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Top Hitter Streamers and Starts for Week 6

Welcome to the top hitter streamers column for Week 6 of the MLB season (5/2 through 5/9). This weekly piece should be helpful for anyone looking to gain an edge in their league. If you need a fill-in for an injured player or want to exploit some plus matchups to gain an edge on your opponent then you're in the right place. I'm here to help you make some informed decisions to remain competitive in your league. This column aims to help you stay ahead of the game and get an early jump on those waiver claims before your league mates.

Remember that this piece is forward-looking and a lot can happen over the course of a week. Potential pitching opponents, batting orders, and projected number of at-bats are all subject to change so make sure you're following the @RotoballerMLB on Twitter to stay up to date!

Disclaimer: I am only highlighting players that are currently rostered in 50% or less of Yahoo! leagues, meaning you should have a decent chance of picking these guys up on the waiver wire. These recommendations should apply to most league settings and formats as I'm looking for players that can help you across a variety of scoring categories. If the following names aren't available, feel free to read our Waiver Wire Pickups piece that drops every Monday for more ideas. Alright, let's get after it.

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Bats to Stream and Start in Week 6

Seven Game Weeks:

CLE, KC, LAA, MIN, NYM, OAK, PHI, STL, TB, TEX, TOR

 

Stream of the Week

Brandon Belt (1B/OF, SF): 13% Rostered

Belt got off to an extremely slow start this season and was slashing as low as .143/.280/.286 back on April 14. He's picked it up over the last 12 games and has his season batting line up to a more respectable .219/.338/.453 with four home runs and 11 RBI over 77 at-bats. He's hit cleanup in the majority of games this season and hit as high as second in the batting order in 2-of-3 games vs. Colorado (4/26-4/28). The Statcast data is better than you think even though his batting average still leaves a lot to be desired. His Hard Hit percentage (54.8%) ranks in the 93rd percentile while his Barrel rate (19%) is in the 94th.

Belt has a great chance to level up with a three-game series in Coors Field to begin the week. He has a stellar career track record against all three probable Rockies' starters in German Marquez (1.071 OPS, 22 AB), Antonio Senzatela (1.121 OPS, 17 AB), and Jon Gray (1.418 OPS, 26 AB). The Giants finish off the week with a three-game set vs. the Padres at home, which will prove to be a much stiffer pitching test with Blake Snell, Joe Musgrove, and Chris Paddack slated to take the hill for San Diego. But Belt is slashing a surprising .333/.500/.833 vs. lefties this year and Chris Paddack has the potential to meltdown in any start. This play is more about the three-game opener in Colorado and if Belt can perform as expected, per his career numbers, then he will pay dividends.

 

Catcher

Mike Zunino (C, TB): 2% Rostered

The Rays are one of a handful of teams to play seven games next week, which is always a bonus for catchers. It's particularly important for backstops like Zunino, who splits time evenly with Francisco Mejia. If there's one thing Zunino has been able to do well throughout his career as a hitter, it's crushing the ball. He routinely ranks amongst the league's best in Max Exit Velocity and this year is no different. His Max Exit Velocity of 114.4 mph (95th percentile), 24.2% Barrel rate (100th percentile), and .609 xSLG show that Mike Z's power is no joke.

The Rays' schedule should stack up nicely for Zunino as they start the week off with a four-game set vs. the Angels in Anaheim and cap it off with a three-game weekend series in Oakland. If the pitching schedule holds, Zunino has the potential to face five pitchers he's homered off of in his career including Andrew Heaney, Sean Manaea, and Cole Irvin. In addition to that, Jose Quintana (10.13 ERA, 2.33 WHIP) and Alex Cobb (7.16 ERA, 1.78 WHIP) have really struggled of late. He's rocking a 1.389 OPS (18 at-bats) vs. left-handers this year and could pay off with just a few swings of his bat next week. His 28.3% K rate, which admittingly isn't great, is still a career-low for the 30-year-old catcher.

Mike Zunino to the absolute MOON pic.twitter.com/2KUuGo9V4p

Also Consider: Mitch Garver (C, MIN): 38% Rostered; Ryan Jeffers (C, MIN): 1% Rostered

 

Corner Infield

Bobby Dalbec (1B, BOS): 22% Rostered

Dalbec burst onto the scene in 2020 when he swatted eight home runs in 23 games. 2021 has been a different story thus far, though, as he has just one big fly in 20 games to date. His .234/.290/.375 batting line (64 at-bats) is nothing special when you consider his 25:5 K/BB ratio (36.2% K rate, 7.2% BB rate). His expected stats suggest he's been a better hitter than what he's shown and that the home runs are likely on the way. His current .295 xBA, .389 xwOBA, and .585 xSLG paired with a Max Exit Velocity (111.5 mph) and Barrel rate (17.9%) in the 83rd and 91st percentiles, respectively, are all solid.

The Red Sox kick off the week by hosting a three-game series with the Tigers then head down to Baltimore to finish things off with a weekend set against the Orioles. Casey Mize, Bruce Zimmermann, and Dean Kremer have been prone to long balls this season and Dalbec has been heating up at the dish with a .273 batting average and .769 OPS over the last two weeks (11 games). He hits towards the bottom of the Red Sox lineup, so he'll need to make his at-bats count but next week could be very promising for the 25-year-old.

Also Consider: Evan Longoria (3B, SF): 30% Rostered

 

Middle Infield

Jurickson Profar (2B/OF, SD): 23% Rostered

Profar is your typically reliable, safe streaming option. There's not a ton of upside with him but he provides a high floor by hitting around the middle of the San Diego lineup and getting on base at a steady clip (.354 OBP). Lately, the real intrigue with Profar has been the stolen bases. He's a perfect 5-for-5 on theft attempts through 26 games--he swiped seven in 56 games last season--despite ranking in the 56th percentile in sprint speed.

The switch-hitting 28-year-old is still searching for his first home run after swatting seven last season. The Padres should face five right-handed starters in six games next week between the Pirates and the Giants. Profar has been awful vs. lefties this year (.063/.392/.063 in 16 at-bats) but he's been the opposite against right-handers (.288/.392/.364 over 66 at-bats). Don't expect much in the power department but if you need help in on-base percentage, runs, and stolen bases then he's your guy.

Kolten Wong (2B, MIL): 44% Rostered

Wong has been on fire since being activated from the injured list back on April 23. In his first 22 plate appearances (six games), he's slashed .524/.545/.952 with three doubles, two home runs, four RBI, and scored five runs. Most importantly, he's hit leadoff in every single game since returning.

The Brewers play seven games next week and even though the sample size is small, Wong has performed well against both lefties and righties. He's got at least three tasty matchups next week against Matt Moore (9.82 ERA), Chase Anderson (6.48 ERA), and Nick Neidert (6.75 ERA). His roster shares have skyrocketed (up 26% in the last day) since his activation so you may need to be preemptive on scooping him up off the waiver wire. He offers a nice power/speed combination and should be a boost to your lineup if you're lacking in slugging or stolen bases. Even though the Brew Crew are on the road next week, it's worth noting that Wong's expected uptick in power since moving from Busch Stadium to American Family Field is a real thing.

Also Consider: Adam Frazier (2B/OF, PIT): 38% Rostered; Josh Rojas (2B/SS/OF, ARI): 8% Rostered

 

Outfield

Raimel Tapia (OF, COL): 38% Rostered

Tapia is coming off an eight-game hitting streak in which he hit .379/.441/.655 with two doubles, two home runs, and six RBI over 29 at-bats. The recent heater elevated his season batting line to .271/.330/.400 with three home runs and 10 RBI over 85 at-bats. He's also posting an impressive 11.1% K rate, the highest mark of his career, and an 8.9% BB rate. He's been getting on base at a steady clip but is just 1-for-3 on stolen base attempts even though he ranks in the 80th percentile in sprint speed.

The Rockies are set to face four right-handed starters out of a possible six games next week and Tapia is slashing a very respectable .292/.347/.462 over 65 at-bats vs. righties this season. The Colorado offense has not been the same without Nolan Arenado but they're still capable of doing damage, especially at home. They should be able to put up some runs against the likes of Aaron Sanchez, Logan Webb, and Carlos Martinez. He's worth a stream for the home series vs. San Francisco to start the week off and could be swapped out once the Rockies head to St. Louis to finish off their week.

Tyrone Taylor (OF, MIL): 4% Rostered

Taylor has seen an increase in his playing time with both Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich on the injured list and has performed well since being recalled from Milwaukee's alternate site back on April 14. He's rocking a .346/.433/.654 batting line with two doubles, two home runs, seven RBI, and a stolen base over just 26 at-bats. The sample size is obviously tiny but he's provided a nice spark to the Brewers over the last 13 games. He's hit all over the lineup and no lower than sixth in the batting order since joining the team.

The Brewers have a full schedule next week and Cain is expected to return sometime during the four-game series with Philadelphia. Yelich could take a bit longer to rejoin the team with his back issue but the Brewers could have a logjam in the outfield very soon. The advantage Taylor has going for him is that he's outplayed Jackie Bradley Jr. and Avisail Garcia in his limited action and should continue to see at-bats as long as he keeps raking. He is a dart throw to be sure but sometimes taking a gamble on players like Taylor can help win you a week. We must strike while the iron is hot but if you're still apprehensive about adding Taylor then see how he performs this weekend vs. the Dodgers before making your decision.

Also Consider: Guillermo Heredia (OF, ATL): 4% Rostered; Tyler O'Neill (OF, STL): 7% Rostered



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