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Friday Fantasy Pickup: Steve Pearce, 2B, Rays

There was plenty of hype surrounding Pearce not long ago after a career-year in 2014 with Baltimore in which he slashed .293/.373/.556. However, he seemingly fell apart in a poor 2015 campaign that ended in a part-time gig. Now with his fifth team in six years, the 33-year-old is on pace to outperform the numbers that thrust him into the spotlight two seasons ago. Pearce has jumped around the Rays’ batting order a bit in the early going, but has found a home in the cleanup spot, hitting .328/.430/.657 over 67 at-bats there.

Now in his 10th season, the journeyman has shown great improvement in areas that had plagued him in the past. For example, in his three full seasons with the Orioles (2013-2015), he hit just .260 against left-handers, with his weakest output coming last year, when he averaged a pathetic .196 against them with just four homers in 112 at-bats. So far in his 2016 campaign, Pearce has crushed southpaws to the tune of .415/.489/.854 with five homers in 41 at-bats. His strikeout and contact rates are both better than ever before — 13.6 percent and 84 percent, respectively. Maybe the most appealing part of Pearce’s game is his positional eligibility. He’s already eligible at first, second and outfield in many leagues, and could become third-base eligible before this season is over.

The Tampa offense has picked it up as of late, too — this month, they are in the top five in the AL in runs, on-base and slugging percentage — and Pearce has locked himself in as a prime contributor and will continue to see an abundance of opportunities.

RotoWire & FanDuel Fantasy Baseball Championship – Week 8

Here we are on the eighth Friday of the RotoWire/FanDuel Fantasy Baseball Championship, and… well, I didn’t do as well last week as I did the week before. Hey, that’s fine; sometimes you have that good-but-not-great week where some of your guys do well, but you don’t get those lineup-wide contributions that really make the bacon. Hard to complain about the recommendations, though, right?

For you, dear RotoWire users, we’ve teamed up with Fanduel to run a $10, multi-entry contest exclusively for you every Friday from April 8 to July 15  — and all you have to do to money is finish in the top half of the standings, with a top-10 finish in any week earning you a ticket to the championship round, which takes place July 22. Click here to get in on the action!

Thursday Fantasy Pickup: Taylor Motter, SS, Rays

Motter has proven to be a true jack-of-all-trades, and his diverse skill set could keep him entrenched on the major league club for an extended period, if not the duration of the season. The 26-year-old manned six different positions for the Rays during spring training, and he’s equipped to capitalize on the multiple-month absence of Kevin Kiermaier. At present, Motter is in a platoon with struggling offseason acquisition Brad Miller at shortstop, and with Tim Beckham’s recent demotion to Triple-A Durham, he slots in as Steve Pearce’s immediate backup at second base as well.

Motter was struggling himself at the Triple-A level this season before his call-up, but the combination of decent power, speed, plate skills and shortstop eligibility make him intriguing. His line was an admittedly ugly .190/.228/.303 over 149 plate appearances, but he also was the victim of an abnormally low .209 BABIP. His prior seasons are more representative of what he can bring to the table, as Motter posted wOBA figures of .414, .338, .360, .343 and .381, respectively, over all of the minor league campaigns in which he tallied at least 195 plate appearances.
He’s already started to show glimpses in his short time with the big league team, slashing .267/.421/.733 with two homers and five RBI in five games entering Thursday. Motter posted double-digit homer seasons in 2014 and 2015 with Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham, respectively. What we’ll likely also see soon is some thievery on the basepaths —  he swiped 116 bags over 491 minor league contests, including four seasons where he reached the 20-steal threshold.

Other Recent Recommendations: Leonys Martin, SEA (look out for a new recommended pickup every day moving forward!)

Wednesday Fantasy Pickup: Leonys Martin, OF, Mariners

One of the most amazing things about this year’s version of Leonys Martin is how far under the radar he’s flown for how well he’s played. Remember, the Cuban outfielder was once a top-80 prospect who hit .359/.42/.610 over 55 gmes in Triple-A at age 24; there was a lot to love here. Martin never developed into anything more than a one-dimensional speedster in the Rangers organization, but his time in Texas isn’t the end of his story. Indeed, he’s found new life in Seattle, of all places, perhaps taking his cues from the powerful Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano to become a much more authoritative hitter. After homering yet again Tuesday, Martin already owns a new career high in that category (nine), and he’s currently on an eight-game hitting streak in which he’s hitting a cool .500 (14-for-28) with four homers. The speed’s still there, too — he’s swiped seven bags.

Of course, savvy fantasy owners look at that 21.4 percent HR/FB rate and rightly ask, “Hey, is that sustainable?” Well, perhaps not entirely, but Martin has elevated his fly-ball rate and his hard-hit rate dramatically this year — as in, more than 10 percent each compared to his career norms — and the best plate discipline of his career is just icing on the cake. Buy the breakout.

Other Recent Recommendations: None yet, but look out for a new recommended pickup every day moving forward!

RotoWire & FanDuel Fantasy Baseball Championship – Week 7

It’s nice to write one of these blogs after I have a good week in the RotoWire/FanDuel Fantasy Baseball Championship, and I did just that last week, taking third place due to big performances from the likes of Bryce Harper, Joe Panik, Travis Shaw and Aledmys Diaz. Thanks to a couple disastrous weeks early on, I’m still buried in the overall rankings, but hey, it’s still just mid-late May, right?

As you’ve probably noticed already, every Friday from April 8 to July 15, FanDuel will run a $10, multi-entry contest exclusively for RotoWire users — and all you have to do to money is finish in the top half, with a top-10 finish in any week earning you a ticket to the championship round, which takes place July 22. Click here to get in on the action!

Week 7 Quick FAAB Report

It was a relatively quiet week for me, as I didn’t find many appealing options on the waiver wire.

NFBC Main Event

Team Player Bid Runner-Up
Ozville Flying Monkeys Matt Andriese (SP) 238 221
Money 2 Rajai Davis (CF) 106 99
Money 2 Sam Dyson (MR) 106 6
Money 2 Brandon Guyer (LF) 76
Team Keikoan Jesse Hahn (SP) 46 15
HARRY CRUMB Steven Moya (RF) 44
Money 2 Yunel Escobar (3B) 38 17
CC’s Desperados Danny Duffy (MR) 34 13
Ozville Flying Monkeys Mike Foltynewicz (SP) 28 16
Ozville Flying Monkeys Kevin Siegrist (MR) 28 24
HARRY CRUMB Chris Iannetta (C) 28 12
Canadian Beavers Jhonny Peralta (SS) 28
El Scorchos Main Tom Koehler (SP) 17
Team enfield Justin Nicolino (SP) 11
Doctor Who Dillon Gee (MR) 8 5
Doctor Who Logan Verrett (MR) 8
Doctor Who Juan Centeno (C) 3
HARRY CRUMB Jason Motte (MR) 2
El Scorchos Main Ryan Buchter (MR) 1
Arthur Digby Sellers Trayce Thompson (RF) 1

My starting pitching remains tragic (and got worse Monday with Jose Berrios!), so my focus was trained more on the subsequent week for two-start starters, and even that wasn’t very inspiring. Koehler kind of stinks, but he has three pretty good matchups the next two weeks. With my ratios in tatters, I need to max out starts to at least compete in K’s and W’s.

Buchter is a saves stash – Fernando Rodney isn’t in trouble, but with him it always seems to lurk, and Buchter has been excellent, and picked up the save when Rodney wasn’t available last week. He’ll be the guy if and when there’s a change. It’s only a question of whether I’ll be able to wait it out.

RotoWire & FanDuel Fantasy Baseball Championship – Week 6

We are now five weeks into the RotoWire & FanDuel Fantasy Baseball Championship and the action is heating up. RotoWire subscribers are duking it out for cash prizes and entries into the $5,000 championship that will be held on July 22. There are plenty of prizes and entries to be had, so make sure to create your lineups! You can view the rules and enter the contest by clicking here.