Since you are reading this, I imagine that you are very much connected to the baseball internet zeitgeist and have been religiously playing Immaculate Grid every day just like us Razzball staff.
As I eagerly wait for the clock to hit 11 pm central time every night for a new grid challenge, every day has been filled trying to remember some guys and the various trades and signings that carried them through hall-of-fame, All-Star, or journeyman careers. This meme may hit a little on the nose.
As I’ve played for a few weeks now, my answers have shaped into full-on pretentious hipster as I look for the lowest percentages or push for overall aesthetic vibes. There are only so many times it becomes joyous to type in Justin Verlander, Randy Johnson, Edwin Jackson, or Kenny Lofton. That is unless they upload some new outlandish photos to increase the aesthetic.
I’m mostly just thankful that Immaculate Grid will be there for me during this upcoming All-Star break as I wander listlessly around my house like a sad Pablo Escobar through my baseball withdrawal.
Happy All-Star break everyone! The second half will surely be our halves!
The stats and ownership percentages below are updated as of noon central time on 7/7.
As always, if you want advice on specific roster decisions you might have, feel free to leave a comment. You can also find me on twitter (@mcouill7).
10/12 Team Adds
Yainer Diaz (HOU, 30% CBS Ownership) – What on earth does Diaz has to prove at this point to be owned pretty much universally? After his two homer game on Wednesday versus the Rockies, I didn’t think Diaz would still be available enough to warrant another write up, but here we are. He has rocketed to a .270/.287/.515 line so far and is pacing for 18 bombs with 38 RBI and runs each. That’s not a bad catcher season, but oh yeah, he’s had limited time so far. That projected pace is for only 311 at-bats! Diaz has been the number two catcher over the past 30 days behind Tyler Stephenson, per our Player Rater. (5% FAAB)
QUICK HITS: Alejandro Kirk (TOR, 49% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Yasmani Grandal (CHW, 48% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Gabriel Moreno (ARI, 34% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Patrick Bailey (SFG, 31% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Danny Jansen (TOR, 31% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Bo Naylor (CLE, 22% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)
15 Team Adds
Blake Sabol (C/OF, SFG, 15% CBS Ownership) – The Blake Sabol Fan Club meetings have re-commenced after a hot week saw him launch three taters to get into double-digits on the season. Sabol continues getting a strong-side platoon role, splitting his days between catcher, left field, and DH. He’s a major victim of the DH penalty as he has no home runs and a 48 wRC+ (compared to 128 at catcher and 80 at left field) when not using his glove, so if you are in a daily moves league, it might not be a bad idea to only play him when he’s in the field. (3% FAAB)
QUICK HITS: Mitch Garver (TEX, 18% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Christian Bethancourt (TBR, 16% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Yan Gomes (CHC, 16% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Connor Wong (BOS, 7% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Matt Thaiss (LAA, 5% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Jake Rogers (DET, 4% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)
10/12 Team Adds
Ezequiel Tovar (SS, COL, 53% CBS Ownership) – Tovar severely burned some owners with his god awful 66 wRC+ through May 31 but has been much better since the calendar flipped to June with a .309/.330/.509 line (109 wRC+). Plus, over the last 30 days, he’s the fifteenth shortstop in our Player Rater, which makes him a viable starting MI, at least. However, the best use continues to be streaming Tovar exclusively in Coors, where the home cooking produces a .292/.331/.481 line versus a .237/.272/.374 line on the road. Returning to another significant theme of this piece, the Rockies schedule once again lines up to be very favorable through August 6th with series vs NYY, vs HOU, at MIA, at WSN, vs OAK (!!!), vs SDP, and at STL. (3-5% FAAB)
QUICK HITS: Brett Baty (3B, NYM, 46% CBS Ownership, 3-5% FAAB), Maikel Garcia (3B/SS, KCR, 41% CBS Ownership, 3-5% FAAB), Triston Casas (1B, BOS, 40% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Carlos Santana (1B, PIT, 39% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), CJ Abrams (SS, WSN, 35% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Joey Votto (1B, CIN, 35% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Luis Garcia (2B/SS, WSN, 32% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Mauricio Dubon (2B/SS/OF, HOU, 30% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Zach Neto (SS, LAA, 26% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Ronny Mauricio (SS, NYM, 24% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Jon Berti (2B/3B/SS, MIA, 20% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Zach McKinstry (2B/3B/OF, DET, 20% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB)
15 Team Adds
Jordan Diaz (2B, OAK, 3% CBS Ownership) – I can’t recall a season that has seen the infield options on waiver wires been gutted like this. When looking through the options in the Quick Hits below and ownership rates, I retch constantly at some of the options available. One thing is for sure, if you are left going to the wire to fill spots at MI and CI in deeper leagues, you are going to have to prepare to absorb some less-than-stellar performances. Since returning to the A’s big league lineup on June 30, Diaz has torched the White Sox and Tigers pitching for a .412/.444/.588 line in 18 plate appearances while hitting in the middle-of-the-order. He should continue to hold a solid run-producing lineup spot in Oakland as vets are dealt around him and provide steady, average production at 2B/MI (his current season line of .256/.289/.442 is pretty much who he is) and can shore up a hurting lineup (especially if you lost Jose Altuve) in a deep league. (1-3% FAAB)
QUICK HITS: Garrett Cooper (1B, MIA, 18% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Edouard Julien (2B, MIN, 18% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Nick Gonzales (2B, PIT, 18% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Ryan Noda (1B/OF, OAK, 17% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Paul DeJong (SS, STL, 13% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Colt Keith (3B, DET, 11% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Isiah Kiner-Falefa (3B/SS/OF, NYY, 8% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Brandon Belt (1B, TOR, 8% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Tony Kemp (2B/OF, OAK, 8% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Ramon Urias (1B/2B/3B, BAL, 7% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Andy Ibanez (2B/3B/OF, DET, 6% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Evan Longoria (3B, ARI, 4% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Donovan Solano (1B/2B/3B, MIN, 3% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Christian Arroyo (2B, BOS, 3% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Harold Castro (1B/2B/3B/OF, COL, 2% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)
Only Team Adds
Jared Young (1B, CHC, 6% CBS Ownership) – As you may have been able to tell over the course of time with this piece, I’m a bit of a Cubs hater. As a Cardinals/White Sox fan, it just comes naturally, and I readily admit it’s a great bias of mine. But Young is emblematic of why I hate on the Cubs and David Ross often. Why is a team that thinks they are contending (or not or are there they?!?) playing a 28-year-old career minor leaguer like this in a strong-side platoon role? Like I get that Jed Hoyer was hoping someone from the Trey Mancini/Eric Hosmer/Matt Mervis hydra would take over first base, but come on, the Cubs have the wherewithal to not be doing this Athletics-like dance at a corner position. Given all of that, this suggestion is ultimately about finding volume to fill the CI spot in your NL-Only league with a should-be-league-average bat (Steamer has him projected for a 94 wRC+ with a .239/.313/.403 line) that plays five-to-six times a week. (1-3% FAAB)
Lenyn Sosa (2B, CHW, 1% CBS Ownership) – Maybe it was good that I explained my biases before I suggest picking up a dude with a -8 career wRC+. Yup, that’s a negative sign. However, Sosa is only 23 years old and has a penchant for needing a couple looks at a level before being a useful comrade. In Double-A the first time around, he struggled to the tune of a 44 wRC+… the second time, a 141 wRC+. After promotion to Triple-A, he sported a 117 wRC+ with a .114 ISO in his first go. After receiving another look in Charlotte this year, he has returned with a 126 wRC+ and .280 ISO. The Sox should inevitably be parting with some players at the deadline and clear the space for Sosa to return for another chance at the majors to see if he can keep his track of improvement going. (1-3% FAAB)
10/12 Team Adds
Jarren Duran (BOS, 46% CBS Ownership) – Duran is an absolute roller coaster of a player as he looked like a real breakout in April with a .646 SLG with a 53% HardHit% and barrel rate that supported dreaming on a mid-20s homer pace. However, he has since settled into a more expected .285/.342/.448 line with only one homer since May started. During that time, he’s also an outstanding 14-for-15 in the stolen base department, tied for ninth in the league with the likes of Fernando Tatis Jr., Corbin Carroll, Maikel Garcia, and Julio Rodriguez. Despite his recent power outage, that’s enough steals along with a solid average and good counting stats in the Red Sox lineup to warrant usage even as his .421 BABIP comes back to earth. He has the right toolset with bat control and speed to be a .280 hitter with 10 homers and 30-plus stolen bases over a full season. (3-5% FAAB)
QUICK HITS: Mike Yastrzemski (SFG, 50% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Tommy Pham (OF, NYM, 45% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Brent Rooker (OAK, 40% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Brandon Marsh (PHI, 34% CBS Ownership Rate, 1% FAAB), Jose Siri (TBR, 29% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Alex Kirilloff (1B/OF, MIN, 28% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Corey Julks (HOU, 27% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Nick Pratto (1B/OF, KCR, 20% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Jurickson Profar (COL, 20% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)
15 Team Adds
Will Benson (CIN, 15% CBS Ownership) – Even as the lineup gets continually more crowded in Cincinnati, Benson has been able to maintain his role while the youngsters come up and the oldies return from injuries. And it’s easy to see why – Benson now has a .288/.383/.459 slash line with a 124 wRC+ and 13.3% walk rate while stealing bases at a clip that would prorate to 32 over 500 at-bats. There is a major risk he is pigeonholed into a strong-side platoon as he only has one hit in 17 plate appearances against lefties, but that has come with a .083 BABIP and only 17.6% K-rate. The Reds may be willing to let the 25-year-old work through facing lefties to keep his potent bat in the lineup. (3-5% FAAB)
QUICK HITS: David Peralta (LAD, 16% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Jesus Sanchez (MIA, 14% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Randal Grichuk (COL, 14% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Kerry Carpenter (DET, 13% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Alek Thomas (ARI, 13% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Will Brennan (CLE, 12% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Chas McCormick (HOU, 11% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Ryan O’Hearn (1B/OF, BAL, 9% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Brenton Doyle (COL, 9% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Drew Waters (KCR, 9% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Matt Vierling (DET, 8% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Akil Baddoo (DET, 4% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)
Only Team Adds
Dane Myers (MIA, 2% CBS Ownership) – One of my favorite things about baseball is that despite one’s knowledge of the player pool, there will always be players to surprise out of nowhere. Dane Myers, a name that inspires a mental image of a polo-shirt-loving middle manager at Enterprise, is such a player. The 27 year old non-prospect looks to be the Marlins’ centerfielder for the foreseeable future after Jonathan Davis underwent meniscus surgery this week. Myers produced an intriguing 13 homers and 16 steals between AA and AAA this year and could provide help in both categories if he makes enough contact (ZiPS has him projected for a 31.4% K%) to use his main tool – speed. (1-3% FAAB)
Travis Jankowski (TEX, 2% CBS Ownership) – As Robbie Grossman has floundered with a .213/.287/.347 line and 75 wRC+ since May 1, Jankowski has wriggled his way into a strong-side platoon in the potent Texas lineup. Jankowski hasn’t taken the role just because of Grossman’s ineptitude though, he now has some of his best batted ball stats ever, including career-highs of a 28.4% Sweet Spot %, .265 xBA, .316 xSLG, .320 xwOBA, and 108.7 Max EV. That should be good enough to provide a solid batting average, handful of steals, and non-zero runs/RBI until Jankowski loses his role upon Evan Carter’s arrival. (3% FAAB)
10/12 Team Adds
Kenta Maeda (MIN, 49% CBS Ownership) – The AL Central remains a big target for pitching matchups as the White Sox, Guardians, Tigers, and Royals are four of the bottom seven teams in wRC+ on the year. Cleveland is the highest of those four with a paltry 90 wRC+ collectively! Maeda hit that target with a dead-on bullseye Tuesday when he threw seven innings of one-run ball with nine Ks against the lowly Royals. Since returning from the IL on June 23, Maeda has thrown 17 total innings with a 21 Ks to five walks and a 1.59 ERA/2.47 FIP. The three starts in that stretch even included a start in Atlanta! It’s possible that Maeda has re-found the form that led him to a 2.70 ERA and 10.8 K/P in the pandemic-ridden 2020 season. (5-7% FAAB)
QUICK HITS: Seth Lugo (SDP, 50% CBS Ownership, 3-5% FAAB), Wade Miley (MIL, 46% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), JP Sears (OAK, 40% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Tommy Henry (ARI, 38% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Clarke Schmidt (NYY, 37% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Michael Lorenzen (DET, 37% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Rich Hill (PIT, 31% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Graham Ashcraft (CIN, 23% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Reese Olson (DET, 22% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB)
15 Team Adds
Kutter Crawford (BOS, 18% CBS Ownership) – Despite the up-and-down season between injuries and poor performance, Crawford has posted some solid ratios to date – 8.5 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 with a 4.11 ERA, 4.20 (nice!) FIP, and 1.16 WHIP. With the pitching environment in 2023, that’s more than useful. In addition, part of what has cut up Crawford has been the nightmarish AL East competition. His first post-All-Star break start should provide much better dreams in Oakland against the cuddly A’s. (1-3% FAAB)
Cristopher Sanchez (PHI, 9% CBS Ownership) – In four starts since June 17, the left-handed Sanchez has hurled 21 innings with a 2.14 ERA and 17:2 K:BB rate to little-to-no-fanfare. Okay, three of those four starts came against the A’s, Mets, and Nationals, but he marched into the Trop on Thursday night and quelled the Rays’ bats, yielding just one run in six solid innings. After posting a 5.47 ERA in 52.2 innings prior to this year, Sanchez has changed his pitch mix to up the usage of his 124 Stuff+ slider 22.4% of the time (up from 18.1%). (3-5% FAAB)
QUICK HITS: Kolby Allard (ATL, 21% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Paul Blackburn (OAK, 17% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), David Peterson (NYM, 11% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Daniel Lynch (KCR, 10% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Cole Irvin (BAL, 9% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Jaime Barria (LAA, 6% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Adrian Houser (MIL, 6% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)
Only Team Adds
Joey Lucchesi (NYM, 2% CBS Ownership) – The Mets playoff chances are rapidly deteriorating as they now stand 17.5 games back of the NL East lead, projected for a meager 82 wins (which would require a .544 winning percentage rest-of-way) per Fangraphs. It seems inevitable that Cookie Carrasco will find himself with a new employer before the deadline is over with the scant possibility of a Max Scherzer or Justin Verlander blockbuster. Lucchesi has been pitching well in Triple-A with a 2.91 ERA and even produced a 4.43 ERA in 22.1 MLB innings this year. He should be useful as he faces post-deadline seller lineups and pitches in Citi Field. (1-3% FAAB)
Will Warren (NYY, 2% CBS Ownership) – Since his promotion to Triple-A in mid-May, the 24-year-old Warren has held his own with a 4.37 ERA and 9.8 K/9 at the level. As long as he can keep his groundball rate around 50% (currently 49.5% in Triple-A), Warren should be able to find success in the majors featuring his 70-grade slider (per Fangraphs). I expect the Yankees to call him up sometime in August to bolster the rotation and see if they can catch lightning in a bottle for the stretch run. (1-3% FAAB)
10/12 Team Adds
Hunter Harvey (WSN, 35% CBS Ownership) – Harvey is the de facto closer in Washington now, no ifs, ands, or buts about it as he’s now up to eight total saves on the season. There’s a small chance that the Nationals will shop him at the deadline to capitalize on the trade bounty while Harvey’s healthy, but I think they might consider keeping him around to stabilize a bullpen they always seem to struggle building. (5% FAAB)
QUICK HITS: Andres Munoz (SEA, 45% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Jose Alvarado (PHI, 42% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Michael King (NYY, 30% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Kendall Graveman (CHW, 28% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Adbert Alzolay (CHC, 28% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Bryan Abreu (HOU, 26% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Brusdar Graterol (LAD, 21% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Justin Lawrence (COL, 20% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB)
15 Team Adds
Trevor May (OAK, 9% CBS Ownership) – May has two saves over the past week and generated a 2.70 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and six total saves since returning from the IL in late May. Sure, he has a 13:11 K:BB rate over that time but he’s not killing you be any means right now. Ride him out before the A’s find the highest bidder (likely just a lottery prospect arm in the Complex League) for his services from August through October. (3% FAAB)
QUICK HITS: Tyler Rogers (SFG, 11% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Joel Payamps (MIL, 8% CBS Ownership Rate, 1-3% FAAB), Matt Brash (SEA, 8% CBS Ownership 1% FAAB), Tommy Kahnle (NYY, 6% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Trevor Stephan (CLE, 6% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Jason Foley (DET, 5% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Chris Martin (BOS, 4% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Griffin Jax (MIN, 4% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Carlos Hernandez (KCR, 1% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)
Only Team Adds
Tom Cosgrove (SDP, 1% CBS Ownership) – Returning from a recent short IL stint for a sore hammy, Cosgrove has been sneakily amazing this season and now creeped up into a setup role for the Padres. After hanging around the San Diego farm system since 2017, Cosgrove has burst onto the scene in his debut with a 0.89 ERA and 0.59 WHIP in 20.1 innings. He’s flummoxing hitters with a beautiful slider that he pipes nearly 60% of the time. If Hader departs at the deadline, there will be a bank run on Cosgrove shares as he should walk right into the closer’s role. (1-3% FAAB)
Lucas Erceg (OAK, 0% CBS Ownership) – Maybe when you read the Trevor May blurb above, you wondered who might step into the Athletics closer job if there’s a trade. Erceg should be that man as Shintaro Fujinami has looked marvelous recently but fits better in a long-relief/high-leverage hybrid role instead of closing. Erceg has the classic closer-in-the-making arsenal with big heat (97.7-mph average on the fastball), lots of Ks (12.1 per nine, to be exact), and erratic control (5.6 BB/9). (1% FAAB)