We’re heading into the last week of June, and the struggle is real when it comes to keeping on top of fantasy baseball rosters in the deepest leagues. Many if not most of the interesting prospects we’ve been waiting for have already arrived to the big leagues, and if you’re not rostering any of them but are continuing to get hit by injuries and the occasional demotion, the waiver wire can be a disappointing place to turn. That won’t stop us from continuing our weekly search for help, and this week we’ll focus on mainly players who are around 5% owned or less in CBS leagues, but have had a recent ownership jump and/or been surprisingly productive over the last two weeks.

AL

Dylan Moore. Moore makes this week’s list having doubled his ownership percentage from 2% to 4% this week, and also because he’s done one thing of deep-league interest over that period of time: steal 5 bases. He also hit an atrocious .154 during that stretch (with a somewhat more respectable .312 OBP), though he did manage to pop a homer as well. He’s not playing every day, but even with an occasional start and coming in late for defense, he should continue to be a source of stolen bases for those most needy of them. Since he also scored 6 runs during those two weeks, I’ll call him a 1.5 category player. You usually get what you pay for in the deep league world!

Isaac Paredes. We kind of have to mention Paredes, don’t we, given that he’s had what proved to be an unprecedented little hot streak this week?: a three-homer game Tuesday followed by a fourth homer in his first at bat on Wednesday, making him the first Tampa Bay player to ever homer in four consecutive at bats. His ownership has gone from 3% to 5% and this will likely end up being a career power week for him given that he’s never profiled as a big home run hitter in the minors. He is still only 23 though, so maybe he’s still finding his power stroke, and if nothing else he’s likely earned more at bats for the Rays (he’s now appeared in three games at 1B, thirteen at 2B, and fifteen at 3B).

Josh Smith. That’s Josh H. Smith, shortstop for the Texas Rangers… there may not be as many Josh Smiths as there are Luis Garcias, but there are enough to confuse deep league fantasy baseballers. Smith actually qualifies at both short and third in many leagues (he’s appeared in six games at 3B and one in the OF this year), and is recently off the IL after dealing with a bad shoulder. Smith’s start at the hot corner on Tuesday may have harshed some of the mellow of owners who recently picked up Ezekial Duran, so we’ll see how the playing time works out here. Smith’s ability to play in the outfield may be one of the keys to his potential value, as he could see some fairly regular time there if he’s able to supplant Leody Taveras. Smith is 24, and his career minor league stats, if you’re interested: 576 at bats, .299 average/.415 OBP, 20 homers, 40 steals.

David MacKinnon. I like to throw a “0% owned” player in when I can, so MacKinnon fits that bill today. He already has a fun nickname, Baby Thor, as he looks shockingly like his Angels teammate Noah Syndergaard. Beyond that, he’s a first baseman who’s played all of one game at the major league level as I type this (and who knows how long he’ll be in the show). That one game went quite well, though, as he had a sac fly in his first AB in what was at the time a scoreless game being pitched by one Shohei Ohtani, and he followed that up with a big RBI single later in the game. His triple A numbers this year have been impressive: .327 average/.423 OBP (199 Abs), with 13 homers, 41 RBI, 41 runs scored, and 2 steals.

NL

Jordan Luplow.  Luplow is just 1% owned, and is kind of the NL/power version of Dylan Moore’s 1.5 category AL/speed guy. In the last two weeks, Luplow has four homers for the Diamondbacks (7 RBI), with an almost identical average/OBP to Moore (.151/.309 in this case). He’s been starting in the outfield more often than not, and Luplow now has a suprising-to-me 10 homers on the year. He also has a stomach-churning .165 average on the year, so do with all that what you will.

Bryan De La Cruz. In Marlins’ outfielder De La Cruz, we have yet another player who put up enough counting stats to make a (very) deep league impact over the last two weeks (two homers and two steals), but at the expense of a horrific average/OBP (.128/.191).  With Jesus Sanchez back from the Covid IL, De La Cruz will lose playing time, but should still see time as a fourth OF/starting bat against some lefties. He had a smidge of sleeper hype from the number-cruncher types coming into the season if I recall correctly, so maybe he can at least pull of the role of the always-needed ‘better than nothing,’ deep-league roster filler that we often mention here at RITD.

Bligh Madris. It seems like the Pirates have been calling up a couple minor leaguers a day lately — it’s been a bit hard to keep track of, but track these things we must in the deepest of leagues. Jerar Encarnacion has already been demoted after being the first player in modern major league history to hit a grand slam and record an outfield assist in his MLB debut (he also had a stolen base FWIW), but as I write this, outfielder Madris remains with the big club. So far, so good: he’s 5 for his first 13 at bats, with a homer, 6 RBI, and a steal.

Donovan Solano. It shows you the state of the Reds offense that adding a 34-year old journeyman utility/short side platoon guy to it has actually improved it this week. Solano was on the IL was a hamstring injury, but in his two games back (both at third base) he has 4 hits and 2 RBI. It may not get much more exciting than this, but he should probably be owned in deeper NL-only leagues.

 

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Jimmy
Jimmy
1 month ago

What are your thoughts on Edward Oliveres… dropped LaneThomas for him 5×5 13 team dynasty… great stuff by the way! Thank you!