This week’s edition represents a reiteration of two previous recommendations. It baffles me both are owned in less than 10% of CBS leagues.
Brandon Lowe | 2B/OF TB | CBS 9% Owned
Lowe made his MLB debut on August 5th and began his career in grand fashion…by going hitless over his first 22 at-bats. Though his season line is still solid, that poor start has dragged down his triple slash. Fortunately, he’s been absolutely monstrous at the plate ever since.
He has slashed an absurd .333/.433/.614 for a .443 wOBA. He’s taking his walks (13.4% rate) and not striking out too often (23.9% rate). A whopping 40% of his fly balls have left the yard, and he would have even more homers if he didn’t hit flies at a lowly 24.4% clip. It’s not like he’s hitting way too many grounders though. Instead, those fly balls became line drives, so there’s no way you could fault him for a 29.3% LD%.
With Lowe’s strong play, he has established himself as a nearly every day guy on the strong side of a platoon. He has bounced between second base and the outfield, giving him some nice multi-position eligibility.
There is one major near-term concern, however. Though his strikeout rate on the season isn’t outrageous, it has come with a 17.5% SwStk%. That’s terrible. He hasn’t been any better after his post-hitless streak either, even though he has cut his strikeout rate. It increases the risk of serious strikeout issues the rest of the way, though he has never truly struggled with contact in the minors. We’ll see how he adjusts, but I love that he’s proving his Triple-A power breakout is real.
Christin Stewart | 8% Owned
It was allllll the way back in May when I first recommended Stewart, as I figured his promotion would come within a month. That didn’t happen. But, he finally has made his MLB debut and with Mikie Mahtook clearly not the long-term solution in left field, should get the opportunity to start there every game.
After a full season at Double-A in 2017 in which he showed power and plate patience, Stewart followed up with a very similar performance over a full season at Triple-A this year. Maintaining the same level of performance after a promotion is impressive enough, but Stewart actually improved upon several facts of his offensive game.
He upped his walk rate, cut his strikeout rate and brought down his SwStk% to the lowest mark of any minor league stint. And yet, he still maintained strong power, keeping his streak of ISO marks above .200 at every minor league stop. He has also shown a slight fly ball tilt, but has actually kept a below average IFFB%, which means that he won’t necessarily carry a low BABIP.
The biggest knock on Stewart is his defense. No team intends to develop a future designated hitter, so for the time being, the Tigers will give him every opportunity to contribute on the field. Ultimately, the defense will matter, and at that point, all the Tigers will care about is his hitting. It increases his future playing time risk, but for now, it’s nothing to worry about.
Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.