Well, deep-league folks, things are looking a little extra thin on the waiver wire this week, at least from my POV — hopefully there’s a bit more to choose from in your world. I have an AL-only team where I have dead spots at OF and CI, and there literally wasn’t a player I could use available to me on waivers over the weekend, so my starting lineup this week includes one guy on the DL and one guy in the minors. When I searched for free agents, the only available player who qualified at corner who’d had a major league at bat over the previous week was Jefry Marte. I went ahead and bid a buck on him because, why not, but evidently there was another team in a position just as dire: I actually did not end up with Marte on my team because someone else also bid a dollar on him, and I somehow “lost” due to whatever our tiebreaker is. If any of this sounds even remotely familiar to you, know that you’ve found the section of the Razzball world where we understand your pain. And if you play in a relatively deep league but there are still at least a handful of options out there, have some fun and make the most of your waiver wire transactions – who knows which random pickup could reward you with a little long-term value. And if you play in shallow leagues, enjoy your freedom and go nuts making those drop/pickups, as I have in the RCL Writers’ League – it gives me a sense of freedom that I shall never experience in leagues where the likes of Jefry Marte get fought over.
Since we’re talking about random pickups, here’s a few players that might be of interest to those of us in the world of deep, deep-ish, and super-deep-league fantasy baseball:
Hunter Pence. Honestly, I thought Pence was going to be in rehab assignment limbo indefinitely while he was reworking his swing in the minors, so I was at least mildly surprised to see him in the starting lineup for the Giants on Monday. It’s hard to imagine he’ll ever be fantasy relevant again even in deeper leagues, but who knows, maybe that swing re-tooling thing will work out for him. Plus, who doesn’t want to root for a guy who opened a hip but nerdy board game cafe? Swoon!
Andrew Suarez. Suarez has an ugly 4.74 ERA, but his 1.21 WHIP is kind of intriguing for a guy owned in only 6% of CBS leagues. Most impressively, his K/BB ratio is better than 5 to 1 right now (42 strikeouts and just 8 walks in 43 2/3 innings). His next start at Washington sounds scary, but after that he gets the Marlins in Miami, and I’m intrigued enough to give him a try if the matchup is right even in slighter shallower leagues.
Charlie Culberson. Culberson is the quintessential 1% owned player – I’m sure most people in standard fantasy leagues are barely aware he’s on a major league roster. Anyone who grabbed him and played him over the last week or so bought themselves a cheap little winning lottery ticket though, as he has started 4 of the last 5 Braves games, and is batting .429 over the last week or so with a homer, a steal, 6 runs scored, and 7 RBI. He qualifies at 3B, SS, and OF, so if you have a hole in your lineup, maybe you can squeeze a little more production out of him before he cools off.
Dan Winkler/A.J. Minter. I was going to write about how Winkler hasn’t allowed an earned run since April 14th, but evidently jinxed him, as the Padres scored on him as I was writing this. He has still been giving a couple of my NL-only teams a serious boost by quietly pitching scoreless inning after scoreless inning out of the Braves bullpen, usually racking up at least one K while he’s at it. Going into Wednesday’s game, his ERA was at a ridiculous 0.74 – that’s over just 24 innings, but he also has 35 Ks. Minter, meanwhile, went into Wednesday with a 1.68 WHIP, but struck out the side in his inning of work — the Braves patience with him so far this year seems to be paying off. If Arodys Vizcaino continue to be as effective as he has been lately, there may not be any extra saves to go around, but I’m going to continue monitoring both of these guys pretty closely.
Anibal Sanchez. I’m not betting on Sanchez to keep up his current numbers, but I’m surprised he’s still only 6% owned in CBS leagues given that he’s a starting pitcher on a really good team, and I know how many of us are desperate for some NL-only and deep-league pitching. Sanchez has really only had one bad start (of four opportunities) and now has a 2.16 ERA and 1.08 WHIP on the season with 21 Ks in 25 innings. Even though those ratios will go up and Sanchez is more likely to have real-life pitching value than fantasy pitching value as the season progresses, he could be serviceable at the right time in the right league.
Greg Allen. Allen has been starting almost daily for the Indians the last couple of weeks, and even with Lonnie Chisenhall back, it appears Allen will continue to get a shot after Bradley Zimmer‘s demotion. Allen has been in a mini slump the last few days after a string of impressive games at the plate, so this will be a situation to monitor. Of most interest fantasy-wise is the fact that Allen has 151 career steals in 409 minor league games and has stolen 3 at the major league level so far this year.
Adam Engel. Speaking of stealing bases at the major league level, Engel now has 8 on the season and has actually been on a bit of a tear overall lately, going 7 for his last 19. With the White Sox outfield banged up and just generally a mess, Engel should continue to have at least some deep-league SAGNOF value for the time being, if you’re desperate for speed and he’s sitting on your waiver wire.
Steven Wright. You never really know what you’re going to get with Wright, but if he’s in the Red Sox rotation, as he seems to be for now, he might be worth a look. His 13 walks to 20 strikeouts on the year aren’t pretty, but so far he’s limiting the damage, pitching to a 1.56 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in 23 innings. Like with Anibal Sanchez, Wright’s ratios really have nowhere to go but up, but we’ve already discussed that those of us desperate for deep-league starters can’t be too picky.
Brad Keller. Keller has now made two starts for the Royals, and so far, so good. He’s now pitched 29 2/3 innings and has a 2.12 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. He’s not a strikeout guy and once again things could get ugly quickly as we are talking about a guy with a 1.36 career minor league WHIP, but I will quote myself from three lines ago, “Those of us desperate for deep-league starters can’t be too picky”!
Jason Adam. I’ve been looking at various depth charts and going over box scores trying to figure out what the Royals might do closer-wise if and when they find themselves with a Kelvin Herrera-less bullpen, and so far I’ve found it to be an unsolvable puzzle. Kevin McCarthy hasn’t been terrible but has only 17 Ks in 26 1/3 innings. Tim Hill is a lefty who seems to pitch the 8th inning on occasion, but has a gross 1.39 WHIP. Well, I’m going to monitor Adam for now. He hasn’t been overly impressive in the majors this year, but he was having a stellar AA/AAA year and his 2018 minor league ERA is 1.00 (with 2 saves, for what it’s worth), so who knows.