Here we are in late May, and the injury parade just keeps on marching along. I’m not sure which is more frustrating – checking baseball news to see that what you thought was your perfectly healthy closer has suddenly been placed on the IL, a la Wade Davis, or having your stud players just sitting in your lineup without playing. Those of you who own George Springer, Christian Yelich,or Khris Davis (who STILL is on the A’s active roster as I write this, even though it was quite clear that he was in intense pain every time he took a swing in his last game) know of what I speak. There are no obvious replacements when you lose one of the guys you’ve been counting on in a very deep league, but we’ll keep doing what we do here: trying to find a few players who might be worth looking at in NL-only, AL-only, and other deep leagues.
Harold Ramirez. Ramirez has been getting some starts in the ever-uninspiring Marlins outfield of late, and he hit his first major league homer earlier this week. This is his first big-league callup, but he’s still just 24 and was a pretty highly-touted prospect with the Pirates not too long ago. He didn’t exactly have an easy road to the majors: Pittsburgh traded him to Toronto, he got injured, and the Blue Jays gave up on him not much more than a year later. He became a free agent and signed with Miami over the winter, so his stock fell about as far as it could have. His minor league numbers are nothing to be ashamed of though (most notably his .303 average in more than 2300 career at bats; in 2018 he had 11 homers and 16 steals at double A). Given some of the names we’ve seen inked on the Marlins’ starting lineup card this year, you kind of wonder why Ramirez didn’t get a chance even earlier — if you’re as desperate for offensive production of any kind from your outfielders as the Marlins are, you may want to take note.
Phillip Ervin. Ervin is a 26-year old who profiles as a 4thoutfielder at best, but these are the types that we sometimes need to fill our deep-league rosters. Ervin is back up with the Reds and the competition for at bats in their outfield is not quite as strong as it was earlier in the year, so if he picks up even some scraps of playing time, he could throw a few counting stats your way; last year, he had 7 homers and 31 RBI in 218 at bats.
Erick Fedde. Fedde has made several relief appearances and now one start for the Nats, and so far, as is going well, as he has a 2.87 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. Unfortunately, he’s averaging about one-half strikeout per inning, which is terrible, and there is no reason to think his solid pitching will continue. Fortunately, it looks like he’ll get another start this weekend against the often-hapless (but not quite as hapless lately) Marlins, so if you want in on Fedde to play a matchup or two, right now may be the time.
Amir Garrett. I drafted Garrett in a couple NL-only leagues this spring, hoping that he might steal a couple of saves if the Reds went through with their threat to use Raisel Iglesias untraditionally at the back end of the bullpen. A couple months later, Iglesias has publicly complained about his usage, Garrett has no saves, and the Reds aren’t winning much anyway. Garrett, though, has been absolutely stellar lately, and currently has a string of 8 scoreless appearances going, and overall he now has a 1.33 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and most interestingly for fantasy purposes, 30 strikeouts in just 20 1/3 innings. When his slider is on, he can look downright unhittable as a valuable middle reliever both in real life and in deeper fantasy leagues.
Luis Arraez. Arraez is up with the Twins, and has had quite a start to his major league career, hitting .583 over his first 4 games. He’s showed an impressive ability to hit for average in the minors, with a .331 career number (.385 OBP) in 354 games (mostly at double A, he played just 3 triple A games before his promotion). Don’t hold your breath for a bunch of power or speed… he did have 3 steals with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos this year, but did not have a homer — which didn’t stop him from going yard for Minnesota this week. His time with the big club may be limited depending on Nelson Cruz’s health among other things, but I grabbed him in an AL-only keeper league after his callup and will be keeping an eye on him.
Kendrys Morales. After a short and disappointing stint with the A’s, Morales now finds himself a member of the New York Yankees. One would assume his career is drawing to a close sooner rather than later, but perhaps he will find a little magic in limited at bats for anyone in serious need of some power in the deepest leagues.
Hanser Alberto. Alberto hasn’t been starting every day, but has been getting a decent number of at bats lately for the Orioles. In 36 games, he has a .293 average with a nice smattering of counting stats – 3 homers, 9 runs scored, 13 RBI, and 2 steals. No, it’s not exactly monster production, but it’s much better than nothing in the deepest leagues, especially for a guy who should qualify at second, third, and short.
Keon Broxton. As we all know, deep leagues often call for players with good opportunity on bad offensive teams, which brings us to our second Oriole of the day. Broxton made little impact in his time with the Mets, and it remains to be seen how much opportunity he’ll get in Baltimore. There’s also no reason to think he’ll suddenly be able to succeed as a hitter at the major league level, but anyone who went 20/20 as recently as 2017 (20/21, to be exact, albeit with a .220 batting average), is worth at least checking in on in the deep-league world.