It’s a new week, but the theme remains the same. As we wait to turn the calendar page to September, the free agent pool in your average deep league remains weak, to say the least. I think this weekend was the first time all season where I didn’t even make a single bid in our weekly FAAB bidding in either my deepest AL-only or NL-only league. Part of that is because, unlike the last few seasons, I’m not in a situation in either league where a point or two in a given category might make a difference for me in the final standings. But for those that do find themselves in such a situation as we head into the last month of baseball in 2021, let’s take a look at some players, all 5% owned or less in CBS leagues, that might be of interest to those in AL-only, NL-only, or other deep leagues.
Glenn Otto. The Rangers rotation has recently been hit with some Covid issues, which gave Otto a chance to try his hand at his first major league start. It was a resounding success, as he went five scoreless against the Astros, giving up 2 hits without walking anyone and notching 7 Ks. He’s 25, was drafted by the Yankees in 2017, and his 2021 minor league numbers were great (3.27 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and most interestingly 134 strikeouts in 95.2 innings). If the Rangers decide to give him another chance or two before he’s shut down for the year, it may be worth taking a look.
Jordan Luplow. To paraphrase Monday Grey, I didn’t know what MLB team he was on (okay, that might actually be a direct quote) until I saw Luplow’s name while perusing box scores. Turns out he’s on the Rays now, which in all honesty I don’t think I would have even been able to answer correctly if it’d been a multiple choice test with only two options. He’s spent much of the year either in the minors or on the IL, but I was surprised to see that he’s actually played in 48 games in the majors this year, and more surprised to see that he’s hit 8 homers. He’s also batting just .169 over that time, which has certainly made it easy for him to rightfully stay under the fantasy radar in even the deepest leagues. He’s 2% owned and qualifies at OF and 1B in most leagues (and also has one appearance on the mound, if your league happens to give bonus points for that kind of thing — and if it does, let me know, sounds fun!), so if you’re desperate to plug a roster hole with someone who might hit a couple more homers before the season concludes, he could be your guy.
Emmanuel Rivera. Rivera is another 2% owned player; he’s appeared in 23 games at third base for the Royals this year, and recently made his first start at first. Just 81 at bats, but he’s holding his own so far with a .272 average, and he also has a homer and 2 steals. He hit .284 (.338 OBP) in the minors this year, showing decent pop with 15 homers. If Kansas City wants to give him a closer look to close out the year (they drafted him back in 2015 and he’s 25 now) and/or if he has more opportunities to fill in for Carlos Santana, Rivera might throw a few deep league counting stats your way.
Edmundo Sosa. Sosa’s ownership took a significant leap over the weekend (from 1% to 5%) after a 4 hit, 5 RBI game on Saturday (it was against the Pirates, but it still counts). He’s been playing well when given the opportunity lately, raising his batting average about 20 points over the last couple of weeks. He’s bounced around among second, third, and short for the Cardinals (and qualifies at all three positions in most leagues), so if you need a utility guy in your deep fantasy league, why not grab someone who is currently doing a not-horrible job of it in real life.
Yoshitomo Tsutsugo. Tsutsugo is with the Pirates now, which explains what he’s doing in the NL section of this post. He qualifies at 3B and OF from last year in most leagues, and now has played 20 games at first this year as well. He hasn’t been useful in even the deepest leagues this season, but I think there’s a chance he’ll end 2021 much better than he began it (not that that’s saying much) after two team changes (remember that time he was a Dodger for five minutes?) and a calf injury wiped out the better part of his summer. At any rate, he didn’t hit a single home run for either the Rays or the Dodgers over the first two plus months of the season, but since landing with Pittsburgh (the one team that is desperate enough for outfielders that they may actually let him play there on occasion), he suddenly has a fairly ridiculous 5 homers over the course of just his last 19 official at bats. That pace obviously can’t continue, but he may be motivated to try to pop a few more over the fence over the next month, given that assuming we have a universal DH next year, he’ll be auditioning for all 30 teams as he tries to make a case for that role in 2022.
Manuel Rodriguez. Rodriguez got a save for the Cubs not too long after Craig Kimbrel et. al. were traded (he doesn’t have another since), but I avoided him and grabbed Cody Heuer in a couple leagues thinking he’d be a better bet for saves. Heuer now has exactly one as well — turns out not only is the Cubs bullpen rather fluid these days, they aren’t winning enough games, of the close variety in particular, to tell if they really have anything resembling a set closer anyway. Rodriguez and Heuer are both 25 and perhaps neither has a future at the end of a major league bullpen, but at the moment I’m more interested in Rodriguez if we’re just doing some crazy speculating.He put up a rather weird line in the minors this year (in that he had a 1.31 ERA with a 1.26 WHIP, and it should probably be noted he had 5 saves, while Heuer, for what it’s worth, had 11 in his 2019 minor league year.) When it comes to his MLB innings in 2021, t’s a fairly minuscule 11.2 inning sample size, but Rodriguez’s numbers on the year are good enough to keep an eye on:13 Ks vs. just 3 walks, with an ERA of 3.09 and a WHIP of just 0.94 (and he’s picked up two wins in that limited time as well).