We’re going to get right to it this week, kids, and I apologize if today’s post doesn’t have as many exciting, last-minute updates as usual. Since I’m sure you’re wondering why it won’t have said exciting updates, I will tell you: it is because I will be attending the live taping of the Survivor finale, and will be going off the grid completely starting mid-day Wednesday. Yes, I’ll be in the same room with TV’s Jeff Probst, one of the few celebrities (along with Neil deGrasse Tyson and Doris Kearns Goodwin, FYI) that I am interested in being in close proximity to, but don’t you worry: I’ve actually been in the same room as Mr. Probst before and I barely even did anything embarrassing, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to keep from humiliating myself. That’s actually more than I can say about the time I had a brief conversation with Ms. Kearns Goodwin, where I was as tongue-tied as I’ve ever been in my life. I have yet to cross paths with Mr. deGrasse Tyson, which is probably just as well for all concerned.
And now, some names of players that could possibly be of interest to those in AL-only, NL-only, or other deep fantasy baseball leagues. Hmm, that wasn’t really getting right to it, was it?
Johnny Field. We could spend the day discussing how high Johnny Field should be ranked on the list of great baseball names, or we can just look at his situation. He’s getting regular at bats for Tampa Bay, is 7 for his last 16 with 5 runs scored as I’m writing this, and is now hitting .308 with 4 homers and a steal on the year. Even with Carlos Gomez expected to return from the DL soon, there’s enough injury risk/old age/uncertainty in the Rays outfield that Field could be around for a while if he can keep producing.
J.D. Davis. As is life in the stacked Astros’ organization, Davis was hitting .415 with 36 RBI in 33 AAA games, and is lucky to have been called up even as a bench guy/occasional DH. It would take quite the confluence of events for Davis to get steady playing time, but he’s worth keeping a deep-league eye on.
Tony Kemp. Speaking of the Astros, the bottom rungs of their outfield have been tinkered with, as Jake Marisnick was mercifully demoted — then un-demoted when Josh Reddick hit the DL — and Derek Fisher is on the DL with “gastrointestinal discomfort.” (Insert your own joke here about how watching Derek Fisher and his .176 batting average gave YOU gastrointestinal discomfort! Oh wait, that’s me, because sadly I have Fisher on an AL-only dynasty team.) Kemp has started 5 games in the last week and is worth a look if you need deep-league speed (or if you have the ability to go back in time and pick him up for Tuesday’s game, which happened after I wrote his blurb and in which he got a ridiculous 5 RBI). He’s a left-handed hitter who was hitting .335 with 13 steals in AAA, and I haven’t heard even a whisper about him having a sensitive tummy.
Melky Cabrera. No need to adjust your set; that actually is a current game that you see Cabrera playing in. Melky evidently signed with the Indians a month ago and played 10 AAA games over the last couple of weeks, and is now with the big club. I’m tempering my expectations, of course, but Melky did have that great .305, 18 homer, 20 steal season just (checks his player page)… 2011?! Wow, that’s like seven years ago. Seven years is an awfully long time in baseball terms. I guess that’s why we’re talking about Melky in the deep-league corner of this website.
Sam Gaviglio. A rotation that opened the season with Joe Biagini, Jaime Garcia, and a clearly never-right-from-the-get-go Marcus Stroman was bound to have some cracks in it, and Gaviglio has found one of those cracks and turned it into at least a temporary opening in the Blue Jays’ rotation. All he’s done with his chance so far (3 appearances, 9.7 innings, 1 start) is pitch to a 0.93 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, with just 2 walks to 12 Ks. Gaviglio was never a strikeout guy in the minors and there’s no way his ratios don’t head upward as the season progresses, but if you’re in a super deep league just looking for a guy who may get a shot to start and doesn’t have a terribly scary floor…
Ross Stripling. I feel like we’ve been here before, being teased by “Chicken Strip” (greatest — or dumbest — nickname ever?). Actually, I was thinking he started strong and faded down the stretch last year, but upon looking more closely I see his second half numbers were actually better than his first. And his career numbers really aren’t too shabby at all: 3.57 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 188 Ks/58 BBs in 209 innings. His ownership is growing steadily as the Dodger rotation continues to be all kinds of banged up, so if he’s available in your league and you need a starter, you might want to give him a look-see.
Brandon Nimmo. Juan Lagares is out for the year and Yoenis Cespedes is not expected to be ready to come off the DL when he’s eligible, so Nimmo is getting more time in the Mets outfield, and as their leadoff hitter. He’s always been a great OBP guy, and has stolen a couple of bags in his last few games. I’m a bit skeptical that he’ll be able to translate his increased playing time into becoming a fantasy stud at the top of the Mets’ lineup, but I’ve picked him up in a couple leagues and am definitely rooting for him.
John Ryan Murphy. We all knew the catching scene in NL-only leagues was apt to be rather disastrous this year, and it’s ended up even worse than I’d imagined. That’s why the news that Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said Murphy “might get a few more starts” actually earns him a write-up here.
Max Muncy. Muncy has produced with his chance to play due to the myriad of Dodger injuries, and has produced (he has five homers in 28 games). Justin Turner has finally returned, Logan Forsythe is back, and Chase Utley is still standing — but Muncy has not only remained with the big club, but continues to find himself in the starting lineup, as he’s now played 7 games at first and 5 in the outfield in addition to his 18 games at third. I have to think the carriage is going to turn into a pumpkin any moment now, but any combination of more Dodger injuries and more lackluster play from some of their regulars could open up the door for Muncy to stick around.
Nick Williams. Since Tyler O’Neill has skyrocketed to over 40% owned in CBS leagues and is suddenly out of the deep-league conversation, I’ll turn my attention to Williams instead. Williams is still just owned in 11% of CBS leagues and started in 4%, which is about right in my opinion. Actually he hasn’t done much to this point to justify even that level of ownership, but he did hit a lovely opposite-field home run on Monday to open the scoring in what proved to be a 3-0 victory against the Braves. As long as he’s still getting chances in Kooky Gabe Kapler’s lineup and the Phillies are looking pretty impressive as a team, Williams is worth keeping an eye on in deep leagues.