Two weeks of baseball left, kids! If you’re still in the thick of things in your fantasy league, congrats — and if you’re not… well, maybe you actually still are, because things can change in a hurry in a 10-week season. Let’s peruse a few names that may be of interest as we approach the end of the year, particularly to those of us in AL-only, NL-only, and other deep leagues.
Bobby Dalbec. Dalbec may not even officially be a deep leaguer by the time you read this, as both his playing time with the Red Sox, and his fantasy ownership just keep going up. He’s now hitting .282 and has five, yes five, homers in the last week or so. If you need a corner infielder with some pop and he’s available, he could be of use in even a standard league if he can stay anywhere near as hot as he’s been of late.
D.J. Stewart. Stewart has gotten a chance to play every day in the Orioles outfield, and like Dalbec has been making the most of it with an eye-popping power surge, hitting 6 homers over the span of 5 games. He finally cooled off with an 0-4 including 2 strikeouts on Saturday, but he should continue to get opportunities to deliver counting stats to your fantasy team over the final two weeks of the season.
Jared Walsh. Let’s just keep going with the theme of an under the radar player (just 6% owned in CBS leagues) who is suddenly both playing a lot and hitting a lot — Walsh has 4 homers since September 8th playing regularly at first (at least against right handers) for the Angels. He’s now hitting .273 on the year with 5 homers and 12 RBI in just 19 games, and recently got bumped up to hitting second. That’s a lot better than a lot of players in my active lineups have been hitting lately!
Rafael Dolis. For those not paying close attention to the Blue Jays’ bullpen situation, Dolis has recently grabbed the closer’s job and has been running with it. He’s converted all 3 of his save opportunities in the last week and a half, and hasn’t given up an earned run since August 12th. During that stretch he has 15 Ks in 12.1 innings, and his ERA and WHIP now stand at 1.69/1.17 on the season. He’s still just 15% owned in CBS leagues, but all those numbers add up to a guy who would have been a valuable asset in even the shallowest leagues over the last month.
Shogo Akiyama. Shogo disappointed many of us this season, but after we dropped him and moved on we may have failed to notice that he suddenly starting stealing bases regularly. His average still sits an an icky .220 (.319 OBP), but he has 5 steals over the last two weeks, which is pretty good for a 15% owned player, and makes him one of the top 5 base stealers in baseball over that time period. Just saying.
Tejay Antone. I’ll veer from my years-long mantra of “avoid Reds pitchers whenever possible because it will lead to heartbreak” just long enough to quickly chat about Antone. He’s looked pretty good in the (very small) sample size of 4 games that he’s started: 2.86 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, with 36 Ks in 28.1 innings. He’s also walked 14, which isn’t too promising, and his next scheduled matchup looks to be the hot hitting White Sox, which also doesn’t feel too promising. But as we say often here, Deep Leaguers can’t be too choosy, and an 8% owned starter who’s striking out well over a batter an inning gets at least a quick glance in his direction.
Enrique Hernandez. Kiké has had a thoroughly disappointing season after a career game at the beginning of the year, but I’ve grabbed him as backup in a couple leagues. I have to think the Dodgers are going to give their regulars some extra rest as we approach the playoffs, and it seems like we may see more than usual of Hernandez, who qualifies at both 2B and OF in most leagues. Who knows, maybe he’ll have one of his power bursts right when I need him to, and when he’s actually active in one of my deep-league lineups.
Stefan Crichton. I’m sure I’ll jinx the poor guy just by typing this, but Crichton now has given up only one run in his last 5 appearances out of the Diamondbacks’ Archie Bradley-less bullpen, plus he quickly and easily converted a save opportunity his last time out. He also now has 22 strikeouts on the year in 21.2 innings. His WHIP is still hideous on the season (1.43), but it’s not unrealistic to think he could stumble into another save or two before the year is up, if you’re looking.
Just gave some love to like half these guys in my piece yesterday. Love it. I didn’t realize the insanity Walsh managed in just 98 AAA last season, either.
98 AAA games, that is