As we head into the final week of the season, it seems like a good time to look back — well, back a few days or weeks anyway. Even with only 60 games, many players who started the year as deep leaguers were able to prove they belong in a much shallower stratosphere in 2021. Take Luke Voit… I told you in my post way back on January 14th of this year that I’d already drafted as my first baseman in a league, liking his value at the time, which was around #200 in terms of NFBC ADP. Let’s just say that I don’t think any of us will be getting Voit with anything close to a 200th pick next spring. I’m also pretty sure Alec Mills’ no hitter will keep me from being able to scoop him up at the end of an NL-only draft next year the way I did this year. So let’s move on and look at a handful of players who have very recently — and a little more quietly — been playing well, with an eye not only on last minute help in 2020, but also potential consideration in 2021.
Mitch Keller. Speaking of no hitters, it may have escaped even some fairly active fantasy baseballers that Keller got two-thirds of the way to throwing one for the somewhat invisible Pirates in his last start (6 IP, 0 hits, 2 BB, 6 Ks). Keller was a popular deep-league sleeper this past spring, and an oblique injury that’s limited him to just four starts this year may help keep him under the radar again next year.
Dan Vogelbach. I was going to mention Vogelbach anyway, and then he went and had a monster game on Saturday to make my job even easier. He’s had a fairly amazing turnaround since he’s been a Brewer — he was hitting .421 (.476 OBP) over his last 5 games (19 ABs) even before Saturday, when he hit two homers and had five RBI. Who knows what this means for Volgelbach in terms of next year and beyond, but he’s been on quite a run for a player unowned outside deeper leagues.
Freddy Peralta. Staying in Milwaukie, Peralta’s season hasn’t gotten much attention since he’s been in the bullpen neither starting nor getting saves, and since he isn’t wunderkind Devin Williams. In 25 2/3 innings, he has a 3.51 ERA/1.13 WHIP and a very impressive 43 strikeouts. Two years ago, the Brewers produced a great starting pitcher sleeper in Brandon Woodruff, and this year it’s been Corbin Burnes… neither of those guys will come cheap next spring, but Peralta could end being a solid value whether or not he opens the season in the starting rotation.
Jose Marmolejos. Marmolejos has cooled off considerably of late, but he may still be worth taking a look at now that he’s playing regularly for the Mariners (15 games in the outfield and 5 at 1B so far). Overall he’s hitting just .239 (.287 OBP), but he’s hit 6 homers with 18 RBI in 88 at bats, which becomes interesting given that he’s on a rebuilding team with lots of playing time up for grabs, now and quite possibly in the future as well.
Cesar Valdez. Most of us deep leaguers were well aware of Hunter Harvey coming into the season, and I think he’s still widely considered to be the Orioles’ closer of the future. It’s worth noting how well Valdez is pitching as well, though — he’s allowed just 7 hits and 3 walks with 12 strikeouts in 13.1 innings, and he easily took care of the Rays on Saturday for his second save of the year. Not bad for a 0 – 1% owned guy.
Kris Bubic. For those that haven’t been paying close attention to the Kansas City Royals pitching staff lately, which is probably most humans on the planet including some that play fantasy baseball, Bubic has looked pretty good in his last few starts. He’s still walking too many guys, but he’s now allowed just five earned runs over his last 22 2/3 innings, and is striking out just about a batter per inning on the season. Seeing as he led the minors in strikeouts in 2019 and just turned 23, one would assume the best is yet to come.
Willi Castro. Castro is playing awfully well for the Tigers, as he’s now hitting .333 with a .368 OBP with 5 homers and 18 RBI on the season (30 games, 105 at bats). He took Shane Bieber deep last week, and while we haven’t seen him run in 2020, he did have 17 steals in the minors last year.