It’s been another exciting week of fantasy baseball prep, Razzball friends, which for me was highlighted by my $100 RCL draft on Wednesday. We had, as expected, a group of competitive, focused drafters who never let their guards down while still having lots of fun in the draft chat. We also had — not as expected — a complete shut down of the Fantrax site mid-draft, and an auto drafter who inadvertently threw off the entire draft with a very un-Razzballian string of starting pitching flying off the board, and yet who somehow ended up with a team that looked pretty damn good once all was said and done. Thanks to all of my fellow owners for making the league happen and going with the flow on draft day: all in all it made for a super challenging but incredibly entertaining evening, with the promise of an even more challenging and entertaining season ahead!
Editor’s Note: Even though Laura’s league is all drafted, I’m still making a pitch for more Razzball Commenter Leagues! Sign up for one, two, three, or more! We have both free and money leagues and the overall winner gets a Razzball gift basket. Play against your fellow commenters, lurkers, and Razzball writers! We have this free league drafting Sunday, March 27th at 3 PM ET <- Just click and you’re in!
Now, we switch our mindset from a 12-team mixed league vibe to the other, much deeper end of the fantasy spectrum. I’m having a blast drafting up a storm, but have to say I feel a bit overwhelmed as more news and injury updates pour in. I thought I was prepared for the onslaught of trades and free-agent signings, but what I forgot to consider was just how much deep league shuffling it would lead to. It’s one thing to adjust your ranking for Trevor Story based on him leaving Colorado for Boston, but with every big splashy move, there are many smaller ramifications that might affect players who only those of us in very deep leagues are monitoring. Since there’s already so much to catch up on since last week, let’s jump into some quick notes about a bunch of players who are (way, way) off the standard mixed league radar. This week we’ll stay in the ultra-deep water and catch up with some AL players who are currently sporting NFBC ADPs all the way outside the top 650.
Kevin Smith. Speaking of third basemen in what could be exceptionally bad major league offenses, don’t look now, but after coming over from the Jays in the Matt Chapman deal, Smith currently sits atop the A’s third base depth chart. His cup of coffee with Toronto last year did not go so well, but his triple A numbers were excellent, so we’ll see how 2022 treats him.
Eli White. News out of Rangers camp is that he’s re-worked his swing. I’m not sure there’s any amount of “re-working” that would make White fantasy relevant in even the deepest of leagues, but if anything comes of this, you heard it here first!
Brett Phillips. It was hard not to chuckle when I read a report that Phillips spent the offseason doing yoga and cutting his body fat to arrive at spring training in the best shape of his life, but it sounds like he actually is motivated to prove that he deserves to play at the major league level in 2022 and beyond. Gotta admit I didn’t realize he went 13/14 last year, and I will also admit that I’m keeping a deep-league eye on him.
Matt Duffy/Andrew Velazquez. Duffy signed with the Angels and barring further moves he may get more time in their infield than he probably should. Before Duffy signed, I’d had Velazquez’s name on a post-it as someone to keep in mind for AL-only in case he ends up as the Angels’ starting shortstop, but for now, I’ve lost all interest unless he somehow makes a big splash in the next week of games. Now there’s word that David Fletcher may start regularly at short, leaving second as the open position… and let’s not forget that Tyler Wade (who I already own in a few draft and holds as a very late multi-position speed grab) will be floating around as well. Anyhow, this is clearly a situation to avoid in most leagues, but Duffy might not be completely useless in the deepest formats — he qualifies at 2B and 3B, provides the teeniest bit of pop with a (slightly) larger dash of speed, and won’t hurt you in average.
Matt Carpenter. In case you missed it, like I did, the Rangers signed Carpenter to a minor league deal. Manager Chris Woodward acknowledges it was a “depth signing,” so it sounds like Carpenter will play for triple A while the Rangers make sure he doesn’t have a season of major league baseball left in him, and/or need an injury replacement at the major league level. I’m really not expecting even the tiniest blip on even the deep-league fantasy radar from him but thought I’d give him a shout-out in case I’m wrong.
Taylor Hearn. Looking like he’ll be the number four or five starter for the Rangers. (Hmm, lots of Rangers on the deep-league radar today). Hearn was inconsistent at best last year in his 11 starts and has little strikeout upside, but it’s his age 27 season and his spring got off to a good start, so a step forward this season could at least put him on the AL only/streamer map.
Eric Thames/Billy McKinney. The A’s depth chart is just not pretty to look at right now, and I’m starting to think that there isn’t going to be as much mining for fantasy gems here as I’d hoped, even in the deepest of leagues. The team has said Seth Brown will be in the outfield mix, so Thames and McKinney are likely to get a legitimate look at first base playing time, and/or the DH mix. It’s beyond difficult to imagine either of them hitting major league pitching consistently well at this point, but that’s why you can draft either of them well outside the top 700.