Baseball is finally in full swing, and if you are a member of the Club of Deep-League Fantasy Baseball Owners (CDLFBO — pretty catchy, huh?), and play in NL-only, AL-only, or other extra deep leagues, you’ve come to the right place. Each week, we swim in the deepest end of the player pool, taking a look at a handful of players that some shallow-leaguers may have never even heard of, but that we CDLFBOs might be needy enough to take a look at for our teams. Our threshold for now will be guys who are less than 10% owned in CBS leagues, so let’s see who might be out there waiting to cozy up to an available roster spot.
Colin Moran. I have a bad feeling I’m going to be unsuccessfully trying to make Colin Moran happen all season, and here goes my first attempt. He’s as far from a flashy player as it gets and isn’t getting much playing time at all so far, but he’s a guy who won’t hurt you (career .276 average in the majors) in a deep league. And if Jung-Ho Kang goes through a stretch where he forgets to pop an occasional homer among his myriad of strikeouts (or gets arrested a few more times), Moran could see some extra playing time for the Pirates to boot.
Dominic Smith. Even an amazingly good spring didn’t help Smith step out of the shadows of the Mets’ beloved new baby, Pete Alonso, but Smith did enough to break camp with the club. He may not be returning much value for now with his limited at bats, but he’s held his head high and is making the best of the situation, going 5-for-10 plus a walk and collecting 4 RBI. He’s a 23-year old who was a huge prospect what seems like minutes ago, so he feels like a guy to keep a deep-league eye on.
Nick Margevicius. Margevicius is certainly a wildcard, but he’s a starting pitcher who has a job in a major league rotation (that would be the Padres), and those can be hard to come by in deep leagues. He looked great in his debut, giving up only a run in 5 innings, with 5 strikeouts and no walks. Granted, that start was against the offense-deprived Giants, so temper your expectations… but the “Starters in PetCo Park Plan” still works just often enough to make it worth trying from time to time.
David Hernandez. If I have one rule when it comes to fantasy baseball, it’s don’t roster a Cincinnati Reds reliever. Yet, when it comes to the deepest of leagues, sometimes we have to break our own rules. Raisel Iglesias has looked a bit off, to say the least, to open the season, and Hernandez already has one vulture save. Even if Iglesias rights the ship, I’m going to give Hernandez a chance in a couple NL-only leagues where I could use a middle reliever until he gives me reason not to. His numbers were surprisingly good last year (and significantly better overall than bullpen-mate Jared Hughes): 2.53 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 65 Ks/17 BBs in 64 innings.
Dwight Smith Jr. If you’re looking for at bats from an outfielder, Smith is getting quite a lot of them, near the top of the Orioles’ lineup. He showed a dollop of power and a dollop of speed in the minors, with a decent average and OBP, so we’ll see if he can translate that into any major league production now that he’s getting regular starts.
Chris Owings. Owings had a pretty lost year with the Diamondbacks in 2018, but just two years ago was a decent deep-league roster filler with 12 homers and 12 steals on the year. The bad news is that he’s off to a predictably dreadful .091 start this year in Kansas City… at least he’s getting a chance to play? He’s already appeared in several games at 2B and 3B after entering the season qualifying for fantasy purposes in the outfield. In the deepest of leagues, he may at least be able to provide a handful of counting stats that could make a difference for you over the course of the season — and if you crunch the numbers, maybe that average has no where to go but up?
Leury Garcia. I honestly didn’t realize how long Garcia had been kicking around — he has major league at bats going back to 2013. He hasn’t done much in all that time to excite the fantasy world, but if you need a 2%-owned player who shouldn’t hurt you in average and might throw a few steals your way (.271 with 12 SBs in 82 games last year)…
Trent Thornton. Thornton opened the season in a Toronto rotation that’s dealing with some injuries, so his time there may or may not be short-lived. He looked awfully good in his first start though, pitching 5 scoreless innings, striking out 8 and giving up just 2 hits without a walk. Obviously we’re at the beginning of the year when sample sizes are as small as can be, but for those of you who are in to things like spin rate, I read somewhere that Thorton’s is good, so I’m going to monitor the situation accordingly.