Gabriel Moreno is intended to be a direct replacement for Danny Jansen, who broke his hand Monday. Catcher has seen an influx of talent in recent weeks, which makes for something of a crowd in one-catcher leagues. For now, I'll slot Moreno 12th at the position, in between the Braves tandem of William Contreras and Travis d'Arnaud, believing you should always take a shot on upside at a position where you either have a quality option or you don't.
But what does that upside look like exactly? And how will the Blue Jays find at-bats for Moreno?
ARI Arizona • #14 • Age: 23
The Blue Jays already have a template for working in Gabriel Moreno alongside Alejandro Kirk. Danny Jansen, who Gabriel is replacing, coexisted with Kirk for the past three weeks, during which time Kirk emerged as a must-start player. Moreno has that kind of potential as well. The power has been lacking this year after a big breakthrough last year, but you may remember we had the same doubts about Kirk at first, too. The line-drive and strikeout rates both point to high batting average potential for Moreno, and his power could still come around.
TB Tampa Bay • #13 • Age: 29
A hamstring injury sidelined Manuel Margot in mid-May, right when he was beginning to gain traction as a Fantasy pickup, and his performance since returning had been lacking. Until Wednesday, that is, when he went 4 for 5 with a double and a walk, raising his batting average to .319. More impressively, his xBA is .312, better than all but 6 percent of hitters, and judging by his strikeout and line-drive rates, you can understand why. He's always had that kind of potential as a hitter, but now the Rays are entrusting him with everyday at-bats -- and batting him in the upper third of the lineup to boot. We already know he can run, so here's a chance for Tommy Edman-like production here.
Bryson Stott 2B
PHI Philadelphia • #5 • Age: 26
A number of exciting young middle infield options have emerged on the waiver wire in recent days, Christopher Morel, Luis Garcia and Ezequiel Duran being chief among them. But the one most likely to be overlooked is Bryson Stott, whose overall numbers are still in the toilet because of his early-season struggles. He has claimed an everyday job up the middle, though, with Jean Segura sidelined by a fractured finger for the next three months, and it turns out regular playing time may have been all he needed to make good on his potential. Stott went 4 for 4 with a homer and a double Wednesday and is batting .391 (9 for 23) with three homers in his six consecutive starts.
Mitch Keller SP
PIT Pittsburgh • #23 • Age: 27
I know, I know. Touting Mitch Keller is a fool's errand at this point, no matter how good he looked against a miserable Tigers offense Wednesday. But I'm going to do it anyway, in part because he indeed looked really good, not only striking out seven in six innings but also registering 13 swinging strikes, including 10 on his new sweeper. But also, we may have erred in presuming his velocity spike this spring was his last hope for improvement. He's continued to work with Tread Athletics to develop a sinker that he's just now introducing as his primary pitch. "I think I still don't have all the feel in the world for that pitch yet, but it's just such a good pitch with so much movement that it just gives me the confidence to attack the zone with it," Keller said. "The metrics were really promising and really exciting," pitching coach Oscar Marin added. We'll see.
Matt Strahm RP
PHI Philadelphia • #25 • Age: 32
For all the talk about Matt Barnes, Hansel Robles, Jake Diekman and even Matt Brasier, it looks like Matt Strahm may be the one stepping into the closer role for the Red Sox. The left-hander recorded his second save in as many days Wednesday, both without allowing a baserunner and both in defense of a one-run lead. And why not him? Yes, the ERA is on the high side because of a couple ugly outings, the worst one coming as recently as May 27. But he's missing bats. He's limiting walks. Shoot, he has a 1.70 FIP and 2.14 xERA. As desperate as manager Alex Cora has been for stability at the back end of the 'pen, a couple of conversions could go a long way.