.
Ketel Marte (SS/2B) ARI - Marte has been on fire coming out of the break, hitting 356/463/489 before a single and a homer (his 10th) on Saturday. Marte has 18 2B, 10 3B, and 10 HR on the year now, showing substantial power growth in his age-24 season.....his exit velocity is now above average, and his hard contact rate has jumped from the high-20s to the mid-30s this season. His contact rate is fantastic, he'll take a walk, he's eligible at both middle infield positions......but he isn't running, which is disappointing. He has enough speed to easily reach double-digits in steals, but he simply isn't running much. Still, his BABIP has been very unfortunate the past two years.....it seems like there's more AVG here. I actually like him as a starting MI in 12-team formats. I think there's quite a bit of upside here in all facets of his game, and as I mentioned, he's still just 24.
Francisco Cervelli (C) PIT - I'm trying to figure out why Cervelli, ranked as C #10 right now despite missing 30-40 games, is owned in only 37% of ESPN leagues currently. Cervelli is 9-17 with a homer over the past week, he's showing his typically solid chase and contact rates, and he's posting career-high FB and hard contact rates that are fueling a power spike. As weak as the catching position is right now, there's no way that Cervelli shouldn't be owned in every format....he's a rare hitter that showing a bit more upside than we expected him to have, yet he retains a high floor due to his contact ability.
Jeff McNeil (2B/everywhere but C) NYM - Talk about off the radar. Last spring McNeil was a 25 year old playing in A-ball, about as skinny a player as you'll ever see, and the absolute best-case scenario was maybe he could get a cup of coffee at some point due to his excellent contact ability and positional flexibility. He then missed almost 80 games with a groin injury after a promotion to AAA, prompting the Mets to send him back to AA to start his age-26 season. He proceeded to hit 327/402/626 with a time and a half as many homers as he had in the previous five years over just 57 games, so the Mets sent him to AAA again. He hit 368/427/600 there for a bit over a month, and now he's in NY fresh off a 4-4 game that has his major league line at 320/352/480 after his first 10 games. I'm not sure that McNeil can be a major league starter, but there's enough here (20 HRs this season after 9 previously in his career) to at least have the conversation. He can play anywhere on the diamond besides catcher (he's played 2B and 3B so far for NY), his contact ability is very good, and he has a bit of speed. At this point he's hit around .340 for 412 PAs this season across three levels after hitting over .300 4 other times in the minors....he can probably give you a solid AVG. If the Mets are going to play him, he's at least deep-league worthy, and maybe even more. For every argument you can make against, there are points in favor of this being genuine (he's missed about 1 1/2 critical development seasons to hip, groin, and hernia issues, Binghamton isn't the best hitters park and he had 14 HRs in just 57 games). I don't mind gambling on this being more than a flash in the pan.
Nick Williams (OF) PHI - Williams homered again on Saturday, giving him 15 for the season to go along with 4 multi-hit games in his last 10. After hitting 27 homers last year, Williams is still showing very solid power in 2018, but there have been other gains. His chase rate has gone from "are we sure he doesn't need glasses?" to subpar and the contact rate has followed, and when he does make contact he's continuing to hit a lot of line drives...his BABIP just isn't really rewarding him for it right now. Unlike a lot of really aggressive hitters with good power, I don't expect AVG to be a huge problem for him due to that LD ability, and he's still just 24 so more gains could be forthcoming. He's on the fringe of OF5 value already and I believe there to be upside from here....I think he is a worthwhile add in 12-team leagues and deeper. The one issue here is that the Phils aren't playing him much against LHP despite his reasonable performance against them, so he sits a bit more than you'd like from a starting OF.