Well, I thought by the time June rolled around I’d be writing knowing whether or not a plan was in place for at least an attempt at baseball in 2020, but instead as I write this the immediate future of the MLB, along with much else in the world, is still painfully up in the air. As we all deal with everything going on around us, though, I don’t think it’s too self-indulgent to turn to a favorite past time/hobby/obsession/part-time job to help strengthen us mentally and emotionally — and for the readers and writers here at Razzball, that past time, of course, is fantasy baseball.

Since I’ve always been a fan of mining bad real-life MLB teams for deep-league value — attempting to find treasure in the perceived trash pile that other owners may overlook completely — we’ll take one of those bad MLB teams and see what it might have to offer, especially for us deep leaguers.  I’m choosing the Marlins, since for about five months now I’ve just had a feeling that they could be at least a bit better than folks expect, especially in fantasy terms (though in a shortened season with expanded playoffs, who knows what craziness could ensue).  I’ve gone through my rosters, and here are the Marlins I have on multiple teams, all of whom I’d consider grabbing more shares of if and when I draft more teams for 2020.  Let’s see who on this team is leading the charge to make me think there might be something to see here…

Jonathan Villar.  Villar is a polarizing figure in fantasy, though obviously one of the true mixed-league options on the Marlins as his current NFBC ADP sits at 43.  I don’t think many Razzball writers or readers would touch him at that price, and I think I only have two shares of him this year, but I honestly think there’s a chance that he ends up being at least a decent value even at a seemingly inflated cost.  He ranked #17 overall in 5×5 roto value last year, so even though I’m hardly expecting a prorated repeat of what he did in 2019, it’s a pretty tantalizing jumping off point.  The speed alone might be worth gambling on him for me, and one would assume he’ll be allowed and encouraged to run wild with the Marlins.  We probably don’t need to worry about a mid-season trade to a contender that turns him into a utility man at this point,  and I don’t think we should overlook the fact that he accomplished the increasingly-rare feat of playing in all 162 games last year — dude does not seem interested in a day off, which could be a tempting quality for a player in a shortened, roster-expanded season.

Jorge Alfaro.  I talked about Alfaro in my post about catchers last month, and the takeaways that I keep thinking about are the fact that he’s still only 26 years old, should be as close to an every day starter as you can get at catcher (plus there’s always that DH option), has basically no pressure on him in Miami, and might really benefit from the extended off season.  If he hits what most sites project him to do, he’ll be completely serviceable in most leagues at his current price (#210 ADP), and if anything close to a breakout happens, he could be a deep-league game changer.

Jon Berti.  Feels like a decade ago that Grey wrote a sleeper post on Berti (pre-Villar signing), but with an NL DH and the possibility of a weird schedule that could involved more games in a shorter amount of time, his stock may have been quietly getting right back up to where it was back in the early winter.  He played in 73 games last year, so it’s easy to see what his shortened season numbers might look like — and from a deep league fantasy perspective, I really, really like the looks of the 17 bags he stole in those 73 games last year.  No, he’s not exactly a sure thing — he’s 30 years old, and, should anyone remember back that far, had a horrific spring where he was hitting .138 without an attempted steal when things shut down — but if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that sometimes even sure things are not sure things.

Corey Dickerson.  Yeah, I know, he’s a hundred (okay, actually only 31, younger than I thought) and doesn’t really get a lot of those counting stats that are, um, somewhat crucial in fantasy.  But when it comes to deep fantasy leagues in an unusual real-life season, I can still see Dickerson being of some help.  Actually, his power numbers are always a little better than I remember, which I guess is why I’ve drafted him in a few deeper leagues this year — 12 homers in 78 games last year has value in the right league.  I also can’t completely turn my back on any major leaguer that has a career .286 average, and has managed to hit over .300 his last two seasons.

Pablo Lopez.  You could also do a write up on at least two other members of the Marlins’ rotation (i.e. Sandy Alcantara, whom I admittedly haven’t been paying as much attention to the last couple of years, and Caleb Smith, who I was seriously, obsessively into the last two offseasons but had to break up with because I didn’t like how he kept walking guys and giving up homers) but I keep circling back to Lopez.  He’s so cheap in even the deepest leagues that, as long as you’re not counting on him to anchor a rotation or anything, there’s just not a ton of downside here.  When it comes to intangibles, I like everything I read about him — he has a great relationship with his catcher Alfaro, he’s been working hard since the shutdown not just to keep in shape but to take the time to study and improve.  And when it comes to numbers, his have been uneven in the past… but the metrics tell you he has solid control and gets a lot of ground balls, which is enough in my book to give him a deep (or even medium-deep) league chance to see what he can do in 2020 or 2021 if he stays healthy.

Brandon Kintzler.  I think I took Kintzler in three of my last four drafts — like Lopez, the price is just too cheap (he and Lopez are both right around #400 NFBC ADP) for me not to be tempted to grab a guy who could return a decent reward.  If he pitches poorly and/or doesn’t close he’s an easy drop in any league, but if he gets off to a decent start and ends up with some saves, he’s a guy that could salvage a category in deeper leagues.  His numbers last year with the Cubs were actually very, very good:  while he’s hardly a K machine (48 in 57 innings), he did pitch to a 2.68 ERA/1.04 WHIP in 2019.

 
  1. I have 2 shares in Lopez. I took him at picks 388 and 359, which I considered good value. I also have a share of Rojas 568 and Diaz 433 which I think are also good values. Finally I got Anderson for a dollar in my auction league so I’m pretty contented with my shares in the men from Miami. So the big question, did I do as well as I think I did.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      I really like Anderson for a buck and how can you possibly go wrong that late with Rojas and Diaz… could totally pay off, and even in deep leagues there should be some random flier to take on the waiver wire if they don’t!

  2. 183414 says:
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    Nice column. Too bad MLB doesn’t care about anything but their deep pockets.
    I did draft B.Anderson on 5 of my 11 on line championship teams this year @236, 242 (2x), 243, and 258. Solid ballplayer w/of/3b cover.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      When I started writing this and decided to just go by players I had multiple shares of, I honestly wasn’t sure who was going to end up on the list as I simply couldn’t remember who all I’d drafted over the last 7 months… I thought I had Anderson on a couple teams and was surprised to find him on none… would totally grab him in NL-only or similar at the right price from here on out though

  3. Snacks Zillion says:
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    Your going down….Snacks Zillion will be victorious on all RCL leagues….

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Snacks coming with the heat

      • thehombre says:
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        Coolwhip is toast too. I mean, Coolwhip is going to be mostly skimmed milk. Ungh…. Coolwhip is going to lose. Period.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Haha

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      We MUST have a season, if for no other reason because I can’t stand waiting to see if Snacks is able to put his money where his mouth is!! ;)

  4. Snacks Zillion says:
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    Haha, Spittin da’ FIRE $$$$

  5. Snacks Zillion says:
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    The Great Snacks will not be defeated.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Haha — Snacks aint for nibbling today

  6. Rick Brown says:
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    Hey Laura,
    Have a few Pablo Lopez shares myself..Do you think Ryne Stanek has any chance of closing from the start or is Kintzler the guy?
    Thanks,RICK

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Hey Rick, yeah, I suppose that’s possible, though man he was a disaster last year when given the opportunity (perhaps partly due to injury)… Miami is one of those bullpens that may be such a headache that only those in deep leagues even need to think twice about it. I do think Yimi Garcia is someone worth keeping an eye on though – especially in keeper leagues, but could even make an impact this year.

  7. Homer's got the Runs says:
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    Am I selling high or low on Verlander in a keeper league if I were to trade him straight up for Villar? I am deep in starters and could use an improvement at 2nd base. I am presently carrying Wong, Odor and Solak who all have 2nd base eligibility.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      On paper, you’re selling low on Verlander, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t the right thing to do if it will improve your team. I love Wong this year and have several shares of Solak, but I still like the idea of adding Villar to a team where you’re strong on pitching and could use offensive upgrades. Maybe I’m overvaluing speed, but I just think teams that don’t plan well for SBs are going to be in trouble over the next few years based on the overall decline of steals in MLB recently. Also, even though Verlander has obviously had plenty of time to get over his spring health issues, it’s something that might concern me ever so slightly. Can you get the Villar owner to throw something else in? You can tell him that Verlander’s NFBC ADP is #15 while Villar’s #43, so surely he can add something to sweeten the offer? Maybe you can snag a Razzball favorite sleeper type to make the deal easily worth pulling the trigger on…

      • Homer's got the runs says:
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        Thank you Laura. I will try your suggestion on adding someone. I also have Ian Happ who fits the sleeper bill.

        • Laura Holt

          Laura Holt says:
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          Cool; good luck!!

          • Homer's got the Runs says:
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            So what do you think of Verlander and Happ for Villar and Kingery?

            • Laura Holt

              Laura Holt says:
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              Maybe I’m undervaluing Happ ( I’m not nearly as big a fan of his as most of Razzball nation, though I probably need to re-assess his potential value in light of the DH situation) and overvaluing Kingery, but I’d be tempted by that if you’re truly confident in the rest of your current pitching. It’s hard to say without seeing rosters and knowing the ins and outs of your league/whether there’s any chance Happ would have cracked your active lineup, etc, but I think it’s fair on paper — if you think the added speed could put you over the top I’d probably go for it

  8. Rick Brown says:
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    Thanks for the info Laura.Think I’ll put Garcia on a couple watchlists.
    RICK

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