We’re two-thirds of the way through May, my friends, and I for one am beginning to think I may have overextended myself just a wee bit. My RCL teams continue to be a blast, but they don’t exactly manage themselves! When it comes to my deep leagues, they may not manage themselves either, but there are definitely fewer decisions to make. In my NL-only league where I’ve been waiting out Jonathan India’s hamstring injury only to get hit with Willy Adames joining him on the IL, there are exactly two players available who qualify at middle infield that have had at least one major league at bat over the last week: Ildemaro Vargas and Alejo Lopez. So, another hole in my lineup it is… but at least it didn’t take me a lot of time to arrive at that conclusion, I suppose. Let’s hope your deep league waiver wires aren’t quite that barren, as we look at this week’s handful of names (going back to our ‘under 5% owned in CBS leagues’ threshold this week) that may be of interest to those of us in NL-only, AL-only, and other very deep leagues.
Isaac Paredes. Brandon Lowe is going to be out a while for the Rays, which led to the sound that a small flurry of Vidal Brujan pick ups makes. But while Brujan has continued to look overmatched by big league pitching, to put it mildly, Paredes has gone on a small tear including a two homer game against his former team, i.e. the Tigers, on Wednesday. We should mention that there’s a reason Detroit let him go, namely that he’s a career .218 hitter in his 65 games at the major league level, and his 2 home runs this week doubled his career MLB total. But Paredes is still only 23, he qualifies at second and third in most leagues, and with the lack of competition for playing time Brujan is giving him, we’ll see if he continues to get at bats at the big league level.
Willi Castro. Another guy who I should have bid an extra couple bucks on last weekend in my AL-only league; even modest production would have been worth it as instead I just have a hole in my lineup this week. He qualifies at 2B, SS, and OF in most leagues, and has found himself in the Tigers starting lineup more often than not lately as he’s hitting .322 with a .365 OBP. Granted, we are talking about a player who is on pace to go 4/4 this year, but remember, I said “better than nothing,” not “game changer.”
Andrew Velazquez. With David Fletcher back on the IL, Velazquez is once again at the top of the Angels shortstop depth chart. He’s hitting a putrid .188, but his OBP is .255, which of course is also horrific, but doesn’t seem as bad once you compare it to his average. Anyhow, the reason we’re even talking about him is that he’s got 6 steals on the year, which I wasn’t aware of and which I could have really used in a few of my deeper leagues.
Devin Smeltzer. I guess all you really need to make this column is one decent start, so let’s talk about Smeltzer for 10 seconds. He’s 26, has struck out about a batter per inning in the minors, with an ERA of 3.95 and a WHIP of 1.24. Excited yet? Anyhow, with Chris Paddack out for the year, the Twins may go back to a five man rotation, or Josh Winder may be number six. But as I write this, Smeltzer has a spot start against the Guardians under his belt, in which he gave up one run in five innings on 3 hits, 2 walks, with 2 Ks, and is scheduled to get another on Friday against the Royals. Depending on how that goes, he may be worth keeping a very deep league SP eye on.
Alexis Diaz/Tony Santillan. Diaz has made the leap from 1 to 5% owned in CBS leagues this week, as those desperate for saves in deeper leagues are starting to take notice of him. My buddy who runs the Above and B.Lowe team in our RCL #39 asked me why I hadn’t mentioned Diaz, and I told him that it basically boiled down to the promise I made myself to avoid Reds relievers at all costs and attempt to live in a world where I pretend their bullpen doesn’t even exist. Anyhow, Diaz (who is Edwin’s younger brother for what it’s worth, which in this case may well be something) got a save the other day after he struck out Jose Ramirez to end the game. Cincinnati manager David Bell gave him a huge vote of confidence after the game, which isn’t surprising since the rest of the bullpen has looked atrocious (there’s a reason I made that promise to myself) and Lucas Sims is on the IL and not even throwing. But speaking of the rest of the bullpen, Tony Santillan, who got the first Reds save this season the first time Sims was hurt, got another on Thursday by pitching 1 2/3 perfect innings to finish the game… after Diaz had given up a hit, two walks, and a run in the 8th. It all comes down to the fact that in our deep league world, pretending entire bullpens don’t exist is a luxury we can’t usually afford – but in the Reds case, proceed with caution no matter how deep your league is.
Jake Suwinski. The Pirates recalled Suwinski (from double A) a couple of weeks ago and I haven’t mentioned him until now, mainly because I didn’t think he’d be very good, and also because I figured he’d only be up with the big club for a few days. Well, he definitely hasn’t been great – he’s hitting .188 — but he did hit his third homer on Wednesday. For those of you scouring for outfield at bats, he’s been starting pretty much every day.
Curt Casali. Casali had a huge week fueled by a 2 homer game in Coors, and obviously, even us deep leaguers shouldn’t be getting overly excited about a 33 year old backup catcher who’s a career .228 hitter. But it should be pointed out that he’s been getting more than just the occasional start lately as Joey Bart, who’s hitting .174, continues to try to find some consistency at the plate.
Yonathan Daza. Daza has been seeing more at bats since Kris Bryant got hurt, and he also was extremely productive while filling in for Randall Grichuk earlier this week. He doesn’t have a homer or a steal on the season, but in his last five games he’s hitting .391 (.444 OBP) with 6 runs and 4 RBI. I wouldn’t think there’s any room for him to get more than a handful of at bats once the Rockies are healthy, but I think we’ve all learned not to predict how the Rockies are going to manage their team, so he may be someone to keep a very deep league eye on.