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:
Gregorio Petit, 2B/SS, Los Angeles Angels: Petit batted .450 in the four games following last week’s recommendation, but then came the return of Andrelton Simmons. Petit got his first day off in nearly a month on Wednesday, and remained out of the lineup on Friday. I was hoping he would play some second base over a struggling Giavotella, but it looks like that’s not the case. Feel free to let him go back on the wire.
Ichiro Suzuki, OF, Miami Marlins: Suzuki has kept on hitting, going 6-11 this week with 3 walks for a .643 OBP. Those aren’t “full-time” at-bats, but you can not argue with the numbers that he is putting up. People are taking notice too, as his ownership has doubled in the past 7 days. Continue to hold Suzuki as he is proof that talent will find at bats.
Mike Pelfrey, SP, Detroit Tigers: Pelfrey went 0-2 with a 4.97 ERA over the past week, with one quality start and one near quality outing (total 7 ER in 12.2 innings). This is pretty near what you’re going to get from Pelfrey moving forward. Hopefully there are a few wins sprinkled in there, because the ratios and strikeouts are not going to be worth rostering. I’m not sure that there are many leagues out there that he is worth holding on to in.
Cory Gearrin, RP, San Francisco Giants: Gearrin had a pair of scoreless appearances this week with one hold and a blown save. The hold was one of five recorded by Giants pitchers on Sunday alone. As long as Bochy keeps mixing and matching, there will be plenty of hidden value in the Giants pen. Gearrin, who is riding a ten game scoreless streak, belongs near the top of that list.
Here’s a look at this week’s targets:
Brett Eibner, OF, Kansas City Royals : I suggested picking up Whit Merrifield weeks before anyone else, and there’s at least a non-zero chance that lightning could strike twice for the Kansas City Royals. Eibner, 27, made his big league debut in May going 6-13 before spraining his ankle and being forced to the DL. On Thursday, Eibner returned and quickly hit a home run among his two hits, raising his average to .471. He’s currently batting eighth in the Royals lineup, but that could change if he continues to mash. His minor league numbers don’t suggest that this is remotely sustainable, but he has flashed some power to go with a little speed. It’s a decent profile at least, and one worth grabbing in deep leagues.
Currently owned in 8% of Fantrax, 1% of CBS & 0% in Y! leagues
Blake Treinen, RP, Washington Nationals: With the Papelbon injury, Treinen should get even more opportunities for holds as everyone moves up a spot at the back-end. Treinen hasn’t given up a run in over a month and is sitting with a 4-1 record with 6 holds and a 2.22 ERA. He’s striking out more than a batter an inning and quickly becoming one of the most trustworthy arms in the Nationals bullpen. I can see this being more than a short-term add as I suspected he would be a sleeper in that pen in the preseason.
Currently owned in 9% of Fantrax, 1% of CBS & 0% in Y! leagues
Zach Putnam, RP, Chicago White Sox: It happens sometimes that I have to make a half-hearted recommendation. Let’s face it; there just aren’t a lot of great players on the wire in deep leagues. Putnam is one such recommendation. On the surface he has been a relied-upon reliever for the White Sox over the past couple of seasons with decent success. Last year he struggled with his command, but he’s been better in 2016. He’s got a 27% K rate to go with a stellar 2.45 ERA and a 2.85 xFIP. So why the hesitation? Putnam has given up more hits than innings in four of his last five outings; three of those after experiencing some elbow soreness. With a crowded pen, I just don’t know how much the club will lean on Putnam from this point on. If this is just regular soreness, than this might be a good time to grab him before he reels off a couple of solid late appearances. I’m just not sure.
Currently owned in 0% of CBS, 0% in Y! & 5% in Fantrax leagues
Albert Suarez, SP, San Francisco Giants: Suarez made his first two career starts taking Matt Cain’s spot in the rotation when he went on the DL early in June. One Cain start later and it looks like Suarez will slide right back into that spot after Cain strained his hamstring. Suarez is an eight-year veteran of the minor leagues, so we have a little feel for what he might do now. He should keep the ball on the ground while not walking or striking out many batters. ZiPS likes him for an ERA just over 4 which is where his xFIP currently sits. There’s nothing terribly special about this arm, but San Fran is a great place to pitch with a manager who likely won’t leave him over-exposed. For now there should be short-term value, but he could stick around if he can make the most of this opportunity. In his two previous starts he allowed 5 earnedruns in 11.2 innings for a 3.85 ERA.
Currently owned in 7% of Fantrax, 1% of CBS & 0% in Y! leagues
Kolten Wong, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals: Kolten Wong is the perfect example of the type of player I try to target in deep league trades. He has under-performed enough (.222/.306/.386 in 144 big league plate appearances this year) that he lost his job and was demoted to the minors. He has a history of success (23 HR / 35 SB in 960 career at bats), and is still just 25 years old. He played some centerfield in AAA, which doesn’t necessarily mean a hit to his value. What it usually means is an impending call-up, and in fact, the Cardinals activated Wong yesterday. Their GM claims the added position will bring some versatility to Wong once promoted. This sounds like a super-utility role to me, but all is not lost as he will play if he hits. Added positional value won’t be a negative as long as he is in the lineup. I think there’s enough concern out there about his bat playing in the outfield that there still is a small window to get a trade done. It would have been better to target him last week, but I was too busy chasing arms.
Currently owned in 26% of CBS, in 28 % Y!, and 46% in Fantrax leagues
Dylan Bundy, RP, Baltimore Orioles: Bundy has similar attributes to Wong that make him an appealing trade target, and if the Orioles had any option, he would probably be in the minors too. As is, Bundy is wasting away in the Orioles bullpen allowing opponents to bat .340 against him with a .376 wOBA. Basically, everyone turns into Ryan Braun when they face Dylan Bundy. I’ve watched him closely though, and there are some signs that he is starting to turn things around. After just two strikeouts over 9 innings in April, he struck out 8 in 12 May innings. So far in June he has 6 strikeouts in 5 innings. His walk rate has also improved, making his 22.7% K-BB rate in June a stark improvement over his 2% mark for the first two months. This was always the most important thing to me; he needed to show that he could get results in short outings before there was any chance he could be trusted in longer ones. His stuff needed to play – and it is now. While the overall numbers still look horriblem and while it still looks like he is destined to rot in the pen forever, it is time to make the move for the talented right-hander. His price won’t get any lower.
Currently owned in 11% of CBS, 1% in Y! & 32% in Fantrax leagues
Andres Gimenez, SS, New York Mets: The Mets signed the 16-year-old Gimenez last July out of Venezuela for $1.2 M. At the time, he was ranked as the 2nd best international prospect by Baseball America. After a week in the DSL, Gimenez is sure looking the part, hitting .387/.474/.677 with 6 walks and just 3 strikeouts in 31 at bats. The 3rd ranked prospect Leodys Taveras of the Rangers has nearly double the ownership of Gimenez. Quite frankly that may not be enough either, as they both will be climbing prospect lists this year. While others are clamoring to get the new 2016 draftees, I’d take a step back to last year and make sure Gimenez was off the boards. He has the ability to hit for average with good speed and potential for a little power. At just 17 now, Gimenez won’t be making his mark any time soon, but he has a huge amount of upside and won’t be available for long in any competitive deep league.
Currently owned in 4% of Fantrax and 0% of CBS & 0% of Y! leagues
Leody Taveras, OF, Texas Rangers: I had someone else in mind, but after writing up Gimenez it seemed only fitting to highlight Taveras here as well. Taveras was signed last year as well, receiving $2.1 M out of the Dominican Republic from the Texas Rangers. He is the younger cousin of former major leaguer Willy Taveras, and while he may not have that much speed, he certainly has plus speed. He also has the potential to hit 15 home runs as his power develops. He’s hitting .452/.528/.581 over his first week of action in the DSL. He’s just 17, but with an offensive profile even greater than Gimenez he needs to get off the board quickly.
Currently owned in 7% of Fantrax and 0% of CBS & 0% of Y! leagues
For even more fantasy advice, head on over to Fantasy Rundown for the best links from the top sources.