It’s funny how quickly things can change, in life, and certainly in fantasy baseball. Just last week, Nick Kingham wasn’t on the radar of anyone but the deepest-league fantasy owner, and now suddenly he’s owned in over half of CBS leagues, after flirting with a perfect game in his major league debut over the weekend. Will Kingham continue to be a solid fantasy contributor? Will he even stay in the Pirates’ rotation? Only time will tell, but his overnight success reminds us that a fantasy baseball hero can come out of nowhere, even when moments before it looked like there was no one worth grabbing on the thinnest of waiver wires.
All this is just a reminder to keep focused and pay attention to your fantasy baseball surroundings. As frustrating as it is to have a team that’s gotten off to a horrible start due to injuries or anything else — especially in a deep league where you can’t always do much to improve it – don’t forget it’s still only the first week of May. A lot can and will happen over the next few months, so stay vigilant and be ready to grab whomever the next guy is that comes out of nowhere to provide you with some unexpected help.
I’m not saying any of the following guys are going to be heroes, but that bar can be quite a bit lower in the deepest of leagues, so who knows! As is the usual M.O. here, if nothing else, perhaps one of them can help you patch a hole in your deep-league roster.
Alen Hanson. Hanson was a pretty hyped prospect back in his days in the Pirates’ farm system. While his star has fallen and he’s been shuffled around to a few teams since then, he’s still only 25, and was off to a great start at AAA this year for the Giants (.403 average with 3 homers and 6 steals). It sounds like Joe Panik will be on the shelf for a while, so I grabbed Hanson in a couple NL-only leagues in case he gets a chance to play and finally makes the most of it.
Johan Camargo. I wrote a blurb about Camargo last week but didn’t end up including it in my post. Well, Camargo went and hit a 3-run homer over the weekend because he was so offended, so to make it up to him, I will blurb him now, quoting my unpublished, last-week self: “10% owned. Camargo should really be more like a 2% owned player right now, but I’ll still mention him as a guy who could end up with some regular playing time if everything breaks right. In this case, that would mean complete failure of the Braves’ Jose Bautista at 3rd experiment coupled with Ryan Flaherty crashing back down to earth after his ridiculously hot start. For now, Camargo appears set for a utility role in Atlanta, and given the fact that he’s never been known for his bat, there may truly be nothing to see here. In the deep-league world, however, always best to leave no stone unturned and keep an eye on just about every hitter who’s on a major league roster, just in case…”
Matt Adams. Adams has had a couple of monster games just in the last week or so, and is now hitting .296 with 5 homers and 13 RBI in 54 at bats. He may never be an everyday guy who is relevant in shallow leagues, but don’t forget about him in the deep-league world or anywhere that you can play him for the day when the matchup looks right. (Note: as I am submitting this, Adams already has two hits including a homer in the Nats game. Dude is en fuego).
Nick Ahmed. I can’t imagine his ridiculous offensive outburst will go on much longer, but figured I should mention him while I have the chance just in case he’s figured something out and/or his crazy hitting continues. The D-Backs are on a serious roll, and in Ahmed’s last 5 games he’s hitting close to .450 with 3 homers.
Daniel Descalso. While we’re the topic of normally light-hitting Diamondbacks infielders… since April 24th, Descalso has raised his batting average over 60 points and has 8 RBI. Like in Ahmed’s case, it’s hard to believe he’ll continue at anywhere close to this pace even if he keeps getting playing time, but I’d consider just about anyone in the Arizona lineup if they stay this hot.
Travis Jankowski. Remember when the Padres had way more outfielders than they knew what to do with? Things have changed, as Wil Myers and Hunter Renfroe haven’t been able to stay off the DL, and Manny Margot is still trying to get his bat going after his own DL stint. Jankowski should see playing time against right handers and has already lead off a couple of times… he’s never been much of a hitter, but he’s always had speed, and could be a legit source of deep-league steals.
Nick Tropeano. I grabbed Tropeano in a deep league a few weeks back, but he never made it into my lineup because I was terrified of his matchups (the Astros and the Red Sox if I recall correctly). His numbers against those teams weren’t great, but at least the teams he’s facing are a little less scary now. Tropeano had Tommy John surgery after 2016 so he’s really just getting his MLB feet wet again, but throughout his career he has been a strikeout-an-inning guy who has been able to limit the long ball. Tropeano went and pitched a nice little game against the Orioles Tuesday after I wrote this (6.1 scoreless, 1 hit, 2 walks, 5 Ks), but is still just 12% owned in CBS leagues
Chad Pinder. One of those guys who, when you pick him up and put him in an active lineup, makes you feel like you’ve just given up… but then when you check his stats a few weeks later, makes you feel less sad. He’s hitting .289 with 3 homers on the year, which is more than I can say for way too many of my hitters. A classic deep-league type who will never make any real fantasy impact, but could plug a roster hole and perhaps throw a little production your way while he’s at it. Plus, he qualifies at short and outfield.
Jose Alvarado/Joe Jimenez. I have a few shares of both Alex Colome and Shane Greene (don’t mock, closers are tough to come by in deep leagues!), but I don’t see how both of their times as closers aren’t limited, either by trade if they get their acts together, or demotion if they don’t. Alvarado probably has the best stuff in the Rays’ pen, and has pitched well this year (2.45 ERA/0.95 WHIP), and got his first save Monday when Colome (who, admittedly, probably has one of the longest closer leashes in baseball AND has looked much better of late than he did the first week or two of the season), wasn’t available. Jimenez, meanwhile, has his ERA down to 2.30 and his WHIP to 1.15, and certainly has the opportunity right now to prove he belongs at the back of the Detroit pen. Even though there may be bumps along the road with both of these guys and their current paths to saves are a little murky, I’ve grabbed each of them in an AL-only league or two… as I believe I mentioned about 10 lines ago, closers are tough to come by in deep leagues.
Justin Anderson. Hey, another bullpen guy! I swore all the way back in January that I would not touch the Angels’ bullpen this season under any circumstances. I don’t mean in a restraining order way, I mean in a “any of these guys will be maddening to own because probably none of them will be that great, and who knows how Scioscia will use them even if they are.” Well since then we’ve seen Blake Parker crash and burn, Cam Bedrosian be almost as bad, and Keynan Middleton take the closer job only to wind up on the DL with elbow inflammation. Anderson, meanwhile, hasn’t allowed a run in 5 innings (3 hits, 3 walks, 7 Ks) and could get a shot in the ninth. (Of course, with the Angels bullpen being the Angels bullpen, it’s also possible that Jim Johnson — or someone we’ve never heard of — has three saves by the time you read this).
Chelsor Cuthbert. There’s not a lot to get excited about in Cuthbert’s hitting profile and his average is hovering right around .200. He’s hit 3 homers in his last 4 games, thought, which is one more than he hit in 58 games last year. He may have already peaked for the year, but if nothing else he should continue to get at least semi-regular playing time, which matters only to those of us who may need to fill a roster spot in the deepest of leagues.