How’s it going, deep-leaguers?  Hope everyone out there has dodged as many fantasy baseball injury bullets as possible, since we know that losing your studs in a deep league is a much different level of disaster than it is in the shallow, mixed-league world.  It’s not super helpful to read about how you might consider picking up Dansby Swanson or Eduardo Escobar to replace Trea Turner in your lineup when the “best” shortstop available in your league is Kevin Newman. As we continue to ask for leniency from the fantasy baseball gods, let’s do what we do here, and take a look at some players who may be on the radar for those of us in AL-only, NL-only, and other deep leagues.

AL

Josh Phegley.  He’s probably significantly overperforming by hitting .321 with 2 homers and 5 RBI over his first 10 games, but given the horrific scene that the AL catcher landscape is these days, Phegley might be worth a shot if he’s available.  Most sites still list him 3rdin the A’s catching depth chart behind (an injured) Chris Herrmann and Nick Hundley, but Phegley is the only one in this group that has even a shot at fantasy relevance for the time being.  (Note:  dude went yard again after I wrote this… )

Richard Lovelady.  I must admit that I don’t know much about this guy, except that A) he has a ridiculously great name, and has already been given the nickname “Dickie Love” by Mike Sweeney, B) his minor league numbers are excellent, C) he’s currently on the Royals’ major league roster and pitched well in his first outing, and D) the Royals could use a solid arm at the back end of their bullpen (and I wrote that phrase before Thursday’s debacle).  Hmm, that’s actually more than I know about a lot of things, and I’m gonna throw a few FAAB bucks his way this weekend in my AL-only league.

Brian Goodwin.  I talked a bit about Goodwin as an ultra-deep league sleeper in the preseason, after which he had a horrible spring and was put on release waivers by the Royals.  He has a some new life as an Angel now, however, as he’s opened the year hitting .333 with a homer, 4 RBI, and 7 runs scored over his first 11 games.

Tyler Naquin.  In my deepest mixed-league, I grabbed Naquin to replace Dahl in my lineup for now and am just hoping he can string together a decent game or three, perhaps chipping in a few steals while he’s at it.  Hopefully he’ll start for Cleveland pretty regularly against righties, and he’s started the season with a promising 8 for 27.

NL

Jordan Lyles.  I started to blurb (just this minute decided to pretend that ‘blurb’ can be a verb) about Lyles Wednesday morning, and decided to wait to write about him when I realized he’d be pitching against the Cubs that evening.  Was hoping for serviceable, but he threw a veritable masterpiece (1 run, 1 walk, 3 hits, and 10Ks in 6 innings), outpitching anyone else I had starting in my other leagues not named Tyler Glasnow that day. He may not pitch a gem every time out (and may not even have one more like this in him all season), but his exactly 3.00 K/BB ratio last year in 88 innings last year has me ever-so-mildly interested in my deeper leagues.

Tyler Austin.  I’m not exactly excited about Austin’ prospects in fantasy, but you never know what a new lease on life can do.  After a great spring, Austin was DFA’d by the Twins and is now a member of the San Francisco Giants.  He should get a chance to play on at least a semi-regular basis if you’re searching for a smattering of counting stats in an NL-only league.

Mark Reynolds.  What’s a season in deep-league fantasy baseball without at least one mention of Reynolds as a 2%-owned, desperation power grab? Let’s get it out of the way relatively early this year, since as long as Daniel Murphy and Ryan McMahon are hurt, Reynolds could get more at bats than he probably should.  Colorado at bats from a power hitter, even one whose best days are long behind him, might be worth considering in the deepest of leagues.

Jose Iglesias.  If Iglesias keeps making sick plays on defense, he should be in the Reds’ lineup most days while the Scooter Gennetts and Nick Senzels of the world nurse their respective injuries.  He’s not going to turn around a fantasy team’s hitting, but he could throw a few stats your way and is actually off to a decent start offensively (.273 with a homer in 22 at bats, plus he has 4 walks.)

  1. Giacomo says:
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    Always enjoy your stuff Laura. A friend asked me to suggest a few low-percentage-owned starting pitchers he might consider. I’d like your opinion of my recommendations:

    DREW POMERANZ (Giants) is more than capable when he is healthy. He won’t get much run support from San Francisco’s terrible lineup, but he can be streamed against weak teams. So far, Drew has had two starts against super-tough teams, TB and LAD. On both occasions he threw more strikeouts than innings. Check it out and you’ll see this is correct. Worth a chance on any fantasy roster.

    SONNY GRAY (Reds) has really suffered from a lack of run support. This is amazing when we consider that Cincinnati has one of the strongest offenses in MLB. Yet the Reds did not score a single run in both of Gray’s first two outings this season. It seemed the only was to get a win was to toss a shutout, and that is exactly what hie did in his third start. Limited to four innings, Gray had 6 Ks and didn’t allow any walks. The Reds won 5-0. His health has been limiting his innings, but that could change as we get deeper into the season.

    LANCE LYNN (Rangers) has been working the rust off in his early-season games. He has shown excellent control and seldom issues a walk. If his keeps getting stronger, he could eventually be the Rangers’ ace. Watch to see if his groundball rate decreases back to his former level because the Texas ballpark is rough on pitchers who cannot keep the ball down.

    MARTIN PEREZ (Twins) is a longshot that might surprise. Rescued from the Texas hitter’s park and now based in Minnesota’s pitcher-friendly arena, Perez is working on making significant adjustments. This has been a complicated task because t5he team’s new pitching coach is straight out of the University of Arkansas and is tying to succeed without MLB experience. But the two are helping each other and since spring training Perez has greatly improved his strikeout rate. Alas his walk rate is another matter, and this is where he must work with his new coach. If Perez tweaks his pitches so that they stay in the zone, he could have a monster season.

    JORDAN LYLES (Pirates) appeared to never recover from the trauma of spending years throwing in the pitcher’s inferno, Coors Field in Colorado. But now he is getting coached by Ray Searage, who is famous for rehabilitating veteran pitchers. Thus far Lyles’ 2019 stats her been encouraging.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Love it — nice work! I would take a flier on Lyles, Pomeranz, or Gray in the right league at the right time vs. the right opponent. Lynn I have been scared of for a long time, but what’s not to love about starting the season with 19 Ks and only 3 walks in 18.2 innings? And while I wouldn’t touch Perez right now, you nailed it re. his walk rate… would indeed be interesting to see what happens if he can ever get it completely under control.

  2. Giacomo says:
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    Thank you, Laura.
    I tiook a chance on Lynn for his two-starts next week in a couple of my points leagues.
    We both came up with Lyles, but he sure faces some tough competition is his upcoming match-ups.

    • Raindoggg says:
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      Lyles is at Detroit and home to Arizona his next two starts…..

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