If you listen closely enough, you can hear the fantasy baseball season sliding away from us like an 0-2 pitch from sexpot Sixto Sanchez. Your roto leagues are probably a bit settled by now–the final few teams jostling for the top spot. In your dynasty leagues, the rip-off guys are probably making their annual post-deadline runs for the roses. Such is the nature of fall baseball. The fatigue factor feels a little different this year, worse for some I’m sure but perhaps less impactful in general across the entirety of fantasy baseball.
Though who knows: the overarching 2020 fatigue factor might supersede the excitement of the short-season burst. In a typical season, these final few faab runs can make a huge difference, and it’s typically just a couple teams paying close enough attention to add a Jazz Chisholm or some similarly high riser on the last day of the season. I only mention Jazz because he was added on the final day in one of my 15-teamers just a few weeks before his big Fall League glow up. Seems like we won’t have that particular league this year, but we’ll still see some winter ball, I suspect, and some prospects will still change their outlook through a combination of hope, hype, and happenstance. Happy hunting out there, dear readers.
White Sox LHP Garrett Crochet skipped the line to the big show. Very interesting move here in part because he’s ineligible for the playoff roster. Unless I’m missing a loophole or two, he missed that deadline by just a couple days. I suppose the Sox are trying to preserve their playoff pitching staff and get Crochet some time with major league coaching. Could make a sizable impact on his FYPD draft price if he replicates Friday’s outing a few times, when he tossed a spotless inning with two strikeouts.
Phillies OF Mickey Moniak did not skip the line, but he is up sooner than I would’ve wagered. He finally posted a decent line in 2019 with a 115 wRC+ at AA Reading, and while that’s a hitter’s park, Moniak has always played a bit young for his level and has some upside that’s obscured by his season lines.
Mariners RHP Yohan Ramirez aged out of the Astros 40-man roster and got scooped up by the Mariners this winter at the six spot of the Rule 5 draft. If anyone asks if you want a pitcher the Astros can no longer fit on their roster, the correct answer is yes. Ramirez is nasty, brushing up against 99 with a double plus curveball and settling in nicely to a late-inning role with Seattle. I suspect they’ll bring in some veteran pensmen this off-season, but I think Ramirez is the closer there in 2021, insofar as such a role exists on a team that likes to mix and match.
The Rangers are not good at baseball. RHP Wes Benjamin is just good enough to hang in the majors, or so it seems. With another couple decent turns, he’ll grab pole position for a back-end spot headed into 2021.
Bad teams are a paradoxically great place to look for value, and Rangers RHP Yerry Rodriguez could be one of the high risers next Spring. He hasn’t pitched above A ball, but I think he’ll have some of the best stuff at big league camp next year and make the rotation by mid-season if health and results line up. A few K-heavy Cactus League innings is sometimes all it takes, especially in an opportunity-rich situation such as this.
Blue Jays RHP Thomas Hatch is a smart speculative add headed into the off-season. If he’s part of their rotation picture in 2021, you’ve got a nice sleeper. If not, you can either move along or rotate his ratios into your staff as an up-and-down, MiLB eligible arm in dynasty.
I don’t tend to tell anyone what to do with their fantasy teams in the body of these pieces, but I did flat out suggest you add Tigers SS Willi Castro when he got the call to replace injured CJ Cron. He’s been among the game’s best hitters since that post, and I really hope you got him. I’ve found myself getting very invested in how helpful this space can be to the people who take the time to read me. I’m anti victory lap as a general rule, so I’m already feeling kinda gross as this paragraph draws to a close, but I’ve been thinking this dude is a Guy for some time now, and I think he’s a fascinating trade target over the winter. If his fantasy manager is in on him, just move along, but I’ll be trying to move some draft picks or prospects for him in leagues where I don’t have him already.
Cardinals OF Dylan Carlson is back with the big club after flailing in his first attempt and posting an average exit velocity just above the pitcher range: ~84 mph. I kind of hope he’s not great over these final games. Average exit velo is not pure nonsense, but it’s not much more than that when looking at a young rookie’s first few weeks in the league with no Spring Training to settle in and no minor leagues to help him hone his swing. Back when Spring Training was a thing, Carlson was establishing himself as the team’s best outfielder. I expect this to continue in Spring Training 2021.
Brewers C Jacob Nottingham keeps blasting bombs. He’s not doing much else, but four homers in 37 plate appearances is outstanding ROI in the free catcher market. Power has never been in question for him, and I’m beginning to think Milwaukee will move on from Omar Narvaez as soon as they get the chance. That front office never pays for the cow when it can get the milk for free. The drunken uncle who just met your fiance would be proud.
Rangers RHP DeMarcus Evans surrendered a home run in his first big league inning but has a bright future. Here’s what I wrote about him back in February: “A huge righty with a dominant fastball curveball combination, he should be up in 2020 and could be truly dominant with even a half-tick more command, which he might not even need to succeed.”
I know I’ve mentioned this guy a lot, but I recommend checking your wires for Brewers OF Hedbert Perez. He hasn’t played a day of affiliated ball yet, but he’s worked out at the training site all year, and I think he’s as talented as any of the 2019 J2 class this side of Jasson Dominguez.
If he’s gone but you’ve got a spot free for a topside play, consider Pirates OF Jasiah Dixon. The only thing faster than his feet are his hands through the hitting zone. He’ll probably make it through most supplemental drafts untouched, but it’s a risk I wouldn’t want to take in deep dynasties.
Cleveland SS Angel Martinez is another guy I’ll be looking for in my leagues. He’s owned in the two 20’s and the 30 I’m currently playing, but he’s still a free agent in my 15-teamer. I think I can squeeze him in here on the next faab period, as I’m far enough out of first-place and far enough ahead of third-place that I should start arranging all the deck chairs for the long winter. Man I hate the cold almost as much as I hate the end of baseball season, but for now we can still make time. To quote my favorite short story: “Bullet in the Brain” by Tobias Wolff: “Time for the shadows to lengthen on the grass, time for the tethered dog to bark at the flying ball, time for the boy in right field to smack his sweat-blackened mitt and softly chant, They is, they is, they is.”
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