This is the start of a new series called Deep Impact. Having played in deep fantasy baseball leagues before, I know it is often tough to keep reading the same articles about the same guys to pick up that have been owned forever in your league. I will try to ease that pain and give you some ideas of guys to pick up. Obviously, this is easier said than done; the realm of “deep leagues” is far reaching and can mean almost anything. Between looking at guys that are available in a few of my deeper leagues and just trying to use some intuition to find some obviously undervalued players, hopefully we can work together to help you unearth some hidden gems.
The first section of this post will focus on a few players who are good adds in deep redraft leagues, or leagues with a small keeper number. Dynasty leagues are a whole different beast, but in any deep league where there is a lot of roster turnover year to year, you’ll want to get the most possible production in the here and now. Without further ado, let’s begin!
Seung-hwan Oh, RP, STL: Oh is a recent addition to the Cardinals’ bullpen from the far east. He pitched in both Korea and Japan as a closer, and in his time there he garnered one of the greatest nicknames of all time: “The Final Boss”. Oh wait, there’s more… His secondary nickname (yes, secondary nickname) is the “Stone Buddha”. Honestly, when constructing your fantasy team, it is proven that great nicknames are definitely what (don’t) win championships. Ignore the parentheses there as you wish. Back to baseball, why is Oh valuable to you? Right now he has proven that he can get outs out of the St. Louis bullpen, and he already has 8 K’s in 3 2/3 innings. Jordan Walden is battling injuries, and Oh is the heir apparent to Trevor Rosenthal for saves. If you want to speculate on saves, might as well do it with a guy with the greatest dual nicknames ever to go along with over 350 saves in Asia.
Melvin Upton, OF, SD: Take a trip down memory lane with me and remember the days when Melvin was known as B.J. Guess what B.J. stood for? That’s right, Boss Junior, because everyone called his dad Boss. You can’t pick up Oh without another boss to come along with him, so it might as well be the older Upton brother. As unintimidating as it is to have a guy named Melvin on your fantasy team, the tantalizing power and speed combo is still there. He is 31, already looked like he was on the downswing, and he strikes out a lot. However, with pretty regular playing time in a Padres uniform, this is the kind of upside that is only on any waiver wire because he has disappointed so much in his past. If you can pick him up for no cost to you, there really is nothing to lose in picking up a player of Melvin’s pedigree. As long as you think of him as Boss Junior in your head, you’ll still believe in him!
Now, I want to focus on a few players who for whatever reasons are better pickups in dynasty formats. If you keep all or nearly all of your players from year to year, there is more of an emphasis on youth and future opportunity. There are certainly plenty of players that can fall in this realm for you deep league players as well.
Danny Santana, OF, MIN: Remember a few years ago when Danny Santana came up in the early summer and preceded to hit over .300? I do too, and what it’s easy to forget through a mostly forgettable recent past, Danny is still only 25. He just went on the DL for the Twins, and when he comes back he may be out of a regular job. There isn’t a much better buy-low opportunity on Santana than in the next few weeks, and he potentially is still available for the taking. There is a lot of speed in this guy, along with some underrated gap power, and he played the middle infield in the past and could do so again if he is traded. The upside he has as a middle infielder for almost no cost is surely to good to pass up. Any players you are finding on the cheap in dynasty leagues right now are probably injured and have disappointed in the past, so go after one who still has significant upside.
Danny Duffy, SP, KC: Danny Duffy was on all kinds of top-100 prospect lists when he came up through the Royals’ system, and with good reason. He is a very hard-throwing left-hander with good breaking pitches. Kansas City used him as a starter for a while, but then decided they would put him on the relief pitcher track that has worked so well with Wade Davis and Luke Hochevar. However, I believe Duffy has a lot of potential if they put him back in the rotation. He is the kind of arm that can strike out a batter an inning with decent enough command. If you have the room to roll with a middle reliever on your roster, this particular middle reliever has more upside than almost any other you will find, and still has plenty of darts left to throw in his left arm.