The trade deadline has come and gone, we’re into the dog days of summer, and it’s already feeling like we’re in the final stretch when it comes to many fantasy leagues. It’s getting easier to tell where a handful of stats can make an impact to your team in the standings and which will likely be superfluous, so if you still have moves you can make to improve your team’s position, don’t give up now. Let’s keep rolling and take our weekly look at some players that may be of interest to those of us in deeper leagues, many of whom have had a potential positive change in value since the trade deadline. There’s a lot to cover and most of the guys who have had ownership increases and/or a sneaky good week or two are National Leaguers (I was gonna mention Bubba Thompson, but no need as Razzball’s own Paul Mammino did it for me the other day)… so we’ll do an all Senior Circuit RITD edition this week.
Joey Meneses. Meneses qualifies at 1B and has seen a decent amount of playing time for the Nationals since the trade deadline, particularly with Nelson Cruz being ancient/banged up. He hit a go-ahead homer against the Cubs late in Tuesday’s game, giving him three on the year and two in the last week, a stretch during which he’s hitting .312 with a .353 OBP. (And now, before I could even finish this blurb, he’s gone deep again while batting cleanup against the Cubs on Wednesday). He’s not exactly a kid himself, in fact, he’s 30 years old, but even for a tiny sample size, those numbers are pretty good for a guy who is listed as being 0% owned in CBS leagues.
LaMonte Wade. Well, this is an even tinier sample size, but as I’m writing this on Wednesday, in Wade’s last eight official plate appearances, he’s hitting .375 with a .500 OBP, and he has two home runs. Let’s not get too excited; even with this little burst we’re talking about a player who’s hitting .190 on the season and not playing a ton, but he may continue to be useful both at the end of the Giants’ real-life roster and at the end of a very deep league pretend one.
Jose Barrero. Even going from 4% to 7% owned this week, the Reds’ presumed shortstop of the future is not getting a ton of prospect love from the fantasy community (though he’s certainly already owned in NL-only keeper type formats). Perhaps it’s because the Reds now have a clown car full of minor league shortstops, or perhaps it’s because Barrero has had enough unimpressive cups of coffee over the last couple of years that he doesn’t even qualify as a rookie any longer. Also, there was a weird thing that happened this week, which thoroughly confounded the Mets announcers, where Barrero was pinch-hit for late in a game with the bases loaded. Are the Reds going to give the guy the last two months of the season to see what he can do with an everyday role and see how he performs in high-pressure situations or not? At any rate, Barrero’s zero walks and 12 strikeouts in 21 official at bats would suggest he should be avoided in all formats, but the regular playing time and potential for some counting stats (he already has two homers and a steal) could keep him on the deep league radar even in re-draft leagues.
Elehuris Montero. Kris Bryant still isn’t healthy, but Montero (who qualifies at 1B and 3B in most leagues) has quietly been doing a solid job picking up the slack for the Rockies. He had an eight game hitting streak heading into Wednesday, and he’s gone from 5 to 9% owned in CBS leagues this week so folks are starting to notice. He hasn’t shown a ton of pop (just one homer so far) and has a rather horrific showing of 1 walk versus 22 Ks, so that ownership number actually feels high to me and I suspect it will go back down once the Rockies leave Colorado after this weekend. He’s another player that may be worth keeping an eye on in deeper leagues, though, at least if he’s available once the Rockies head back home.
Jake Fraley. We return to Cincinnati to take a quick look at Fraley, who’s up to 3% owned (from 1%). That number may continue to rise given that he has 9 hits in his first 22 at bats since coming off the IL from a knee injury, and it should also be noted that he hit an impressive 439 foot home run off Carlos Carrasco on Tuesday. He’s a lefty that is probably a strong-side platoon player in the Reds’ outfield at best but could be of some deep league value in August and September. It will be interesting to see if Fraley, who is currently hitting .215, can put a little run together and find a way to finish the season with a higher batting average than the “stud” outfielder he was traded for, Jesse Winker, whose average with the Mariners currently sits at .229. (For what it’s worth, Fraley also is hitting a homer every 21.7 at bats, while Winker is hitting one every 31.2 at bats).
Vaughn Grissom. Already vaulting into the standard-league conversation at Razzball and everywhere else in the 48 hrs. since I planned this blurb; see Grey’s post yesterday (as if you haven’t already!)
Charles Leblanc. If we want to talk about unsustainable small samples when it comes to batting average, let’s close with LeBlanc, who is now hitting .421 in 11 games, with a homer and two steals. Leblanc isn’t a high-profile prospect by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s playing third base for the Marlins on a daily basis right now, and if nothing else showed a solid hit tool in the minors this year (he was batting .302 when he was recalled, plus had a .382 OBP), some pop (he had 14 homers) and a bit of speed (6 steals).