Each week I will look at the best targets for AL-NL Only and very deep leagues (think 30 teams). While the following players may not be of interest to those in standard leagues, extremely deep leagues are becoming more and more popular. As I do every week, I sincerely recommend playing in this type of league, especially if you’ve played fantasy baseball for a long time.
Let’s take a look at the players I recommended last week:
Jemile Weeks, 2B, San Diego Padres: Weeks has in fact played every day since I recommended him last week, making him a must-watch at the very least. He has only 4 hits in 19 at bats during that time though, to go along with 6 strikeouts and 2 walks. I’m still holding him as Spangenberg is at least a week away from returning. I don’t expect that he’ll be worth holding after that.
Vidal Nuno, RP, Seattle Mariners: Nuno has pitched a third of an inning over the past week, which would make him completely useless in 50-team leagues! I would monitor his usage carefully for another 7-10 days before cutting ties with the left-hander. I’m a holds junkie who likes solid ratios so maybe I’m a little more patient than most.
Ryan Buchter, RP, San Diego Padres: I’ve found one strong waiver claim each week, and Buchter looks to be the one from week 3 The SD left-hander threw another three shutout innings since I recommended him, adding in 5 punchouts and recording one hold. Buchter could become this years feel good story, kind of like Colabello was last season for the Jays, only cleaner.
Jose Alvarez, RP, Los Angeles Angels: Alvarez clearly didn’t like me suggesting that Buchter and Nuno were the two I’d rather pick up last week and went and gave up a three-spot on Friday night. He bounced back nicely with a pair of clean two-inning appearances. I’m holding here too.
Here’s a look at this week’s targets:
Yusmeiro Petit, RP, Washington Nationals: I don’t expect Petit is going to earn his way into a rotation spot on the Nationals any time soon, but he still could provide value even in long relief! Last week his line looked like this 8.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 9 K with a win thrown in for good measure. Now he won’t put that up every week, but since 2009, his ERA is 3.61 with just about a strikeout per inning. He’s the long man in the pen now for the Nationals; a spot I would generally not look at for my fantasy roster, but I’m finding that in deep leagues, some rules are meant to be broken.
Currently owned in 8% of Fantrax, 1% of CBS & 0% in Y! leagues
Joel Peralta, RP, Seattle Mariners: With Joaquin Benoit on the DL, Peralta steps into the 8th inning and can provide some decent holds off the waiver wire. In fact, on Monday he recorded his 3rd hold over a 5 day period. A few years removed from four dominant seasons, Peralta has become an afterthought as evidenced by his ownership levels. This year, he has allowed just 5 hits, while striking out 10 batters in 9 innings pitched. The nice part about fishing for holds is that they can come just as easily in the 7th inning, so there isn’t too much to worry about when Benoit returns; provided Peralta continues to pitch well.
Currently owned in 5% of Fantrax, 1% of CBS & 0% in Y! leagues
Cesar Vargas, SP, San Diego Padres: Vargas is another beneficiary of a couple of injured arms, namely Tyson Ross and Robbie Erlin. Vargas did well in his debut, allowing just one run in five innings against the Cardinals. With Colin Rea’s poor showing this year, Vargas may find himself as the teams SP6 with the chance at 10-15 starts this year. From a San Diego pitcher, I’ll take that.
Currently owned in 2% of CBS, 0% in Y! & 7% in Fantrax leagues
Ezequiel Carrera, OF, Toronto Blue Jays: Michael Saunders is back in the Jays lineup after taking a few days off to nurse his sore hamstring. Carrera, for his part, made the most of the opportunity going 9-19 with two doubles, one home run, and a stolen base. Now relegated to OF4 status again, Carrera made a nice impression on his big league manager, and an equally good one on his fantasy owners. How long can Saunders stay healthy for anyway?
Currently owned in 8% of Fantrax, 2% of CBS & 1% in Y! leagues
Adam Morgan, SP, Philadelphia Phillies: With Charlie Morton out for the season, the Phillies will need to bring someone up from the minors to take his place. While the fans may clamor for Mark Appel, it’s much more likely that Morgan gets his chance. Morgan is pitching very well in AAA, with a 26.7% K rate and a K%-BB% of 21.3 through three starts. Strikeouts haven’t been a real part of his game since 2012, but he’s always been good at limiting the free passes. I would take a chance here as I think Morgan can hold down the 5th spot in the Phillies rotation for the year.
Currently owned in 9% of Fantrax, 0% of CBS & 0% in Y! leagues
Miguel Castro, RP, Colorado Rockies: Jake McGee has a 9.50 ERA, Justin Miller is sitting at 5.60; Chad Qualls at 6.00, leaving Boone Logan and his career 1.50 WHIP and 4.50 ERA as the Rockies top performing reliever this year. Enter Miguel Castro. Castro has a high-90’s fastball to go with a solid slider and change and looks very much the part of a big league closer. If his shoulder soreness is just that; soreness, then now is the time to get a break on the price. Adam Ottavino should get a chance to reclaim his role upon his return, with Castro serving as his protege. Long-term, I don’t like gambling on a) relievers and b) pitchers with shoulder issues, but because of what should be the cheap investment cost I will make an exception here.
Currently owned in 3% of CBS, 2% in Y!, and 22% in Fantrax leagues
Aaron Hicks, OF, New York Yankees: Another player with a shoulder injury, Hicks really wasn’t playing much even when healthy as OF4 on the Yankees. It was a jammed left shoulder though, nothing to do with this 105 mph strike from left field:
Hicks is just 26 years old, and a year removed from hitting 11 HR and stealing 13 bases in just 352 at bats. He has all the tools to be a successful major league player but is scuffling pretty bad right now, hitting .091/.167/.091. His BB rate is still good, his K rate is lower than ever, and his Hard Hit rate is the same as last season. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest his .105 BABIP will move up, and even if he doesn’t get another 352 at bats this year, his talent will win out and he will in the future. Get him cheap while you can.
Currently owned in 7% of CBS, 1% in Y! & 22% in Fantrax leagues
Michael De Leon, SS, Texas Rangers: After becoming the youngest player ever, at 17, to play in the AFL in 2014 De Leon went on to hit .222/.277/.281 in A ball as an 18-year-old. Now in High A, De Leon continues to flash outstanding defense while sitting at near the same level of offensive production. We don’t care a lot about the glove in fantasy, except that it helps keep a shortstop at shortstop where in an AL-Only or deep 30-team league, there’s a fair bit of value built in already. The promising thing about De Leon is his excellent contact skills as he’s sporting just a 9.5% K rate against much older competition. I think there’s something there to build on, and I’d roster De Leon in leagues with 400 prospects.
Currently owned in 3% of Fantrax and 0% of CBS & 0% of Y! leagues
Donnie Dewees, OF, Chicago Cubs: Dewees was a pretty polished college hitter when the Cubs took him in the 2nd round in 2015. This year he’s showing exactly why he was drafted so highly, hitting .357/.405/.626 through his first 17 games. He’s got a ton of speed as evidenced by 6 SB already to go with 6 triples! His BB/K rate is outstanding, but at 22 years old he’s facing younger competition that De Leon above. In the meantime, pick him up in deep leagues, as his speed should play even as he moves up.
Currently owned in 7% of Fantrax and 1% of CBS & 0% of Y! leagues
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