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Let young gems Corbin Carroll, Gunnar Henderson carry you to the title


It’s September, so that can only mean one thing: It’s time to buy a pirate costume and start referring to family members as landlubbers while sitting on a pool float pretending you’re Captain Jack Sparrow in preparation for International Talk Like a Pirate Day on Sept. 19.

Or, it’s time to inject your fantasy squads with some young lads as you try to batten down the hatches for a playoff run.

Four of the five most added hitters in ESPN leagues this week (two of whom were early September call-ups) are 24 or younger, and all are rostered in 30 percent or fewer of leagues. 

All four scallywags can help ye navigate the briny deep as you look to plunder all the doubloons from your fantasy competition, me hearties.

Avast Ye (that means pay attention, in pirate talk):

Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks: If you’re looking for the total package, Carroll is your man.

After Arizona drafted him 16th overall in 2019, Carroll excelled at every level over three seasons and just 142 games in the minors (.310, 28 HR, 87 RBI, 134 R, 52 SB, 1.014 OPS).

Corbin Carroll
Corbin Carroll
Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

The 22-year-old outfielder may not be the most intimidating player to see approaching the plate — he’s 5-foot-10 and weighs 165 pounds — but he has all the tools. He has patience, as evidenced by his 15.3 and 14.8 percent walk rates at Triple-A and Double-A this year, respectively. He can he can hit and get on base, as evidenced by his average, .588 slugging percentage and .426 OBP in the minors. He also hits the ball hard, as evidenced by his 50 percent hard-hit rate over his first three games in the majors (in which he also drove in five runs and scored four). He can also run, as evidenced by his stolen base numbers in the minors and his sprinting to first in his MLB debut at 31 feet per second.

Carroll (22.9 percent rostered)  is a great pickup — and not just for dynasty players.

Gunnar Henderson, Orioles: Baltimore’s 2019 second-round pick dominated Double-A this year, hitting .312 with eight homers, 35 RBIs, 41 runs, 12 stolen bases and a 1.025 OPS. He also walked (41) more than he struck out (38). After he was promoted to Triple-A, despite striking out 26.4 percent of the time (and struggling against southpaws), he hit .288 with 11 homers, 41 RBIs, 60 runs, 10 stolen bases and a .894 OPS in 65 games.

Henderson has a ton of upside (as he showed over his first two big league games by hitting his first homer, scoring and driving in his first runs and stealing his first base), and dynasty owners should be salivating over him. He should also give your fantasy squad a boost down the stretch (more so when he gains third base eligibility) with one caveat: He could sit against lefties.

Gunnar Henderson
Gunnar Henderson
Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

Lars Nootbaar, Cardinals: In his first 37 games since the Midsummer Classic, Nootbaar (30.5 percent rostered) hit .278 with six homers, 18 RBIs, three stolen bases and a 14.3  percent strikeout rate (0.1 percent less than Juan Soto). He also ranked 13th in runs (27), sixth in on-base percentage (.415) and 10th in OPS (.954).

Perhaps his most impressive stat: He has walked in 19 percent of his plate appearances, ranking him third behind Aaron Judge and Soto.

Jake McCarthy, Diamondbacks: McCarthy (15.2 percent rostered) hit .212 with three homers, 16 RBIs, 21 runs, 27 strikeouts, three stolen bases and a .665 OPS in 35 nondescript first-half games. But Arizona’s 2018 first-round pick has looked like a different player in his first 37 games since the break, hitting .315 with three homers, 22 RBIs, 21 runs, 10 stolen bases, .381 OBP and a .849 OPS.

Not only did McCarthy have the most stolen bases (eight) in the majors last month, but  also he hit .308 with three homers, 15 runs, 19 RBIs and a .862 OPS.

The left-handed hitting McCarthy has proven he can hit righties (.285, .794 OPS) and lefties (.281,  .805 OPS), but he does hit better away from Chase Field (.206 at home vs. .354 on the road). So, it’s a good thing 19 of Arizona’s final 30  games will be away from home (six of those will come this week against the Padres and Rockies).

Big hits

Michael Wacha SP, Red Sox

Has not lost since May 31, going 7-0 with a 2.65 ERA, 49-12 strikeout-walk rate, .219 opponents’ average and .630 OPS over his past nine starts.

Michael Wacha
Michael Wacha
Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Eugenio Suarez 3B, Mariners

Despite hitting .233 and striking out a league-worst 173 times this year, he was 15-for-46 (.326) with six homers, 15 RBIs and a 1.198 OPS in his past 13 games before Friday.

Drew Rasmussen SP/RP, Rays

Allowed two earned runs or fewer 10 of his past 11 starts, going 4-1 with a 1.99 ERA, 54-11 K/BB rate and .212 opponents’ average in that span.

Joey Meneses 1B/OF, Nationals

The 30-year-old had at least one hit in 22 of his 25 big league games, going 35-for-99 (.354) with seven homers, 15 RBIs, 18 runs and a 1.011 OPS.

Big whiffs

Chris Taylor 2B/3B/OF, Dodgers

In his first 20 games since being activated from the IL on Aug. 5, he was 12-for-69 (.174) with two homers, seven RBIs, 32 strikeouts and a .566 OPS.

Alex Wood SP, Giants

Had the worst ERA (8.40) in the majors in August, allowing 28 earned runs over 30 innings. Opponents hit .292 against him.

Gleyber Torres 2B/SS, Yankees

Entered the weekend hitting .164 (12-for-73) with two homers, four RBIs, 21 strikeouts and a .458 OPS over his previous 18 games.

Joe Musgrove SP, Padres

Collected just one win (on Wednesday) over his past 12 starts, going 1-6 with a 4.61 ERA, 11 homers allowed and a .252 opponents’ average. Allowed three or more earned runs in seven of those outings.

Check swings

  • After he went 0-5 with a 5.36 ERA and .310 opponents’ average from May 29-July 23, the Angels’ Patrick Sandoval is 2-3 with a 1.66 ERA and .185 opponents’ average over his past six starts. He has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of those starts.
  • Over his past 18 games in August, Tampa Bay’s Yandy Diaz hit .357 with two homers, 12 RBIs, 14 runs and a 1.009 OPS. In 53 games since June 26, he has hit .322 with five homers, 33 RBIs, 35 runs and a .931 OPS.
  • In his first start since returning from the injured list, Marlins lefty Trevor Rogers (51.9 percent rostered) earned a quality start while striking out five and allowing one run over six innings against the Rays. He had a 10.7 percent swinging strike rate and a 37.5 percent whiff rate with his changeup, a pitch he used 35.7 percent of the time. If the rest of his starts this season look like this, he could be a league-winning pick up.
  • Arizona’s Zac Gallen looked nearly unhittable last month as he went 5-0 with a league-best 0.68 ERA, 31 percent strikeout rate (9.9 K/9), .153 opponents’ average and a 10.9 percent swinging strike rate. He hasn’t lost since June 10, going 6-0 with a 2.26 ERA and .174 opponents’ average in 14 starts since.
  • Not only did the Rays’ Randy Arozarena steal seven bases in August (second-most in the majors, and tied for the most in the AL), but also he hit .327 (32-for-98) with six homers, 23 RBIs (fourth-most in the majors), 15 runs, 13 walks and a 1.023 OPS.
Randy Arozarena
Randy Arozarena
Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images
  • Despite being on a pitch count, Mariners rookie George Kirby has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his past nine starts, going 4-0 with a 2.17 ERA (1.39 FIP), 58-7 strikeout-walk rate and .255 opponents’ average. He didn’t allow a home run in that span after allowing 12 in his first 10 starts.
  • Since Raisel Igelsias was traded to the Braves on Aug. 2, the Angels’  Jimmy Herget (2 percent rostered) has gone 4-for-4 in save chances while maintaining a 0.53 ERA. Despite walking 9.4 percent of the batters he has faced, he had a 28.1 percent strikeout rate, 0.82 WHIP, .143 opponents’ average and .449 OPS in 11 August appearances. 
  • Over three season in the minors, Colorado’s Michael Toglia hit 61 homers (including 30 this year between Double- and Triple-A). After finishing the weekend series against Cincinnati, the Rockies will play their next six games at home — three against the Brewers, a team that’s given up the fourth-most homers in the majors, and the Diamondbacks. That could be fun for a guy with a 62.5 percent hard-hit rate.
  • After the Reds called up stud prospect Spencer Steer, he proceeded to 2-for-2 with two walks and the game-winning home run in his debut.  He became the first Red since Jay Bruce (in 2008)  to reach base four times in his debut, and just  the 11th player (ever) to reach four times with a big fly in his MLB debut.
  • Speaking of Spencer’s, Roto Rage favorite Spencer Strider has allowed one earned run or more in a start just twice in his past 12 outings. He is 6-2 with a 2.15 ERA (1.47 FIP), 102:16 strikeout-walk rate and .176 opponents average. He also struck out a Braves record 16 batters (with a 19.8 percent swinging strike rate)  on Thursday while pitching eight scoreless innings against the Rockies.

Team name of the week

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