I’m not gonna lie, my friends: if your deep leagues look anything like mine, the waiver wires continue to be in a bit of a lull in terms of suitable roster reinforcements. I’ve got the likes of Danny Mendick and Pat Valaika in my starting AL-only lineups, and am starting the week with multiple injured players active in one of my NL-only leagues because sadly there just wasn’t anyone available to pick up over the weekend that I thought would be better than a zero in my lineup. If you’re in a similar situation, where even the players who are completely off the radar in most leagues are already owned in yours, hopefully you’re keeping your team afloat as we press on into mid-May. For now, let’s take a look at another group of players — all of whom are between 0 and 5 percent owned in CBS leagues — that could be of interest to NL-only, AL-only, and other deep-league fantasy baseballers.
Tyrone Taylor (5% owned). I was trying to figure out why I felt like I’d been seeing Taylor’s name forever in my NL-only deep keeper league, and evidently it’s because the Brewers drafted him all the way back in 2012. Whatever high-profile prospect shine he once enjoyed may be long gone, but Taylor has something just as important at the moment, which is the opportunity to play some baseball at the major league level. He may still be behind Cain, Bradley Jr, and Garcia on the Brewers’ outfield depth chart, but with Christian Yelich re-injured Taylor will get another chance to impress in Milwaukee. He already has 3 homers and 10 RBI (plus a steal) in 52 at bats, has been getting rave reviews for the attitude and work ethic, and had a huge go-ahead RBI in an extra innings game on Sunday. I’m stashing him on my bench in a slightly shallower league or two just to see what the next few weeks bring.
Matt Duffy (4% owned). I probably should have made a free agent bid on Duffy in at least one league over the weekend even though adding him is about as uninspiring a fantasy move as an owner can make. He’s seen a pronounced uptick in playing time at third base for the Cubs after Ian Happ’s injury has moved Kris Bryant to the outfield at least some of the time, and if nothing else he’s shown over the past several years that he’s capable of filling in and taking a decent major league at bat. That should lead to a counting stat or two from time to time, which is more than I can say for a few of the players on my deep-league teams.
Scott Kingery (4% owned). Kingery’s downfall over the last couple of years has been hard to watch, even as someone who was neither invested in the Phillies as a team, nor Kingery himself in fantasy. Now that he’s with the big club again in the wake of continued injuries/ineffectiveness from their other players (even injuries to Matt Joyce and Roman Quinn have a ripple effect in the ultra deep-league world!) I grabbed him in one league over the weekend. While I think there is little chance that Kingery gets more than a smattering of utility at bats and makes a fantasy impact at this point, it sure would make a great story if he did. I couldn’t resist giving him one last chance to remind the Phillies why they signed him to a basically unprecedented six year deal in 2018, before he’d even made his MLB debut.
Connor Joe. If you’re going to take a look at a 28 year old, 0% owned, roster-depth type player who has a grand total of 2 hits in 21 major league at bats without so much as an RBI in his major league career, you may as well take a look at one who’s been called up for the Colorado Rockies. Joe’s path to regular at bats any time soon is an uphill struggle, but this is a guy who is resuming his baseball career after undergoing surgery for testicular cancer last year in addition to everything else 2020 wrought upon us, so just seeing him healthy and playing in a big league uniform is a story in itself. Also of note is the fact that he did have two very solid minor league seasons in 2018 and 2019 when he was in the Dodgers’ system.
Khris Davis (5% owned). To keep it real, the one hit in five at bats Davis had over the weekend is one more than I thought he’d get, so the key here might be ultra-low expectations. It’s difficult to raise even a little interest in Davis’ current situation, coming off yet another injury to join the Rangers, who I think we’ve decided have a pitcher-friendly home ballpark and already have several (albeit mediocre) DH options floating around. Perhaps Davis and the Rangers will both be so desperate to prove they got the good end of the (sort-of-fascinating-yet-still-somehow-ultimately-phenomenally-boring) change of scenery trade with the A’s for Elvis Andrus that Davis will be surprisingly productive? Seems like a long shot at best, but no reason not to at least make a note that Davis is back, theoretically healthy, and playing.
Andy Ibanez (3% owned). Ibanez was recently called up to the Rangers, and it will be interesting to see if he can make any kind of an impact. He’s a 28 year old from Cuba who profiles as an intriguing hitter but a serious defensive liability, though manager Chris Woodward has gone on record saying that Ibanez has ‘put in the work’ in terms of fielding to get a chance at the major league level. I’ve seen him listed as a 3B on some sites and a 2B on others (his first appearance for the Rangers was at third), but either way if Brock Holt’s hamstring injury lingers, Ibanez may get a small window to show what he can do.
Brett Phillips (1%). With the injury to Kevin Kiermaier, Phillips has started five games in a row for the Rays. While he may not continue to start every day and may not rack up across the board fantasy stats when he does, he is still a solid speed threat. He already has 4 stolen bases on the year, and could add a handful more to that number if he continues to be a semi-regular presence in the Tampa Bay lineup.
Jose Rojas (1% owned). Last week’s biggest baseball story, the Angels’ release of one Albert Pujols, has a small trickle-down effect to Rojas. While it won’t hand him regular at bats with Jared Walsh now firmly ensconced at first base and Shohei Ohtani finally looking like the DH that the Angels dreamed he might be, it at least moves Rojas up one notch on the ol’ depth chart. He’s been moving around the diamond and filling in more than I realized, having already appeared in two games at first base, four at 2B, ten at 3B, and six in the outfield. He’s not exactly hitting up a storm (11 for 57 so far, with just one homer and 4 RBI, and an ugly 18 Ks to 4 walks). I think he’s worth monitoring, though, in case he turns into a guy who can be a serviceable utility player for both a real-life and pretend deep-league baseball team.
First off, i love your opening paragraph—-it is so true with my AL only and NL only–anyone in these leagues needs to decide if taking a 0 for stats is better than picking up the dregs left over on the wire–and its a 50-50 proposition at times—people not in an only league with a big roster have no idea how tough it is to find someone good on the wire—–i kinda laughed cause 6 of the 8 guys in your writeup you mentioned are already owned in my leagues—only 2 not owned are Joe and Ibanez, and they are in the 50-50 category of do i pick them up or is it better to take a 0—but i do appreciate your articles as every once in a while i come across a name i forgot about–so thanx much and keep the articles coming–
Hey BB, thanks for checking in! I feel like I’ve been on the wrong side of the ‘should I pick up a bad player and hope for a random homer or steal vs. an 0 for 6 on the week’ a lot already this season! And now I have to deal with Will Myers, who I own all over the place, going down… I can already see the decision ahead of me in my deep NL-only this weekend — do I just leave Myers in and take the zero, or spend more FAAB money than I’d like on Ben Gamel? Sigh…
You and me both on the wrong side of should i or take the 0 stats–been a tough year for that—-in my leagues we have contract years and salaries, so if i had Myers, i would be forced to stick with him–but if you dont have the contract years to worry about, it is the conundrum—i think the best bet is to see if 1–Gamel plays a good amount in the next few days and 2 if he does ok–he can be streaky and help for a short period—if those 2 things happen and you dont have to decide today, and you can get him for a buck or two, then it might be worth it—maybe…sigh…
Laura- I looked at Phil Gosselin at first for the Angels. What’s Joe Maddons playing time for him? First base sucks in AL only so I’m going for either him or A Diaz on the Astros.
Yeah, 1B really is an AL black hole… I have Evan White sitting at my CI on my main AL-only team and it’s been brutal (I hugely overpaid for Trey Mancini at 1B in our auction, which so far hasn’t been a total disaster given the other options!) but there’s basically no one available to replace him with if he gets demoted. On that note, I guess I’d go with Gosselin over Diaz for the moment — looks like he’ll keep getting some starts at 3B as long as Rendon is on the IL. (Rendon could be back this weekend, though it seems like he usually takes longer than expected to recover from injuries, so need to monitor that situation).