Happy Friday, Razzballers! Most MLB teams are right at the halfway point of the season in terms of games played, and the grind continues for those of us who enjoy the pretend version of the game. I’ve had some moments of extreme frustration lately, where just a few disaster outings from pitchers I was counting on, i.e. the Sean Manaeas and Tarik Skubals of the world, have done so much damage to my teams that I’m not sure I’ll be able to make up those precious points in the standings.  When the pitchers you took a flier on get rocked it’s bad enough, but when your supposed aces/good starters take a beating as well it can make for a brutal few days or weeks. Soldier on despite the poor performances I shall, however, and I encourage you to do the same, even when your teams and players disappoint. On that note let’s see who might be out there to lend us a hand in fantasy baseball’s deep league world.


Garrett Hill. Hill pitched for the first time as a major leaguer on Monday, starting for the Tigers and picking up a win against the Guardians. A.J. Hinch has already announced that Hill would get at least three chances in the rotation heading into the All Star break, so we’ll see if he can keep things rolling. Hill is a 26 year old former 26th round pick, so I was surprised at how good his overall numbers are: in 307 career minor league innings pitched, he has a 2.70 ERA/1.10 WHIP with 372 strikeouts. I’m going to proceed with caution, but this weekend I’ll probably make a small bid in my AL only league where I could really use some pitching in case he ends up being a serviceable rotation option in the second half.

Luis Rengifo. Not a new name to anyone, but Rengifo’s CBS ownership has doubled from 2 to 4% in the last week and he’s been playing well enough, for the moment at least, that I thought he deserved a shout-out.  The Angels’ newly acquired Jonathan Villar might cut into Rengifo’s playing time, though for now, it appears Villar will be used largely at third while Rengifo picks up at bats in the middle infield. He won’t save a bad fantasy team, but he might temporarily plug a hole in a decent one while he’s playing pretty regularly – he has two homers and a steal in his last six games.

Ryan McKenna. McKenna hit his first homer of the season for the Orioles on Tuesday, along with scoring three runs and stealing a base. His at bats have been limited at best this year (and he was demoted and in the minors for the first half of May), but if Austin Hays’ bad wrist continues to give him trouble, McKenna may be the beneficiary of continued playing time. He went 1-3 with an RBI on Wednesday, which isn’t particularly exciting, but it sounds a little better when you realized that it was actually the only RBI the Orioles had in that game.


Evan Phillips. Phillips may not have a single save, nor a path to receive them any time soon, but his numbers pitching out of the Dodger bullpen have been excellent. In 32.2 innings, he’s got 39 Ks versus only 5 walks, plus 7 holds, 2 wins, and a 1.65 ERA/0.86 WHIP overall. He’s only been scored on in three appearances all year, and one of those was his first game of the season in Colorado. He may not give you a ton of volume, but so far he’s been one of those players who would have helped you more and hurt you less in a deep league (or in an RCL-type format for that matter), even one that doesn’t use holds, than a bad starter would have.

David Villar. Villar was recalled by the Giants with both Brandon Crawford and Thairo Estrada down. Sounds like Estrada will be off the Covid IL soon, perhaps by the time this is posted… I have a tough time predicting the Giants’ moves so Villar could be back in the minors by the time you read this, or he may be the offensive star of their team by next week. If he does receive continued playing time he should be on the NL-only radar at least, and even if he doesn’t for now, I’m going to keep an eye on him. You won’t find his name on any top prospect lists, so he may be a 25 year old quad A player, but he was hitting .284 with 21 homers and 62 RBI in triple A. There’s a chance he could provide some deep league help between now and the end of the season, if not beyond.

Rafael Ortega. Ortega is likely owned in deep NL-only formats and similar, but I recently picked him up for a couple weeks to fill in on one of my 15-team mixed leagues that uses OBP.  He won’t get many at bats for the Cubs against lefties, but when the schedule is right he’s a player who can provide a little stealthy if not spectacular help across the board. On the year he’s hitting .267 but his OBP is .361; in 195 at bats he’s scored 24 runs and has 4 homers, 22 RBI, and 7 steals (including 2 in his last few games).

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Harley Earl
Harley Earl
8 months ago

Hey Laura,

Long time no speak!

Just wondering out loud, thought I’d bounce an idea off you. For deep leaguers, like ourselves, what about Matt Carpenter with the Yankees? Stacked lineup. Multiple position eligibility, soon to have OF eligibility too. Seems to be getting a green light on playing time again. And already has 8 HR in 55 at-bats.

I know he’s probably a stretch. But that’s what deep leaguers have to do. As far as Carp, veteran guys have a way of resurrecting their careers for a year or two late in the game. Speculate worthy?

Harley Earl
Harley Earl
Reply to  Laura Holt
8 months ago

good to see we’re on the same page!