Greetings, friends!  It’s with both excitement and a bit of trepidation that I welcome you to my final post before actual major league baseball games are scheduled to be played.  I don’t want to say I have an overly emotional relationship with fantasy baseball, but when I pulled up a player’s page this morning and saw his line of 2019 stats — that I’ve been staring at for what seems like decades — replaced with “2020” and a bunch of fresh, clean zeroes… well, I had a visceral reaction that is hard to explain but involved momentary shortness of breath and near-tears.  If we’ve gotten this close only for things to go awry now, it will be quite the crushing blow… but at least I’ll have had several weeks worth of entertainment in trying to prep for this crazy thing we’re calling the 2020 major league baseball season. As we finish drafting and dot those i’s and cross those t’s on teams we’ve already drafted, let’s take a look at some players who have had a potential bump in value of late:  deep-league, AL edition.

Josh James.  Turns out his delay to summer camp was baby related and not COVID related.  Not only is he healthy, he’s been named the Astros’ fourth starter, his first matchup is against the Mariners, and he’s evidently stretched out enough to get close to 100 pitches when he takes the mound.

Nick Solak.  I loved me some Nick Solak before he had anything resembling a set place to play, so I’m downright giddy for him now that Rangers manager Chris Woodward has flat-out said Solak should get regular at bats as the left fielder if Willie Calhoun misses time due to his bad hip.  Since I’m also a Calhoun owner, this news – much like this summer overall – feels kind of like a one step forward, one step back situation, but I’m looking forward to seeing if Solak can make the most of his playing time (and gain some OF eligibility while he’s at it, as he’s annoyingly only Utility-eligible in many leagues).  For those who weren’t paying attention or don’t recall times as far back as late summer of 2019, Solak provided a nice late-season fantasy boost with 6 homers and 20 RBI in 30 games.

Jose Peraza.  After initially announcing a time share with Michael Chavis at second base, Reds manager Ron Roenicke mentioned last week that Peraza is better at defense than he’d realized, suggesting that Peraza will get the bulk of the playing time in the early going.  Let’s take a moment to remember all the way back to spring of 2019… the world was a very different place, and one of the things that made it unrecognizable from today was the fact that many of us (sheepishly raises hand while cowering in the corner) were all-in on Peraza fantasy-wise.  Let’s just say the epic crash and burn that was Peraza’s 2019 lowered his value a bit, and crazier things than Peraza being a serviceable fantasy piece have already happened in 2020.

Franchy Cordero.  If you’re basing your deep-league fantasy decisions on playing time, you’d hope Franchy will have an easier path to PT now that he’s been traded from the Padres to the Royals.  He’s a 25-year old who’s been waiting for the right combination of health and opportunity to show off his tools, which should include a nice combination of power and speed if everything falls into place.

Ji-Man Choi and Yoshitamo Tsutsugo.  Austin Meadows has had a positive test for the COVID and is iffy at best to start the season, and Kevin Cash has already been mentioned Choi and Tsutugo as possible replacements to lead off for the Rays.  If fantasy baseball awarded bonus points to players who are just plain fun to watch, I’d have Choi on every team.  Even without that incentive I did roster him most of last year in one of my deepest leagues and he provided a nice power boost for a guy who’s basically free for the fantasy taking.  All of us who own Meadows in fantasy and/or care about the real-life well being of other humans are rooting for his speedy return, of course, but in the meantime we need to keep our eyes on the prize, and this may not be the year to let a single at bat go unturned.

Anthony Santander.  Santander was a no-show at Orioles camp until recently, but has now reported and revealed that he had a mild case of COVID.  It remains to be seen if he’ll be ready for opening day, and he’s a guy whose stats will tell you that he strikes out too much and doesn’t walk enough.  He should play every day if he’s healthy though, and he may be able to provide some deep-league pop the way he did last year, when he hit 20 homers in 93 games.

Bradley Zimmer.  I couldn’t find an NFBC ADP on Zimmer, which I think means he hasn’t been drafted in a single one of their fantasy leagues all year, which I think means he’s about as deep-league a name as you can get.  His .000 batting average last year (that’s a clean 0 for 13 with 7 Ks, though I suppose should point out that he did walk once and scored a run) didn’t exactly help his fantasy cause.  There’s bound to be some weird, anomalous fantasy star that emerges in the weirdest season ever, so why not Zimmer?  Delino DeShields’ positive COVID diagnosis may help Zimmer’s chances of making the roster, and he’s already doing his part:  in lieu of actual first hand reports and box scores, Summer Camp legend has it that Zimmer is healthy for the first time in ages, spent the endless offseason tweaking his batting stance, and is hitting .500 with 6 homers and 2 RBI over 6 intrasquad games.

 

 
  1. Son

    Son says:
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    My favorite lady at Razzball!!! Always enjoy your deep dive work and looking forward to both the season starting and your pieces

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Thanks Son! Hope all is well in your world and right back at you in terms of looking forward to your stuff this year!

  2. Richard D says:
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    In deep NL 2020 leagues would rather have Kim or Lester

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Ugh, not a fun choice… I guess Lester? I suppose Kim has more upside (not that that’s saying much) but no idea what to expect from him and not sure if he’ll be in the rotation depending on what they do with Martinez. Honestly, at least for the first week or two, I might rather have a middle reliever type that is a proven strikeout guy & just keep my fingers crossed.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Wow, now Kim basically named the closer in STL for the time being — didn’t see that coming! Obviously his value basically skyrockets in a deep league for the moment while we see how this plays out…

  3. Schmohawks Bob says:
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    Not trying to be a jerk, but Zimmer’s accomplishment of six HR’s and two RBI’s is notable.

    • Cram It says:
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      It was noted.

      • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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        hahahahah. do people just come into posts and put thoughts into the writers head before reading past the name of the player or what else is going on here. this explains other things (re: bob)

  4. Coolwhip

    Coolwhip says:
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    Hyped for Josh James, was big fan early, now nothing is in his way.
    Hyped for ABs for Tsutsugoh and that Jim Thome swing.
    …and hyped for baseball days away!

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Hey Coolwhip… right?! I can’t believe we’re this close! I don’t know a ton about Tsutugo but I’m really looking forward to seeing him play — the Rays may wind up being frustrating for fantasy but I’ve become a fan; it seems like they’re always fun to watch. Also they’re kind of built for deep-league bargains — guys who don’t get enough PT to care about in a standard league can actually be huge in AL-only (e.g. Yandy Diaz who helped me immensely for a few stretches last year before he got hurt)

  5. Weird Fishes says:
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    Hi Laura, are you going to do a NL-only version before the season starts? Thanks!

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      My next post won’t be until after the season starts, so I may do one then (or at least lean heavily NL on my next post). LMK if you have any specific questions or thoughts in the meantime… I still have 2 NL only drafts to do this week, so I’m right in the middle of going through lists right now and trying to figure out who’s in my late-round ‘keep an eye on’ group!

  6. Trust The Process says:
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    Laura love the always informative stuff!! 12 team dynasty roto… I usually never go more than 1-2 bench bats … however… this year is gonna be WEIRD… and I just lost Puk ?…. i see him above so I probably know the answer…. But dart throw at Franchy, Roman Quinn, Stanek (S+H league SP elg) … already have Cron, Dyson, Teoscar on bench … and Yordan IL … thank you as always!!

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Thanks Trust! I like the bench bats you’ve put together, but as you said no reason not to have as many back ups as possible this year. I think Franchy or Quinn could both be useless, or could actually run into some helpful counting stats if either finds playing time. I actually have Quinn on my bench in a couple of leagues and think he could be a sneaky flier — and the Phillies had him leading off today in their game against the Yankees.

  7. Ryan O'Hearn says:
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    Ryan McBroom

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Good call, and he’s batting 3rd against the Astros today…

  8. Dustin says:
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    Got in a bidding war for Josh James last night, the CBS software clearly announced SOLD on my bid but counted my opponent’s bid anyway…. You can mark him down for a 2020 cy young award…

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Ugh, that sucks… I drafted James back in April in 2 different NFBC leagues that got scrubbed when the short season was anounced – now I don’t own him anywhere and he’ll probably be too rich for my blood in the one auction I have left to draft… so I’ll be feeling your pain in a major way if he breaks out his year!

  9. BC says:
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    Yermin Mercedes – that bat will play. He will be household name – at least in fantasy baseball circles by this time next month.

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