A few weeks ago, Grey listed Billy Hamilton in both the Buy and the Sell sections of the same column. It was a great reminder of how much player values change as the season progresses, and particularly how much a single player’s value can differ from one fantasy baseball team to another. By this time of the season, you probably have a pretty good idea of what your team could use to gain some precious points in the standings, and what would just be excess that does you no good at all. Hamilton could be serious difference-maker on one team, and unnecessary waiver-wire fodder in another.
Obviously things are vastly different in NL-only, AL-only, and other particularly deep leagues — guys like Billy Hamilton aren’t just sitting around on waivers. It’s still important to remember how different a player’s value can be from one team to another though, especially when it comes to trades. I have a few leagues where there’s still a week or two left before our trade deadline, and it amazes me how many offers I’m still getting that would be of no help to me whatsoever — and, even more ridiculously, wouldn’t be of much help to the owner offering the trade either. Sometimes owners are so worried about getting the “best” or most owned player in a deal, that they forget to pay attention to whether or not those players could actually help their team rise in the standings. And even when going through the slim pickings of a deep-league waiver wire, don’t forget what you’re shopping needs are. Unless you’re playing defensively or have a trade in mind, there’s probably no reason to pick up a bad reliever just because he might close, or a horrible hitter with a little speed, if you already have more saves or steals than you know what to do with.
Speaking of players like bad relievers that may close, time to look at some guys who might be available in NL or AL only leagues:
Jesse Winker. Called up again for the Reds and is immediately in Tuesday’s lineup over Scott Schebler, who hasn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire. Winker’s prospect status has plummeted enough of late that he is barely a blip on the radar with the likes of Ozzie Albies and Lucas Sims debuting for the Braves, but one would figure that Cincinnati will give him a decent look over the season’s remaining weeks. (Tuesday night note: Winker not only played, but went deep… will be interesting to see if he can make any kind of impact over the next two months).
Kurt Suzuki. Suzuki has been flat out hot lately — he is the 6th most valuable NL catcher in standard 5×5 formats over the last three weeks, and the 4th most valuable over the last two weeks. Even if Tyler Flowers doesn’t come back down to earth before the season ends (last time I checked, which granted was a while ago, Flowers was leading the league in BABIP), Suzuki is currently ownable in just about any NL-only, including single catcher leagues.
Edwin Jackson. Jackson feels like one of those guys who has probably burned every fantasy baseball-playing human at least once in his life. I don’t know if Dusty has a reverse-voodoo doll of Jackson that he sticks used toothpicks in or what, but on Sunday, Jackson held the Rockies to one run over seven innings with 2 walks and 6 strikeouts. You’d have to be pretty desperate for a starter to give him a try, but maybe he’ll get a couple more quality starts in before the toothpick magic wears off.
Adam Rosales. Chris Owings is on the 60-day DL with a fractured finger, and Nick Ahmed is on the 60-day with a fractured hand. Ketel Marte doesn’t have much competition for playing time, but the Diamondbacks had to sign Rosales out of desperation when Marte returned to the Dominican, where his mother was tragically killed in a car crash. Rosales (and/or Daniel Descalso, who I keep forgetting is on the D-Backs this year) will play with Marte out, and Rosales may end up having some deep NL-only value with the D-backs depth chart so thin.
Dusty Coleman. Coleman is 30 years old, has spent his career in the minors, and wasn’t particularly good there. But with Erick Aybar out indefinitely, the Padres seem inclined to let Coleman play a lot of shortstop for now (though his playing time may diminish with Yangervis Solarte healthy again). It’s hard to believe he’ll hit much at all, but he already has two homers in his first five games, so he may be worth a look if you need a warm body in the deepest of NL-only leagues.
Brad Ziegler. Was pre-announced as the Marlins new closer while still on the DL, and may do just fine in the role if he comes back healthy. But he may also be atrocious, as he’ll have to make a pretty significant turnaround from his horrific pre-DL numbers this year (6.52 ERA/1.83 WHIP) to be of any value at all. The Marlins have another one of those bullpens that a shallow-league player/sane person wouldn’t have anything to do with right now, but I’d also keep an eye on Kyle Barraclough just in case he returns from the DL (shoulder impingement) relatively quickly and looks decent, and why not throw Jarlin Garcia and Junichi Tazawa in for good measure.
Matt Joyce. Lead off for the A’s Monday, and had two hits, two walks, and scored three runs. His career average is in the .230s, so he’d have to get awfully hot to help you in that department, but he could be slightly more useful in OBP leagues, and is bound to score some runs if he continues to hit at the top of the lineup.
Rajai Davis. After a horrendous first half, Davis is finally producing. Over the last two weeks, he is a top-15 outfielder in the AL, hitting .367 with a home run and four steals. He didn’t start Monday, but still managed to have a hit and score a run. If he can keep it up, he’ll help you with average, runs, and stolen bases over the last couple months of the season.
Taylor Rogers/Matt Belisle. One of them is theoretically the closer in Minnesota for the moment after the Twins traded Brandon Kintzler to the Nats. I feel like closers can have the biggest value differential between mixed leagues and deep leagues – no reason to go near either of these guys in a shallow league, but a guy like Rogers could be gold if you are doing some saves-mining in an AL-only and he ends up getting a few chances in the ninth inning. Well, maybe not gold, but helpful, perhaps. His numbers this year aren’t great, but they’re not embarrassing: 3.79 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 32 Ks, 13BBs in 40 innings.
Blake Trienen. Speaking of theoretical closers, Trienen now seems to hold that position in Oakland after getting a save Monday. We all know how well the closing thing worked out for him with the Nats. This feels like one to avoid for all but the most saves-desperate. By the way, I didn’t plan on making this a big A’s/Twins commercial, but it certainly points out how sub-.500 MLB teams can be the bargain basement stores that deep-league buyers need to peruse, especially at this time of year.
Ehire Adrianza. He’s been getting more playing time at short for the Twins with Jorge Polanco struggling and Eduardo Escobar playing a little bit of everything. Adrianza won’t lead many a fantasy team to glory, but he could plug a hole for you in a deep AL-only league, and he’s been running (7 steals in 37 games).