Well, the non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone, and now those of us who have unrealistically been hoarding relief pitchers praying for some of them to end up at the back end of their team’s bullpens can sort through our rosters and go on with our lives. (Sure, there will most likely be a few more moves made before the “real” trade deadline, but I’m going to throw caution to the wind and finally dump David Hernandez in the leagues I’ve been holding him!) Since those of you in deep leagues have most likely already figured out that fellows like Austin Meadows (now up to 35% owned in CBS leagues), Tyler O’Neill (22%), Ken Giles (40%), and even Jose LeClerc (20%) may have had a serious value spike based on moves that have been made, we’re going to do some extra-deep digging this week. All of the players listed today are owned in 5% or fewer of CBS leagues, so this will truly be an ultra-deep league group (but if you have comments or questions of the slightly-less-insanely-deep variety, throw them out there – it’s always fun to remember what it’s like to have actual options in the (oxymoron alert!) “real” fantasy baseball world.)
David Freese (4%). Freese has been playing regularly since Josh Bell went down with an oblique injury (and we all know how pesky those oblique injuries can be), plus the Pirates have suddenly decided they are a playoff team, so I’m just going to roll with that theory for now. Going from a pinch hitter/spot start/borderline platoon kinda player on a bad team to a regular on a good team is a nice little upgrade, and Freese is holding his own on the season with a .290 average.
Austin Jackson (1%). OK, I’ll admit, I had no idea Jackson was now on the Mets until I saw him playing against the Nationals on Tuesday. Not only is he a Met, but he’ll now forever by know as the guy who went deep off Shawn Kelley and caused Kelley to slam his glove down like a 4-year old AND get himself DFA’d. Jackson’s a guy I’ll keep an eye on in the deepest of leagues in case he does get a little run of playing time… especially if it’s a league where I’m literally playing a zero in one of my outfield spots.
Chase D’Arnaud (0%). If you’re in a league deep enough that 0%-owned types are relevant, and only if you’re in a league where 0%-owned types are relevant, you might want to give D’Arnaud a look-see. He qualifies at SS and 3B, and after a three-run homer on Monday, his numbers since he’s been with the Giants are pretty good for a guy who isn’t exactly a fixture in the lineup, as he’s got a .289 average with 3 homers in 13 games.
Preston Tucker (3%)/Mason Williams (1%)/Philip Ervin (1%). Tucker is left-handed (as is Williams), and one would think would be on the good side of a platoon, at least, in Cincinnati. With the DH in play, all three of them started Wednesday against the Tigers. We’ll see how the playing time shakes out, but even with Billy Hamilton still a Red and Scott Schebler potentially returning from the DL soon, there are at bats to be had in the Reds’ outfield… and with Adam Duvall in Atlanta, why wouldn’t they want to see what they have in these guys? There may not be a fantasy star in this group, but there could be a handful of deep-league at bats in a hitter’s ballpark.
Brett Phillips (5%). One of the main pieces Kansas City received in the Mike Moustakas deal, Phillips was pretty darn high on the ole prospect list just a couple of years ago. He’s already starting and hitting homers (well, at least one, against the White Sox on Tuesday), and while his star is nowhere near as shiny as it once was due largely to that whole “inability to make contact” thing (Fangraphs called him a “largely fringey outfielder,” which is a term I may have to borrow from time to time ) he should at least get the chance to prove his detractors wrong now that he’s a Royal (brief pause while I, even though not really a gal big into music, go find some tunes to play until I get the 5-year-old Lorde song out of my head).
Renato Nunez (1%). He’s started 3 games in the outfield and 2 at third for the Orioles, including a 3-hit, 2-RBI game against the Yankees Wednesday. Gotta think the ABs will be there since given the, uh, lack of depth the Orioles have going on right now, so we’ll see if he can do anything with them.
Melky Cabrera (4%). He’s been starting regularly for the Indians since being called up just after the all star break. Um, that’s about all the positive news I’ve got for this blurb, but in the deepest leagues where a few runs or RBI can make a difference in the standings, we all know that sometimes you just have to chase the ABs, baby.
Tyler White (2%). Recalled by the Astros and getting a chance to play first base a bit while players move around the infield to cover the Carlos Correa/Jose Altuve injuries. In his first game back with the big club he had three hits including a homer… and as you may have heard, the Astros’ lineup tends to be pretty good, even when dealing with an injury or two– even a poor man’s piece of that group of hitters can be a lovely thing in the deep-league world.
Jake Marisnick (1%). Also recalled by the Astros, though I’ve lost count on how many demotions/promotions that is for him this year now. While there’s not really any reason to think he’ll play a ton (though he could see at bats if George Springer’s shoulder injury turns out to be something bad) or be better this time around (he’s hitting an unsavory .192 in the majors on the season), I’ve grabbed him in my deepest AL-only league, just in case. He was hitting .341 in AAA when he was called up, so maybe he can carry a little of that momentum into Houston.