How did it get to be the last week of July?? There’s still not been much interesting trade movement as I write this, save Adam Frazier’s arrival in San Diego (which unfortunately is really only interesting in terms of trying to figure out which Padres I own will be losing playing time). As I continue to try to bolster my teams for the final two months of the season, I am once again looking at a barren waiver wire that seems unlikely to contain a hidden gem. I think this weekend might have been the slowest of the year in terms of FAAB pick ups in my AL and NL-only leagues, but there’s always someone to take a chance on when you’re desperate in a deep league… so let’s once again check out a few names that could be of potential interest in the deep league world.
Derek Hill. Hill has started six of the last seven games in the Tigers’ outfield, and I must admit I didn’t realize that he’s already stolen six bases (he has 35 total at bats on the year). Hill was a first round pick for Detroit all the way back in 2014 (he’s 25 now), and did nothing with a tiny (11 at bats) cup of coffee last year, so this is really his first legitimate chance to prove to the Tigers that they did the right thing by holding on to him for so long. Even with continued at bats there’s probably not much of interest here outside of potential deep league speed, but he may indeed be able to provide a few steals if you need them.
Curtis Terry. I don’t know too much about Terry, but I do know that I added him in a deep AL-only keeper league over the weekend where I had an empty spot at corner infield. Terry is a 24 year old first baseman who was having a great year for the Rangers’ triple A affiliate, hitting .294 (.375 OBP) with 17 home runs. He’s up with the big club for now, and his MLB debut hasn’t gone quite as well, as he so far is 0 for 11 with 6 strikeouts. I’m going to keep an eye on him anyway, in case Texas gives him an extended look and he’s able to pick things up, or perhaps as an under-the-radar future option.
Dillon Tate. There have been several bullpens that haven’t really been worth the fantasy effort in even the deepest leagues this year, and Baltimore is certainly one of them. In addition to ranking 26th out of the 30 teams so far this year in save opportunities, it’s been closer-by-committee for the Orioles since Cesar Valdez’s decline, on the rare occasions when they’ve needed one. All this won’t stop me from mentioning Tate for those desperate for deep-league saves, though, as he has two of them on the season after shutting the door on the Nationals a few days ago with a scoreless two-strikeout inning. It was his sixth scoreless appearance in a row, so maybe this is the start of something not horrible from a fantasy perspective.
Brent Rooker. This is definitely one of those wishful thinking blurbs, as I own Rooker in a deep (obviously) AL-only keeper league and am still hoping beyond hope to squeeze some value out of him. He’s been hurt most of the year and ineffective in the few major league at bats he has gotten, but he does appear to be getting a continued chance with the Twins. He hit a homer on Sunday, and is DHing and hitting second on Monday in what will be his fourth consecutive start, so we’ll see if he can do anything with the opportunity.
Jake Woodford. Woodford continues the theme we’ve seen a lot of over the last several weeks: deep-league fantasy players are hurting so badly in terms of starters that they are grabbing pretty much anyone who looks to have a MLB rotation spot, regardless of how ugly the numbers are. Woodford’s CBS ownership doubled from 2% to 4% last week, so while he’s not exactly flying off the shelf, he is being added to rosters as he has now started two games for the Cardinals. Back to those ugly numbers we were talking about: he’s pitched 36 total innings this year, where he’s allowed 36 hits and 16 walks and has registered 29 strikeouts. He did have a very solid outing (in his first start) against the Cubs, giving up just one run with 6 Ks and no walks in 5.2 innings, so he could be a tempting very deep league flyer when the matchup looks right.
Aristides Aquino. With Nick Castellanos on the shelf, Aquino would look to be in line for more at bats for the Reds for the moment, assuming he can continue to hold off Shogo Akiyama, which seems likely. Aquino’s major league hitting career has been uneven to say the least, but his power isn’t really in question, and who knows what could happen if he gets in a groove. He has 6 homers in 64 at bats so far, and Monday is in the lineup hitting third even with the righty-vs.-righty matchup against Kyle Hendricks.
Tres Barrera. Barrera has recently found himself atop the Nationals catching depth chart with Yan Gomes and Alex Avila both hurt, and so far, so good when it comes to his offensive performance. Rather than being in an even timeshare with Rene Rivera, Barrera appears to the the unquestioned starter for the moment: he recently caught six games in a row, and is now hitting .270 with a homer and 4 RBI in 37 total at bats.
Alcides Escobar. There’s not much inspiring about a 34-year old middle infielder who didn’t have an MLB at bat last year, but Escobar is theoretically healthy now, at least, and has been getting at bats at second and short for the Nationals. There’s obviously not much upside here, but he could register some deep-league counting stats assuming he continues to play regularly. He’s been leading off some of the time, so one would hope that he’ll score some runs and may even have a few steals left in him.