Hey Deep Leaguers! Somehow it’s the third week of May, and suddenly we’re already a quarter of the way through the baseball season. What that really means, I suppose, is that we still have three-fourths of a season left to go, and a ton of baseball ahead of us in 2021. Let’s get right to it, and take a quick look at some little-owned players who may be of interest to those of us in NL-only, AL-only, and other deep leagues.
Andy Young. I admittedly gave up on Josh Rojas after his ice cold start to the season (he was hitting .065 after two and a half weeks of regular at bats, after all), but as the Diamondbacks’ kept getting hurt and Rojas continued to get opportunities, he turned it around and earned an every day role even before Asdrubal Cabrera became the latest Arizona infielder to hit the IL. I digress, though, as this blurb is not about the now 71%-owned Rojas, but the 2% owned Andy Young. Cabrera’s injury should open up at least a few more at bats for Young, who has made the most of his chances so far this year. In addition to pinch hitting, he’s appeared in 3 games at second base, 1 at third, and 1 in the outfield, and when you add it all up he already has 5 runs scored, 4 homers and 9 RBI in just 18 official at bats.
Jose Peraza, Khalil Lee, Johnesway Fargas. The injury reports out of New York are vague as I’m writing this, but if you’re chasing at bats in NL-only, it might be time to look at any Met who isn’t already on the IL and/or didn’t have an MRI earlier this week. Peraza’s found himself in the starting lineup regularly, and Lee could suddenly have a path to big-league outfield playing time assuming he’s been recalled again by the time you read this. Oh, and Fargas stole 50 bases in double A in 2019 when he was with the Giants’ organization.
Guillermo Heredia, Ender Inciarte. Kind of a deja vu thing going on here, as Heredia got a chance at playing time in the Braves outfield several weeks ago, played pretty well, got hurt, and has now recovered and returned to an Atlanta team missing Christian Pache and still needing help in the outfield. Inciarte, like Heredia, has also just returned from a hamstring injury (both players are 30 years old now, for what that’s worth). A straight platoon would theoretically give the left-handed Inciarte the playing time advantage, but Heredia felt like the (relatively) more dynamic player last time around, so we’ll see how this plays out.
Darin Ruf. The Giants’ outfield is healthier than it’s been in awhile meaning the opportunities for Ruf may be fairly few and far between — pinch hitting and perhaps the occasional start against a lefty pitcher. He’s just 12 for 55 on the year, but I think it should be pointed out that of those 12 hits, 5 are homers. That’s one more homer than either Trevor Story or Mookie Betts has hit in 2021, so just something to keep in mind in the deep NL-only world. I definitely have a team or two that would have been better off with Ruf and his 13 RBI parked in an active hitting spot over some of the more full-time players that have been disappointing me by draining my average without the trade-off of an occasional power boost.
Ji-Man Choi. I have a soft spot for Choi because, even though his numbers weren’t great in 2019, he contributed just enough as my corner infielder on a deep AL-only team to help me win my league that year. Choi has been out all year with a bad knee, but made a strong impression over the weekend as he returned from the IL with 3 hits in his first game back. This could be bad news for me and my never-ending Yandy Diaz obsession (Diaz has been hitting better of late and continues to excel at getting on base, but has yet to homer on the year). This is another situation that the deep-league world may want to keep an eye on while the rest of the fantasy baseball world can blissfully ignore it altogether, as the left-hand hitting Choi will no doubt impact playing time at first base for Yandy (who has appeared in 31 games at 1B and 8 at 3B).
Paul Fry, Hansel Robles. It’s difficult not to be envious from time to time while reading about “standard” leagues and how easy it is to just grab a newly-anointed closer whenever you need one. In my deepest AL-only league, anyone who was even in the general vicinity of a team’s closer radar was drafted back in March and it’s beyond challenging to find as much as a stray save here and there all season long. Robles was long gone in this league but I did grab him in a slightly shallower format; he’s been pitching well for the Twins and did indeed grab one of those aforementioned saves over the weekend. Fry, meanwhile, is still a 1% owned player who, while toiling in the shadows of the surprisingly effective Cesar Valdez, has sneakily been lights out (including 22 Ks and just 6 walks in 15 innings) in the Orioles’ bullpen. I’ve added Fry to a couple of teams in the hopes that he’ll keep putting up solid numbers and may even stumble into a save or two at some point.
Harold Ramirez. I have about 5 holes in one of my deep AL-only lineups, and I took Ramirez to plug one of them this past week. There’s really nothing resembling upside here — in 119 games with the Marlins in 2019, he hit 11 homers and had 50 RBI. He does rock a .272 career batting average, though, so he likely won’t hurt you as he gets an occasional start in the Cleveland outfield. In his last five games he has just 12 at bats, with which he produced 3 hits including a homer. No, it’s nothing to get excited about, but it proved to be better than nothing in my lineup, which is sometimes about all we’re hoping for in the deepest of leagues.
Trade question for my 5×5 dynasty 18 teams…dangling Bregman for Freddy Peralta or Shane McClanahan Julio Urias or Gioletto..he would throw in a position player like Bryan Reynolds…thanks for the input! I have have Bryant, Edman and Cris Taylor to man 3rd!
Hey Jimmy! Full disclosure — I am not the best at determining trade value in my keeper leagues (so I try to avoid trades whenever possible, often to my detriment ; )… but I wouldn’t have a problem letting Bregman go with your depth at 3B and would personally go for Peralta as I’m kind of over the moon for him these days. (And he’s only 24!). Since Bregman is one of those 100% owned type guys, maybe you could even get Peralta + a position player a notch or two above Reynolds (as opposed to with Giolito, who I think is still viewed as more of an ace even though he hasn’t been great this year and like I said I’d prefer Freddy anyway).
Funny–i picked up Robles a couple of weeks ago–Fry last week–same kinda leagues where all the closers and the next 3 guys in line were gone at auction–look forward to your write ups each week–keep em coming–also dont forget Albert, especially with all the Dodgers out for a maybe quick pick me up–and Adam Engel back soon, in a seriously depleted CWS Of—
Hey BB, I somehow didn’t get Robles in either of my AL only leagues, plus I missed the boat on Michael Fulmer… gotta admit, didn’t see that one coming! I couldn’t believe it when I saw Albert was hitting cleanup last night… that’s gonna be insane if he actually makes a legit impact rest of season!
Love these cute lil’ blurbs, Laura!
Thanks JKJ… BTW you are my kids’ favorite Razzball writer based on the fact that your avatar is a Mii (they both hate baseball and haven’t read a word I or anyone else here has written, so not gonna lie, the bar is pretty low ; )
haha that’s awesome. I’ll take all the fans I can get!