I hope everyone out there in the deep-league world is enjoying the summer and hopefully some time off (without having things like family time and luxury vacations taking TOO much time away from the world of fantasy baseball!) We’re about at the actual halfway point of the season, and the All Star Break will be here shortly – I feel like I’ve already put a season’s worth of work into some of my teams, but I don’t want to let up now, even though I’ve had many moments lately where it’s felt more like a job than a hobby. I hope your leagues have been treating you kindly, and let’s get right to looking at some names that might be of interest in AL-only, NL-only, and other deep/deep-ish leagues.
José Bautista. You know you’ve found the deep-league corner of this website when Jose Bautista is the lede of a post, but I kinda felt like I needed to mention him. He’s hitting .289 with 3 homers in the last two weeks, and has a startlingly-high .460 OBP over that time. If the Mets insisted on signing him and playing him when we wasn’t playing well, it stands to reason that he’ll continue to be in the lineup now that he actually is playing pretty well. Then again, I usually regret it when a make a fantasy decision based on the assumption that the Mets will use logic and reason to make their front office and on-field decisions.
Tyler O’Neill. We’ve talked about him before, and his last call-up didn’t amount to much. This time may be the same… but what if it’s not? O’Neill was 2nd in homers in the PCL when he was recalled, and had also homered in 4 of his last 5 AAA games. I also heard another interesting stat about Cardinals left fielders: in the month of June, they produced a total of 1 RBI. Is that even possible? Now I’m thinking I mis-heard that, but the point is that they’ve been horrible. The Cards are pretty desperate for an outfield spark, so I’m paying attention to O’Neill for now to see how this plays out.
Adam Conley. Drew Steckenrider is probably owned in most NL only leagues, so I’m turning my attention for the moment to Conley when looking for a super-sneaky deep-league bullpen guy who could somehow end up getting saves before the season is over. After some flashes of promise as a starter, Conley’s career kind of grounded to a halt, but is once again showing signs of life now that he’s been moved to the bullpen. Conley has only pitched 17 innings since being recalled from the minors this year, but his numbers are shockingly good: 1.56 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, and just over a strikeout per inning… who knows what could happen if the Marlins move both Kyle Barraclough and Steckenrider.
Hunter Renfroe. I’ve never found owning Renfroe particularly fun, but I’m grabbing him in a couple deep-ish leagues in case this time is different. Even will Wil Myers back, the Padres outfield isn’t quite as crowded as it looked a few weeks ago now the Franmil Reyes has been deposited back into the minors and Franchy Cordero is hurt. In the last two weeks, Renfroe is hitting .316 with 2 homers, and even as a part-time player, he could be valuable if he gets his home run swing going as the summer heats up.
Antonio Senzatela. His ownership has gone up from 2% to 3% since I started this blurb, so you KNOW he must be good! Actually, he hasn’t been very good, and probably won’t be… but he just might be a serviceable starter in the very deepest of leagues. He has a 3 to 1 K to BB ratio so far this year, and when he gets weak contact like he did when he beat the Giants on Tuesday, he has a chance to stay in the game and pick up a win. I don’t know why you’d start him in Colorado in even the deepest league, but if you proceed with caution and pick your battles carefully you might be able to stream in a decent start or two while he’s in the rotation.
Jorge Bonifacio. It’s pretty sad how commonplace it’s already gotten to see guys coming back from long performance-enhancing substance suspensions and just jumping right back into major league baseball where they left off, but such is the case with Bonifacio, who should be in line for at least semi-regular playing time in Kansas City. He may not end up moving the fantasy needle in even the deep-league world, but it’s hard not to at least consider him if you’re starved for offense, seeing as he rather quietly hit 17 homers in 113 games last year.
Lou Trivino. No one seems to think Blake Treinen is going anywhere anytime soon, but it’s still good to keep tabs on the Oakland bullpen pecking order. Trivino got his third save Saturday when Treinen wasn’t available (and after Santiago Casilla allowed a couple of baserunners). Overall his numbers are looking pretty great (1.51 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 14 BBs/39 Ks in 35 2/3 innings) and he appears to be next in line to close should anything happen to Treinen.
Edwin Jackson. Staying with the A’s, Jackson recently got his first win of 2018, beating Cleveland with a solid performance. Maybe I’m imagining things, but it seems like Jackson randomly appears out of nowhere each year in the middle of the season, has a few great starts, followed by an epic collapse that leads to him being released and finally re-signed by a new team the following year to start the process all over again. He’s already accomplishing the first part of this scenario, as he’s begun the year with a 2.13 ERA and 0.63 WHIP in his 12 2/3 innings, with 13 strikeouts and not a single walk (oh, how the no walks thing makes me giddy… must remember to temper expectations!)
Mark Canha. Yes, we’re still talking about the A’s. After pretty much being MIA most of the season, Canha is suddenly producing some pretty good-looking stats. He’s hitting over .280 with 3 homers in the last 2 weeks, and if he can keep it up a bit longer he could be a nice deep-league add for a team hurting in the power department.
Mike Fiers. Fiers in another starter who will probably come crashing back to earth soon, but for the time being is pitching way too well to be only 16% owned in CBS leagues. He’ll never be a strikeout pitcher, but a 3.79 ERA/1.22 WHIP, which is where he stands after 93 innings this year, is better than half the starters I paid decent money for this season.
Jordan Zimmermann. Another starter, another guy who is probably not available in the deepest of leagues, but who has outpitched his 16% ownership. Zimmermann still hasn’t taken a loss (in 10 starts) this year, for what it’s worth, and he has 45 Ks to just 10 walks and an overall WHIP of a very tidy 1.14. There’s nothing super impressive about his 3.91 ERA, and yet there kind of is when you realize it was hovering around 8 at the end of April and Zimmermann has been pretty stellar since a shoulder-related DL stint. I feel like he’s bound to disappoint anyone buying in now, but until he does, his recent numbers warrant a little consideration in semi-deep leagues.