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:
Yusmeiro Petit, RP, Washington Nationals: Petit has thrown another 2 shut out innings over the past week, lowering his ERA to 2.40. His value really only comes if there is an injury in the Nats rotation and he is somehow able to wrestle the short-term slot. With no holds, Petit doesn’t provide a lot pf value as a relief pitcher. I’m probably not going to hold, but he’s worth monitoring while he’s pitching this well.
Joel Peralta, RP, Seattle Mariners: Peralta has two holds over three shut-out innings, striking out 5 since I recommended him last week. He’s still only owned in 8% of Fantrax leagues and 1% on CBS. You could do a lot worse with one of your bench P slots. In fact, I’d bet you are.
Cesar Vargas, SP, San Diego Padres: Vargas ownership more than doubled over the past week, so I hope you got him while you had the chance. Now with three big league starts, Vargas is sporting a tidy 1.10 ERA. He has a 58% ground ball rate, so while the 13.4% BB rate is more than worrisome, there is some room for optimism. Continue to hold Vargas as long as he’s got a rotation spot locked up.
Ezequiel Carrera, OF, Toronto Blue Jays: With just four at-bats in the past week, Carrera has seen a drop in his ownership levels. If you have limited bench spots you may be better off dropping Carrera for one of this week’s suggestions. As long as Michael Saunders and Jose Bautista are healthy, Carrera has nowhere to play.
Adam Morgan, SP, Philadelphia Phillies: Morgan hasn’t set the world on fire (nor should he have) since his call-up, but he did strike out 7 Indians over 5 innings in his first start, before struggling against the Cardinals last week. The 6.00 ERA isn’t pretty, but a 4.12 xFIP and a 22% K rate suggest that Morgan may just have enough to hold on to the 5th spot in the Phillies rotation for the year.
Here’s a look at this week’s targets:
Daniel Nava, OF, Los Angeles Angels: Rafael Ortega did an admirable job filling in for Nava while he was on the DL, but Scioscia has committed to Nava regaining the left-field job upon his return- likely today. Nava brings little power, but was a career .273 hitter with a 10% BB rate prior to last season’s poor performance. He gets the good side of the left-field platoon and has a .281/.377/.408 line against right-handers in his career.
Currently owned in 7% of Fantrax, 1% of CBS & 0% in Y! leagues
Jerry Blevins, RP, New York Mets: The New York reliever is holding opponents to a .148 AVG this year and has 4 holds over the past two weeks. His success is nothing new; he hasn’t allowed a BAA over .230 since 2011 and only twice since 2008. Fellow Mets left-hander Antonio Bastardo may have triple the ownership levels across the board, but has just one hold over the same two-week period. I’m not saying to drop Bastardo for Blevins, I’m just saying it’s close.
Currently owned in 5% of Fantrax, 1% of CBS & 0% in Y! leagues
Cam Bedrosian, RP, Los Angeles Angels: Bedrosian is currently averaging 96.4 mph on his fastball, good enough for 5th overall in the major leagues. The question with Bedrosian has always been the control, and he has walked 3 batters already in his first 6 innings this year. On the plus side, opponents are hitting just .143 against him, and he has 10 strikeouts in 6 innings of work. With results like that, it won’t be long until Bedrosian slides into a more prominent role in the Angels pen. When he does, his value sky-rockets. Get him now while you still can.
Currently owned in 0% of CBS, 0% in Y! & 5% in Fantrax leagues
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF, Milwaukee Brewers: The Brewers outfield consists of Ryan Braun (trade soon?), Domingo Santana (injured), and Ramon Flores (hitting .148). Nieuwenhuis is their 4th outfielder, and has gotten in to 90% of the team’s games thus far. He’s hitting .271/.340/.417 with 7 runs, 9 RBIs, and a pair of stolen bases. If Flores doesn’t start hitting, Nieuwenhuis is capable of handling centerfield and could put up pretty decent numbers. In 665 career at bats he has scored 94 runs with 18 home runs and 14 bases. At 27-years-old this might be his best chance for regular playing time, even if you have to squint a little to see it now.
Currently owned in 6% of Fantrax, 1% of CBS & 0% in Y! leagues
Nick Ahmed, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks: Ahmed is batting less than .100 over the past three weeks, and is just a career .216 hitter in the majors. Why on earth would any fantasy owner target him to be their starting shortstop?!? The answer is the nearly 5 WAR that Ahmed has already accrued defensively this year which keeps him in the lineup day in and day out. While an everyday shortstop means little in shallow leagues, you could do much worse in deep leagues. Ahmed is a top ten option in NL-Only leagues with his ability (really!) to hit double-digit in home runs and stolen bases. Ahmed is suffering from a .176 BABIP, but his LD% and Hard Hit rates are the highest of his career. I would buy with confidence and look for some offensive gains from last year’s numbers.
Currently owned in 3% of CBS, 2% in Y!, and 22% in Fantrax leagues
C.J. Cron, 1B, Los Angeles Angels: Cron came into 2016 with a 4% BB rate and a 22% K rate, having hit 27 home runs in just over 600 big league at-bats. This year, Cron has just one home run (and 3 extra base hits) but is sporting a 11%/16% BB/K rate. That’s not likely the type of gains his current owner was looking for, but it bodes well for his long-term value. I like the new Cron better, and I don’t see any red flags that he can’t improve across the board with his new approach. While obviously not one of the big first base talents, Cron could still offer 15-20 HR with a serviceable average. Those aren’t huge numbers, but ones that should give a profit if you can trade for him now.
Currently owned in 7% of CBS, 1% in Y! & 22% in Fantrax leagues
Ryan Cordell, OF, Texas Rangers: With all of the elite Rangers prospects, it’s no wonder that Cordell has flown under the radar. After winning the Texas League player of the month award in April, that may not be the case for long. Cordell has reached base every game this year and is sporting a .345/.385/.678 line with 6 home runs. Cordell has good speed to go with this power, but is held back by a 27% K rate. He’s also relatively old at 24, but in deep leagues he is definitely worth a flier on for the power alone. While he has bounced around a fair bit defensively, if he is ever going to be a full-time major league player it will be as a corner outfielder.
Currently owned in 7% of Fantrax and 1% of CBS & 0% of Y! leagues
Casey Kelly, SP, Braves: I had to check myself twice that Kelly still qualified as a prospect after what has been an 8 year minor league career for the former first-round pick. Prospect fatigue had already set in years ago with the big right-hander. The Padres had more or less given up on Kelly as a starting pitcher last year, but it looks like Atlanta is giving him every opportunity to live up to his once bright prospect status. With a solid 3 inning major league cameo, followed by a 7-inning one-hitter thrown last week in AAA and an 8-inning shutout Wednesday, Kelly makes for a decent stash in NL-only and deep leagues. Atlanta is a great organization for developing arms and at 26-years-old, Casey Kelly might still be a solid back of the rotation starter.
Currently owned in 7% of Fantrax and 1% of CBS & 0% of Y! leagues
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