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12-TEAM MIXED LEAGUES

Brandon Moss, 1B/OF, St. Louis Cardinals (Ownership: 49 percent CBS, 44 percent ESPN, 40 percent Yahoo!)

Moss looks like he’s worked his way into Mike Matheny’s regular lineup against right-handed pitching, making starts at left field, right field and first base with a right-hander on the mound within the last 10 games. Moss has knocked 15 home runs in 60 games (189 PA), and while he’s striking out a prolific rate (30 percent), his .908 OPS—third among Cardinals hitters (min. 100 PA)—should ensure that he keeps himself in the lineup ahead of the quickly fading Jeremy Hazelbaker (.502 OPS in May, .400 OPS in June after a 1.040 OPS in April). The only other left-handed outfielder on the depth chart besides Hazelbaker that could steal at-bats over the season’s second half is Kolten Wong, who’s been playing center field at Triple-A Memphis since his demotion. Wong has yet to play in left field or right field at Memphis, so Randal Grichuk could be the one the loses time in the Cardinals outfield, not Moss, when Wong returns.

Moss’ 27.3 percent HR:FB rate this season will likely tick down towards his career 15.6 percent mark over the rest of the season, but he did post a 25.9 percent HR:FB rate in 2012 while in Oakland, and his hard contact rate this season (40 percent) is right in line with his rates posted as an Athletic in 2013 (40 percent) and last season (39 percent). If Moss is playing regularly, his pop makes him worthy of being rostered in standard 12-team mixed leagues, as illustrated by his .323 isolated power mark this season, which is third overall (min. 100) behind only David Ortiz and Adam Duvall. — J.J. Jansons

Danny Duffy, SP/RP, Kansas City (Available in 64% of ESPN.com leagues)

Earlier this season, I composed multiple soliloquies in this space for the likes of Steven Wright, Rich Hill, Matt Shoemaker, Drew Pomeranz and CC Sabathia, just to name a few. Instead of adding southpaw James Paxton to that list by discussing his newfound triple-digit fastball velocity and major-league leading strikeout rate for the second straight week, it’s a different flame-throwing left-hander that deserves some critical acclaim.

After beginning the 2016 campaign in the Royals bullpen, Duffy has excelled since being inserted back into the rotation on May 15. In six starts since, the 27-year-old has posted a 2.90 ERA with 38 strikeouts and just five walks over 31 innings. Despite boasting the second-fastest average velocity (96.39 mph) of any left-handed starter this season, it’s a simple mechanical fix, ditching his old windup and pitching exclusively out of the stretch, that has made the biggest difference. We witnessed the transformation of Indians starter Carlos Carrasco into an elite fantasy starter after a similar adjustment in 2014, so it’s not unprecedented to say that Duffy could be headed towards a breakout himself. Regardless, there’s nothing inherently fluky about his performance over the last month and he needs to be owned in all fantasy leagues.

Zach Davies, SP, Milwaukee (Available in 60% of ESPN.com leagues)

While he wasn’t a highly regarded prospect in the Brewers system after coming over in the Gerardo Parra deal last summer, the 23-year-old has been simply outstanding over his last three starts, allowing just two runs on eight hits while striking out 21 and issuing just four walks in 21 innings of work.

What Davies lacks in terms of sheer velocity, he overcomes by consistently pounding the bottom of the strike zone with sinkers and generating whiffs with his changeup. The ground ball heavy approach is ideal for countering the veritable launching pad that is Miller Park and Davies .266 BABIP is one of the lowest marks of any major-league starter this season. Judging by the gap between Davies Deserved Run Average (4.29) and actual ERA (3.88) it’s fair to be skeptical of him moving forward, but it’s getting hard to overlook the results as the sample size continues to grow.

Julio Urias, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Available in 67% of ESPN.com leagues)

The vast majority of fantasy owners wrote the 19-year-old phenom off after a pair of disastrous outings on the road against the Mets and Cubs to begin his major-league career, however, Urias standout performance in his latest two starts may be a harbinger of things to come. Facing the division rival Rockies and Giants, the southpaw allowed just three runs on seven hits while striking out 14 batters and issuing just two walks in 8 1/3 innings.

There are obvious limitations to his fantasy upside, which include operating on a limited pitch count every start and an eventual innings cap later this summer. Yet, it’s impossible to overlook the present skills. Currently, Urias owns the ninth-highest strikeout rate of any major-league starter this season and his Deserved Run Average (4.01) is nearly two full runs lower than his 5.82 ERA. Add in the historical context and you’re looking at something special. Even if he’s limited to five innings, or as long as his pitch count will allow, the strikeouts will be there and they’re worth owning even in shallow mixed leagues. –George Bissell

15-Team Mixed Leagues

Robbie Grossman, OF, Minnesota Twins (Ownership: 32 percent CBS, 19 percent ESPN, 7 percent Yahoo!)

No, you haven’t stumbled upon a Free Agent Watch from two or three years ago. This is indeed the same Robbie Grossman that was the no. 76 overall prospect on the 2012 Top-100 Prospect List. He’s now in his age-26 season, and the former Pirate farmhand has made the most of his 106 plate appearances with the Twins this year, posting a .318/.453/.600 line aided by a .373 BABIP, which is nearly 50 points higher than his career .326 BABIP in 870 career major league plate appearances. Grossman clubbed six home runs in 34 games with Triple-A Columbus this season and has smacked five home runs since being recalled from Triple-A Rochester on May 20th. Paul Molitor has penciled him into his starting lineup in left field 25 times in less than a month with injuries to OF Danny Santana and OF Eddie Rosario’s demotion to Rochester. Grossman earns the recommendation in OBP leagues 15 teams or larger largely due to his quality plate discipline—which has always been a part of his profile—whether or not the power has been, and he’s walked (21) the same amount as he’s punched out this season in Minnesota, which comes on the heels of a 2015 season where he walked in 14 percent of his 408 Triple-A plate appearances and a 2014 season in which he earned a free pass in 13 percent of his 422 plate appearances at the major-league level with Houston.

Grossman’s a former top-100 prospect who just might fall into the late bloomer category, and as long as he continues to play everyday, he’s worth taking a flier on in deeper leagues as the power that he’s shown in his age-26 season—11 home runs between 35 International League games and 25 major-league games—just might be for real. Grossman’s been the 27th-most productive outfielder on ESPN’s Player Rater since his recall, and his .357 TAv is the highest of any left fielder this season with 100 or more plate appearances.

Robinson Chirinos, C, Texas Rangers (Ownership: 20 percent CBS, 2 percent ESPN, 2 percent Yahoo!)

Chirinos blasted two home runs against Oakland on Wednesday night, giving him three in five games since returning from the disabled list on June 10th, and four in ten games on the season. Chirinos has started four of six games since his return, and while Bryan Holaday and Bobby Wilson provided the Rangers with steady production in his absence, Chirinos should see a majority of the playing time at catcher over the rest of the season, and his power while hitting amongst a high-powered Texas lineup (even if it’s not quite in an everyday role) makes him attractive in the barren wasteland that is the catcher position this season.

Of catchers that have received 200 or plate appearances over the last two seasons, Chirinos’ .206 ISO placed him seventh among catchers in 2015 and his .176 ISO in 2014 put him inside the top-10 at the position once again, this time at eighth overall. If you combine the two seasons, his .189 ISO places him fourth overall among catchers, behind only Devin Mesoraco, Evan Gattis, and Travis d’Arnaud (min. 400 plate appearances).

Tom Koehler, SP, Miami (Available in 94% of ESPN.com leagues)

He’s undoubtedly feasted on some tasty matchup lately, taking care of business against San Diego, Minnesota, New York, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia in his most recent outings. However, it’s the sudden gains he’s made in terms of control that stand out. After walking at least five batters in four consecutive starts (pretty amazing to be honest) Koehler has issued just a trio of walks in his last three outings combined. He’s also fanned 20 batters in his last 18 innings of work. Those numbers will get you on the fantasy radar in deeper mixed leagues. Given his microscopic ownership numbers, there’s a strong possibility that the 29-year-old is swimming around your leagues free agent pool. He’ll face a much stiffer test against Colorado this weekend, but at least the matchup is at home and not in Coors. –George Bissell

AL-ONLY Leagues

Danny Worth, INF, Houston Astros

Worth received the call to the majors from Houston earlier this week, instead of a number of other third base options in the team’s upper minors, including Alex Bregman or J.D. Davis at Double-A Corpus Christi, and Matt Duffy and Colin Moran, who appeared in the majors earlier in the season at the hot corner. Worth has received the start at third base in each of the team’s last two games, hitting second in the order, and has gone 1-for-8 over the two games. The 30-year old Worth was walking at a 16 percent this clip at Triple-A Fresno this season, his first in the Astros organization, and his .998 OPS was eighth in the league. After being selected in the second round of the 2007 draft by the Tigers, they gave him less than 300 plate appearances at the major league level over five campaigns before he made his way to the Arizona organization last season. Worth was killing lefties this season in Fresno, hitting for a 1.184 OPS against them in 53 at-bats and he could work his way into a platoon with Luis Valbuena at third if he hits anywhere close to his work in the PCL this season.

NL-ONLY Leagues

Ryan Schimpf, 2B, San Diego Padres

The 28-year old Schimpf earned his first callup to the majors this week as the team designated Hector Sanchez for assignment. Schimpf, taken in the fifth round by the Blue Jays out of LSU in 2009, has over 3,000 career plate appearances in the minors, and has hit 20 or more home runs in four of his last five minor league seasons (none of which came in the Pacific Coast League), and was on his way to reaching that total once again this season, his first in the Padres organization, as he smashed 15 home runs in 51 PCL games, primarily playing third base in El Paso. Yes, Schimpf was old for the league this season, but his .355/.432/.729 line in 190 plate appearances should make NL-only owners take notice, as his .373 isolated power mark was 33 points higher than Peter O’Brien’s second-place total and was over 100 points higher teammate Alex Dickerson’s .270 mark.

With middle-infield eligibility already in most ESPN and CBS leagues, the left-handed hitting Schimpf is worth taking a flyer on in NL-only leagues, as it looks like he only has Brett Wallace to battle with for playing time at third base while Cory Spangenberg recovers from his strained quad. –J.J. Jansons

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