Keep an Eye On: Dayan Viciedo, Mark Ellis, Jonathan Villar
Viciedo launched 25 home runs in 147 games during the 2012 season. It gave fantasy owners a lot to get excited about. He’s a career .260 hitter, so he’s not in danger of winning an batting titles, but someone who can hit 25 homers is valuable. Last season his home run rate was 4.6% and this year it’s 2.9%. But, he’s been on a bit of a hot streak of late. Since July 1 he has a .299/.368/.506 slash line with 4 home runs in the month, which is good for a 4.6% home run rate. Viciedo is currently owned in 21.9% of ESPN standard leagues. If he can keep up that home run rate and maintain his .299 average, he becomes a real weapon in your outfield.
On a team filled with high-priced superstars, the Dodgers second baseman is riding a 10 game hit streak and in the month of July is hitting .313 with a .741 OPS. Because the guys hitting ahead of him in the lineup are hot as well, he’s got 13 RBI this month. Make no mistake, he’s a career .266 hitter that doesn’t have much pop in his bat, but in this lineup, if he continues to hit well, he’ll drive some runs in for you from a fairly thin position. He’s owned in 21% of ESPN leagues.
The 22 year old shortstop for the Astros has some serious speed. He has 7 games in the majors this season and has already swiped 4 bags. While he was at AAA Oklahoma City, he stole 31 bases in 91 games. He’s currently hitting .269/.345/.385, which matches up pretty well with his minor league numbers, but he strikes out a ton (24% at AAA in 2013 and 42% since joining the major league club). If he can locate half an approach at the plate this guy could be among the league leaders in stolen bases and give just a little bit of pop with the bat (he hit 8 homers at AAA this season). Villar is owned in just 2.8% of ESPN leagues. If your team needs speed and/or depth at middle infield, take a look a Villar.