Ending a relationship in fantasy baseball is often like a real-life break-up: emotional, sad, fraught with second-guessing… yet ultimately the best thing for everyone involved. Playing in the RCL writers’ league this year, where daily roster turnover can be a way of life, has reminded me how satisfying it can be to cut bait on someone who is just not treating you well. Yes, there is always the fear of seeing that person out and about with someone new, both having the time of their lives. But that still doesn’t mean you aren’t better off without him! The gentleman that lately has been causing me the most stress in terms of whether or not we should stay together is Jose Quintana, whom I drafted in more leagues than I care to think about. It feels horrible to let go of someone you spent an early pick on, and since he had basically zero trade value I finally dumped him in my shallowest league, and it was like a weight lifted off my shoulders. Even though I have to think Quintana will improve (especially since his April and May were quite disappointing last year as well), I didn’t have time to wait around in a shallow mixed league. There was and will be enough decent pitching on the waiver wire that I’m not really concerned about replacing Quintana, even if he suddenly turns things around and pitching lights off over the next few months. In my deeper leagues, though, it’s a different story — I feel pot-committed to wait it out and hope things get better, especially since there’s little or nothing starter-wise out there available to replace him… but part of me wonders if I should have just sent him packing five or six weeks ago and never looked back. While I’m daydreaming about how satisfying it would be to dump all of my fantasy under-performers, even in leagues where there’s no way I can afford to do so, let’s take a look at a few players who might be of interest to those of us in NL-only, AL-only, and other deep leagues.
Max Stassi. Stassi was somehow managing to produce some fantasy value even with very limited playing time, and now with Brian McCann DL’d, his value should only go up. He’s hitting .294 with 4 homers in 30 games, and even if he can’t keep that pace up, who doesn’t want a piece of the Astros lineup however they can get it? (Now he’s hit a 2-run bomb against Luis Severino and I can feel his ownership heading upward… if he’s available in your league and you’re interested, I wouldn’t dawdle).
Ryan Yarbrough. If you can deal with the wacky things the Rays are doing with their rotation and “starting” pitchers, Yarbrough may have a place on your fantasy team. He has been pitching every 5 days or so while often not officially starting, but is still putting up some pretty good numbers. In his last two games, he went 6 1/3 and 7 innings even though he didn’t open either game and allowed just one run each time. On the year, he has a 3.21 ERA/1.09 WHIP with 43 Ks to 14 walks in 47 2/3 innings.
Chaz Roe. Speaking of the ever-evolving, usually disappointing Rays pitching staff, Roe could get some save ops since that staff is now Colome-less. It doesn’t appear that the Rays are ready to annoint Jose Alvarado the 9th inning guy, and while Sergio Romo may get continued chances, he has kind of looked like he’s ready to implode every time he takes the mound. Roe’s numbers aren’t overly impressive (4.19 ERA, 1.29 WHIP – wait, that’s not even a little bit impressive), but he does have 23 Ks in 19 1/3 innings and, you know… deep-league SAGNOF.
Ronald Guzman. Guzman hasn’t looked like a guy who will ever be relevant in shallow leagues, but he’s been hot lately and could definitely have helped a deep-league team in need of a first baseman out over the last couple of weeks. In the last 10 days or so, Guzman has raised his batting average by 50 points, and now has 6 homers and 24 RBI in 36 games this year.
Colin McHughHector Rondon. McHugh and Rondon haven’t really found their way into a ton of high-leverage innings for the Astros this season, but that hasn’t stopped them from being two exceptionally solid arms in what has been at times a surprisingly shaky bullpen. Neither has been pitching ton of innings, but if you need some solid ratios and a handful of Ks in the deep league world, McHugh (30 Ks/6 BBs, 0.79 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in 22 2/3 innings) and Rondon (23 Ks/3 BBs, 1.80 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 20 innings) have been providing both.
Socrates Brito. It would be a bit of an understatement to say that there’s a potential opening in the Arizona outfield, what with A.J. Pollock and Steven Souza down and Jarrod Dyson and Chris Owings hitting .185 and .179 respectively. Brito has been called up and one would think he’ll see at least semi-regular playing time. He’s been injury-plagued over the last few seasons and may not project as a middle of the order type of hitter, but he was hitting .323 with 2 homers and 7 steals in AAA.
Gorkys Hernandez. Gorkys has been surprisingly hot at the plate lately, to the point where he’s pretty much been playing every day for the Giants and often finding himself atop the order. I actually thought I’d brought up the wrong player page when looking at his stats this year: .321 average, 6 homers, and 3 steals. That seems unlikely to continue for a career .250 hitter, but if you want to ride him while he’s hot, I won’t judge.
Brent Suter. Suter’s ratios on the year are still pretty darn ugly, as he’s carrying a 4.63 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. His strikeout/walk numbers get more intriguing, however, as he’s rocking a clean 4.00 K/BB ratio (48/12 in 52 innings). In the last three weeks, that stat is even better (5 walks and 25 strikeouts in 26 innings), his WHIP is 1.19, and he also has 4 wins during that period. Tread carefully, but if you’re in need of a deep-league starter and he’s available, he might at least be worth a look.
Johan Camargo. The guy will never be a major offensive threat, but the Atlanta Braves — even with an injured Ronald Acuna — are suddenly at the point where their lineup is potent enough that anyone getting regular at bats in it could be valuable in the right league. Since the Jose Bautista experiment has left Atlanta and moved on to New York, Camargo is getting lots of starts at third. He’s actually been doing his share of chipping in lately: his OBP over the last 5 games is .476, and Tuesday he had two hits including a walk-off homer.
Mike Montgomery. Got a spot start filling in for the injured Yu Darvish and delivered, getting the win after pitching 5 2/3 innings, allowing just 2 hits, no runs, and striking out 5. He may get more starts in the immediate future or he may not, but it’s nice to know that the Cubs are still willing to give him a shot. Between injuries and guys potentially getting rest down the line, who knows when and for how long Montgomery could find himself in the rotation.