Every time Max Muncy hits a home run, a little piece of me dies. Okay, perhaps I’m being a bit melodramatic, but that’s exactly how I feel these days. It would be bad enough if I’d just read about Muncy and not taken a fantasy flier on him, but given that I was one of the folks actually suggesting him as a pick-up — because his past numbers were better than I thought they’d be after I looked them up, because Dave Roberts was finding a way to keep Muncy in the lineup even as the players he’d been replacing were returning from their injuries, because he just looked like he knew what he was doing at the plate — and STILL not wrapping my head around the notion that he’d be a productive player as the season progressed… well, that just makes a girl feel silly. And a bit sad.
In the deep league world, guys like Muncy can be insane difference-makers. I have a couple NL-only leagues where I’m hovering around 4th place, trying to scratch and claw my way to a money finish. If I had picked up Muncy in those leagues, he singlehandedly would have provided stats that would likely have me in 2nd place, where a strong last couple of months could put me over the top and give me a good shot at winning my league.
I’ll regret Muncy all season – and perhaps beyond in my keeper leagues – but nothing I can do about it now. Time to get back to my Muncy-less NL-only reality, scouring the waiver wire for anyone that might provide a boost between now and the end of September. And speaking of the waiver wire, time to get down to business and take a look at some names who might be available for those looking for help in the deep-league world.
Lourdes Gurriel. Gurriel had two hits Wednesday, which gave him eight multi-hit games in a row. Turns out that doesn’t happen very often, and Gurriel’s average is now at .297. He may not keep getting two hits in every game the Blue Jays play, but if you need a middle infielder, he’s looking pretty darn good for a player who is only owned in 8% of CBS leagues.
Ryan Stanek. A website as awesome as Razzball provides enough content that it could devote entire posts just to bullpens (oh wait, it does!) I’m still going to mention a reliever or two today; it’s just too tempting not to — I don’t know about you, but I get kind of giddy over middle relievers during these last weeks and days before the trade deadline while baseball undergoes its annual game of closer musical chairs. (Just me on the giddy over middle relievers thing? Maybe… but anytime you feel like there’s any potential value at all on a super deep-league waiver wire, it’s hard not to get a little excited. Okay, maybe just me again). Anyway, once you get past all of the obvious and even not-so-obvious closer handcuffs, Stanek is a 2% owned guy who intrigues me a bit. In 37 2/3 innings for the Rays this year, he’s got a 1.91 ERA/0.98 WHIP, with 47 Ks to 16 walks.
David Fletcher. Fletcher doesn’t exactly have a flashy stat line (well, when it comes to homers and steals, he’s 1/1 on the year, so to be honest he barely has a stat line at all). He does, however, play fairly regularly for a major league baseball team (that would be the Angels), he qualifies at SS and 3B in most leagues, and he’s now hitting after going 7 for 12 with 3 RBI from Sunday through Tuesday, he’s now hitting .295 after 32 games. All that, and he’s only 3% owned?! He’s practically ultra-deep-league gold!
Brian Goodwin. Now that he’s been traded from the Nationals to the Royals, will his stock as a fantasy outfielder go up? Well, he’s recently doubled his ownership, so fantasy owners sure think so. Okay, he’s doubled it from 1% to 2%… but after 50 games, he’s hitting just .229 with 3 homers and 3 steals, so I’m thinking that once you crunch the numbers, up is the only direction he can really go. If you’re in a deep AL-only league and really need some speed, kids…
Nick Tropeano. Recently returned from the DL and had a rather meh start: 2 runs (1 earned), 2 hits, 4 walks, 5 Ks, in 5 innings. Once you give him a break in terms the walks since he was probably a bit rusty, and remember that he was facing the Astros, that start actually looks pretty good. Tropeano has been hit or miss this season, but if he’s healthy now and keeps his control in check, he could theoretically be a serviceable deep-league pitcher/streamer, which would be about as much as you could ask of a 7%-owned guy.
Austin Gomber. Gomber followed Daniel Poncedeleon in throwing back-to-back rookie-just-called-up gems against the Reds earlier this week. It remains to be seen how many (if any) more starts either will get, but I’m keeping an eye on Gomber. Poncedeleon’s ownership has skyrocketed up to 26% despite the fact that he’s been at least temporarily demoted back to AAA, so he’s suddenly most likely already out of the super deep-league conversation, but Gomber stands at 5% owned. He’s 24 and his minor league numbers this year were good if not super (3.42 ERA/1.24 WHIP; 76 Ks in 68 innings), and as always, a non-horrible starter can be awfully hard to find in deep-league free agent pool.
Jeff McNeil. Leave it to the Mets to finally start playing for the future, then call up a 26-year old who profiles as a utility player. Regardless of whatever is going on with the Mets, I’m happy for Mr. McNeil, and maybe he’ll Max Muncy his way into fantasy relevance before the season is done. He was absolutely raking at AAA: in 88 games this year, he has a.342 average, .411 OBP, 19 homers, 71 RBI, 72 runs, and 6 steals.
Garrett Hampson. Hampson was rather quietly called up by the Rockies to help fill in for the injured D.J. LeMahieu. He’s now up to 14% ownership so he’s probably long gone in the deepest of leagues, but for those of you who are in the slightly shallower end of the pool, he’s a guy to consider if you need speed. We don’t know if he’ll hit at the major league level, but we do know that he had 33 steals at AAA this year (not to mention 9 homers and a .309 average).
Magneuris Sierra. Called up by the Marlins and should see some starts in a banged-up outfield, especially since the Marlins have no reason not to give Sierra a look at the major league level. His numbers in AAA weren’t particularly impressive — .260 average, 2 homers, and 14 steals (he was also caught 5 times), but if he can manage to get hot and gets the chance to run, there’s a chance he could be useful in the deepest of leagues.
Trevor Richards. A Marlins pitcher who has a 1.46 WHIP on the year doesn’t feel too promising, but Richards has two good starts in row… in the deep-league world, sometimes that’s enough to take a flier. He looked particularly good in his recent start against the Phillies: 6 innings, no runs, 2 walks, 4 hits, 4 strikeouts. He got 17 swinging strikes in that game and now has 63 Ks in 69 innings, so even though he’s not blowing everyone away, there could be a bit of value on the K front.