Happy June! Crazy that we’re about one third of the way through the MLB year, or, as we called it in 2020, the end of the season. After even just one year of a mini season, I kind of forgot just how long and grueling 162 games of fantasy baseball can be, and how some leagues can resemble a part-time job in terms of time and mental commitment. Then I remembered that as part-time jobs go, this is a pretty fun one (even though it makes me want to tear my hair out multiple times per week). My deep league waiver wires are picked pretty clean and I feel like we’re in that time of year where we have to dig extra deep just to find someone that’s better than nothing, let alone has anything resembling actual upside — but let’s carry on and do what we do here at RITD, namely take a look at some names that may be of interest to those of us in NL-only, AL-only, and other deep leagues.
Patrick Wisdom. I just picked up Wisdom in an NL-only league, as I was in the market for someone at my utility spot having lost David Bote this week, who’d replaced Nico Hoerner in my lineup. As you can see I figured I’d just follow the real-life team (the Chicago Cubs, that is) in terms of chasing at bats, assuming Wisdom will get some starts at third to cover the Cubs’ injuries. In the past Wisdom hasn’t made any real impact at the major league level when given the opportunity, but he’s come out of the gate hitting in 2021 (he’s somewhere around .500 in seven games, with a homer and a steal). This already feels like one of those situations where the player got 99% of the production he’ll have for the season out of the way just before getting into my active lineup, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed that he’s saved a few runs scored and RBI for my team.
Mauricio Dubon. Dubon may already be rostered in your garden variety deep NL-only league, but might be worth taking a look at in (slightly) shallower formats. He still doesn’t really have an everyday job, but he qualifies at 2B/SS/OF in most leagues and has played 20 games in the outfield, 16 at second, 13 at short, plus 1 at third. He’s put together a couple of nice games, though, with a homer (off Kershaw) and 5 RBI over the weekend. It may just be a couple of nice games, or could be a sign that he’s about to go on an extended hot streak while playing on a team that has been displaying some surprisingly decent offensive firepower so far this season.
Matt Peacock. Peacock has pitched in eleven games for the Diamondbacks, and has now started three, including a solid performance (and win) against the Cardinals this weekend. His numbers on the year are much better than I realized – the ERA is ugly (4.50) but his WHIP is just 1.07. Even though Peacock doesn’t strike out a ton of guys (he has 21 in 28 innings on the year now), he’s walked only 3 batters against those 21 punchouts in 2021, and such lovely things always catch my eye. Granted, I haven’t gone so far as to actually add him to any of my teams yet, but I am keeping said eye on him and may take a flier in the right situation.
Edmundo Sosa. I just plugged Sosa into an NL-only lineup to replace Trevor Story, which, um, felt like a bit of a downgrade. If Sosa continues to fill in for a still-injured-as-I-type-this Paul deJong in St. Louis, though, maybe things will find a way of working out. Sosa is, after all, hitting .309 on the year, and has a couple of steals. Okay, maybe “working out” is an exaggeration, but I’ll take what I can get.
Rob Refsnyder/Kyle Garlick. Max Kepler’s troublesome hamstring has finally landed him on the IL, which should open up at bats for both Refsnyder and Garlick (they were both in Monday’s starting lineup, batting 7th and 8th respectively). Refsnyder is 16% owned (who knew?!) and Garlick is 1% owned, and while neither is going to turn around your fantasy team, they’ve both been known to hit one out of the park every once in a while (and unfortunately I do mean only every once in a while) when given the opportunity. (Note: Garlick stole a base and scored a run while I was writing this. That waiver wire is looking up!)
Joe Panik. There’s certain things one can count on year in and year out, and one of them is me eventually mentioning Joe Panik as a 1% owned player that you might look to in order to fill a roster hole in a very deep fantasy baseball league. (At least this year, I resisted using his name for my lede!) He qualifies at 2B/3B/SS in most leagues, and in real life this year has played third (12 games), second (6), and first (1) for the Blue Jays. Over the weekend he had 6 hits with a homer and 3 RBI, so maybe he’ll find a way to keep it going for a little longer.
Keegan Akin. Akin’s ownership shot all the way from 1% to 3% this week, so you know something’s going on. Well, don’t get too excited; turns out all that’s going on is that Akin got a start over the weekend in an Orioles’ rotation that is desperate for reliable starting pitching. Combined with his relief appearances this year, that brings Akin up to 14 Ks, 3 BBs, 17 hits, and 8 earned runs allowed in 15 innings. As I mentioned two seconds ago, the Orioles are desperate for starting pitching, so one assumes Akin will get the continued opportunity in the rotation. You can decide whether you too are desperate enough for starting pitching to take a chance that Akin (whose is 26, and whose minor league numbers are not interesting or good enough to even mention here) puts up numbers that might be deemed “reliable.”
DJ Stewart. Let’s stay in Baltimore, since we all know that bad teams are often where we have to turn to sniff for deep-league fantasy scraps. Stewart is only hitting .150 over the last week, and much of his playing time came because Trey Mancini missed a few games after getting hit in the elbow. I think it’s worth mentioning, though, that Stewart has three homers in his last six games. I have a couple of leagues where I can tell it’s likely that a handful of extra homers and RBI might make a difference in the standings down the road, and even in limited at bats Stewart could continue to be a better-than-nothing source of some occasional power.