LOGIN

Happy April! We’re one week into the season now, and personally, I feel like it’s been much longer. Sure, it’s beyond wonderful to have baseball back, but some of the pitching has been… well, disappointing so far (like, disappointing enough that I feel it’s taking months off my life). Luckily I didn’t have a ton of time to focus on the horrific box scores this past week, as I was finishing my last couple drafts of the season. These drafts were actually auctions, and one thing I’ve been reminded of is just how difficult it is to prepare for that format, no matter how long you’ve been doing it. When I first went to Vegas to do a live version of an NFBC auction, it was one of the more exciting and terrifying experiences I’d had at that point in my life. Now that I have many under my belt, they may not be quite as exciting or terrifying for me, but they are still very fun, very frustrating, and always unpredictable. What’s really amazing is just how surprising the results can be even when you’re drafting with a group of owners you’ve been playing with for years, and whose tendencies in terms of roster construction, player preferences, and nomination strategy are all very familiar to you, or so you think. This week we take a look at the results of that unpredictablilty: five players I wasn’t really planning on rostering in my NL and AL only leagues, but ended up with when my auctions took turns I wasn’t expecting and I found myself zagging while everyone else zigged. Sometimes these switch decisions lead to ruin; other times what seems like your biggest mistakes end up being a saving grace of your team. I’m not sure any of the following players are team-savers, but they were all the best available option in my mind at the time I drafted them. They are all definitely deep leaguers, as we’ll keep this list to players whose ownership is hovering around the 10% or lower threshold in CBS leagues.

Blaze Alexander (5% rostered in CBS leagues). In my most recent NL-only auction, after the bidding for all of the outfielders I’d targeted for my utility spot got out of control, I ended up pivoting to Alexander, an Arizona Diamondback who qualifies at shortstop and has also made one appearance at 2B this year. He’s off to a start that you could call fiery or hot if you’d like to make an on-the-nose pun, but since I already did that in my lede I’ll just tell you that he’s 4 for 8 with 3 RBI. He may be the ultimate deep league hot schmotato who we’ll all have forgotten about in a week or a month or a year, but I’m intrigued enough to have bought in in one of my leagues, at least. It is perhaps a bad sign for his long term value, as the D-Backs see it, that they were fine to carry him as their back up infielder, but he did have an impressive spring to win that job to open the season (granted, he only had to beat out Elvis Andrus and Kevin Newman, but still…) With Jordan Lawlar hurt in the minors and Geraldo Perdomo off to an uninspiring 2 for 17 start (not to mention tweaking his knee on the bases Wednesday), I’m monitoring Alexander in slightly shallower leagues as well as we see if he can carve out any kind of significant role in Arizona.

Jo Adell (6% rostered). The bad news with Adell (other than the last several years of his inability to be a decent Major League Baseball player) is that he’s basically a back up outfielder/defensive replacement. The good news for him, I suppose, is that two of the guys he’s competing for playing time with, Aaron Hicks and Mickey Moniak, aren’t exactly bastions of health. I have Adell starting in an outfield spot in a league that’s so deep that I won’t be able to replace him even if he gets hurt or loses his spot on the Angels roster, so time to hope for the best. He has all of 9 at bats this year, but he’s stolen 2 bases, so even with limited playing time I think he could make a deep-league impact over the course of the season in that category for those looking in every nook and cranny for more steals. And even though it may be a pipe dream at this point, we know that theoretical 5-category, post-post-post-hype prospect upside is there should he get a chance to play and get hot at the right time.

David Fry (went from 0 to 11% rostered in CBS leagues this week). Fry has just 8 ABs this year, but he has 4 hits, 3 RBI, and a steal (oh, and he’s also drawn two walks). I grabbed him as a 2nd catcher in my AL-only league when I had to replace Danny Jansen, and the thing about 2nd catchers in deep mono leagues is that sometimes less is more. Obviously that .500 average will come down just a smidge, but it will probably come down rather slowly since Fry is basically a pinch hitter for the Guardians (while he qualifies at catcher, he’s officially just made one appearance at 1B and one at 3B). I knew I needed to save every dollar I could for pitching in this auction, so a $1 catcher who won’t hurt you in average and even may occasionally help you with a counting stat or two is sometimes better than a more expensive guy who plays more but doesn’t play well. Even in a few of my mixed leagues, if I could retroactively replace a couple of my catchers who have gotten off to rough starts with Fry, I’d be much better off.

Spencer Turnbull (from 3 to 12% owned this week). Turnbull makes a blip on the fantasy radar this week after a gem against the Reds (5 innings, 3 hits, 1 unearned run, and 7 strikeouts). When I was a youngster and becoming interested in baseball, my dad used to make fun of the super random, complicated, and conditional stats that would be spouted out about players, so I naturally thought of him — and chuckled a little — when I read on Turnbull’s CBS player page that with that start, he became the first Phillies pitcher to ever strike out at least 7 guys without allowing an earned run or a walk in his first start for the team. At any rate, Turnbull was a dumpster fire in Detroit last year in his seven appearances after coming back from Tommy John surgery. He’s 31 now, but if you believe — as some who look at analytics do — that pitchers may have a bump up in skills and value in their second season after TJ, perhaps he’s worth a look. I think there is a pretty good chance I drop him for a middle reliever in my NL-only league at some point in the next few weeks, but I’m going to hold for now to see how his next couple of starts go.

Ivan Herrera (3% owned in CBS leagues). Okay, this is actually the opposite of a guy I got without planning to get him; this is a guy I was planning to get and didn’t, making this blurb one about regret. Yes, he’s a back up catcher, but he’s also a legit hitting prospect who could make an MLB and fantasy impact this season and beyond even though he’s blocked at his position. I did draft Herrera in a couple mixed draft and hold leagues figuring he might have some value even with limited playing time, plus there’s the fact that Willson Contreras may spend a fair amount of time as a DH. Watching him hit a no-doubt homer on Thursday made me glad I have him on a roster or two, but sad I somehow didn’t follow my plan and end up with him in my last NL-only draft.

Thanks for reading, and hope you all avoided most of those mean pitchers that are playing havoc with our fantasy stats already!

 

 

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

8 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jonny
Jonny
1 month ago

Do you have any opinion of Oliver Dunn of the Pirates?

John Feehan
John Feehan
1 month ago

Well I got stuck with Wells as a catcher. Ugh! Funny how you mentioned Herrera,,and being blocked by Contreras. Patrick Bailey is my other choice…. I have one share of Turnbull. He was really good before TJ. Great stuff as always.

John Feehan
John Feehan
Reply to  Laura Holt
1 month ago

I think I pick him up and drop Wells. Thoughts? Again points league for me.

toolshed
1 month ago

I just heard perdomo is getting an mri on his knee. Nice call on Blaze Alexander.

toolshed
Reply to  Laura Holt
1 month ago

I hear you. Lovullo loves Peterson. I don’t know why. He was terrible last year for them.