Over the past week, Matt Adams went from a widely available power bat on the waiver wire to a player on a roster in nearly every league. The Nationals lefty had several home runs to start the month and drew lots of attention, but has since gone six outings with just two RBIs and no home runs.
However, there are a few other 1B- and OF-eligible players who haven't seen such a drastic leap in popularity but have similar season-long Player Rater numbers to Adams, so give us your pick between the Washington slugger and these players in terms of rest-of-season value.
Tristan H. Cockcroft: Franchy Cordero, San Diego Padres, 77 percent available
Since the Padres have seemingly solved their "outfield clutter" conundrum that seemed apparent after Eric Hosmer's signing -- they now appear locked into Cordero in left field with Jose Pirela at second base -- Cordero's full-season playing time looks a lot more secure today than it did on Opening Day. Certainly, it's no worse than Adams' prospects in that department. I'd give the Padres' rookie the edge in that case, since he's the one who brings more speed to the table, having stolen five bases on seven attempts so far and managed a minimum of 16 at all combined professional levels in each of the past four seasons.
Cordero's swing-and-miss tendency does concern me, as he'll probably be wildly streaky and his lows could be low enough to persuade the Padres to try someone else. He might wind up a left-handed version of Keon Broxton, for this year at least. In mixed leagues (even 12- or 14-teamers), the wise play would be to chase the better daily/weekly matchups for either player, and in this case, Cordero's Week 7 matchups per the Forecaster are significantly more favorable, as his Padres face weaker pitching and a likely five right-handed starters to Adams' Nationals' five games and three against lefty starters.
Eric Karabell: Leonys Martin, Detroit Tigers, 80 percent available
Martin is currently on the disabled list for a hamstring injury but could return later this week. We have seen enough of Martin over the years to know what he is capable of statistically, but like Adams it is always possible the lure of safer playing time and future job status alters things. Martin is capable of double-digit home runs and more than 20 stolen bases, and he achieved those statistics as recently as 2016. He is off to a nice start scoring runs for the Tigers, a team that lacks lineup depth, but not at the top.
I would prefer Adams to Martin, for I believe Adams can continue to hit for power against right-handed pitching and will play if he does so, and I expect a career-high in home runs is coming. Martin's power is less reliable and one would think the Tigers would use younger players as the season progresses. If I really needed stolen bases, I would get them elsewhere.
AJ Mass: C.J. Cron, Tampa Bay Rays, 66 percent available
Cron seems to be the same player with the Rays that he always was with the Angels in nearly every area, except for an increase in playing time. He has hit 16 HRs in each of his last three seasons while averaging 110 games played. If he were to play a full 162-game season in 2018, I'd expect around 23 HR for the year with a .270 or so batting average.
Adams, on the other hand, has indeed shown amazing improvement this season in his BB/K rate -- a key stat for points leaguers to monitor -- currently at 0.70 for the year, well beyond his career 0.28. While he is hitting the ball harder than ever before (44.4 percent hard-hit rate) which helps to explain the wild 33.3 percent HR/FB rate, I don't think any of this is sustainable. Given the fact his .274 batting average is higher than his BABIP (.258), I'm expecting a serious decline going forward.
I'll play things safe here, keep calm and carry on with Cron.
Kyle Soppe: Ryon Healy, Seattle Mariners, 51 percent available
I'll pass on Healy in favor of Adams if that situation presents itself, as I simply have more faith in both the stability of power and the Nationals' lineup. In close calls like this, I will more often than not side with the lefty, as the platoon advantage presents itself roughly three times as often. Both players have proven to be much more reliable when in a favorable matchup in terms of handedness, so why not roll with the player that is going to be put in that position considerably more often?
As for the lineup around him, there is no denying that the Nationals are loaded and with the Robinson Cano injury, I believe the run scoring/driving in potential is higher for Adams as he appears locked into the middle third of this order for the foreseeable future. I think both offer potential and should be rostered across the board, but give me Adams in the head-to-head matchup.