I must say, I’m not too excited about the waiver wire in either my NL-only or AL-only leagues this week. Not that I ever feel like there is a ton to choose from, but at least up until this point in the season I’ve felt like there are almost always one or two guys in each league that either got called up under the radar/got surprisingly shoved into a starting rotation/fell into a job due to injury/etc, that had at least a distant shot at mixed-league relevancy. This week, though, I’m not so sure.

While my instinct is to always have a healthy player filling each spot in my lineup, I have to say that there have been multiple times where I would have been better off keeping a DL’d player in my lineup than any of the healthy alternatives I had available to me. In one of my AL-only weekly leagues, I needed to replace Michael Brantley at the last minute Monday upon finding out that he’d returned from his paternity leave only to hit the DL with a sprained ankle. Once I perused my waiver wire “options”, I decided to just leave Brantley sitting in my lineup. I remembered very well the last time I had a similar decision to make, grabbed whatever guy was available and might get a handful of at bats — and ended up with a clean 0-12 in my starting lineup that week. It can be hard to digest just how weak the deep league waiver pool can be, especially if you are used to making shallow mixed-league decisions.  But depending on your league set up and how close you are to gaining/losing points in the standings in certain categories, at times, it is possible for nothing to be better than something. This is even more true with pitchers, of course, where one bad start can ruin your day, week, or month.  Just remember that when you’re looking over your waiver wire options — and also when you are looking at the following list of names of players that may be available in your NL/AL-only league.

Homer Bailey. If you’ve owned Homer Bailey even once in your fantasy baseball life, that may have been enough for you. But he’s looked great in his rehab starts (1.08 ERA, 17 K/3 BB in 16 2/3) and could pitch for the Reds as soon as this weekend. He’s one of those guys where there’s just no way of knowing how much of the time he was pitching completely healthy over his career, and he probably has as low a floor and as high a ceiling as anyone on this list.  Temper your expectations, but if he’s available in your league, who knows? We are, after all, talking about a guy who has a pair of no-hitters in his career.

T.J. Rivera. Pretty much every other Met is hurt, and Amed Rosario still has no plane ticket no the Big Apple. T.J. has played 1B, 2B, 3B, and OF… while he might not be very good, he’s a warm body who’s getting at bats and hopefully won’t hurt your average. If I’d been thinking about the fact that the Mets often seem to have little interest in actually putting their best team on the field, I’d have picked up Rivera weeks ago in my deeper NL-only leagues.

Gavin Cecchini. As you may have heard, because I mentioned it in the last paragraph and because it’s been the talk of the fantasy world for what seems like three years now, the Mets claim they will not be promoting Amed Rosario any time soon. Since they have actually promoted Cecchini, maybe he’s so sick of people talking about Rosario that he’ll take advantage of this opportunity and make people forget about him the way Trevor Story made folks temporarily forget about Brendan Rogers last year. (Pause while I take a moment to myself to daydream about 2016 first-half Trevor Story… hey, while I was trying to forget that Story sucks now, Cecchini became the third player ever to hit his first major league homer off of Kershaw. Amed Who??!)

Jhoulys Chacin. I think he’s been dropped and picked up like 14 times in one of my NL-only leagues, and he’s not a guy to leave in your lineup no matter how deep your league is. His current ERA is on ugly side of 5, but as Grey pointed out last week, Chacin’s ERA in San Diego is about a buck and a half. If he’s available and has a home start against a not-very-scary team coming up, go for it.

Johan Camargo. He doesn’t have a home run or a stolen base in his 21 games for the Braves so far this year, but he does have three multi-hit games in his last four starts. Rio Ruiz looked to have a clear path to playing time when Adonis Garcia’s finger injury proved to be worse than originally thought (it sounds like Garcia will be out a couple of months), but Ruiz hasn’t been able to buy a hit in June. Camargo is not exactly loaded with upside, but he doesn’t need to do much at this point to keep himself in the lineup.

Ruben Tejada. He may suddenly be getting regular playing time with the Orioles now that J.J. Hardy is down with a wrist fracture. Tejada has never been a particularly valuable hitter in real baseball or in fantasy, but if you are chasing at bats in the deepest of AL-only leagues, he should be getting some. Also, Paul Janish was called up to help fill the Hardy void. Maybe either he or Tejada will get confused, temporarily think he is Scooter Gennett, and accidentally hit four home runs in a game next week!

Matt Chapman. I haven’t even had a chance to discuss the A’s decision to DFA Trevor Plouffe and call up Chapman to play third, yet already so much has happened. Plouffe has been traded to Tampa Bay, Chapman has started four games for the A’s, Chapman is only hitting .214, Chapman is out for at least a couple of days with a knee infection. He did have 16 home runs and five steals in AAA this year, though (obligatory disclaimer: PCL league alert!)  Perhaps he’ll get healthy, find his stroke, and there will be even more to talk about in a week or two when we’re discussing what Chapman has been up to lately.

Daniel Robertson. You could either pick up Daniel Robertson, the Cleveland outfielder, or Daniel Robertson, the Tampa Bay infielder, and you may never know the difference. The outfielder is hitting .216, but has started five games in a row and should continue to get chances due to the aforementioned Michael Brantley injury. The infielder is hitting .216, but he does have four homers on the year, has already played four different positions in 2017, and should continue to get lots of starts with Brad Miller out (groin troubles, you know).   Hmm, make that five homers on the year for the Rays Daniel Robertson after he went yard Monday –he’s clearly trying to make me look silly for comparing the Daniel Robertsons in the first place.

Austin Jackson. Speaking of the Cleveland outfield, we move to Jackson, who has basically been on the short side of a platoon with one of the Daniel Robertsons. The good news? He’s had a couple nice games recently (a homer and three walks Sunday/two hits and three RBI Monday), and is now batting a healthy .286 on the season. The bad news? He’ll probably only play against lefties even with Brantley down, and he doesn’t have a single steal this season, which is where Jackson provided most of his fantasy value back in the day. I told you the pickings were slim this week!

Adam Engel. He’s back in the majors as the corresponding move when the White Sox DL’d Leury Garcia. Engel is a fourth outfielder type and will never be a great hitter, but he’s leading off on Tuesday and should get at least a handful of starts. He’s held his own in his eight games with the big club this year – 6 for 20, with (most importantly) four steals.

Sam Travis. Also back in the majors, Travis is playing first and batting sixth for the Red Sox on Tuesday and should continue to see some starts against lefties. In his last stint in Boston he played in six games, and while he didn’t have an RBI, he did score six runs, steal a base, and hit a ridiculous .471 (8 for 17).

  1. Jaaaaaake.crab says:
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    Groin troubles, we do know. Mm-mmm.

    In the amazing RAZZ 30 (CLAWS UP) I’m just sitting Ryan Goins and Rio Ruiz and let that 2b and UT spot sit empty. They hurt way more than they help. Sometimes it’s the best decision.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @Jaaaaaake.crab: Ha! Yeah, it’s hard to let a spot or two sit empty, but sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to chase at bats. I always swear I will avoid guys who I know will kill me in BA or OBP in even my really deep leagues, but it seems like I always get desperate and end up with a few. And once you get in an average black hole it can be impossible to escape from. GL in Razz 30!

  2. Ralph Lifshitz

    Ralph Lifshitz says:
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    Matt Chapman was the non-Reading home run leader in the minors last year. 80 grade power, and it’s very real. He just has zero contact. Good for OPS formats.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @Ralph Lifshitz: Thanks for the intel, Ralph! I ALWAYS tend to be overly skeptical of prospects regardless of their MILB numbers for some reason (often to the detriment of my fantasy teams). I hear “zero contact” and want to run screaming, but it will be interesting to see if Chapman can find his power stroke at the big league level.

      • CMUTimmah says:
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        @Laura Holt: Agree with Laura, for every Bellinger/Judge, there’s a Gallo/Chris Carter/Brett Wallace etc. They might have a great season here and there, but their slumps will ruin your ratios in roto and your record in head to head.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Laura Holt: @CMUTimmah: If you’re playing in deep leagues guys like Chapman and Gallo are necessary evils. Unless you’re all 30 teams and have one really good team.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @CMUTimmah: Also I was questioning the PCL label on Chapman’s power. Not his future ceiling, once they’re up they are in God’s hands now. I just lead them to the gate.

          • Jaaaaaake.crab says:
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            @Ralph Lifshitz: that dang Trevor Plouffe. Maybe he can get something going in Tampa. I like him all right.

            • Laura Holt

              Laura Holt says:
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              @Jaaaaaake.crab: I still have him in my deepest AL-only league, so my fingers remain crossed… he already went yard today; maybe the change of scenery will do him some good

          • Laura Holt

            Laura Holt says:
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            @Ralph Lifshitz: Ha!! I was really just poking fun of how it suddenly seems to be a necessity to mention a player’s PCL status; I feel like it’s gotten so out of control that half the fantasy world feels like PCL numbers should just be thrown out altogether. At any rate, I’ve been pondering over the last couple of seasons whether it would ever be possible to win one of my deep keeper leagues w/o building a strong farm system, but instead trading off prized farm guys for current talent as soon as I obtain them, combined with trying to get lucky with the Eric Sogards of the world to lead me to victory. Would love to hear your take on this, particularly in terms of just how frequently minor leaguers actually pay off an owner’s investment in them…. perhaps something that we can discuss at some point in the future!

            • Ralph Lifshitz

              Ralph Lifshitz says:
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              @Laura Holt: Hahaha you’re right about that. We always have to mention the PCL, and it can play a role in number inflation. Though as you said it seems like MLB is the PCL now.

              I’ve seen teams win both ways, and it’s very league size and format dependent. In my 18-30 team leagues with salaries, you need to bring up talent every year pretty much to control costs. Those young players in their first five years are ultimately the difference maker. My feeling is those Sogard’s, for the most part, are temporary fixes.

              You can certainly be successfu trading prospects for horses. Usually the well runs dry eventually if you don’t have a good year of backfilling your minors.

  3. Woodrow the Impaler says:
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    Hi Laura!

    I had a guy in my 10 team NL only keeper league (keep 3 years; contract goes up $5 every year kept) ask me about my Charlie Blackmon(yr 3) and Brandon Drury(yr 1 $12) I told him he could have both for Clayton Kershaw(yr 1 $44) and Starling Marte(yr 1 $33)

    Is it just crazy enough to work?

    I’m currently in 5th place but it’s definitely not insurmountable.

    Here’s my team- if you squint yr eyes real tight you could maaaaayyybbbeee see it competing for a championship but maybe not.

    C: d’Arnaud
    C: Hedges
    1B: Belli
    2B: Panik
    SS: Peraza
    3B: Bryant
    CI: Adams
    MI: Drury
    OF: Blackmon
    OF: Polanco
    OF: Domingo
    OF: Desmond
    OF: Joc
    U: Happ

    Bench: Ahmed, Meadows, Franchy

    Pitchers:
    Wood
    Wheeler
    Wacha
    Kenley
    Phil Maton
    Dinelson
    German Marquez
    Jon Gray
    Matz
    Monty
    Amir Garrett

    Thank yuh!

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @Woodrow the Impaler: Yeah, I think I’d do that! In a league that size I think it makes sense to go for it given who you have. If Gray can come back and be effective, you’ll basically be adding him and Kershaw which is huge w/four months of the season left. Your offense may not be a sure thing, but you have quite a few guys (especially if you add Marte obviously) that could get it together and be big contributors (and hopefully the Ryan Zimmermans of the world who have been carrying your opponents’ teams will finally cool off and help level the playing field!)

      • Woodrow the Impaler says:
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        @Laura Holt: It’s a helluva gamble…but fortune favors the bold, right? It certainly doesn’t favor the bald however. They are very unfortunate.

        Thank you for the wise words!

        Mahalo.

  4. dfrench23 says:
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    My worst OF is Danny Valencia in a 14-team 5×5 (OBP) and am looking at the WW.

    Do I make a drop and add one of these guys?

    Scoooooooter, M.Taylor and his mysterious illness, Leury Garcia and a DL’d finger (!?!) along with Eddie Rosario and Grossman.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @dfrench23: I think I would hold; Valencia is boring as heck but should continue to deliver the appropriate amount of production for a last OF in a league that deep. I just know that when I try to Frankenstein a spot like that, I feel like I always end up piecing together fewer stats by chasing the hot hand, than I would have if I’d have just stuck with one dull but predictable guy all year. If it wasn’t an OBP league and there weren’t suddenly health issues, and if you could use a few steals, I’d have said Taylor — and he may still be worth keeping an eye on.

      • dfrench23 says:
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        @Laura Holt: Thanks!

  5. Keanson Ye says:
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    12 team h2h and i need power, who should i pick up: ian happ or domingo santana?

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @Keanson Ye: They are pretty similar IMO really, big raw power & big contact issues. If it were me I’d probably go w/ Domingo because he feels like the safer play across the board since he has the longer track record (and who knows how playing time will shake out in Chicago if Happ goes into a prolonged slump), but he’s certainly not as exciting. But if you’re really just looking for power, want the more exciting player, and were leaning towards Happ, I’d say go for it — if he can stay hot he’ll be really fun to watch this summer.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @Keanson Ye: OK now I’m hoping you picked up Happ… dude is looking absolutely locked in at the plate!

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