Hello? Anyone out there? With just two and a half weeks left to the major league baseball/standard rotisserie season, it’s starting to feel like there are just a few of us left, stranded in a deep, dark cave. If you are still grinding out these final games and fighting for a money finish, good luck and congratulations. If you are completely out of it in your league but are still actively tinkering with and setting your lineup for the good of the fantasy game, you are a better man than many, and I hope the fantasy gods reward you with future spoils. And if you are just killing time at work or trying to distract yourself from a disastrous week one in fantasy football and reading this even though you don’t currently own a deep-league fantasy baseball team that you are actively managing, thank you and welcome!
I’ve found it hard not to already be thinking about my 2018 drafts, and how what went wrong or right this year will or won’t affect the decisions I’ll be making in sixth months or so. I can already feel myself gravitating towards certain players who I think will be undervalued, and don’t know whether to root for impressive springs from them to justify my interest in them, or whether to root for them to be just good enough to have a job going into April, but not so good that too many other people start to pay too much attention to them. And while there is much to discuss on that front, we have plenty of time to collect our thoughts, analyze this year’s data, and come up with successful blueprints for the deep leagues of next season. For now, it’s back to squeezing the final drops of value from 2017’s waiver wire with a handful of players that may still be available in NL or AL-only leagues.
Brandon Moss. Grey told you Tuesday morning that Moss was likely schmotato-worthy, and Moss responded by providing his owners with a little something we in the business call a grand salami. When Moss is bad, he’s very, very bad, but when Moss gets on a roll for a week or two… well, if nothing else, he is a guy who can make a difference if you’re fighting for a HR or RBI point – and with only a couple weeks left in the season, he barely has time to destroy your average!
Willie Calhoun. Wasn’t going to be on this list since I feel like he’s been thoroughly covered by my colleagues, but then it seemed weird not to mention him at all, so I double-checked what Grey had to say about him Tuesday. “Calhoun’s been covered on this site about six-bajillion times.” So here’s to six-bajillion and one!
Andrew Albers. Ugly peripherals? Check. Keeps pitching over his head and outperforming most of the “good” starting pitchers in your lineup anyway? Check. Sounds like Albers may be back in the Seattle bullpen with King Felix and James Paxton returning later this week, but it’s not like either of those guys is guaranteed to come back completely healthy and effective, so Albers may still be worth keeping an eye on given what a wasteland the pitching scene continues to be.
Rymer Liriano. Hard not to root for Liriano, who went from being a big-time prospect with the Brewers, to a 1%-owned-in-CBS-fantasy-leagues player who is getting a September cup of coffee with the White Sox. While he may not exactly be the future of the organization, it’s nice to see him getting a chance at the big league level (after getting hit by a pitch in the face, he missed all of the 2016 season due to facial fractures, concussions, and problems with his eyesight). He’s starting a few games a week, and his average is up to .238 – yes, that’s horrible, but it’s a lot better than the .154 he was hitting a week ago.
Teoscar Hernandez. While Steve Pearce was out of the Blue Jays’ lineup due to back soreness, Hernandez was busy having a ridiculous 9 total base/5 RBI game over the weekend. Even if the team gets healthy, you’d think the Jays will want to take a look to see what they have here, and Hernandez will be motivated to make the Astros regret trading him.
Ben Lively. Lively’s August promotion to the Phillies was already his fourth 2017 trip to the show – he’s now started a total of 12 games, with a 3.86 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and 45 K/22 BB in 75 innings. Yeah, it’s a little hard not to gag upon seeing that K rate. He had 82 in 97 minor league innings this year, so he’s clearly just not that into striking guys out, which is probably a deal-breaker for most “normal” leagues. We’re talking about end-of-season, desperation time NL-only leagues, though, and in those, Lively presence may make a little more sense. He has three quality starts in a row, including going eight innings in Washington on Sunday (with 7 punchouts), so he’s another one of those pitchers who might be worth throwing an NL dart at if he gets another start or two this season.
Jorge Alfaro. No, he’s probably not available in the deepest leagues, particularly of the keeper variety, but I feel the need to throw out a reminder about him. For a guy with so much hype on him at times while he was in the minors, his (very successful) first MLB stint has felt super under the radar. He’s hitting .324 with 2 homers in 18 games, has been getting more and more playing time, and (***major 2018 spoiler alert***) I already suspect that I’ll own him in multiple NL-only leagues next year.
Travis Taijeron. I’m not sure how the Mets seem to have at least one new injury every week, but I guess that pace actually makes sense when you look at their team – here we are in week 24, and pretty much every guy on the entire 25-man roster has gone down at some point this year. As I mentioned last week, Taijeron got off to a horrific start at the plate after his callup, but over the last week or so is hitting .300 with a homer. I’m not exactly optimistic that there’s anything to see here, but if Juan Lagares’s thumb injury turns out to be anything, Taijeron should see more starts.
Matt Reynolds. Speaking of most of the Mets being down with injuries, Reynolds started both Saturday and Sunday, and had two hits in each game. Sure, that only brings his season average up to .229, but four hits over the weekend is more than you can say about most players who are 0% owned in CBS but qualify at 2B, 3B, SS, and OF in that format, right?
Lane Adams. You are in a pretty deep league or a monster Braves fan if you knew that Lane Adams is an Atlanta outfielder and not the plus-size clothing store that your great aunt shops at. When I originally started a blurb on him, it was because I thought Nick Markakis might be out for a while. Well, Markakis is already back from a sore wrist, but I’m going to mention Adams anyway, mostly because I was shocked to see that he has 8 stolen bases. If a late-September steal or two might make a difference to you, and your league is deep enough that only 0-1% owned players are available, don’t forget about Adams – he may end up picking up a little more playing time as the year draws to a close, given that the Braves don’t have the youngest, most spry outfielders in the game.