Ah, injuries!  If you have a single fantasy baseball team that hasn’t been hit hard by them already this year, consider yourself lucky. I’m not sure how I forget every off-season just how brutal it feels to finally have baseball up and rolling, only to see players inevitably drop like flies, destroying six months worth of planning, hoping, and dreaming of fantasy glory.  I’m not sure which is worse, when a key player that was firing on all cylinders suddenly and unexpectedly officially hits the IL (Lance Lynn, um, what?!) or having to navigate vague reports about top studs without knowing whether they’ll miss a game or two, or be down for a huge chunk of the season.  I’m getting absolutely crushed with injuries in a few leagues as I’m sure many of you are — and, as we deep leaguers know all too well, an injury that’s a big bummer in a standard league or an RCL-type format, can be an absolutely crippling tummy punch in NL or AL-only, or other ultra deep formats.  I already know I’m going to have to play this week seriously short-handed in a few leagues because the weekly waiver deadline has come and gone, and/or there is almost literally no one available in the free agent pool who’ll get more than a handful of bats over the course of the week.  I’m still going to fight for every counting stat I can, though, because these are the same leagues that often somehow manage to come down to a single steal or a couple RBI making a difference in the final standings come late September.  This week, we’ll stay true to the RITD spirit by focusing on players that were recently added to teams in some of my deepest leagues or made CBS’s “most added” list while still being only a few percent owned — guys who are off the radar to most of the fantasy baseball world, but might just be able to help fill out a banged-up deep league lineup.

AL

Charlie Culberson (2% owned in CBS leagues).  Is it just me, or does it seem like Culberson has a few big games every once in a while, then disappears for months on end, sometimes even longer, until he re-emerges with a new team and throws together another random splash of stats?  Well, to further expound on my lede, I’m sorry if you are in bad enough shape in any of your leagues that you need to pick up Culberson. But… I don’t feel as sorry for you as I do for myself, seeing as I could have really used him in one of my AL-only leagues this week but actually got outbid on him.  He’s on the Rangers now, and playing quite a bit, having appeared in nine games at 3B, one at 2B, and one at SS (he comes into the year qualifying at 1B and 3B in most leagues).  He’s already producing at least a small stream of counting stats, with 2 homers, 5 RBI, and a steal in 31 at bats.  That’s not only better than nothing, at the moment it’s also better than Joey Gallo and D.J. LeMahieu, who both have the same number of RBI but one fewer home run and no steals.  Just saying.

Renato Nuñez (7% owned).  To understand how deep the above-referenced AL-only keeper league of mine is, all you really need to know is that there was a legitimate FAAB bidding war — like, six or seven teams offering 10 or 15% of their yearly FAAB budget — for Nuñez’s first base services over the weekend.  Yes, that seems ridiculous for a player hitting .148 in 27 at bats this year (while striking out about a third of time no less).  The one thing he does provide, though, is a chance for an occasional power display (he has two homers so far), for a team (that would be the Orioles) that doesn’t have tons of great options.  If you’re as desperate as the owners in my league, take note.

Christian Arroyo (4% owned).  Well, this blurb already isn’t aging well as Arroyo missed Monday’s game due to a sore foot.  But, up until that little hiccup, Arroyo had been playing fairly regularly for the Red Sox, having started 11 games at second base (plus one at short). He isn’t going to hit many homers and has one steal on the year, but he’s gotten off to a nice start at the plate in terms of average at least (.316 so far).  The epitome of a player who isn’t ever going to be a big contributor to your fantasy team but won’t hurt you as a fill-in.

Adolis Garcia (4% owned).  The fact that Garcia has been getting more chances in the Rangers’ outfield lately even though he’s only hitting .200 tells you more about how poorly the rest of the Rangers (especially the .098-hitting Leody Taveras) are doing than how well Garcia is faring.  Don’t hold your breath for big numbers, but Garcia does have one homer already and is a warm body who may be in the right place at the right time to continue to get looks in the lineup.

NL

Luke Raley (1% owned).  Unlike the AL names on this list, Raley and a couple of his peers below may actually have a smidge of upside, even if they lack the path to playing time that some of the (much) less interesting veterans on this list have.  Raley is the latest unheralded but evidently MLB ready prospect (he’s 26 for what it’s worth) to randomly pop out of the Dodgers’ ridiculously full clown car of talent.  Raley’s an outfielder who made an almost-immediate impact by hitting his first major league homer in his second major league game, and may continue to find his way into the lineup against right-handers in a banged-up Dodgers’ lineup that’s missing Cody Bellinger and Gavin Lux.

Magneuris Sierra (1% owned).  Sierra really hasn’t done a thing to prove he can hit major league pitching yet, and after making the Marlins opening day roster this year he’s a mere 1 for 7.  He does have one steal, and if there is even a shred of value to be had here it would definitely be from Sierra’s speed.  Let’s see if he gets any playing time with Starling Marte (whose broken rib has also broken my spirit in my NL-only keeper league that had gotten off to such a good start, sigh) out of the picture for what could be quite a while.

Billy McKinney (2% owned).  Here begins this week’s two-blurb, post-hype prospect section. McKinney is a Brewers outfielder who once upon a time (well, 2013) was a first-round pick of the A’s.  He’s 26 now and already on his fifth team, having made stops with the Cubs, the Yankees, and the Blue Jays.  As you may or may not recall, his best shot at major league playing time was in 2019 with Toronto, when he appeared in 84 games.  Those games did not go particularly well, as he had a horrid .215/.274 average/OBP.  He did, however, hit 12 homers, after hitting 6 in 38 games in 2018.  McKinney actually made the Brewers out of camp as a left-handed pinch hitter, and I don’t know about you, but I’m keeping one squinty eye on him to see how he fares should he continue to get starts while Christian Yelich is hurt.

Mickey Moniak (6% owned).  I was a little surprised to see that  Moniak is only 22, since it seems like ages ago that he was the next big thing.  Out of curiosity, I searched for Moniak right here at Razzball wondering if anyone else had mentioned him recently, and it appears our most recent post about him was something Ralph wrote almost four years ago.  Anyhow, after a few years of rather pedestrian minor league numbers, Moniak’s star may not be shining as brightly as it once was, but he finds himself in the show in 2021 nonetheless.  With Adam Haseley out indefinitely for undisclosed personal reasons and Roman Quinn performing atrociously even by his light-hitting standards (he’s 1 for 23, or a cool .043 on the year), one would think Moniak has a shot to grab some playing time and run with it.  I’m not expecting him to suddenly turn into the star many thought he was when he was a teenager, but I wouldn’t mind having him floating around on at least one team in case he not only plays but manages to do some hitting while he’s at it. (This concludes our two-blurb post-hype prospect section:  have a great week everyone!)

 
  1. Kingslayer says:
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    Anything to like about Jose Marmolejos and/or Jordan Luplow? Both are sub 5% owned in CBS leagues and they have 7 home runs combined

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Hey Kingslayer, thanks for checking in! I keep almost saying something about Marmolejos and then thinking there’s no way he’s going to keep hitting even a little… but starting to think he’s going to keep getting chances and the power looks real. I like Luplow for the moment too for deep-league help… honestly I thought both those guys had higher ownership percentages b/c they’ve both been owned all year in my AL-only. May have to borrow your ideas and touch on them in my next post depending on how things are going!

      • Vash says:
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        Grey mentioned Luplow as a possible pickup in my deep H2H league.

        I am looking at Luplow and Will Calhoun as pickup not owned but with upside. I was reading articles about Luplow today and it’s mostly based on projections and the fact he seems to be starting against righties.

        If Luplow can hit righties, we are looking at a 30 homer center fielder….on paper.

        Hoping for ligning in a bottle for both Calhoun and Luplow as Rojas, and Guzman and Oneill have failed me and I needed one of them to be a capable major leaguer.

        • Laura Holt

          Laura Holt says:
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          I have a couple similar situations, where I have 4 or 5 guys and just need one or two of them to step up and be a serviceable fantasy starter — sounds like you’re picking up the right guys; you’ve done your job and now all you can do is sit back and hope they come through for you!

  2. Homers got the Runs says:
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    Little off topic, start Webb against Philly today?

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Hey Homers, not off topic at all IMO! I don’t own Webb anywhere (though I did put a bid on him in an NL-only over the weekend but got handily outbid) so haven’t looked at that matchup closely but my first instinct would be to avoid it for now. If there’s one thing that turns me off an SP it’s too many walks, and Webb hasn’t really shown an ability to limit them, so personally I’d be hesitant to start him against a lineup like the Phillies until I see some major improvement in terms of his control.

      • Homers got the runs says:
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        Thank you

  3. Coconut Willie says:
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    Are you on Twitter?

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      For some reason I decided years ago to avoid Twitter and am starting to think it may have been just a bit of a mistake, and now the thought of hopping on the bandwagon is mildly terrifying b/c I’m afraid I’ll feel like an 80 year old trying to send an email for the first time or something. Weirdly I just said to Mr. Holt this morning that I have no idea why I haven’t joined Twitter — so thanks for asking, and your well-timed comment may be what pushes me over the top to get my act in gear on that front!

      • Slimcompoop says:
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        Don’t do it Laura!

  4. OaktownSteve says:
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    Hi Laura. Appreciate your work here!

    Would like to point out Joey Gallo has 2 steals. Surprisingly good athlete. Gold Glove in right last year.

    As for Charlie He is the thin edge of the wedge the Rangers are trying to shimmy in to change their culture on offense. He and Woodward both very intentionally brought over from the Dodgers. They’re finally tired of striking out all the time. It’s why the cut ties with Odor. Culberson is basically viewed as a player coach and I do think they are going to try to get him in the line up to lead by example as much as they can.

    Of note, however, is Joey Gallo. His BB% is DOUBLE what it was last year. His K rate is down almost 10% from where it was in 2019. And his power? Pretty much gone…for the moment. I have a feeling/hope that Gallo will eventually make another stride in this new approach and get more comfortable with pitch selection and turning it loose in good counts and end up with a 40 homer .240 season which would be great.

    But there’s another scenario where this is a weird identity crisis kind of a season and he ends up neither here nor there.

    I got laughed at earlier this year in the comments when I said the Rangers could be a place to look for sneaky value this year. I think they looked around and said, ok, who is the best team around (Rangers and Dodgers share a few letters, right?) and they said, “let’s do that.” A team in transition but doing something interesting I think.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Thanks O.S.! Don’t know how I missed that on Gallo’s stat sheet but my apologies to Joey and all concerned — 2 steals by mid-April is actually a pretty nice little boost from a power guy. And great insight re. Culberson and the Rangers plans (and Gallo as well — will be really interesting to see there 2021 takes him). I just love trying to mine sneaky value from overlooked teams… I didn’t realize until after my AL only auction this year that I literally have half the Mariners starting lineup on my active roster (and more Orioles than a sane person should as well!)

    • JFOH says:
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      With Brock Holt back from the IL the Rangers SHOULD go back to platooney tunes with Charlie C
      Holt is the lefty here so he should get more AB’s and couple that with the much much better walk rate and Holt is the add in Tay Haus

      • Laura Holt

        Laura Holt says:
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        JFOH sighting!! First of all, hello, how are you, and happy 2021. If that becomes a straight platoon then I actually don’t hate either player in the deepest leagues — I don’t tend to mind fewer at bats, but with theoretically better quality matchups. Now of course I’m talking about really, really deep leagues — like the kind where, this week for instance, I have the likes of Danny Mendick and Ehire Adrianza in active lineups.

        • JFOH says:
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          My excitement over the solid start of Eric Gonzalez is something only deep leaguers would get lol

          Im doing well. Enjoying my fantasy retirement and playing my one odd ball league. You still owning grey in your league?

          • Laura Holt

            Laura Holt says:
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            Ha! (And salt in the wound of us foos who gave Kevin Newman one more chance ; ) Actually neither of us has won in a while… we’re so busy telling the rest of the fantasy baseball world what to do that I don’t think either of us have proper time to manage our poor original team any more (well, that’s my excuse anyway!)

            • JFOH says:
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              My fantasy consulting business justgivemeyourloginandpassword.com never took off the way I wanted it.

              I’m always available to fix teams if you need any help *wink wink*

  5. JFOH says:
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    Hi Laura,

    Long time no comment. With Lewis back I’m having a hard time seeing Orange Marmolejos getting regular AB’s in Seattle. Im super bummed too since I own him in my 30 teamer and he was becoming a post modern neo-donkey. A shorter version of Edwin Rios. Anythehoo. Hope all is well with you, appreciate content here that applies to us deep league fans

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      I’m really invested in the Seattle lineup as mentioned above, for better or worse, so I’m ultra curious how this will shake out. With the surprise success they’ve had so far, I’m wondering if they’ll end up mixing and matching and giving even the top regulars more rest days to keep the bats fresh. I’ve been riding the Taylor Trammell train in my AL-only figuring it’d be a short journey until Lewis returned… honestly not sure what I’d do with Trammell if I got to make the real-life decision for the M’s… he’s still only hitting .184 but much better lately and also seems to have some of that spark plug vibe. Plus there’s Moore who hasn’t hit a lick but has been contributing defensively… time will tell how it all shakes out I guess!

      • JFOH says:
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        Did you catch that Marmo laser beam HR last night. Guy looks like a mini beast

  6. BB says:
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    Renato Nunez is with the Tigers now, not the Orioles – doesn’t change the analysis much for the moment, though he could be out of a job when Miggy returns from the DL.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Thanks BB, I’m all over the place this week — I completely spaced when I typed that up as I had his player page up with the picture of him in his Orioles cap! And you’re right, same difference basically.

      • The sportsguy says:
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        Already out of a job even before Miggy returns..waived this morning after I got 1-12 out of him ?

  7. Vash says:
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    Another guy who I liked this offseason was JP Crawford, after hearing he put on muscle. The results are the usual, no power no steals…

    Anything in his profile suggesting power is coming or he can steal 25?

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      I really liked Crawford coming in to the year as a guy might have a mini breakout — who could steal 20, with a little surprise pop, and not hurt you in average. This was based mostly on the eye test watching him last year, as well as the underlying skills that made him a top prospect not all that long ago. Obviously it doesn’t seem to be happening for him as of now (and a caught stealing yesterday, aargh) but I’m not quite ready to give up yet. Since the Mariners are playing well overall I’m hoping they just let him do his thing (though obviously batting at the bottom of the order isn’t exactly helping his fantasy prospects) and I’m holding him in a couple leagues in case he can put things together, but he may just be one of those guys who makes more sense in real-life baseball than fantasy.

      • Vash says:
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        Interesting, might be more of a real life asset than a fantasy one.

        Holding for another week but I am desperate at SS, so might be longer. I finally let Rojas go as he’s not even a starter. He’s a bench guy now on the DBacks. Shame, he had oppitnunities and none better than this season and just can’t hit MLB hitting.

        I will have to keep my eye on Rojas, but JP is someone I am hoping can hit with some power. I just don’t see it looking at his stats. No extra bases and zero steals is the worst part as you said, he got thrown out last night attempting a steal. Expected him to be let loose a bit this year and nada so far, just an empty mendoza line like average.

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