The trade deadline has come and gone, and overall I think the transactions that preceded it did more to hurt my fantasy teams than to help them as we storm into August. I’m also realizing that because the deadline is later than it used to be, it feels like we have more time left in the season than we actually do, and that in some leagues, I just can’t make up enough ground to move the needle as far in the right direction as I need it to go. In other leagues, the remaining eight weeks or so should be enough time to at least give me a chance to better my place in the standings, so carry on we shall. This week let’s take a quick look at some under-the-radar players (as well as a few very under-the-radar players) who may not have been at the forefront of a trade, but may still have had an increase in value in some way, shape, or form as a result of all of the fallout.
Jake Alu. Alu is 26-year old, but as with many guys we’ve been talking about lately, it’s hard to say whether he’s a minor leaguer for life/Quad A type, or an underrated, more talented player whose performance is difficult to predict after he lost a year of development in 2020. It’s not exactly like he’s a super prospect, or that the Nats traded Jeimer Candelario just so they could hand third base to him, but for now it’s looking like he’ll get a decent chance to establish himself there, at least in the very short term. He’s had a great season in the minors (.293/.357 average/OBP with 5 homers and an intriguing 17 steals), so definitely worth a deep league look, I’d say, especially if you’re just looking for someone to help you fill out a deep-league roster in 2023.
Jonathan Arauz/Rafael Ortega/Danny Mendick. If you’ve never heard of any of these guys and are wondering what they have in common… they are all current members of the New York Mets, they are all 0% owned in CBS leagues, and they were all in the Mets’ starting lineup on Wednesday. No one expected the Mets to have the biggest fire sale in all of baseballl come August 1st, yet here we are. (And in slightly shallower leagues, it might be time to check in with Mark Vientos to see if a starting job without the pressure of a pennant race agrees with him, as he tries to establish himself as an everyday player at the major league level). Anyhow, none of these three guys is likely to make anything remotely resembling a long-term MLB or fantasy impact, but if you’re just chasing at bats anywhere you can get them, monitor accordingly. Once the Mets have rebuilt and none of them are still on the roster, maybe they can start a band called Organizational Depth.
Jace Peterson. Peterson may play less with the Diamondbacks than he did with the A’s, but perhaps the better supporting cast will make up for it, and maybe sitting against lefties will actually improve his overall numbers when it comes to average. If nothing else he’s going from one team that loves to run to another, so he could be an NL-only source for steals who qualifies at both MI and CI in most leagues.
Gabriel Arias. After the Amed Rosario trade, the Guardians’ call-up of Brayan Rocchio may have put a damper on an easy path to full-time at bats for Arias, but I think it’s worth keeping a close on him as well as we see how things play out. He may not exactly be a big power/speed guy, but he’s been hitting very well lately and it shouldn’t be hard for him to find a way into the lineup given that he’s already appeared at four positions. Tyler Freeman, who has played four positions himself and has more than held his own with a .286 average in 84 at bats, is also in the picture, so this is a situation to watch and I can see both Arias and Freeman being of deep-league use for the rest of the season, especially in a daily change leagues. (Also, while we’re chatting about the Guardians, we should also point out that preseason semi-sleeper turned utter disappointment Oscar Gonzalez is back up with the big club… he had three hits on Wednesday, so it’s not out of the questions that he makes an impact of some kind before 2023 is over).
Dominic Canzone. We talked about him a bit before he was traded to Seattle, and we’ve talked about his teammate Cade Marlowe, and we’ll see if the at bats are there for either or both of them over the coming weeks. Even after the expected Teoscar Hernandez trade didn’t materialize, there are at bats available in the Mariners outfield for the taking. (This also brings us to our semi-annual Dylan Moore shout out, as he’s recovered from his latest (minor?) injury and may see more time as well). But back to Canzone, I think one thing we know about him is that Mariners’ president “Trader” Jerry Dipoto must be very, very high on him, or he would have traded Paul Seward to another team. Dipoto claims they had 15 offers for Sewald, narrowed it down to the top three, and ended up taking the deal with Arizona (which also netted them Josh Rojas and infielder Ryan Bliss, FWIW). As he said, “We traded for guys that step on the field and we feel make us better today and into ’24 and beyond”… so while I don’t know if Canzone will play much or play well well during the last two months of this season, I’ll be looking to add him in my AL-only keeper this weekend in case he ends up being a valuable part of the future in Seattle.
Matt Wallner. We’ll close with Wallner, who’s likely rostered in most deep leagues but could make a case to be an asset in shallower leagues as well now that some steady playing time in Minnesota has opened up due to another Alex Kiriloff injury. He strikes out a ton and that alone may be enough to put a limit on his success, but the power is real. He recently hit four homers over a five-game stretch, so the HR-needy may want to take notice while we see how pitchers adjust to him, and if he can manage to adjust back.