Every season gives us plenty of fantasy breakouts and busts. This week and next week, we’ll take a closer look at players who have surprised or disappointed fantasy owners, and determine their outlooks for the remainder of 2016. Today, our focus is on the guys who have exceeded expectations.
Jonathan Villar, 3B/SS, Milwaukee Brewers
Villar went undrafted in most leagues, as most expected him to merely keep the seat warm at shortstop for the Brewers until top prospect Orlando Arcia was ready for prime time. Instead, he’s been one of the best shortstops in fantasy. Villar leads MLB with 25 stolen bases in a season where only five other players have more than 13 swipes. He’s hitting .292/.377/.423 and has even managed six homers, four of which have come in June. There are some potentially troublesome indicators, however. While the pop has been a pleasant surprise, it’s built on an unsustainable 26.7 HR/FB% this month. Villar has seen his walk rate tumble and strikeout rate rise during June as well, and as a result he’s been a below-average hitter. He should continue to be a reliable source of speed, but is unlikely to contribute in other areas if recent trends persist. Verdict: Hold/Sell
RELATED LINK: These four Phillies could be trade bait in July
Wil Myers, 1B/OF, San Diego Padres
Offensive production at first base has been surprisingly mediocre this season. Even if we had seen that coming, though, few would have guessed that Myers would have a strong case as the top player at the position. Since winning the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 2013, Myers had missed over half of the following two seasons with wrist injuries. When he did make it onto the field, he wasn’t very good; he hit just .235/.311/.364 with 14 homers and 11 steals in 147 games. He’d also be playing for a weak offensive team in a pitcher’s park. Myers was, on average, the 35th first base-eligible player off the board in drafts. He’s top five at the position in every standard 5×5 category: fifth in batting average (.290), fourth in homers (16) and RBI (45), second in runs (46) and first in stolen bases (10). By all appearances, Myers is finally healthy and delivering on the promise he showed a few years. Oh, and he’s still only 25. Verdict: Hold
Jose Quintana, SP, Chicago White Sox
Quintana has always been a steady and underrated fantasy contributor, but a fantastic stretch to open 2016 brought him some overdue attention. Through his first eight starts, Quintana was 5-2 with a sparkling 1.54 ERA and 0.99 WHIP. He’s lost five straight decisions since then, though, and the ratios have regressed toward his career norms. Quintana still boasts career-best strikeout and walk numbers, but unfortunately, they aren’t really supported by his peripherals. His swinging strike rate is virtually identical to that of previous years, and he’s actually falling behind hitters more often in 2016. The best time to sell was a month ago, but you should still be able to deal Q at a profit. Verdict: Sell
Kyle Bishop is a lead MLB columnist at RotoBaller.com. His articles are your secret weapon for winning fantasy leagues.