I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that fantasy baseball has severely impacted my ability to enjoy watching my “real” baseball team. I became a fairly obsessive Dodger fan when I was a kid, and I can remember my daily mood being severely impacted by whether my team won or lost that day. Cut to a couple few years (okay, decades) later, and since I have so few of the (largely overpriced in my opinion) Dodgers on any of my fantasy teams, sometimes I barely know if they won or lost. Of course, I can tell you exactly how the Brewers fare each day, since most of my fantasy teams are chock full of them. I did finally get swept up in a bit of world series fever last year, and watching those games – truly caring about which team won and actually rooting for every Dodger player with no concern as to how it would affect me in fantasy… I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I had watched a major league baseball game that way.

Anyway, I bring this up because I’m feeling weirdly guilty lately over what’s becomes a pretty hot topic in baseball over the last few days, namely, the first-week struggles of one Kenley Jansen. It’s not like I enjoy watching the Dodgers fail, and I certainly wish no ill will towards Mr. Jansen. But I have to admit that’s it’s a bit hard not to revel in watching a fantasy owner feel like he’s made a giant mistake in spending a high draft pick on a closer, since I and most of the Razzball world have preached to folks that it’s, well, a giant mistake to spend a high draft pick on a closer. All this finally brings us to the more specific topic at hand: players that those of us who live in the weird but beautiful deep-league fantasy baseball world might want to take a look at this week. And with that…

NL

Josh Fields. Grey has already told you to pick the guy up. Maybe Jansen will be all fixed by the time you read this and none of us will remember his disturbing beginning to 2018, but maybe he won’t. Fields has looked great to start the year, and his ownership is heading up in a hurry as I write this… he’s up to 13% owned at Fantrax and 8% at CBS. No reason not to grab him if you’re speculating for saves (or just could use a good reliever type), have the room, and he’s available.

Jordan Hicks. Another bullpen arm who folks have been noticing; after not having pitched above High-A coming into the season, he is suddenly 12% owned in CBS leagues after a head-turning spring/early 2018. Greg Holland’s impending arrival in St. Louis blocks any immediate chance for saves of course, but Hicks is looking like he could be a valuable piece to the right fantasy pitching staff. I hadn’t seen this until I just Googled Hicks to see if folks are writing about him, but over at fangraphs there’s a pretty in-depth article from a couple days ago calling him ‘the hardest-throwing pitcher in baseball.’

Preston Tucker. I was surprised to see he is only owned in 4% of CBS leagues – obviously folks are just looking at him as a platoon guy who is a hopefully-very-short-term placeholder for Ronald Acuna, and probably rightfully so. But why not ride Tucker while he’s hot, and he’s opened the year about as hot as anyone in baseball: 8 for 19 with a homer and 5 RBI. (And dude just hit a 3-run bomb off of Scherzer as I was getting ready to submit this!)

Brian Goodwin. Speaking of hot starts, Goodwin only has 10 at bats, but also has 7 RBI. The Braves are starting preseason fantasy darling to many Michael Taylor on Wednesday in a righty-righty matchup over the left-handed Goodwin, but if Taylor doesn’t get it going at the plate pretty soon I don’t know how Goodwin won’t be stealing more at bats from him.

Derek Dietrich/Brian Anderson. Both under-the-radar Marlins, both off to solid starts, both guys who are among the most-added players in fantasy this week. Neither may ever be relevant in shallow leagues, but up to this point in the season, both are reminders of how the worst teams in baseball can often be a nice place to shop for deep-league fantasy players.

AL

Ben Gamel. I think this is already the third time I’ve mentioned Gamel since I started my pre-season posts this year, and yet somehow I don’t own him on a single team, which is making me a bit sad.  He is scheduled to start a rehab assignment Thursday as he recovers from an oblique issue, and I feel like he should be owned in more than 3% of CBS leagues. If he gets healthy and shows us some of the promise he flashed last year, he could have mixed-league value in a hurry… and if he doesn’t, it’s easy to say goodbye and move on.

Keynan Middleton. I try to stay away from anything related to a Mike Scioscia-run bullpen, but Middleton’s looking good and it’s hard not to take notice of him in the AL-only world, as he’s currently looking like the Angels’ best relief pitcher. Sure, that may or may not ever translate to saves (Middleton already has one, after Blake Parker imploded and Cam Bedrosian had already pitched) in SciosciaLand, but it’s worth monitoring in the deep-league world.

Aledmys Diaz. ‘Member that crazy 2016 Diaz had for the Cardinals, where he hit .299 with 17 bombs in 111 games? I had forgotten all about it, and the fact that he played 79 games for the Cards last year (with thoroughly unimpressive stats) doesn’t sound even a little bit familiar. At any rate, he’s off to a nice start playing short for the Blue Jays this year, batting .312 with 2 homers over his first 6 games. I’m going to keep an eye on him, in case he keeps it up. (Note: Diaz seems to have tweaked his back Tuesday night after I wrote this, so that’s certainly something to monitor… but I’m still keeping an eye on him!)

Jake Marisnick. This one’s probably mostly wishful thinking, as I own him in a couple AL-onlys. His playing time will be limited, and he’s only hitting .200 on the year without a walk in 15 at bats. But he does have two homers and a steal, which puts him on pace to go 54/27. Okay, it’ll probably be more like the 12/10 or so that you get if you average out ZIPS, Steamer, and some other random projections… but that’s not nothing in the deep-league world, and he’s only 6% owned in CBS leagues.

 
  1. phennore says:
    (link)

    In a 16-team 5×5 league, would you drop Kiermaier for either Goodwin, Dietrich, or Anderson?

    • phennore says:
      (link)

      @phennore:
      Edit to be drop Kiermaier for either Goodwin or Dietrich?

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
      (link)

      @phennore: I know Kiermaier has been an absolute train wreck so far, but it’s April 5th… I think you gotta hold in a league that deep for now.

  2. Nick says:
    (link)

    Hi Laura,

    just picked up Holland +Hicks,, hopefully St Louis will win games :)
    dropped AJMinter, supposed to be a K-guy! –> 3 games , no K , no holds !
    and put Myers on DL !!

    i’m wondering about Margot ,,, slow start ?
    surely expendable when Acuna will get the Call !

    Nick

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
      (link)

      @Nick: Hey Nick! Yeah, I noticed that about Minter too… still have him in a couple NL-only leagues but he hasn’t been very impressive yet. It’ll be interesting to see if Hicks can keep it up — gotta keep an eye on him but certainly encouraging so far. I have to think Margot will turn it on soon and go on a tear, but it’s not like he’s a proven commodity so who knows — I was really high on him this spring but somehow didn’t end up drafting him anywhere. Like you said, probably won’t matter to you if all goes well with Acuna!

  3. ian says:
    (link)

    Great Article!!! Your right… I couldn’t wait on a player like Fields for Kenley. Last week I added Fields but placed Forrest Whitley on the wire in a keeper forever league. A tough call but I’m short on closers. I Haven’t lost Kenley and Whitley is not popular right now. Hope I haven’t shot myself in the foot.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
      (link)

      @ian: Thanks! Yeah, those keep forever type leagues are soooo tough… I get way too frustrated worrying that I’m constantly making decisions that will haunt me for years. It’s bad enough making fantasy baseball decisions that haunt me for days or weeks! Hope everything works out for your team : )

      • ian says:
        (link)

        @Laura Holt: So far Whitley’s still on the wire. Thanks.

  4. Mike says:
    (link)

    10 team, H2H , 4 player keeper league. My team is low on power, although I do have trout and Harper. Speed and average are solid. Pitching looks sharp, thanks to having Kershaw and thor.

    In an effort to address my lack of power, I just traded benintendi for Verlander. My goal with this move was to be able to offer Kershaw for a power bat. I made and offer of Kershaw for Stanton, which was a no go.

    Do you think I need to target a power bat like judge, rizzo for Kershaw? I dont want to get taken to the cleaners but Kershaw should bring me a substantial return.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
      (link)

      @Mike: Hard to say without seeing rosters, but I wouldn’t give up Kershaw unless you really feel like the extra power will be what would put you over the top and can work a deal where you get one of the top power bats in the game (especially since it sounds like you’re not exactly hurting for hitting studs). If you can’t find the right deal, maybe you can flip Verlander for a power guy in the next tier below the Stanton/Judge group?

  5. OldNavy says:
    (link)

    I was at the game in Atlanta and had to pick up Tucker when I got home. I dropped Hicks and Leone to pick up Tucker on 4 different teams.

    I am from Michigan and the Atlanta game was cold so I brought blankets.

    Worse parking situation I had ever seen took almost two hours to find a parking spot

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
      (link)

      @OldNavy: I thought I should put my money where my mouth was so I picked Tucker up in the writers’ RCL league… hopefully that won’t jinx him and cool him right down! Dang, MLB should be paying you guys to go to games in that weather instead of the other way around… I don’t even like to go to nighttime games in LA in April because I get too cold!

  6. Swfcdan says:
    (link)

    A female from LA on Razzball?? Pics? Of your fantasy team of course!

    Ha, are you buying Polanco’s hot start this year? Could use some more speed and our league counts OBP which he could be great in. Could trade Godley for him, would you do it? Polanco can also be kept for $12 next year whereas Godley is a one-and-done’er.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
      (link)

      @Swfcdan: Ha! Love me some Zack Godley, but yeah, I’d do that, especially with the keeper situation… I only got Polanco in one league this year and wish I had him in more. I think he could have a huge bounce back year, and if nothing else should be a solid speed source. Did you see the home run he hit Thursday? Sure, it was off of Homer Bailey, but it was absolutely crushed to dead center… the Reds announcers said the last thing they thought they’d see given the weather yesterday was a ball hit over the centerfield wall.

  7. The Harrow says:
    (link)

    yep, i confuse braves and nationals all the time too, like you in the goodwin blurb.

Comments are closed.