I’ve seen complaints in the comments that we don’t go deep enough with some player suggestions here — the ubiquitous “all these guys are owned in my leagues” play gets grating after a while. So, on the same day I make a case for José Abreu (rostered in 86 percent of leagues), I wanted to swing to the other side and explore some players rostered in fewer than 10 percent of leagues.
This is short, sweet, and hopefully full of helpful names available in your leagues.
SINGLE-DIGIT ROSTERSHIP ALL-STARS
C – Bo Naylor, CLE: Bo is tearing up the minor leagues (.268/28/32/9/0; .930 OPS) and warrants one of the rare times a catcher stash is in order; even in 1-C leagues.
1B – Spencer Torkelson, DET: Post-post-post-post hype sleeper engaged. Torkelson’s playing every day and hitting +.300 in May while showing some underlying signs of a potential power breakout (43.7% Flyball, 46.2% Pull year to date).
2B – Owen Miller, MIL: The Brewers are losing lineup pieces left and right and Miller’s stepped into an everyday role for the time being. Most important for fantasy is the fact he’s led off each of the last three games against southpaws. Those extra quality PAs add up while finding a more permanent solution.
SS – Royce Lewis, MIN: Here we go again. Royce Lewis is healthy and rehabbing in the minors for a hobbled Twins team that just demoted everyday third basemen Jose Miranda. It’s only been a handful of games, but Lewis has a home run and a steal already. He could be up soon with 3B eligibility not long after that. We really want to beat the crowd in cases like this.
3B – Christian Encarnacion-Strand, CIN: The Reds are a bottom-half offense on their best day so it should only be a matter of time before Christian Encarnacion-Strand, who is currently decimating AAA pitching (.348/19/19/9/0; 1.084OPS), forces his way onto the big league roster. Better to be a week or two early than a single day late.
OF – Brenton Doyle, COL: The demotion of centerfielder Yonathan Daza paved the way for the promotion of Brenton Doyle. Though personally, I’d never heard of him before, Doyle’s displayed some truly impressive power/speed skills through the minors, and it’s carried over into the Big Show. Doyle’s playing the field every day and already has 4 HR and 6 SB in only 54 PA.
OF- Oscar Colás, CHW: Though universally dropped and wholly discarded after his demotion to AAA, Colás is batting .392 in MiLB this year and I still see all the appeal that made him a top prospect and popular fantasy draft pick. There’s a long way to go this season, and it feels almost certain he’ll get another look.
SP- Clarke Schmidt, NYY: No, this is not me trying to recover a giant, capital L after touting Clarke Schmidt as a 2023 sleeper. Granted, the road for the Yankee righthander’s been tough. However, if it weren’t, there wouldn’t be such an easy pathway to acquisition. Schmidt has three different pitches with a +28% Whiff rate as they continue to play with his pitch mix in New York, seeking out the optimal combination. I’m not running to start Schmidt right now by any means, but he’s still showing some of the signs of breakout we liked coming into the season.
RP- Huascar Brazoban, MIA: An injury to A.J. Puk rattled things up in the Miami bullpen last week. While it appears Dylan Floro has the early lead for the closer role, Huascar Brazoban spun off 14 consecutive scoreless outings in a row before blowing a couple of opportunities. I think for the time being, saves for the Marlins will be shared, but Brazoban’s sub-3.00 SIERA, 20.8%K-BB, +58%GB, and 0.38HR/9 are the types of closer skills that stick.
(Top photo: John Fisher/Getty Images)