Another week, more exciting prospect call-ups, as Keston Hiura is now a full-fledged Milwaukee Brewer, and Brendan Rodgers is rumored to be on his way to join the Rockies as I write this. If you play in a shallow league, perhaps you had the opportunity to grab Hiura off the waiver wire and are now a little more invested in his major league baseball career than you were a week ago. If you play in a very deep league, chances are both Hiura and Rodgers were drafted back in March even in re-draft formats, and perhaps have been owned for years in an NL-only, dynasty type league. No, we deep-leaguers aren’t going to be finding guys with Hiura’s or Rodgers’ upside floating in the free agent pool too often, so we have to get much more creative.… and on that note, here are this week’s players that may be more realistic targets in AL-only, NL-only, and other deep leagues.
Dawel Lugo. Nope, he’s not the splashiest prospect to get called up to the show this week, but he’s in the majors for the Tigers and is expected to start regularly at third base (and he qualifies at second in most leagues) after Jeimer Candelario’s demotion. He doesn’t hit for a ton of power and doesn’t have a lot of speed, so his fantasy value may be limited, but if you’re looking for anyone getting regular at bats, he should be on the radar. Also, he was hitting .341 (.393 OBP) at triple A, and now he’s already hit a 3-run homer for the Rangers before I could even finish writing this post… so far, so good!
Jordan Luplow. He’s not exciting, but it sure seems like he should be owned in more than 2% of CBS leagues. Perhaps he’s had a career 2 weeks just to get his numbers where they are (he’s hitting .280 with 4 homers and a steal in 50 at bats), but it’s not like there aren’t plenty of at bats up for grabs in the Cleveland outfield. I’d buy in now if he were available in my AL-only league, just in case the magic fairy dust that someone seems to have sprinkled on Luplow takes a while to wear off.
Tommy Kahnle. This week’s under-the-radar deep-league reliever who may not be in the mix for saves but could still help you in the right league is Kahnle, who has been a valuable part of the clown-car like, seemingly never-ending Yankees bullpen. He’s basically a lefty v. lefty specialist, but he now has 23 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings (with 6 walks), with an ERA of 1.08 and a WHIP of 0.78 on the year.
Willie Calhoun. His CBS ownership is climbing so quickly this week—from 5% in CBS leagues, to 15% by Thursday morning, up to 20% by Thursday afternoon… that he really doesn’t even qualify as a deep-leaguer any more, but I will mention him anyway since he is now looking like a guy who could help out in slightly shallower formats. If you didn’t catch the 2 games he’s played for the Rangers, all he’s done so far is get 6 hits including 2 homers, score 4 runs, and knock in 5. He may be the classic post-hype prospect who is on a mission to finally prove himself at the major league level, so I’m going to cross my fingers and throw some FAAB money his way this weekend in a 15-team mixed redraft league where I am in rather dire need of an offensive spark.
Shaun Anderson. If you are looking for an ultra-deep-league starter, Anderson may qualify, as according to Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy, Anderson is “in the rotation right now.” His first start went well enough — 2 runs on 2 hits and 3 walks (5 Ks) in 5 innings against the Blue Jays. His minor league numbers aren’t great but aren’t bad, and he was striking out about a batter an inning this season before his promotion. Temper your excitement, but if he manages to stick in the rotation for a while he could theoretically be useful when the matchup is right.
Alex Avila. Avila is back active after being down with a quad strain, and already has a 2-hit, 1 run, 1 RBI game this week. He should play pretty regularly, though sharing at bats in Arizona could actually be a plus for a guy like Avila; hopefully he’ll get matchups that favor him and won’t kill your batting average with a ton of empty at bats. He was off to a great start before his injury (and perhaps most impressively has 9 walks versus 7 Ks on the season). I’m not terribly optimistic about his current .350 average continuing given that his 3-years average is .222, but there should be at least a little fantasy value left in his bat in 2019.
Kyle Farmer. Farmer is truly a deep-leaguer, owned in just 1% of CBS leagues, and he’s quietly been providing that 1 percent-type smidge of super deep-league production in a reserve role for the Reds. He’s only hitting .235 in his 51 at bats this year, but he has a somewhat surprising 5 homers (and a steal, too, for what it’s worth), putting him on pace for 19 or 20 dingers on the year. On pace stats don’t mean much, certainly, but in the deep-league world sometimes we have to grasp at straws… and I don’t know about you, but I have a couple super deep leagues where an extra 15 homers from here on out could make quite an impact in the league standings.
Tayron Guerrero. Guerrero’s numbers this year aren’t really that impressive — 3.12 ERA and a rather unseemly 1.33 WHIP, with a good but not amazing 20 Ks in 17 1/3 innings. His ability to regularly hit 100 MPH or faster, pitch after pitch, is impressive, though. I can’t imagine the Marlins are looking to current closer Sergio Romo as a long-term solution at the back of their pen, and if Guerrero can find a way to improve his control and harness that velocity for good, he could be a huge asset not only to the Marlins bullpen but to your fantasy team, later this season and/or beyond.