Hold or Fold: Just the Holds

“I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now.” ~ Queen “I Want It All”

The problem with a hold or fold column is always the fold section. It’s the easiest part to write but applies to the fewest people. Targets and Avoids, Buy/Sell, Up/Down – whatever the hot/cold metaphor or gimmick is, the bad is always easier to write about. It’s also easier to actually be right about. Slumps are more reflective of problems than hot streaks are of talent.

So then I had a thought, the kind of thought that everyone has occasionally, and immediately dismisses. I thought “What if for one week I actually did that hard part of my job?” It was a crazy thought. It was nonsense. I should probably see a doctor. And yet the thought remained. So here we are. No folds this week. We don’t want to fold anyway. Like Queen, we want all the talent, and we want it now. Ergo:

Just Hold ‘Ems

Also known as the Arthur Rhodes Memorial Column, in honor of the all-time holds leader.

Jose Iglesias

Iglesias is not a sexy add. I’m not telling you to cut an underperforming former star or prospect in a longterm league to add Iglesias. I am telling you that in yearly leagues, Jose Iglesias should be on somebody’s roster by now.

Owned in 2% of Yahoo leagues, everyone knows what Iglesias isn’t by now. He’s not a double-digit home run guy. He might not even be a 10 steal guy. He might not hit .300. There’s nothing exciting about his fantasy game. He has exactly one usable fantasy trait, and it’s the one everybody needs. He’s going to get at-bats.

I know what you’re thinking – what about when Gennett comes back? First off, that’s then and this is now. When the “then” is unclear, the “now” is what is important. However, I think Iglesias stays at short even when Gennett returns. Peraza has been miserable. Kemp got released. Schebler got sent to the minors. The Reds want production. Everyone knows Iglesias can play defense. After Monday’s game, Iglesias is slashing .310/.349/.450. Peraza is slashing .185/.228/.269. You do the math as to where the at-bats will be going.

James McCann

See Jose Iglesias, rinse, repeat. Quite seriously though, McCann is in a timeshare at catcher with Wellington Castillo. Timeshares only work when both parties are producing. At present, McCann is slashing .351/.400/.595. while Castillo is slashing .167/.306/.300.

The White Sox aren’t going anywhere this year. However, that should give them even more incentive to play McCann. As they near the end of their rebuild, Moncada looks to be breaking out and Eloy is in the Show without service time restrictions. This means the product on the field is becoming more important now, and especially in the future. Two-thirds of the teams in baseball need a catcher at the trade deadline every year and every team in baseball would love to trade for a catcher that rakes. My guess is that if McCann keeps hitting he ends up with the lion’s share of the playing time to prove that production matters and to be showcased as a trade chip. He’s owned in 22% of leagues, so he’s probably out there waiting for you.

Leury Garcia

McCann’s teammate on the White Sox, Garcia is owned in a mere 13% of leagues despite being a nearly every day presence in the lineup. He doesn’t possess much power, but he does have 5 steals already without being caught.

Yolmer Sanchez is struggling mightily at second base, with a meager .557 OPS. The White Sox just called up Charlie Tilson because Adam Engel has more than 850 failed attempts at hitting major league pitching. Garcia’s .299/.346/.386 line isn’t special, but he’s played every outfield position and shortstop this season, so he’s versatile and he can hit enough, especially given the other options. He’s more of a deep league hold, but at-bats and steals with a palatable overall line are generally useful everywhere.

Ramiel Tapia

Are you beginning to see a theme here? Ian Desmond has been putrid. He’s been fading since 2016, and the results have bottomed out so far this year. Owned in 6% of leagues, Tapia should be on every fantasy owner’s radar.

After several starts and stops to the beginning of his career, Tapia seems to be intent on taking Desmond’s job by force – and Desmond is making it easy so far. Tapia is slashing a cool .271/.319/.565 through his 85 at-bats this season, already surpassing his previous career highs (and totals) in both home runs and triples. For a Rockies team with designs on the postseason, the 300 point OPS difference between Tapia and Desmond is becoming increasingly significant. Any outfielder that takes over an everyday job in Denver is a fantasy must own, and Tapia is nearly there.

Luke Jackson

This one is short and sweet. I still have absolutely no idea how the Braves bullpen is shaking out for the season, let alone on a nightly basis. That said, someone is getting the call if the Braves are ahead. If you want to gamble on a Braves reliever, might as well gamble on the one with 2 recent saves and 15 straight scoreless innings. I have no idea if I’m right on this one, so take it with a grain (or a thousand) of salt, but there’s nothing wrong with 15 straight scoreless innings either way.

 

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Seth Bias

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I'm Seth. I love baseball, especially the Braves, and rock n' roll on vinyl. Books, sandals and tacos too, though I find most of my money for those things going to vinyl these days. Once turned Prince Fielder into Justin Verlander and Paul Goldschmidt in a dynasty league. Also ashamed to say I once cut Jose Ramirez. I don't hate your favorite team unless your favorite team is the Nationals or Phillies. May or may not have cried when David Justice hit that home run in game 6 of the 95 World Series - though if you actually ask me, I'll claim I did not.

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