Here we are in week 8, so you know what time it is: it’s time to take advantage of the apathy of others. It was a rough weekend in the Holt household, as I checked in Sunday afternoon to find that Tajuan Walker, the one guy who’d been healthy and pitching semi-decently on my deepest NL-only team, had randomly hit the DL with a blister issue. Meanwhile, Trevor Cahill, who’d practically been carrying my pitching staff in the same league before he got hurt, was headed for an MRI that gave me the sinking feeling that he wasn’t gonna be pitching again any time soon. After slamming my computer shut and spending about an hour behaving like a 7-year old having a bad round of miniature golf, I needed an attitude adjustment. I went and saw Guardians of the Galaxy, and remembered that if Chris Pratt can go from being a tubby sitcom fifth banana to a universe-saving mega-movie star, I can keep fighting in the world of fantasy baseball until October. Now that I’m looking at the comparison with a clear head, sure, it may make no sense whatsoever, but it inspired me to spend an hour Sunday night scouring my various league waiver wires in an attempt to improve my teams.  By the way, if you missed out on Parks and Rec when it was on the broadcast television, it’s one of the rare network sitcoms of the last decade that’s worth going back and watching, IMHO (has it been so long since anyone used the term “IMHO” that it’s retro now?)

Back to fantasy baseball, this is the worst time to give up, IMHO (I’m gonna try to bring it back!). Impatient owners are looking at their injury-plagued teams and throwing in the towel, which means there is that much less competition when a potentially serviceable player hits the waiver wire. Of course, when other owners stop paying attention and are not doing everything they can to set an optimal lineup, it also means it could be just a bit easier for you to move up a few points in a category or three. Depending on your league parameters, the teams that are still in the race may have to throw players to the curb to make room for others due to having too many injured players to roster. Other teams may have guys coming off the DL where they have to get rid off a fill-in player who might not crack their now-healthy lineup, but could be a boon to your beat-up squad – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all. And in re-draft leagues, who knows what currently off-the-radar minor leaguers will come up to the show and make a splash in June or July or August? The owners who are checking out may not be thinking about just how much baseball we have left before us… almost three-quarters of a season still! Don’t make the same mistake and think that that isn’t enough time for your league standings to turn upside down (or at least wiggle around quite a bit).

With that in mind, we move on to some names to think about this week in fantasy baseball’s deep-league world.

AL

Chad Pinder. He’s been getting regular at bats for the A’s, as he’s now had multiple appearances at second, short and the outfield, and has started 4 games in a row as I write this. It doesn’t sound like Marcus Semien is close to returning from his wrist injury, and Adam Rosales is, well, Adam Rosales. Pinder, meanwhile, is making the most of his PT, as he suddenly has 5 homers, 11 RBI, and a steal in 49 at bats. His minor league numbers aren’t bad at all – he’s always shown some pop, and he’s moved up nicely one level per season. He went 13/12 with a .287 average in high-A in 2014, hit 15 home runs and batted .317 in his AA year of 2015, and last year hit 14 homers in 107 games in AAA.

Yolmer Sanchez. Everyone’s been so busy wondering about how Yoan Moncada is doing in AAA and when that call up might come, that they may not be paying any attention to the current state of the major league Chicago White Sox infield. Tyler Saladino has been terrible and is now dealing with back pain. Sanchez, on the other hand, is playing, recently had a 12-game hitting streak, and is now at .314 on the season with 2 homers, 2 steals, 13 runs, and 13 RBI. He’s now played 25 games at second plus 3 at third, and should be owned in just about any AL-only league while he is producing.

Brad Peacock. Got the spot start against the Tigers on Monday, filling in for Dallas Keuchel. Peacock got as far as a limited pitch count could take him, going 4 1/3 while allowing only 1 hit, no runs, 2 walks, and a whopping 8 strikeouts. He may not get another start any time soon, but injuries can change rotations in a hurry, and it was nice to see that the he was the guy Astros gave the ball to when Keuchel went down. Even as a reliever there’s no reason he shouldn’t be owned in across the board in AL-only; he now has 30 strikeouts in 20.7 innings, an 0.87 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and 2 wins in relief.

Jorge Bonifacio. He’s a 23-year on a crummy team, getting a chance to play more over struggling veterans and former top prospects who may never live up to their potential… what’s not to love about that in a deep AL-only league? Jorge Soler hasn’t proven to anyone that he belongs on a major league team yet, and Alex Gordon is hitting .175 on the year without a homer.   (Gordon also left the team Sunday for a few days of paternity leave, which is kind of like winning one of the luxury reward challenges on Survivor right when you need to be proving your worth back at camp. You get to fly off the island and have an exhilarating, once-in-a-lifetime experience, only to return and discover that your alliance has dumped you and you’re about to be voted out). Meanwhile, Bonifacio has been productive even without every day at bats and has really heated up since he’s been in the lineup more regularly – he’s hitting well over .300 over the last couple of weeks, and has 3 home runs since last Friday, bringing him to 5 bombs and 11 RBI on the year.  (Yo, just noticed that he hit a 2-run shot Tuesday night after I wrote this.  Dude’s a little hot right now!)

NL

Matt Adams. One of the hotter NL-only pickups/trade targets this week with his trade to the Braves. I don’t know how much the Braves will start him against lefties, but no matter what he’ll be getting more playing time than he’s had in ages as he fills in for Freddie Freeman. I was thinking he’d had at least one monster power year in the past and was surprised to see that his career high is just 17 in 2013 (granted that was in just 108 games; he also hit 16 bombs last year in 107 games). We’ll see if his emotional state plays into things as he seemed fairly shell-shocked to be leaving St. Louis, but if he’s ever going to be an asset for an NL-only team — or even a power-hungry team in a shallower league — this is his chance.  (Okay, he has homers in both his games since I wrote this — guess we don’t need to worry about that emotional adjustment, but we might need to worry if he’s still available in any NL-only leagues!)

Eric Sogard. To say Sogard has had a career week-plus is what we call an understatement… he’s batting .500 (11/22) and he’s already gone 2/2 with 6 runs and 7 RBI. His career average of .243 would suggest that his current clip might come down a tad, and I think my favorite part of these stats is that he’s already tied his career high in homers matching the 2 he had in 130 GAMES for Oakland in 2013. Unless the Brewers continue to struggle with injuries, it’s hard to believe he’ll continue to get regular playing time, let alone show any real production. An owner paid a shockingly large chunk of his annual FAAB for Sogard in one of my leagues over the weekend, but I just don’t get investing in him at this point, so if you already missed out on him in your NL-only league, I wouldn’t panic.

Rene Rivera. Entered the season as the Mets’ backup (or was it backup backup?) catcher, but we all know that “backup” has a different meaning when we’re talking about the Mets… something closer to “starter for at least a chunk of the season due to more team injuries than a sane person can keep track of.” Rivera’s been hitting way beyond his means while Travis D’Arnaud’s been hurt, currently at .308 for the season; like Sogard’s stats, this number is, uh, just a smidge higher than his .219 career average. D’Arnaud is close to returning, but it looks like this is going to be a platoon situation going forward if Rivera keeps doing anything close to what he’s been doing at the plate lately. If you desperately need a backstop in a 2-catcher NL-only league and Rivera’s available, or gets dropped when D’Arnaud returns, it might me worth a shot to see if he can continue catching lightning in a bottle.

Ty Blach. Blach was quickly picked up in all of my NL-only leagues after he entered the Giants rotation, but dropped in at least a couple of them after his disaster in Cincinnati (11 hits, 8 runs, 1 walk, no Ks in 3 innings). In one league where I dropped him myself, I quickly realized just how desperate for starting pitching I was, so I picked him right back up, and he’s actually been pretty darn good since then. If no one in your league has noticed that he’s been decent of late and he’s available, it might be time to swoop in. Blach’s K rate has always been dreadful and probably always will be (if it’s strikeouts you’re chasing, you might actually be better off with a K-happy middle reliever), but as we know in deep leagues, beggars can’t be choosers. His WHIP over his 42 innings this year is at 1.18, and he now has three quality starts in a row (and those came against some decent competition: a re-match with the Reds, the Dodgers, and the Cubs).

Brad Hand. Well, I think mid-May is about the time we all suspected that Brandon Maurer would implode as the Padres’ closer, and we were right. On May 8, Maurer had a 2.02 ERA/0.68 WHIP; after 4 bad appearances in the last 5, those numbers are now 6.88/1.41. The timing would have been perfect for pre-season saves sleeper Carter Capps if he was effectively recovering from TJ surgery, but he’s busy having trouble with his mechanics at AAA. While Capps is figuring things out, it seems like the 9th-inning door should be open for Hand and his sparkling 2017 stats (24 innings, 1.88 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 31K/9BB). I’ve also grabbed Ryan Buchter in a couple leagues (both Hand and Buchter are lefties, which I must say makes things even more confusing in trying to sort out the Padres bullpen). It’s a pen that obviously should be avoided altogether in shallower leagues. Those of us in deep NL-onlys, however, know that we can’t afford to let a single save go unturned.

 
  1. Grey

    Grey says:
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    IMHO is timeless, IMHO

    • CMUTimmah says:
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      @Grey: This past weekend my wife said “Do you realize we’ve been using the term ‘LOL’ for 20 years now?”

      I replied, “Deep thoughts, now give me a handy.”

      It didn’t work.

      I might be one of the few people who isn’t fascinated by the fact that time, indeed, passes.

  2. My Seven Rizzos says:
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    What needs to happen for Peacock to be pushed into the rotation, full time?

    thanks Laura!

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @My Seven Rizzos: Well, AJ Hinch has already acknowledged that Peacock has “made a case” for another start. It sounds like Keuchel won’t miss another turn, but Musgrove & Fiers sure haven’t been doing anything to keep their spots in the rotation locked down, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out. I have to admit I didn’t realize just how bad Peacock’s career numbers as a starter are though, so I can see why the Astros might be tempted not to push him out of the relief role that he’s thriving in (a la the Cubs keeping Mike Montgomery in the pen even as he’s outpitched the guys who have leapfrogged him into the rotation like Brett Anderson and Eddie Butler). The fact that they gave him the start Monday though seems to point towards them giving him a shot in the rotation if Fiers &/or Musgrove continue to struggle. If he does get moved into the rotation, I’d go in with as much optimism as possible, but be ready to cut the cord quickly if he looks like he’s regressing… Is he pitching so much better this year because he’s only having to face hitters once a game and not having to worry about running out of gas in terms of velocity? Because of good luck in terms of BABIP & other random factors? Or has he finally figured something out? It seems like ‘finally figured something out’ isn’t usually the answer with pitchers who’ve been around the block a few times, but crazier things have happened (and do every year… and in a deep league, it’s often the Ervin Santana/2016 Kyle Hendricks or Rick Porcello type guys that make the difference in a team’s success)

  3. J-FOH says:
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    Not to be a jerk but sky still uses IMHO, but to be fair he still thinks it’s 1998 and has no plans on leaving the 90’s. The wardrobe speaks for itself. Thank you for posting about Parks and Rec. we have been trying to get nick the smooth dick to watch and I’m hoping that with the recommendation by a lady of your clout he will finally jump on board. Sorry I missed last week’s comments section. I had that stupid “day job” getting in the way.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @J-FOH: Well, I’m not exactly sure what “day job” could keep you from leaving a quick post over the course of 7 full days, but I’ll try not to overthink it this time. And I might have to go back and watch all of the episodes with Kathryn Hahn playing Paul Rudd’s campaign manager… that whole storyline was pretty brilliant the first time around, but might pack some extra punch now, given our country’s recent political goings-on.

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Laura Holt: once the day has passed I generally don’t post a comment. I’ll keep that in mind when I’m vegging out on a Sunday. Hey does saying vegging out make me old?

        Ooh, good call. But I wouldn’t compare her to Kelley Anne CONway. I’m so pissed direct tv got rid of the esquire network. It was P&R reruns all the time.

        Hey I did Ralph’s show last night. I was an unprepared train wreck. You should really do the show: I set the bar pretty low

  4. Yager says:
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    Better package for Braun: Ellsbury/Lackey or Gardner/Wood. I need pitching and steals. Should I worry about Ellsbury’s concussion?

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @Yager: I can’t say I love either of those deals, mostly because it would be hard for me to sell that low on Braun this early in the season, even though I know he’s been frustrating/scary to own. Lackey’s been pretty terrible so if I had to choose I’d take Gardner/Wood, but it still feels like selling low and buying high (I like Wood a lot, especially the Ks, but his ERA is at 1.88/WHIP 1.02… how is that not gonna go up some over the next couple of months?) I assume your league is super deep and there are no SAGNOF-type SB guys (or under-the-radar starters who could be picked up and/or streamed and give you production at least as good as Lackey would) available?

      • Yager says:
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        Yeah, super deep. It is a 20 team league. No pitching or steals on the wire. @Laura Holt:

      • Yager says:
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        @Laura Holt: Tilson is sitting out there…. any idea when he will be back? Is he worth a stash?

        • Laura Holt

          Laura Holt says:
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          @Yager: Per White Sox official twitter 2 days ago: “Charlie Tilson is taking BP and doing some light running in outfield.
          His rehab assignment still not imminent.” Even if he a ways away, I think he’s a great stash in a league that deep if you’ve got an extra spot for him and need steals–who knows if his skills will translate to the major league level, but if he can get healthy you have to think the White Sox are going to want to take a good long look at him.

  5. J-FOH says:
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    Gardner and Wood

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @J-FOH: What just happened is why Ralph may regret it if I go on the show — instead of just saying “Gardner and Wood” like you did, I rambled for a whole paragraph; I might never shut up if given the opportunity. I am definitely going to go check out last night’s episode, however — also, anyone who doesn’t do some vegging out on Sundays, regardless of age, has a problem (IMHO).

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Laura Holt:I suggest a few drinks before and note I was not prepared

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Laura Holt: oh and dont be short with your responses. Readers appreciate that extra touch. Its good for building a following. I know you already have like 4 readers that tune in every week. Get good and it could be 7 by the break.

        • Laura Holt

          Laura Holt says:
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          @J-FOH: 4?! What are you trying to do to me, I was imagining thousands! And BTW Andy Green must be one of them, cause Brad Hand just got a damn save.

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Laura Holt: what I meant to say was 4,000. Auto correct issues

    • Yager says:
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      Thanks, that is the way I was leaning. Appreciate it!
      @J-FOH:

  6. nick the smooth dick says:
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    Good stuff as always Laura…Like he said, Ralph and JFOH have been telling me I should watch Parks and Rec when they know I am a curmudgeon with everything and they are as reliable of sources as it gets for me. The coincidental you mentioning it in a post might push me to give it a chance. Plus I didn’t know there was any Paul Rudd. I’m a sucker for Paul Rudd.

    Really though you should do the show, rambling and all (which is a great quality when answering people’s questions, keep it up!). But the show is a fun time, a mix of good fantasy stuff and loose roasting banter in the comments. The first woman guest a couple weeks ago was great, and I have no doubt you would be too. Either way, we’ll be here to read your stuff my dear.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @nick the smooth dick: Thanks, Nick! And I’m definitely not saying no to Ralph’s show, though I may need to get myself a Sia-style wig to protect my privacy (don’t want to get ambushed in public by those 4 fans that J-FOH says I have!)

      • nick the smooth dick says:
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        @Laura Holt: Ha! It may be 4 fans, but they’re rabid diehard fans. I’d go with the wig. Maybe a Jason mask and a voice changer and you’ll be ready to go!

  7. Champsok1 says:
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    Hi Laura,
    …And a big welcome. As much as I love Grey & the many who truly have mustache envy over him, it is ever so pleasant to not only see your lovely photo but also enjoy your great writing and insight.
    So timing is everything right? So grey told people the other day to keep an eye on Hand or was he taking about his own hand??? Regardless, you wrote about the implosion and to pick up Hand and B A N G !!! look at the Padres tonight. Closer change and Hand is the new man ( hopefully it stays that way).

    I just happened to sit down and see that my weekly opponent had Mauer as one of his closer and and I looked over and wait what he pitched 0.00 inning and didn’t get a side in a one run game??? Damn..I quickly pull up stat caster and see Hand got the 9th…

    I head to the wire and in my extremely active league of which that game had been over about 30 minutes I see no one touched him yet and he was available..??? B A M “Got Heeeeem” as Kevin Millar would say.

    Why so excited you ask? Padres closer? Maybe? Well sadly he will be my only true closer at this moment…My Rp’s were/are-
    Diaz ( I had him last year and was excited to get him again…as Dr. Phil would say-“How’s that working for you?” Well not so good and hope he gets his job back soon.

    He was my only true reliever as RP’s went extremely early in our league this year and I thought I could wait a bit longer…but was wrong. So I am extremely weak in Rp’s with
    Diaz
    A. Miller ( whose stats I love-just won;t get me too many saves unless a injury comes up)
    T. Rosenthal
    Brad” Give me a”Hand
    I belong to a Yahoo Rot. 12 team League with 2 keepers each year
    Our league is in its 15th year & made of managers allover the country & one in France…yep France.
    Other than unfortunately losing 2 mangers over the years to untimely deaths we have kept the mostly the same guys from the beginning and it is very competitive.

    I finished in 1st place but ended up 3rd overall when the playoffs were done last year.
    My keepers were trout in the 2nd round & Villar in the 8th. I was picked in our early rating of teams to be the one elite team this year by the guy who has won the most and does a pre season rating on our teams each year, but it hasn’t turned out to be …not yet anyway.

    Here’s the team as it stands now…

    C- Gattis
    1B- Hanley Ram
    2B- Kinsler
    3B- Longoria
    SS- Villar
    Lf- Cespedes
    Cf- Trout
    Rf- Betts
    Ut- Healey 3b-1B
    Holliday LF, 1B
    Travis 2B
    Broxton -CF ( oh how I love this guy)
    ( Up until the writing of this I had also Mazzara- LF and I was really torn about dropping him, but he has been sitting against leftfeilders but has platooned nicely with Holiday while Cespedes has been out…but bye bye for now- Hope I dropped the right guy)

    SP- Nova
    Severino
    Salazar
    Roark
    Wacha ( Didn’t draft him but picked him up and gotta say I a have been pleasantly surprised)
    DL- JA Happ
    RP- Diaz
    A Miller
    Rosenthal
    my Hand as of 15 minutes ago….

    So Thats the squad…would be interested to hear what you think…I like hitters, Travis has been newer pick up a week ago…Hitters had kind of a slow start…
    Pitchers are actually doing better in Rotisserie than I thought they should…
    Nova has been awesome…I thought he would be…
    I don’t walk many or shouldn’t but Salazar and Roark were testing my patience early…

    Our league does these cats-
    Hitting- Runs, homers, Rbis, Sb total bases & Average
    Pitching- Wins, losses, Saves, BB, Ks & ERA

    Now that I have written way more than you have wanted to read if you are still reading, ha, I will finally end this with once again, a BIG welcome! And a thanks for the great articles and looking forward to many more and hearing your opinions….

    Thanks for the Hand! I think…
    Have a great night,
    Ed aka Champsok1

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @Champsok1: Hey Ed, thanks for reading! I hope Hand gets more saves for you… I thought it was interesting that Maurer was still used in a high-leverage situation in that game (8th inning I think), and maybe there will be some playing of lefty-righty matchups/closer by committee stuff going on in San Diego; it will be interesting to see how it plays out. Your team has a lot to like about it; love your offense especially if Cespedes can come back soon & stay healthy (I’m counting on him in a couple leagues so fingers crossed). It sounds like Diaz will be back in the 9th inning soon and I wouldn’t be shocked if Rosenthal ended up with more saves before the year ends. I love hearing about different league structures — don’t think I’ve ever seen losses before as its own category; that sounds maddening!

  8. Luvdarooks says:
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    Hi Laura
    Picked up ALTERRER
    It’s an OBP 5×5
    Need SB OBP RBI IN THAT ORDER
    IN FIRST IN HR BY 21
    Now I have to drop either
    Deshields or schmimpf. Which one ?
    ( will Texas ever just leave him at the top and run)?

    • CMUTimmah says:
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      @Luvdarooks: “Schrimpf Scram-py, Schrimpf on the scrap heap, Schrimpf drops” – Bubba talking about who you should drop…

      • Luvdarooks says:
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        That’s hysterical.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @Luvdarooks: I’d definitely lose Schimpf.

  9. Picker of Catcher Scabs says:
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    Hi Laura, I’ve been holding D’Arnaud on my DL in a deep NL only. Now that he’s back, my options are D’Arnaud, his new rival Rivera, and my current Tyler Flowers dude. Rivera’s been fun, but how would you rank these three ROS? Flowers has been solid enough but for some reason I still think D’Arnaud has best upside. Is that a fool’s hope? Thanks!

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @Picker of Catcher Scabs: It may be a fool’s hope, but I too feel like D’Arnaud has the best upside (and all three of them have a very low floor). Rivera has really been hitting over his head and I think he’s the worst of the three options. And who knows, if he keeps getting starts & cuts into D’Arnaud’s PT, maybe that won’t be so horrible for D’Arnaud in terms of him staying fresher longer into the season as well as theoretically facing pitchers that are better matchups for him. Flowers has been great and may be the best bet for power ROS, but I’d be worried that he’s due for some major batting average regression and could have be in for a prolonged slump or two as the summer wears on — he’s at .344, his career BA is .238 (also just looked his BABIP up for fun, it’s .439, which is more than 100 pts. higher than his career number, and there’s only one player, Miguel Sano, who has as many ABs as Flowers & has a higher BABIP).

  10. Swfcdan says:
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    Wow a women on here, and unsurprisingly gives far more in depth answers than the men. I better make up a question then, um I mean answer a burning question I’m dying to know! Are you a believer in T Shaw and disbeliever in Frazier? I’ve never owned Frazier before so for him to turn into a vegetable now seems like typical FB luck, I can’t sell him low but what about Shaw- is it worth shopping him? I haven’t had much luck with Suarez, not sure who else is a good buy low worth trying for. I just feel his numbers could drop off a cliff again, what do you reckon?

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @Swfcdan: I dumped Frazier in a keeper league after 2013, so I missed out on his huge 2014 (where he hit .273 and was a homer away from going 30/20) and have held a bit of a grudge against him since, I guess, because I never drafted him again. So, yeah, I guess I’m a disbeliever in general, but would definitely consider him a guy to buy, not sell, at this point — he’s looked a lot better over the last week or two (he has 6 walks in his last 4 games, which is always a good sign). If he’s completely healthy for the first time in a while, he’s someone who can lead your fantasy team for weeks at a time if he goes on a few power binges this summer. Suarez feels like a guy who will never get you the trade value he should, just too under the radar (I mean, I actually own him in a league and didn’t realize how good his numbers are). Shaw is worth shopping if you can get legit value for him — he can be streaky and is hitting about 25 points above his career average right now, so one would think there are a few cold spells coming, but he should still be a pretty easy sell as he’s on pace to go 30/10 this year. That’s a really solid fantasy season, and seems do-able given that he’s 27 this year and in a solid lineup in one of the best hitters parks in baseball — I think people are realizing that you can’t have too many Brewers hitters on your fantasy team this year.

  11. J-FOH says:
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    Since you said you will answer any day of the week I’m back to test this. Did you catch the Fantrax show?

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @J-FOH: I’ve been off the grid somewhat due to 3-day weekend so am asking for a mulligan this week in not responding to this sooner! I’ve watched some of the fantrax episodes including the beginning of yours, and promise to have seen more by Wednesday…

Comments are closed.