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:
Dillon Gee, SP, Kansas City Royals: Kris Medlen joined Chris Young on the DL last week, making Gee the de facto 4th starter for the Royals. He’s done fairly well in his two starts, throwing 10.2 innings while allowing just 4 runs with 8 strikeouts. As long as he can keep up the solid ground ball rate, Gee should be a decent fill-in. His ownership has nearly doubled since I recommended him, and I see no reason to let him go now.
Bryan Morris, RP, Miami Marlins: Morris is continuing to bore me to near death, but even though he’s without a hold since last week, he’s still managed a couple of scoreless appearances. You could do worse than holding.
Ryan Flaherty, 3B, Baltimore Orioles: I missed the memo that Pedro Alvarez was suddenly a capable third baseman, so Flaherty has little to no value at this time. He has just two at bats in the past week and can be dropped everywhere.
Gordon Beckham, 3B/2B, Atlanta Braves: Beckham has his batting average up to .340 and the Braves seem committed to playing him regularly. His ownership levels have only creeped up in the past week, so if he’s still available I suggest that you go ahead and grab him.
Here’s a look at this week’s targets:
Rafael Ortega, OF, Los Angeles Angels: Ortega is back in left field following another DL stint for Daniel Nava. Ortega will get the bulk of the playing time as the left-handed side of the platoon. His new spot in the lineup isn’t so hot at #7, but at least he’s got the chance to continue his strong start. He has no power, but with his speed and strong contact skills he could keep up the good average while contributing a solid dose of runs and stolen bases. There’s also the chance that Nava never gets fully healthy or wins back the job from Ortega – he was hitting just .222 in 17 games. Currently owned in 7% of Fantrax, 1% of CBS & 0% in Y! leagues
Brett Wallace, 3B, San Diego Padres: Wallace has a 44.4% hard hit rate, good enough for 9th best in the majors now. Let that sink in a bit! He’s hitting the ball harder than any qualified hitter did in 2015. Wallace was a first round pick way back in 2008 and has always had plenty of power to go with a very high K rate. The difference this year is the improved walk rate (15%) as he’s swinging at less pitches and making significantly more contact. Wallace is simply filling in for the injured Solarte who is already on a rehab assignment so his opportunity may be short-lived. There is a chance that Solarte plays some second base, allowing Wallace to keep proving his worth. The situation merits watching as long as Wallace is producing.
Currently owned in 6% of Fantrax, 1% of CBS & 0% in Y! leagues
Michael Tonkin, RP, Minnesota Twins: Tonkin is a big 6’7″ power right-hander with a 27% K rate so far this year for the Twins. The 30th round pick from 2008 is still just 26 years old and may still reach prominence in the Minnesota bullpen. In fact, of the Twins relievers only Fernando Abad has a lower ERA, and Tonkin at 3.15 is the only other arm in the pen with a mark under 4.50. Trevor May is the only other big arm out there, and he was destroyed in the last week, allowing seven earned runs in less than two innings pitched. I don’t really think Tonkin is the answer to the Twins woes, but I don’t see any real better solutions either. If he gets an opportunity in the eighth, he may just be able to hold on to it.
Currently owned in 0% of CBS, 0% in Y! & 3% in Fantrax leagues
Randall Delgado, RP, Arizona Diamondbacks: Delgado is sitting with a 5.73 ERA this year, up significantly from last year’s 3.25 mark. His FIP and xFIP are both actually lower than last year, as is his walk and hard hit rate. He’s maintained his strikeout rate, and his velocity is ticking back up to career norms. Overall, there’s very little difference between the successful Delgado of last year and the 2016 version that has been getting lit up. He generates a ton of ground balls, and coupled with his solid K rate, Delgado should start seeing more fortunate results. When he does, more late inning opportunities should present themself.
Currently owned in 7% of Fantrax, 1% of CBS & 0% in Y! leagues
Archie Bradley, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks: Things did not go so well for Bradley in his two big league starts this year. Heck, they haven’t gone that well in his ten starts over the past two seasons. He’s got a career 6.26 ERA with identical 13.7% K and BB rates. Fortunately he’s still just 23 years old and has been heating up in Reno (pun intended). He has four straight quality starts, and over his past two has a combined 15 strikeouts to just three walks. While his ownership numbers continue to fall, I would look to acquire the big right-hander. He may not have the SP1 upside that we all hoped that he would, but he just needs to continue improving his control in order to be a significant fantasy asset in deep leagues.
Currently owned in 15% of CBS, 1% in Y!, and 37% in Fantrax leagues
Oswaldo Arcia, OF, Minnesota Twins: I like to target players who, on the surface, look like there’s very little reason to. Arcia isn’t hitting his weight and is striking out nearly 40% of the time this year. Worse yet, he struck out 8 times last week in just 13 at bats! Fortunately the power is still there, as his ISO has gone up 50 points from last year’s debacle. It’s still nowhere near where it was in 2014, but he has at least improved his walk rate 50% over his career numbers. Combine the walk rate with a significant jump in his hard hit rate, and it leads me to believe there is still something here. Arcia won’t even be the best ball player in his family, but he is good enough to hit 15-20 HR with the new-found potential for a decent OBP. That makes him more intriguing than most owners will find him.
Currently owned in 7% of CBS, 1% in Y! & 24% in Fantrax leagues
Jacob Gatewood, SS, Milwaukee Brewers: Andy Germani made a note on Gatewood in his weekly minor league report. While he’s absolutely correct to be concerned about the ridiculous 41:1 K:BB rate, I’m at least a little intrigued by the power. Gatewood has moved to third base in order to make room for newly acquired Isan Diaz, and has a strong enough arm to at least keep on the left side of the infield. He has a .180 ISO, with most of the damage (and all five home runs) coming in the past two weeks. Gatewood was always going to be a risky target with his poor discipline, but the hope was his natural talent and especially his power potential could break through. I’m not saying it has (the discipline needs to improve), but I’m suggesting he should be owned in more leagues.
Currently owned in 7% of Fantrax and 1% of CBS & 0% of Y! leagues
Jose Miguel Fernandez, 2B, unsigned: I’m cheating a little here, as many sites and many leagues won’t allow claims on Fernandez until he is signed. He has been declared a major league free agent and is expected to put on his second showcase on May 24. He doesn’t have power or speed, but what he does have is excellent contact skills. At 27 years old, Fernandez is near-major league ready and might not need a lot of minor league seasoning. His ceiling is not terribly high, but with the attention he is sure to get as he gets nearer to signing, the time is now to grab him if your league allows.
Currently owned in 3% of Fantrax and 0% of CBS & 0% of Y! leagues
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