As usual, this weekend in fantasy baseball brought a lot of ups, a lot of downs, and a little of everything in between. Overall, though, it definitively proved one thing: that Hector Neris and Rafael Montero have teamed up in an attempt to slowly but surely destroy my soul. Sometimes this hobby of ours makes me want to run screaming for the hills – or at least unplug, abandon my teams, and enjoy this summer in my city in a way I haven’t been able to do in over a year. Since I made a commitment to not only myself but the rare yet valuable Razzball reader who finds himself, as I do, trying to stay afloat in an ultra deep league or two, I decided to compromise. I spent the day sitting on the beach in Santa Monica yesterday (where I came up with this super witty lede), will be hitting Little Tokyo for some udon later, but in between, I’m putting my nose to the grindstone to try to find us someone out there that may be able to help our NL-only, AL-only, and other deep league teams. (Spoiler alert: the pickings, as they were last week, are a bit slim… here’s to hoping you aren’t spending as much of your time desperately chasing saves, speed, innings, or power in your deep leagues as I am).
Patrick Sandoval. Sandoval’s numbers on the year are not particularly impressive, but his fantasy ownership is rising relatively quickly. That’s because he’s in the Angels’ starting rotation now, and starting pitchers are going down at a rapid rate (yikes, Bieber hit the IL and Scherzer had a setback in between the time I wrote this and turned it in) and folks are desperate for fill-ins, especially in the deep league world. Sandoval does have two quality starts in a row (and they were preceded by a start where he went five scoreless) and he’s only 24, so he is most definitely trending in the right direction. Temper your expectations, though — this is a guy whose 1.34 MLB career WHIP is now a tick under his MILB career WHIP of 1.35, after all.
Zach Britton. Britton has returned from injury and pitched a scoreless inning for the Yankees, so I picked him up in an AL-only league over the weekend where I needed an extra bullpen arm. Granted, I’m not particularly excited about it, and a lot will have to go right to give him any fantasy value at all. Most importantly, he’ll have to be/stay healthy (he’s coming off of elbow surgery) and pitch well when given the opportunity. If he is effective, though, he could be a nice deep league pick up, assuming he re-emerges as the closer handcuff to Aroldis Chapman (whose last two outings, for what it’s worth, have included two blown saves including a 4-run disaster, after his utterly stellar first two months of the season).
Tony Kemp. He may only be 6% owned in CBS leagues, but that didn’t stop me from grabbing him for a couple days in the Perts League, as he’s been hitting the ball well of late and of course is always a threat to steal a base for the A’s when given the opportunity. He’s been starting more often than I realized, has scored 7 runs in the last week or so, and has his OBP hovering near .400 for the season.
Brian Goodwin. Goodwin was the FAAB star in at least one of my leagues over the weekend, due to the splash he made in his recent debut for the White Sox, where he hit second and had a homer, 3 runs scored, and 5 RBI. I’d feel fairly confident saying that will be the biggest game of his season, and it’s not exactly like he’s going to be cracking the Sox lineup on an everyday basis. But that doesn’t mean there is no deep league value to be had here — he’s a guy who has always hinted at having a solid power/speed combo even if it’s never really come to fruition over a long stretch. He’s also started his tenure with his new club in the best way possible, and even as a part time/bench option he could provide some fantasy stats.
NL (Four 1 or 2% owned guys for your enjoyment this week!)
Sergio Alcantara. Not going to lie about this one — it took me awhile to realize while quickly glancing through box scores every day that this S. Alcantara was not the Marlins’ pitcher, despite the fact that he is a third baseman (at least according to most fantasy eligibility) who plays for the Cubs. (Did I mention I was going through those box scores quickly?). This Alcantara has already played second, short, and third this season, and has proved himself a worthy utility man so far with a .290 average and 2 homers in 14 games/31 at bats, having been called up when David Bote got hurt. Alcantara got DFA’d by the Detroit Tigers over the offseason, which seems like a rather large red flag, but after having some VISA issues and getting a late start to his minor league season, he was leading off in triple A and had a .481 OBP when he got called up. He’s only 24, and I’m keeping an eye on him, as they sometimes say.
Ranger Suarez. Reader Joe Schmoe commented on Phillies’ reliever Suarez last week, and while my (least bold ever) prediction that Suarez would finally give up an earned run did come to fruition, I think he deserves a formal mention at this point. He’s had an amazing start to the season completely under most radars; that run he gave up means his ERA is now at 0.42 in 21 1/3 innings on the year, during which he has 18 Ks and just 4 walks. Even though Suarez may not currently slot in as the next-in-line guy for saves, this still feels like the time to mention for the second time in this post that the Phillies closer has been just a tad inconsistent this season (and in his career, for that matter), and has blown two saves in a row.
Zach Thompson. Thompson’s gotten some recent FAAB love in my NL-only leagues; I don’t own any shares but it was starting to make me wonder if I might be missing out on something. That FAAB love will happen, I suppose, when you shut out the Braves for 5 innings (with 6 Ks and no walks) in your second major league start. The first start against the Red Sox didn’t go quite as well, and we are talking about yet another guy with unimpressive minor league numbers (he’s also turning 28 this year). But we’ll try to keep this positive for the moment, and it’s a positive thing for Thompson that the Marlins really, really need someone to step up and reinforce their battered starting rotation.
Abraham Almonte. The outfield for the Braves has had some issues this year, to say the least, and neither Guillermo Heredia nor Ehire Adrianza’s recent chance to shine on an almost daily basis really went all that well. This has led to Almonte getting more at bats recently than anyone, probably including Almonte himself, ever dreamed he would for Atlanta in 2021. He’s 31, and he’s a .238 career hitter over 9 seasons with 6 different teams (I don’t think I would have answered correctly that it was the Padres for whom he had 11 at bats last year even if I’d been given 20 guesses)… so what I’m saying is, this is one of those situations where we’re talking about chasing at bats for those who are desperate for them, not upside. By the way, I was about to jump back on the Christian Pache bandwagon after seeing that he was healthy and hitting well in triple A, but just read that he’s now missing games due to hamstring issues. Is anyone else thinking that the Braves might want to make a move for an outfielder?
Odds that Shane Baz pitcheds in MLB this season
Hey Richard, I don’t think they’ll rush him, but if he looks as good at triple A as he did at double A it seems likely that we’ll see him in some way, shape, or form by the end of the year. Hard to say what exactly his role would be or what they Rays are thinking re. his work load; may be worth noting that he hasn’t gone more than 5 innings in any of his minor league starts this year.
Hi Laura, I have a feeling that Manning will be awesome tomorrow! Let’s cross fingers
Just picked up Coke Hamils in 18 team 5×5 dynasty league….I know he is old but he is wanting to pitch this year…..think he signs somewhere? Thank you!
Hey Jimmy, I would have said no way last month, but at the rate pitchers are dropping I wouldn’t be nearly as surprisedl. If he does make a comeback I’d be pretty wary of trusting him at this point, but crazier things have happened!
Heya Laura. Good stuff. I’m a P. Sandoval fan. He’s got pitchability as the not cool kids like to say.
The A’s are definitely happy with Kemp and they’re finding ways to keep him in the line up. 96 percentile walk rate, 9 percentile K rate, 84 percentile chase rate and so on. Total A’s style player. They’ll use him in the OF. Late defensive replacement at 2B when not starting. Always the possibility of a Lowrie injury on the horizon could end up with full time ABs. 20 runs in 143 PAs not too shabby.
Agree Sandoval has looked great, the changeup (which has always been his best pitch) is working really well right now. Seems like he’s finally found some semblance of command that was the one thing he had been missing in the past.
The change up is a dandy. I comp’d it to Means change earlier this year.
Hey Steve, thanks for checking in — super insightful comments as always!
Hi Laura.. good stuff as usual .. always helpful .. picked up Sandoval this am …anyways, 12 team dynasty … 10 keepers & 10 farm/stash … my team is pretty middling … shuffling between 5-8… would you trade Yordan for Kelenic/Rodgers/McCullers/Michael Harris?
I do have some nice young pieces .. Robert, Alonso, Tucker, J Urias, Bellinger, Rizzo, Abreu… plus a nice farm … Hold and press on? Do it? Thank you in advance!
Hey JR, I have to give my usual disclaimer that I’m not much of a trader, but I think I’d hold Yordan I have him in my AL only keeper and do wonder if I should sell high, but then I watch him hit those mammoth homers and I just don’t want to give him up. Sounds like you could get a good return if you do want to deal him though so I may be in the minority on this one!