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Being in a crazy deep league can be a double-edged sword. Planning for a draft or auction where you know your last roster spots are going to be filled by players who are literally listed as 0% owned in some formats can be mildly terrifying. But in a weird way, it can make the first few weeks of the season easier. When the names at the top of the waiver wire are Rickie Weeks and Matt Cain (and, yes, those are actually the names at the top of the wire in my deepest AL and NL leagues, respectively), you have no chance to second-guess yourself. If you were worried about Jharel Cotton or Mike Foltynewicz’s atrocious first starts, for instance, you couldn’t just rashly dump them to take a flyer on Charlie Morton or Hyun-Jin Ryu… because those players are already ensconced on another team as someone’s third or fourth best starter.

Yes, there are guys I have in lineups who I am starting to get rather worried about (hello, off-season imaginary boyfriend Tommy Joseph! I feel like Olivia Newton-John after being wooed by John Travolta in the most magical summer ever, only to meet back up at the beginning of the year to find you treating me like you don’t even remember who I am!)  But I don’t really have the choice to drop them, and sometimes toughing it out on a player who you’d have cut bait on in a shallower league will ultimately pay nice dividends. Is my stomach churning a bit wondering if Austin Hedges is ever going to get a hit? Yep, but we’re talking about an NL-only league where the likes of Chris Ianetta and Dustin Garneau are already owned… there’s just nothing I can do about it right now. If you’re in an ultra deep league and have similar issues, try to just relax for a bit, don’t sweat every at bat, and just enjoy not having too many decisions to make, at least for the time being.

That being said, hopefully your waiver wire has a bit more to offer than Rickie Weeks and Matt Cain, which brings us to this week’s list of potential AL/NL-only pick ups. These guys may not be dripping with upside, but might help you fill a hole or two in your deep-league lineup. As the season progresses, hopefully we’ll stumble upon some players who turn out to be more than just hole-fillers, and can provide real value to your AL or NL-only team, and maybe even beyond. All “owned by” numbers are according to CBS Sports, by the way, and will tend to be even lower in Yahoo and ESPN – and we’re going for all less than15% owned this week!

AL:

Martin Perez (14% owned).  He was a legitimate prospect before TJ surgery a few years ago… unlikely he’ll ever deliver what was once expected of him, but he’s still only 26. He’s never going to be a stud; his career K/BB%, minors included, is an icky 1.71. (The one career number that stands out in a good, sparkly way, though, is his 0.77 HR/9). I have him in one AL-only hoping he’ll make some adjustments and end up as a serviceable innings-eater.

Jesse Chavez (14%).  Has been around forever (okay, since 2008) and seems to be pretty firmly ensconced in the Angels’ rotation. Got off to a nice start against Seattle with 6 Ks/1 walk, one earned run and a W in 5.2 innings. He actually pitched better as a starter in Oakland in 2014-2015 than he did as a reliever for the Dodgers last year. His MLB career numbers aren’t as bad as I thought they’d be when I looked them up, at least in terms of walks and strikeouts (206/542 in 610 innings).

Yunel Escobar (14%).  Has started the year hot as can be (.414 over his first seven games, with one homer and eight lovely, sometimes overlooked, runs scored). It’s always difficult to get excited about anyone with no speed and not much pop, but he’s in a walk year and he’s averaging a .293 BA/.358 OBP over the last three years. That’s isn’t nothing in a league that uses either of those categories, and last I checked, most leagues do!

Marwin Gonzalez (12%).  He’s already played three positions (1B, 3B, OF), hit three home runs, and looks like he’ll continue to get PT against lefties. He can help you when he’s going well, and besides having a little power, don’t forget he stole 12 bags last year (not likely to happen again, but interesting to know he has it in him).

Eduardo Escobar (2%).  Should qualify at third and short in most leagues, and a utility guy that you can plug in at MI or CI in a really deep league can come in awfully handy. He’s a true 2-percenter, a deepest-league only guy where you really just have him in your lineup because he’s better than taking a zero at that spot, but at least he’s producing so far (4 hits in 10 at bats, one walk, no strikeouts, and a home run and 4 RBI).

Jesse Hahn (2%).  He was fairly atrocious in his nine starts last season; this one’s for those desperate for a starter in the deepest of AL-only leagues. It’s all about crossing your fingers for a guy with velocity upside and a job: he’s taking over for Raul Alcantara in the Oakland rotation, he hit 98 on the gun in his first appearance, and… nah, that’s all I got.

NL:

Archie Bradley (14%).  I don’t know if the D-Backs are planning on giving him another chance to start any time soon, but he’s looked great in the bullpen so far this season.  He’s pitched 5.3 innings (which was two multi-inning appearances) without allowing a run, and he has just one walk vs. eight strikeouts.

Scott Schebler (13%).  I’m not exactly buying this guy as a bona fide major leaguer, but after he was recalled towards the end of 2016, he did help me by not completely sucking on an NL-only team that had been ravaged by injuries. I will now return the favor by announcing on the world wide web that Schebler is only “kind of sucky” for those that are in need of help in the outfield. We know what Great American Ballpark can do for a mediocre hitter (and Schebler already has two bombs)… and with the likes of Patrick Kivlehan backing him up, and Jesse Winker in AAA for a little more seasoning, Schebler has some temporary job security.

Wilmer Flores (9%).  This is one of those situations where being a sometimes-emotional girl might hurt me slightly in the fantasy world, because I will probably draft Flores in a deep league every damn year he’s in the majors just based on the pitifully sweet 2015 image of him standing on the field crying after he thought he’d been traded. He only has 2 hits in 13 at bats to open the season, but one of them was a homer, and it appears he’ll get enough at bats to possibly give a power-starved team a little help (he had 16 bombs in 103 games last year). He’s backing up Lucas Duda among others, after all, plus we have Jose Reyes looking beyond lost at the plate… and the best report on David Wright’s rehab, sadly, is that he’s doing some “light throwing.”

Jon Jay (3%).  He’s one of those guys, like many (all??) on this list, who are more valuable in real-life than fantasy. An example of this was Monday night, when he scored the late night, walk-off, winning run in the Wrigley home opener… to the real-life joy of countless Cubs fans, and the fantasy joy of pretty much no one. He’s 5 for 12 to open the season, though, and already has a steal. It looks like he’ll get a decent amount of playing time and bat ninth (which maybe will be slightly better than eighth, if you go with the “we already have the pitcher out of the way so it’s kind of like having two leadoff men” theory) in one of baseball’s best lineups.

Wilmer Difo (2%).  Filling in for Stephen Drew, who got hurt filling in for Trea Turner.  If you need a MI this badly, there’s also 1% owned Marlin fill-in Miguel Rojas.  Or Scooter Gennett, who’s now a whopping 7% owned after his big day Tuesday, which brought him to a ridiculous 3 homers and 8 RBI on the year.  Though since Zack Cozart seems to be okay (he returned to the lineup Wednesday), it’s possible you’ve already missed out on most of Gennett’s production for the year.

Aaron Hill (1%).  Left field in San Francisco is such a house of horrors so far this season that they signed Melvin Upton to a minor-league deal. Hill already has four appearances there — he may get more, and perhaps he’ll stumble into another home run like he did last week. Also, he got to hit second when he started the other day. Also, after the Posey beaning, Bochy evidently told Hill, to his surprise, that he is the Giants’ emergency catcher. Also, if I didn’t include him here, I’d have to change the title of this post.

Final note:  I see that since I wrote this, Austin Hedges managed an infield single for his first knock of the season.  See, things are looking up already!

   
  1. J-FOH says:
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    Its about time someone mentioned Chavez around here. I love my deep leagues and senor chavez getting reunited with his childhood buddy Ricky Nolasco is the kind of heartwarming tale that you fall for when scouting the deep leagues. Kidding though, sorta. The improved Angels D with the addition of Espinosa and Maybin made him a must target for me in deep drafts this year. My 15 team 30 man roster NFBC team is counting on him. Great work again…oh BTW, I liked Hahn this off season. Have him in a 20 team industry league, I know his health has always been the thing that has held him back but I’ll take the pitchers park and that hard sinker ball he throws. His flyball rate will be what I’m keeping my eye on and I pray he can get that contact rate into the 70’s and that swing strike rate up a bit. Who knows, a boy can dream. Ive rambled enough already

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @J-FOH: Hope you’re right about Hahn; I desperately need SP in my deepest AL-only & will be bidding on him this weekend. I wish there were more pitchers w/some actual upside out there… I’d also pick up Jason Vargas if he was avail in my Al-only, although there’s the worry that we’ve already seen his best two starts of the year. And I should have included Chad Kuhl in NL… he’s never had great control but looked good yesterday vs. Boston; if he can keep the walks down and has his slider working he could take a step forward this year. Anyway, thanks for the read!!

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Laura Holt: I own Kuhl everywhere! Control issues aside he throws hard enough (avg velocity in the 93’s) but he needs to stay in last years groundball rate (44.3%) to be effective for fantasy. So far he’s given up a lot of flyballs but the sample size is way too small. I like anyone who gets time with Ray Searage and considering he’s working on being a more K guy than a contact guy we can all pray together he can be a 3.60 to 3.80 guy which in that pitchers park is totally doable. I haven’t got eyes on him yet but I will be reaching out to my east coast friends and see if any have caught him pitch yet. My cheap ass wont pay for the baseball package

        • Laura Holt

          Laura Holt says:
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          @J-FOH: Ha, I didn’t watch yesterday, not because I don’t have the MLB package but because I was terrified to since I had Kuhl active in a couple lineups. Heard the strike zone was really wide for both SPs, but still a really encouraging outing for him IMO.

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Laura Holt: I shut down too and avoid twitter and any phone updates when I have a scary start

    • goodfold6 says:
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      @J-FOH: grey’s loved chavez for years.

      • goodfold6 says:
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        @goodfold6: and SON too

  2. Hoboken Squat Cobblers says:
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    Good stuff Remington Steele! You’re already the best writer on this site after just two posts…(though, to be honest, all one needs to do is form complete sentences and do spell-check on occasion, and voila, you’re the ‘Best Writer’ on this site!!) On a separate note, I sure wish I was able to read your $.02 prior to my two, 15-team, 50-round NFBC drafts. Could have really used the advanced knowledge!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Hoboken Squat Cobblers: Ouch! You’re welcome to be my proof reader, editor, and confidant.

    • nick the dick says:
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      @Hoboken Squat Cobblers: Wow way to put the pussy on a pedestal and shit on all the other writers on a great site. She is definitely a good writer, but that’s a bit much. I think we found the worst commenter!

      • Laura Holt

        Laura Holt says:
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        @nick the dick: Hmm, I assumed it was an attempt at humor, since anyone who’s even dabbled at Razzball knows the writing absolutely kicks ass. Meanwhile, I am SO going to name at least one of my teams next year Pussy on a Pedestal!

        • nick the dick says:
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          @Laura Holt: Such a good team name! You have been solid 2 articles in though, that I agree with

        • J-FOH says:
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          @Laura Holt: my 130 articles on the baseball side and 40 something on the football side beg to differ. It’s a tour de wtf…done in a 5th graders style.

          • Laura Holt

            Laura Holt says:
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            @J-FOH: Ha! And “Tour De WTF” is another pretty good team name.

            • J-FOH says:
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              @Laura Holt: it will play well if you have lots of euros in your league. And yes we have euros on this site

          • Hoboken Squat Cobblers says:
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            @J-FOH: Your ‘130 articles beg to differ’?!?! Seems a tad bit insecure…bwdik. Anyway, as Laura correctly referenced, these are just jokes. Since when did you all get so sensitive?

            • The Harrow says:
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              @Hoboken Squat Cobblers: he’s trying out his D.E.N.N.I.S. system here. in his own articles in a whole year he never figured out how to use the color codes for guys moving up or down that all the other people that have done the pitcher or hitter lists use routinely (and i’m guessing quite easily too, he could’ve just asked them)

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Laura Holt: No I seriously need a proof reader and confidant. My cats are sick of me bitching about Dave Dombrowski.

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Ralph Lifshitz: I’ll be your huckleberry

  3. True and Correct says:
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    Most leagues use O.B.P. ? In what planet ? 10 Basic Cats and o.b.p., o.p.s., s.l.g. are none of them.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      @True and Correct: I said most leagues use either Batting Average or OBP : )

    • The Harrow says:
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      @True and Correct: ah yes the ol waiting in the wings to pounce on errors while only reading half of the sentence. always comes out well. good name for you by the way

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