Things can change in a hurry in baseball, and when they do, things can change even faster in fantasy baseball. Since last week, we’ve seen the horrific collision between Starling Marte and Erik Gonzalez, the Pirates promotion of shortstop Cole Tucker, and Tucker’s sudden fantasy relevance. He went from being a 2% owned player in CBS leagues, where he was probably only hanging around on keeper/dynasty league type rosters, to being a 30% owned player who has a legitimate shot to obtain at least some degree of mixed-league relevance this year. It’s just another reminder that, in leagues both deep and shallow, you need to stay on top of things and not let a potential asset to your roster get away. The players we’ll be looking at this week may not have the upside of a Cole Tucker type, but may be worth a look for those of us searching for help in AL-only, NL-only, and other very deep leagues.
Nick Anderson. I honestly thought I’d already written about him this season, but turns out it was just the conversations I keep having with myself over how intriguing I find him. Well, as intriguing as a middle reliever for the Miami Marlins can be these days, anyway. A few other folks must be talking about him too, as his ownership has slowly but surely climbed from 0% to 6% in CBS leagues over the last few weeks. His 2.45 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 11 innings this year are nice, but it’s the 22 strikeouts (with just 2 walks) over those 11 innings that are hard not to notice. Anderson is 28 and his minor league numbers are great, but show nothing quite as ridiculous and eye-popping as the 18 K/9 rate he’s rocking to start 2019. I’m watching him closely for the time being, though… and don’t forget that in the right place and at the right time in the deep-league world, a great middle reliever can sometimes be a better option than a mediocre starter.
Isaac Galloway. I picked Galloway up in an NL-only league last week to replace an injured Starling Marte… Galloway may not exactly be Marte, but he’s off to a decent start for the Marlins. He got at least one hit in his first 5 games this year, and already has 2 stolen bases. He’s 29 years old and is a .251 hitter over his minor league career, so don’t go getting your hopes up too high… but he could get a continued look with the Marlins, and perhaps provide some deep-league fantasy speed.
Dexter Fowler. Gotta give a shout out to my former-imaginary-fantasy-baseball boyfriend Dexter Fowler after he’s showing signs of fantasy life for the first time in what feels like forever. One game earlier this week with 4 hits, 4 RBI and 2 runs scored was enough to, among other things, bring his season average up to .313 and his OBP to .403. It would be silly to get overly optimistic at this point, but Fowler could still end up giving a decent return on a miniscule 2019 fantasy investment.
Pablo Sandoval. Sandoval has had a nice week thanks to the opportunity to DH against Toronto, which obviously won’t continue, but it still felt like he was worth a shout-out since he’s producing more than many of the Giants these days. He hit 2 homers in 2 days in Toronto, and his average is now .333. If you’re in a league so deep that every last run and RBI needs to be mined, and you have an empty roster spot to fill, it could be Panda time.
Ryan Cordell. Cordell feels like a deep-league come-out-of-nowhere player. He’s 27 and has had a couple cups of coffee but has never gotten a regular shot at major league playing time until now, as he should start in the White Sox outfield with Daniel Palka demoted. His minor league numbers, which include 510 games going back to 2013, show both some power and speed (70 homers and 89 steals… with a .274 average/.334 OBP, for what it’s worth). He’s quadrupled his fantasy ownership in CBS leagues over the last week or so, but that still only puts him at 4% owned — he should probably be rostered in all AL-only leagues, if nothing else, in case he’s able to make the most of his current opportunity. So far, so good: he’s hitting .296 with 2 homers, 5 runs, 5 RBI, and a steal over his first 27 at bats.
Chris Bassitt. Bassitt isn’t a kid; he’s a 30-year-old who started 5 games for the White Sox in 2014, became an Oakland A in 2015, and has been kicking around between the majors and minors ever since. He’s been used as both a starter and reliever, and his overall numbers are pedestrian at best, but he had an impressive start filling in for Marco Estrada (5 scoreless with 7 Ks against the Rangers) and may get a few more chances in the A’s rotation.
Daniel Norris. Given some of these entries, it’s probably time to reiterate that, with guys like Norris, we’re talking about the deepest of leagues, and in this case for those who are in somewhat desperate need of some starting pitching. Norris looked pretty good in his first start for the Tigers, but when Norris is bad, he can be really, really bad. He should, if nothing else, have a spot in the Detroit rotation for now, but speaking of spots, you’ll want to choose yours carefully in terms of when and if you should employ Norris as part of your active fantasy lineup.
Jaime Barria. Okay, we’re still not exactly screaming with upside here, but at least Barria is only 22, so one can hope. After two flat-out bad appearances to open the season, Barria looked much better (one earned with 3 Ks and no walks in 5 innings against the Mariners) in his third. His K rate has always been just plain bad in both his minor and major league career, but he was able to achieve his relative success in the minors by severely limiting both walks and hard contact. If he continues to be used as a “primary pitcher” with the Angels, coming in after an opener (ah, so many new terms to learn!) as he did in his last outing, who knows – maybe he could be a poor man’s version of 2018 Ryan Yarbrough (which, of course, is actually more than can be said for the recently demoted, 2019 Ryan Yarbough).