We’re a few days away from the All Star Break and I don’t know about you, but I feel like I am more than ready for a little respite from the daily fantasy grind. Of course, by next Wednesday I’m sure I’ll be having major lineup setting/live scoring withdrawals, but I’m also looking forward to a chance to re-group and figure out which of my teams can be improved by a little crafty work on the waiver wire. A lot will likely change before the trade deadline, but until then I’m taking it one game at a time in terms of players who might be able to help my teams out. For the time being, I feel like there is less available in my deep league free agent pools than there has been all season, and that’s already a pretty low bar. Still, that won’t stop us from taking a quick, pre-All Star Break look at a few guys who’ve been getting picked up in deep leagues this past week, as we check in on a few players whose ownership has risen of late but are still owned in only the deepest of fantasy leagues.
Jonathan Aranda. The reason for Aranda’s rise from 2% to 5% owned isn’t hard to figure out; Wander Franco is hurt, Vidal Brujan has been demoted, and Aranda has not only been recalled by the Rays, but it also looks like he should see at least fairly regular at bats (so far he’s appeared in two games at first and two games at second). Will he be able to carry some of the hitting magic he was experiencing in triple A – in 282 at bats he was hitting .330, with a .403 OBP, 53 runs scored, 13 homers, 57 RBI, and 4 steals – over to the majors? I’m not expecting anything close to immediate fantasy greatness, but that hasn’t stopped me from picking him in my deeper leagues where he was available in case he can provide a little offensive boost where I need one.
Rob Refsnyder. The Red Sox back up outfielder drew a larger-than-expected FAAB bid in one of my AL-only leagues earlier this week, after two big games where he went 6 for 10 including a homer and scored 4 runs. He’s an injury fill-in/give a guy a day of rest/short side of a platoon at best player, but he’s done well when he’s played, hitting .329 (.400 OBP) through his first 25 games on the year.
Seby Zavala. The White Sox catcher’s CBS ownership has gone from 2 to 5% of late after his performance in the month or so he’s been up in the majors with Yasmani Grandal hurt. He’s now hitting .313 in 67 at bats with a homer and 12 RBI. I actually put him in one of my RCL lineups for a couple of days earlier this week, but I can’t believe there’s much to see here. Zavala has shown power in the minors, but even if he continues getting opportunities to play one would have to think major regression is in his future, so I’m going to be wary even in AL-only.
Jonathan Davis. Davis has been seeing at bats in the Brewers’ outfield with Christian Yelich out and Tyrone Taylor having trouble returning from a concussion. We’ll see how quickly guys get healthy and if Davis’s opportunities dry up, but if you’re chasing steals in a really deep league, he might be a guy to turn to. He has two in his last two games as I write this, and four so far this month.
Stuart Fairchild. Even deep leaguers might not recognize Fairchild’s name, but if it is unfamiliar to you, he’s an outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds. He’s an ‘organizational depth’ type guy who was recently recalled and made a bit of a splash on Wednesday by taking Luis Severino deep at Yankee Stadium. It’s quite possible that homer will stand as the unquestioned highlight of Fairchild’s season, but I’ve given him a shout-out in case the Reds go full-on fire sale mode and get to the point where that ‘organizational depth’ suddenly has a fairly regular gig in the majors. Fairchild was doing quite well in the minors this season, for what it’s worth, hitting .275 (.366 OBP) with 11 homers and 6 steals in 142 at bats.
Robinson Cano. I’ve just resigned myself to the fact that every time Cano signs with a new team that is a playoff contender and/or recent World Series champion, I should throw his name out there, just in case this is the change of scenery that brings him back to deep league relevance. Cano is now an Atlanta Brave, playing for a team with a middle infielder who’s down with a significant injury for a significant amount of time. And this concludes my most recent Cano PSA.