Pickups: Take a chance on Ty France

In a season filled with injuries thus far, fantasy managers are surely seeking replacements. Here are three players well worth adding in ESPN leagues:

Trevor Rogers, SP, Miami Marlins

Opportunities abound for Rogers and his Marlins rotation-mates. They have a second-most-in-the-majors 22 games remaining, with all of them to be played over the season’s final 18 days without a single off day, meaning a total of four doubleheaders requiring a minimum of two additional spot starters. What’s more, the Marlins are in the thick of the wild-card hunt — yes, it’s an expanded field this year, but it counts nevertheless — residing in the 8-seed with a three-loss (and 1 ½ game) advantage over the ninth-seeded Colorado Rockies, so they’re going to need the best quality arms they can find over these final 2 ½ weeks.

Rogers, the Marlins’ higher first-round pick (No. 13 overall) in the 2017 amateur draft, surely fits that description. He throws a 94-mph four-seam fastball with a plus changeup, sinker and developing slider, with each of those pitches responsible for at least one of his 10 strikeouts in his most recent start against the Tampa Bay Rays. Rogers’ control does waver at times, best evidenced by his 12.7% walk rate through three big-league starts, but his stuff is pretty lethal against left-handed hitters (.309 wOBA thus far) and induces a lot of ground balls from that side. With an extreme pitchers’ park in Marlins Park helping his cause, he has a good share of matchups potential and is a strong bet to make four more starts in 2020: PHI (Sept. 11), BOS (Sept. 16), @ATL (Sept. 21), @NYY (Sept. 26).

Ty France, 3B/1B/2B, Seattle Mariners

Mariners manager Scott Servais told The Athletic’s Corey Brock following France’s trade-deadline acquisition that the utilityman should expect “a ton of at-bats” for his new team, and thus far, Servais has kept his word. France has started all six Mariners games since, batting either fifth (five times) or second (once) while appearing at three different positions (designated hitter, second base and third base). That’s quite an opportunity for this 26-year-old who sports .372/.454/.713 rates and 32 home runs in 101 career games at the Triple-A level.

France possesses one of the better line-drive strokes among youngsters who have debuted in the past two seasons, his big-league rate thus far 24.5%, and scouts feel he has enough raw power to eventually become a 25-homer performer (in a full, 162-game season). He has also handled right-handed pitching — .269/.337/.415 big-league rates thus far — better than left-handed pitching, and bear in mind that he crushed lefties in the minors and therefore should also improve against his strong-platoon side. Considering France qualifies at three infield positions and should play regularly, he’s a handy piece to have for your stretch run.

Tony Watson, RP, San Francisco Giants

Saves might be saves, but in Watson’s case, even though he’s probably a member of a closer-by-committee in San Francisco, his strength in the ratio categories makes him an advisable fantasy pickup, even if he’s only getting 50-60% of the save chances. While Watson’s 21.1% strikeout rate leaves plenty to be desired — and he was even worse in that category last year (17.8%) — he has posted the lowest average exit velocity (82.7 mph) and Statcast hard-hit rate (26.3%) as well as the highest ground-ball rate (52.6%) of his career this season, signals that he’s likely to keep up the strong performance.

The Giants, too, remain in the thick of the wild-card race, currently slotting into the 7-seed, with an offense that has surprised: They’ve averaged a fifth-best-in-baseball 5.32 runs per game. There should be more save chances for Watson and his committee-mates than expected the rest of the way, especially with the entirety of their remaining schedule set to be played in pitching-friendly ballparks: Four at San Diego’s Petco Park, two at Seattle’s T-Mobile Park, three at the Oakland Coliseum and seven back at their own Oracle Park.