Fantasy Baseball Pickups: Andrew Heaney tops seven players to consider adding

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Andrew Heaney, Los Angeles Angels

He’s hardly a sure bet to stay healthy coming off a sore elbow that slowed the start to his season, but Heaney struck out 10 during a rehab outing this week, completed a bullpen session Thursday and may rejoin the Angels’ rotation as soon as Sunday. Heaney’s K-BB% (18.0) last season ranked 17th among starters, and he’s a former top-10 pick with good stuff (especially his changeup). The Angels have fielded the league’s best defense this season (although losing Andrelton Simmons hurts), and Heaney remains available in nearly 60% of Yahoo leagues. He has the chance to be a real difference maker if he’s back healthy, as I had Heaney as a borderline top-30 SP before he went down this spring.

Scott Kingery, Philadelphia Phillies

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He’s started four of five games since returning from the IL, getting looks at second base and also center field for the struggling Odubel Herrera (67 wRC+). Kingery has rough plate discipline, so his .362 batting average is going to crash down, but he already has two homers and two steals over just 47 at bats this season, and the former prospect should get an opportunity now healthy. He’s multi-eligible (3B,SS,OF) and will benefit from a home park that’s boosted homers for right-handed batters by an MLB-high 24 percent over the last three seasons. Kingery is still available in nearly 70% of leagues.

Scott Oberg, Colorado Rockies

With Wade Davis hitting the IL, Oberg has been named Colorado’s temporary closer yet remains widely available. Oblique strains can take a while to heal (4-to-6 weeks?), so Davis’ return isn’t necessarily around the corner. Oberg’s 1.77 ERA comes with an ugly 13:11 K:BB ratio, but he did have a 57:12 rate last season (to go along with a 2.45 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP), and having the role is what matters most to fantasy owners (although pitching in Coors Field brings extra risk). Those in need of saves (and who isn’t with them continuing to be so spread out these days?) should scoop up Oberg.

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Cavan Biggio, Toronto Blue Jays

The son of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, the Blue Jays prospect is expected to be called up Friday after recording a .440 OBP with more walks (32) than strikeouts (28) in Triple-A this season. Biggio went 26/20 in 132 games in Double-A last year, so there’s power/speed upside here (although beware the Blue Jays have the fewest stolen bases in MLB in 2019). The 24-year-old is 2B eligible but could see plenty of time in the outfield with Billy McKinney sent down to the minors in a corresponding move, and the rookie is owned in just 21% of leagues.

Josh James, Houston Astros

He’s a middle reliever with a 4.73 ERA, but James was once a hyped sleeper entering spring after a strong debut in 2018 (including some impressive fastballs during postseason relief appearances) before a quad injury ruined his chances of breaking with the team in the starting rotation. But James has settled in after a rough start to 2019, posting a 1.38 ERA with 20 strikeouts over his last 13.0 innings. James’ 16.0 SwStr% is top-20 among relievers, and his expected batting average against (.174) is in the top 4% of the league.

Collin McHugh was struggling before going on the IL with an elbow problem, and replacement Corbin Martin was knocked around during his start Thursday and now owns a 4.97 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP with a 12:6 K:BB ratio over his first three starts, so there might be an opening in Houston’s rotation at some point as well (it also helps Forrest Whitley has a 12.21 ERA with a 5.55 BB/9 mark in Triple-A). James can be helpful as a middle reliever in the right formats, and he’d carry serious fantasy upside if given a chance to start for the loaded Astros. He’s still available in 90% of leagues.

Kevin Cron, Arizona Diamondbacks

He’s leading the minors with 21 homers and is expected to be called up Friday. Cron doesn’t have an immediate starting role, but Christian Walker is hitting .197/.269/.338 with a whopping 27 strikeouts over 71 at bats in May, so there could soon be an opening at first base. He’s 26 years old and didn’t enter the year considered one of the team’s top-10 prospects, but it’s hard to ignore an .800 slugging percentage, so Cron can be added in deeper formats (although Chase Field has played far more as a pitcher’s park in year two of the humidor).

Carter Kieboom, Washington Nationals

Dropped in most leagues after he spectacularly failed during an earlier audition with the Nationals and was sent back down to the minors, Kieboom is an interesting stash now in deep leagues. Trea Turner is back, but his durability concerns are real, and second base remains a weakness with Brian Dozier struggling since the beginning of last season. Kieboom has raked since returning to Triple-A, where he sports a 180 wRC+ on the year, batting .352 with eight homers and a 27:24 K:BB ratio over 108 at bats. Nationals Park is sneaky good for hitters (only three others in MLB have increased HR for RHB more over the last three seasons), so if you have bench space, consider using it on Kieboom, who should get another chance at some point this summer.

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