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:
Daniel Nava, OF, Los Angeles Angels: Nava isn’t even hitting .100 since his return from the DL and is droppable in all leagues. I’ll blame Mike Scioscia for giving him the vote of confidence and simply move on.
Jerry Blevins, RP, New York Mets: Blevins has pitched just 2/3 of an inning over the past week, but he has two strikeouts and a hold to his name. Speaking of holds; that’s what I’m going to do with the Mets left-hander. New York currently has the third highest-ranked bullpen in baseball, and Blevins is an important piece. He won’t necessarily pitch enough innings to help with your ratios, but he gets into enough games to contribute with holds.
Cam Bedrosian, RP, Los Angeles Angels: Bedrosian had pitched three scoreless appearances since I recommended him last week, prior to allowing 3 hits and a pair of unearned runs on Thursday night. The problem is that all of those appearances have been in games that the Angels were losing. Salas and Morin are currently the “trusted” right-handers late in the game, and I’m not sure just how soon Bedrosian will break in there. I may not wait another week to find out.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF, Milwaukee Brewers: It looks like I gave Nieuwenhuis the kiss of death, as he’s gone just 2-9 with a walk this week, while Alex Presley has gotten most of the time in CF. I was torn last week which one to recommend, and it looks like I chose poorly.
Here’s a look at this week’s targets:
Dillon Gee, SP, Kansas City Royals: Dillon Gee will make his first start of the season tomorrow with a chance really to hold on to the spot for the rest of the year. He’ll need to pitch better than he did with the Mets last year (5.90 ERA), but he’s been very effective in relief for the Royals thus far. On Monday he relieved the ineffective Chris Young and pitched 5 innings, allowing just one run while striking out three. Gee is generally a groundball pitcher and should do well with the infield defense that the Royals put out everyday. He’s no “must-own”, but if he can hang onto the rotation spot there is value to be had here.
Currently owned in 7% of Fantrax, 1% of CBS & 0% in Y! leagues
Bryan Morris, RP, Miami Marlins: Morris is what he is at this point: a decent if unspectacular source for holds. This year he’s got 6 holds already with a 3.14 ERA. He walks too many players to ever be truly dominant but as a very cheap source of holds, you could do much worse. David Phelps would be next in line for saves if anything happened to A.J. Ramos, but Morris looks set to put up a career high in holds this season. There’s little to no upside here, just boring steady results.
Currently owned in 6% of Fantrax, 1% of CBS & 0% in Y! leagues
Ryan Flaherty, 3B, Baltimore Orioles: Since the start of 2015, Flaherty has a .201 batting average and a 1:3 BB/K ratio. Even prior to 2015, Flaherty was a career .221 hitter meaning there really isn’t hope for big improvements this year. What he does provide is some power, averaging a home run every 30 at bats. With the J.J. Hardy injury, Flaherty is getting his chance to play regularly, even if he finds himself batting eighth or ninth. So far, he’s provided little to nothing, but he’s bound to run into a few homers as long as he’s getting his chances. The Orioles are already the favorite to lead the AL in home runs; Flaherty pitching in double-digits would only pad their total. That’s a lousy endorsement, but 3B/2B can be a wasteland in the deepest leagues; having nearly an everyday player is sometimes all you can hope for.
Currently owned in 1% of CBS, 0% in Y! & 5% in Fantrax leagues
Gordon Beckham, 3B/2B, Atlanta Braves: I admit to dropping Gordon Beckham in my 30-team league while he was injured and taking a chance on Brett Wallace. I don’t regret it, though I might prefer to have held on to him as well. Beckham is back at third, and the Adonis Garcia demotion means steady playing time. He’s 3-8 with 3 walks in his first three games back and has a remarkable 1:1 BB/K rate so far this season. He could chip in ten home runs if he plays everyday, and while that’s nothing special at third base, it plays well at the keystone. Beckham is just 29 years old, and there’s zero reason for the Braves not to see what they have with him this year.
Currently owned in 6% of Fantrax, 1% of CBS & 0% in Y! leagues
Mike Foltynewicz, SP, Atlanta Braves: 36 games and 17 starts into Folty’s big career and we’re left sitting with an ugly 5.59 ERA. There are moments of brilliance though for the young fire-throwing right hander, as shown last week with a seven-inning gem against the Diamondbacks. The velocity is down a little this year, as is his SwStr%; all while his Hard Hit rate allowed has gone up. This sounds like a possible recipe for disaster, but after just two games in I’m not ready to panic yet. Instead, I like to look at it as an opportunity. Folty is still averaging nearly 95 mph on his heater and has 12 strikeouts and just 2 walks in his 10.2 innings of work this year. The once highly regarded pitching prospect couldn’t be in a better situation than his is in Atlanta, and I suspect we’ll start to see more brilliance and a little less of the disasters.
Currently owned in 6% of CBS, 2% in Y!, and 21% in Fantrax leagues
Justin Smoak, 1B, Toronto Blue Jays: Smoak has never lived up to his once-lofty prospect status, with his best season coming in 2013 at 23/50/.238. Last year in Toronto he did hit 18/59/.226 in just 328 at bats almost exclusively against RHP. This year Smoak is getting more playing opportunities and could see more than 400 at bats by seasons end. The power is still there; he’s in a great ball park, and he’s even upped his OBP to .423 in 78 plate appearances this year. At just 29 years old, it’s not unreasonable to think 2016 could see his highest production. With just 2 home runs this year and few believers left in the big first baseman, now might be the best time to get him cheaply.
Currently owned in 6% of CBS, 2% in Y! & 17% in Fantrax leagues
Ryan Castellani, SP, Colorado Rockies: Castellani won the California League Pitcher of the Week last week after throwing 8 shutout innings while striking out 10. The second round pick from 2014 now has 42 strikeouts in 35 innings for the year, showing a plus fastball while his change and slider could become solid offerings as well. Castellani is a heavy ground ball pitcher, so while the future prospect of Coors Field adds hesitation to any Rockies pitching prospect, there is at least a moderate chance for success. At 6’4″, Castellani, at 20 years old, has plenty of projection left, and should make significant gains in his prospect status this year. He’s still only worth looking at in leagues that carry 500 or more prospects.
Currently owned in 4% of Fantrax and 0% of CBS & 0% of Y! leagues
Yeyson Yrizzari, SS, Texas Rangers: The Rangers signed shortstop Yrizzari in 2013 for $1.375M out of the Dominican Republic. At 18 years old, Yrizzari filled in admirably at AAA last year hitting .273 with just 5 strikeouts in 33 at bats. He’s got some good contact skills, and there may some power in the future. For a recent scouting report on Yrizzari, check out John Calvagno’s look four weeks ago. If you like toolsy middle infielders (who doesn’t?), Yrizzari needs to be on your radar.
Currently owned in 5% 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.