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Much like in real baseball, in fantasy, timing can be everything. On Monday, Grey mentioned that he’d like to find a term for a guy who does what Tommy Pham did this past Sunday – that is, a guy who goes off on Sunday afternoon, driving up his Sunday night FAAB price. I need a slightly different way to describe this phenomenon in my deepest NL and AL-only leagues, as both have weekly waivers that get processed on Saturday night. I’ve been in one of the leagues for years now, and I’m still not used to it. I don’t know why the founding fathers of this league thought it was a good idea to run waivers on Saturday when everyone and their dog knows that Sunday evening is the proper time to be thinking about one’s FAAB budget (hell, I half expected my computer to auto-correct when I typed the phrase “waivers on Saturday.”) I can only assume it’s to put those of us who might be extra busy/drunk/etc. on Saturday at a disadvantage, and I’m afraid that this particular strategy works on occasion. The week in 2014 that Jacob DeGrom and Anthony DeSclafani were called up, it was hardly my fault that I wasn’t sober enough to rank DeGrom ahead of Disco in my waiver claim list! It haunts me to this day, as it’s a keeper league where I would still have DeGrom at a bargain-basement price… as opposed to the three weeks of bargain-basement pitching I received before I unceremoniously dropped DeSclafani.

Getting back to my original point (if I actually had one, and I may not have now that I think about it), the Saturday night waivers lead to another issue — the frustration of picking the player up when you desperately need to fill a hole in your lineup, but not being able to start him until Monday. I swear I’ve lost count of the times I’ve helplessly watched a player have a career day for my bench (as Pham did on Sunday, with 4 hits including 2 home runs… I honestly didn’t remember that he also stole a base that day until I just looked it up, so I guess I must have successfully blocked that part out since I am beyond desperate for steals in that league). Then again, I’m not sure if losing a great day of production is worse when you can’t control it, or when you can. Please don’t get me started on the daily-change league where I somehow ended up with too much depth and have to decide each morning whether to play Mark Reynolds or Jay Bruce at utility… somehow I think I have 4 homers out of that spot in my lineup, when I should have like 19. All I know is that the timing isn’t always going to work out, and sometimes in a game of inches, that can be excruciating… last year in this league, one RBI literally made the difference between second and third place. If nothing else, the loss of a home run or two that could possibly alter the final standings at the end of the year is a reminder that it does pay to keep on top of every roster spot, and to do your best not to let any production go to waste. And with that being said, let’s peruse a few names that might prove to be worthy adds in an NL or AL-only league.

National League

Tommy Pham. Well, why not start with today’s titular (hee hee) player? Since we’ve already covered my assumption/fear that 75-plus percent of Pham’s 2017 production is probably behind us, is there chance he’ll actually be of value? Dexter Fowler is already pinch hitting, and it doesn’t sound like Stephen Piscotty is too far behind him, so the number of starts Pham sees going forward may be severely limited. But I have to imagine he’ll be staying in St. Louis even when they’re back, with Jose Martinez hurt and Magneuris Sierra having been bumped up to what I assume is a quickie appearance in the show, all the way from high A ball. If Pham hits at all and sticks as their fourth outfielder, he could still be of use in a deeper NL-only league. This would be especially true if Matheny is having anywhere near as much trouble as I am forgetting Pham’s monster Sunday and gets tempted to keep throwing him in the starting lineup.

Tyler Anderson. I invested in Anderson at the end of several NL-only drafts this year, and he repaid me by making me look like the dreamy-eyed fool that I was, thinking that he was going to get off to anything other than a horrendous start pitching in Colorado (turns out he was pitching horrendously outside of Colorado, too, and his ownership numbers have been plummeting). His numbers last year were solid if not spectacular, and I found his K/BB ratio particularly appealing (he had 99 strikeouts/28 walks in 114 innings). I’ve noticed that on occasion an MLB team’s local announcers will drop a fantasy-helpful nugget that I haven’t heard or read anywhere else. While I was watching the Rockies game Saturday, the announcers mentioned that Anderson had made an adjustment to his cutter, which they seemed to think was going to be a big key towards fixing his early-season issues. He went on to hold the Diamondbacks to one run over 6 innings (in Coors), with a mouthwatering 10 strikeouts versus 1 walk. I’m not just going to throw him in all of my active lineups, but I am holding him in a few leagues to see if he turns things around.

Mike Montgomery. He doesn’t have a rotation spot, and will continue to pitch out of the bullpen if the Cubs bypass him and replace the injured Brett Anderson with Eddie Butler. Montgomery is definitely a guy to watch if he does end up in the rotation, but in a deep league, you could do worse with one of your last pitching spots even if he remains in middle-relief limbo in the pen (and the Cubs may be on to something if they ultimately decide that he is actually more valuable there). It’d be nice if he pumped up the strikeouts and cut down on the walks, but he’s been looking great after a shaky start to the season – his last three appearances were all multiple innings (3.2, 3, and 2) and he hasn’t allowed a run since April 17th.

T.J. Rivera. Unless I was dreaming, Grey told you to buy him on Friday (and come on, who here among us hasn’t had a dream involving Grey and T.J. Rivera). I’m going to mention him again because he keeps playing – and hitting – he has 5 (6 now!) RBI since then. Lucas Duda could return within the week, but if he has a setback or gets hurt again (Magic 8-Ball says Signs Point To Yes), Rivera should see more time at first base. If T.J. keeps hitting, he might stay in the mix even with Duda back.

American League

Colby Rasmus. Came off the DL Saturday and promptly picked up his first homer and 3 RBI. He has averaged batting .225 over the last three years, which is very, very bad. He has also averaged hitting 19 home runs over that same time span, which is not so bad at all if you’re desperate for power (which you might be, especially if Yonder Alonso was available in your league a few weeks ago when I suggested you pick him up, but you didn’t). If you watch Colby play and squint really hard, you might just see a glimpse of the fresh-faced 23-year old that hit .276 and went 23/12 for the Cardinals in 2010, who we all thought was a budding superstar. Or you might see a guy who strikes out almost 4 times as much as he walks, who on most days will leave you with a sad little 0-for-4 piece of poop. That same creature, though, will occasionally surprise you with a bundle of love in the form of a 3-run bomb, just when you’re ready to return him to the animal shelter-like confines of the deep league waiver wire. (Yo, Rasmus already went deep again since I wrote this!)

Luis Valbuena. Another recent returnee from the DL, he should start regularly against righties. His production at the major league level over the last several years has been uneven to say the least, and his career batting average is down to .232. But we’re looking at another potential cheap source of home runs for the power-starved – his 3-year average is 18, buoyed by a career-high 25 just 2 years ago. (And now Valbuena too has homered again since I wrote this.)

Kennys Vargas. Started the year at AAA, called up to Minnesota on April 23rd, and began making an impact immediately – he’s now hitting .294 with 3 homers and 8 RBI in just 10 games. He’s a switch hitter who has been much better against righties so far this year, but did damage on both fronts in 2016 (5 homers in 45 at bats against lefties, plus 5 homers in 107 at bats against righties). Whether he’s splitting DH time with Robbie Grossman or backing up Joe Mauer at first, it appears the Twins will try to keep finding ways to get him up to bat from both sides of the plate.  (Okay, this is getting ridiculous — Vargas literally hit a 2-run shot as I was in the process of submitting this… why on earth don’t men in real life take my suggestions and do exactly what I tell them to like this??!!)

Joe Biagini. A former Rule 5 guy, he was moved out of the Toronto bullpen to make his first major league start against the Rays after Mat Latos was DFA’d. Biagini (a starter in the minors) was on a pretty strict pitch count, but went four innings (52 pitches) with 2 hits, no walks, 4 Ks, 0 earned. He now has 3 walks and 22 strikeouts on the season… even though his ratios in the minors were nowhere close to this good, just looking at those numbers gives me little warm fuzzies inside. He also gets a lot of ground balls and can make a hitter swing at pitches out of the zone. It sounds like he’ll get at least one more start and will have his pitch count upped to the 70’s, so we’ll see what happens.

 
  1. J-FOH says:
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    Thank Jesus for Heavens Hump Day….. Tommy Titular?

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @J-FOH: Hmm, I hadn’t thought about the fact that my articles are released on hump day; I may have to work that in somehow next time. I’ve been looking forward to thanking you, J-FOH, for coming through and putting some kind of crazy voodoo hitting curse (in a good way) on Ben Gamel, just like you implied you would last week… dude has been out of control!

  2. Philomath says:
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    Nice take, Laura!

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @Philomath: Thanks!

  3. Cram It says:
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    It’s much worse when you can control it IMO. Rendon’s 6/6, 3 HR, 10 RBI day is still making me feel like it’s a snapshot of my life as a failure.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @Cram It: Ha, I hear you, that one’s gonna be hard to beat. I have Rendon in a couple NL-only leagues and was terrified to look at my scoring that day because I’d had him benched like the week before. It’s hard for it not to impact your overall emotional well-being when you bench one day of production that ends up being more than you get from the entire rest of your team that week!

  4. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Hehe, you wrote titular — BTW, not taking Mark Reynolds is haunting me every day in our league

    • J-FOH says:
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      @Grey: I’ve said it like a 100 times since I read it

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        It’s such a fun word, like pulchritudinous

        • J-FOH says:
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          @Grey: That word makes me feel like I failed Inglish class….crap, I did fail Inglish class. Stupid doobies

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Haha

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @Grey: Hey, I know when to take advantage of a gentleman’s inexplicable fondness for Brock Stassi! Though I didn’t keep Reynolds in another NL only, & it is probably going to be the difference in me not contending this year, so every one of those bombs is a little dagger in my heart as well. Men!

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        I’m not sure if it consoles or is constant reminder, but I have him in literally (not literally) every other league of mine

    • Champsok1 says:
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      @Grey:
      I literally could hear Grey giggling as he typed “Hehe, you wrote titular “…

      Nice write up Laura! “Titular” & on Hump Day, this site just keeps getting better day after day.

      Ciao Pals!

  5. nick the smooth dick says:
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    Too long;did read. Because you are worth every word. Especially titular…nice job as always homegirl!

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @nick the smooth dick: Thanks for hanging in there, Nick… this did get a bit rambly; I’ll try for more brevity next time!

      • nick the smooth dick says:
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        @Laura Holt: Nah I have the patience of a saint. Be bold and ramble on. I’m here to listen to it all.

  6. The Great Knoche says:
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    Nice write up, but Bummer, was hoping it was Colby Lewis getting signed. Since he’s not another one not to sleep on in deep leagues could be Matt Garza. It’s ear;y so things could change but the control has been there xFIP and Siera at 3.43 and 3.60. Slider usage is up which seems to be the biggest change over last few years and he is getting more swing and misses out of the zone.

    Only 3 starts so could all go in the shitter, but I’ve grabbed him in a few deep leagues.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @The Great Knoche: Wow, I have to admit I had no idea Garza’s numbers were that good. Seems like major regression should be on the horizon, but who knows, these fellows can be unpredictable… how many weeks did we all say that about Porcello last year?

  7. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    nice post young lady,i didnt get Reynolds anywhere but grabbed zimmerman in all 3

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @AL KOHOLIC: Nice! I don’t own Zimmerman anywhere, which makes me sad…even if his season ended tomorrow, he’s produced enough to have been a value in a deep NL-only. Thanks for reading!

  8. J-FOH says:
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    I make my boldest statement so far and you pass on my comment. Playing a little cat and mouse I see

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @J-FOH: I think there could be some argument as to what your boldest statement so far has been! And maybe I’m still taking a little time to myself to process the fact that I wasn’t the first girl invited on Ralph’s show.

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Laura Holt: I can get bolder but don’t ask grey, he’ll tell you what a big lug I am. His co host arranges most of those and to be fair it was originally suppose to be Tehol, and not Ralph on the show, which, if you know tehol is like having a feces flinging monkey for a co host. Ralph carries that show and I encourage you to watch next week. You can go back and watch old ones but the live experience is quite titillating. I linked the Lance show below. He’s like Yelich, if you’re into that kind of thing

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icnCZWxonnk

        • Laura Holt

          Laura Holt says:
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          @J-FOH: Cool, I will look at the link, and try to check things out Tuesday as well!

  9. SpartanThunder says:
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    “I’ve noticed that on occasion an MLB team’s local announcers will drop a fantasy-helpful nugget that I haven’t heard or read anywhere else.”

    I’ve also scooped underperformers/breakouts every once in a great while from this as well, and think it’s a great tip. But be careful- the really bad, unprofessional, biased local crews can skew perception easily. For example, I’m not doubting your nugget on Tyler Anderson, but the Rockies are one of those teams to take what the homers in the booth are saying with a big grain of salt. Some of the worst ones- I’ve perceived that it tends to get more pronounced the more west-based the team is, for whatever reason, could be a coincidence- will say anything and everything positive about the guys on their team, making most of their blathering meaningless or worse, misleading.

    The worst offenders IMO- horrible company men homers who would say great things about the franchise and everyone on it even if they were a .350 win percentage team down by 10 runs:

    ARI, SEA, COL, WAS

    Be careful with CLE & PIT (they’re not bad, but definitely overrate their guys a bit), and especially LAA and HOU as well. I nearly added LAA to the deaf-inducing foursome up above.

    Anyway, this whole comment is probably superfluous, because if you’ve noticed the local crews enough to pick out little scoops like that, you probably have noticed yourself which crews are brutal.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @SpartanThunder: Thanks for reading and for the great comment! I grew up as a Vin Scully worshipper, so I wasn’t used to homerism & it definitely stands out to me — great call on COL & WAS announcers and I don’t think it’s a coincidence with Ryan Spillborghs & FP Santangelo, 2 guys who made it to the big leagues but never got close to fandom, maybe vicariously re-living their youth through the players? Such a difference from the Mets where you have Keith Hernandez & Ron Darling, a former superstar & former all-star, who I actually love listening to just to hear what is pissing them off in terms of what the Mets are doing on a given day. I like the Brewers guys a lot in terms of giving interesting first-hand info. w/o overrating too much — last year when Keon Broxton got recalled, they told a story I never heard elsewhere, about how he’d had a middle-of-the-night epiphany after he’d been demoted ,that he had to either get his shit together or his career was over. They said he actually came up with adjustments to his stance & hitting approach lying in bed one night, & that was pretty much when he turned his year around… I took a successful flier on him in a couple leagues after hearing that, when I never would have touched him otherwise based on how disastrous he’d looked at the beginning of 2016.

      • SpartanThunder says:
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        @Laura Holt: absolutely agreed on all points (and I’m a Braves fan, I still tune into SNY often cause those guys are insightful), and I’ve had the same thought about Santangelo in the past. Probably has a lot to do with it.

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