We begin this week with a public service announcement to remind you that playing in the deep end of fantasy baseball is not only fun and challenging, it can also be beneficial to other aspects of your fantasy baseball life. I mention this so that I can clumsily and shamelessly make reference to my Razzball Writers’ League RCL team, which I took on with some hesitation since the format felt so foreign and, well, difficult. My draft was not bad but not great, and the learning curve was indeed steep as the season began. But cut to the end of August, and I sit comfortably at the top of our league standings. I may even be in the top 5 overall, as I was last week, but evidently my team has scored so many runs that the overall standings couldn’t be accurately calculated (MattTruss may have explained this slightly better in his wrap-up on Tuesday). Am I crediting my perhaps-unexpected success in my first foray into the RCL world to my background playing in and writing about deep leagues? Not exactly, but it sure hasn’t hurt. Even though it is rare for an ultra-deep league guy to seriously come into play in leagues like the RCLs, it does happen on occasion. If nothing else, I certainly feel that needing to know more about depth charts and bullpens and such than the average fantasy player does help me in every league, regardless of format. Just something to think about if you haven’t taken the deep-league plunge yet but are considering it for next year… for now, we’ll move back to the present look at a handful of players that may be of interest to those currently in NL-only, AL-only, and other deep leagues.
Ryan Burr. Let’s not kid ourselves; Ryan Burr is not exactly likely to be a major difference-maker to your fantasy team over the next five weeks. But rarely is anyone on the wire at this time of year in an ultra-deep league. More importantly, I’ve been waiting over a year to get a “Hamilton” reference in one of my ledes, and I think I’ve finally given up on Billy’s ownership dropping below 20% so that he’s relevant in a deep league column (though at the rate he’s going, could still happen). Anyway, what you should know about Burr is that he’s a 0%-owned relief pitcher with the Chicago White Sox who’s also the all-time saves leader at Arizona State. That kernel of information alone is reason enough for us deep-leaguers to keep a distant eye on him.
Adam Engel. If you’re looking for an AL-only/deep league version of a hot schmotato, Engel is a good place to start. Over the last week, he’s hitting .370 with a homer and a steal, and has 6 runs scored and 2 RBI. No, those aren’t monster numbers, but they seem kind of monster-y when you consider that Engel is a 2%-owned player.
Mikie Mahtook. See Adam Engel, above. Mahtook may only have 18 at bats over the last week, but he’s hitting .389 with 2 homers. Again, not bad for a player who is owned in only the deepest of leagues, which is exactly what Mahtook is, with 1% ownership at CBS.
Framber Valdez. Not sure how we got to the point where Framber Valdez is getting a couple of starts in what looked to be an endlessly deep Astros rotation, but here we are. Valdez already has two wins in two appearances, one in relief against Seattle and one after a solid start in Anaheim. He’s lined up to get at least one more start on Friday, again vs. the Angels. I never love grabbing a pitcher who is facing the same team he just started against, especially a newbie, but I’m going to put a tiny pin in Framber. His ERA and WHIP in the minors this year weren’t too exciting (4.11/1.28), but he did have 129 strikeouts in 103 innings.
Adam Frazier. Need an NL player along the lines of the hot schmotatoes we discussed above? Frazier has definitely been hot: over the last week he’s even outperforming the super schmotatoey David Bote in NL 5×5 value, batting .316 with 2 homers, 7 RBI, and 5 runs scored. He qualifies at 2B and OF, and should continue to stumble into playing time while he’s hitting (and will likely stumble into much more if the Pirates trade the recently passed-through-waivers Josh Harrison in the next day or so).
Roman Quinn. Was surprised to see that former hyped-prospect Quinn is owned in only 5% of CBS leagues, speaking of guys who have been hitting well lately. Even though he’s not playing outfield every day for the Phillies, Quinn is 7 for his last 15, with 3 runs scored and 4 RBI over the last week. 3 runs and 4 RBI would actually make a surprisingly big difference in a couple of my deep NL-only leagues right about now…
Nick Hundley. It can be difficult to pay attention at this time of year, and some folks may not have noticed that Buster Posey has undergone surgery on his hip and is out for the season. That makes Hundley the almost-everyday catcher for the Giants, and I guess some people have noticed because his CBS ownership has gone from 6 to 14% over the last week. While he’s not exactly Posey in his prime, Hundley could provide some value over these next several weeks if you find yourself in need of a deep-league backstop.
Wei-Yen Chen. It feels like Chen deserves a shout-out, despite the fact that his career numbers tell us that he’s been over-performing a bit of late. Actually, those numbers aren’t quite as bad as I expected: 4.01 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 7.03 K/9. Since he has an overall 4.91 ERA/1.37 WHIP in 2018, maybe he’s not actually over-performing, but getting his numbers back to where he should be after a pretty atrocious first half. At any rate, he has 4 quality starts in his last 4 attempts, and that includes wins against the Braves and the Cardinals plus a nice start in Washington. He may be due for a clunker, but he he’s not a horrible deep-league flyer if you need a starter over the last weeks of the season.