Not sure how this happened, folks, but in less than a week it’s gonna be September! I’ve said it again and again, but why stop now… even if you’re out of the running for a title in your deeper league(s), this is not the time to tune out completely. The more we observe now, the better prepared we’ll be for next season… and if you can find a deep-league type player to temporarily help you in a mixed or RCL-style league, that’s an added bonus. Let’s get right down to business this week and take a quick look at some little-owned players who may be of interest to those of use in deeper leagues:
Wilyer Abreu. Abreu was called up by the Red Sox to replace the injured Jarren Duran on the roster. He was on an absolute tear in triple A, has legit power and some sneaky speed, and should get a chance to play for now, against righties at least. He also has shown some serious issues with making contact in the past, so we’ll see if he can carry his hot hitting over to the major league level or if he looks almost immediately overmatched. Either way, he’s still just 24, so may be a name to keep an eye on for the future regardless of how things go in his current opportunity. (Note: I wrote this on Wednesday, and as I submit it on Thursday I see that Abreu has just turned in an absolute monster of an offensive game against the Astros… so it’ll be interesting to see if that turns into a sudden ownership jump!)
Kole Calhoun. I keep forgetting Calhoun is now on the Guardians (and playing semi-regularly), then I keep remembering because it seems like every time I check a Cleveland box score lately to see which players are having a good offensive day, it usually ends up being no one that I rostered, but Calhoun is sometimes involved. He’s only played in 13 games but is hitting .306 with 2 homers and 9 RBI, and the thing that really stood out to me about that last box score I was perusing was that Calhoun was hitting third. Given that he’s hit a composite .214 over the last 3 years, and in 388 at bats last year he hit .196, there will no doubt be a quick and ugly correction to his current hot hitting. If he manages to keep it going for a bit longer before that correction comes, however, he could be a deep league option if you’re desperate for some power, with an additional small added bonus being that he qualifies at both 1B and OF in many leagues.
Justin Topa. Picking up a middle reliever is never particularly exciting, but Topa has been treating me well while pitching in high leverage situations of late for the Mariners. As an Andres Munoz owner, I’m somewhat worried about his potential over-use with Paul Seward gone to the D-Backs, and Topa has been great lately on a team playing exceptionally well. I’ve stuck him in a few lineups in the hopes that he racks up a few vulture wins and/or saves as teams march towards the real-life playoff push.
Michael Toglia. Speaking of hitters who’ve looked overmatched in the big leagues, I’d have to say Toglia has fit that bill quite emphatically, with an AVG/OBP/SLG of .174/.242/.281 in his 121 at bats this season. He’s playing basically every day for the Rockies, though, so for me he’s yet another under-the-radar player that is worth watching to see if he makes any strides and can help this season, or at least looks like a potential future option. He’s picked it up a bit of late including hitting his third homer of the year earlier this week, and is another guy who qualifies at both 1B and OF.
Carter Kieboom. He’s back! He’s up with the Nationals after being called up as the 27th man for their recent Little League Classic game, but instead of being sent right back down, he remains on their roster, so it looks like he may get a legit look at third over the final weeks of the season. He was hitting well in the minors after recovering from yet another injury (oblique this time, I believe), and he’s already done something since his recall that I’m sure countless humans have on their life bucket lists but will never be able to check off, namely hitting a home run against the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium. So, stay tuned… you never know with these post-hype prospect types.
D.J. Stewart. I picked up Stewart in an NL-only league last weekend even though I figured it might be too late to cash in on his recent power binge, but he rewarded me with another homer on Monday. That made 4 homers in 6 games as he gets a chance to play for the (most disappointing MLB team in 2023?) Mets. He clearly can’t keep up anything close to that pace, and I am rather worried about a sudden cold streak that destroys my average in the league I am playing him. I’m taking that risk, though, in the hopes that he’ll provide enough production to help more than he’ll hurt over the next month or so. Stewart is 29, but I was a little intrigued upon hearing the Mets’ announcers discussing what a fan of Stewart’s Buck Showalter is from their Orioles days, and that he wasn’t surprised by the untapped power suddenly appearing. If we’re just talking about the remainder of 2023, I think the opportunity to play will be there so you could take worse fliers in a very deep league where you’re searching for a power boost.
Josh Palacios and Richie Palacios. It’s not terribly likely that either of the Palacios brothers will be of much fantasy help as the season winds down, but in the deep league world anything can happen, plus, it’s a fun story. They are both outfielders, Josh for the Pirates, while Richie was recently recalled by the Cardinals. In the PIT/STL game on Tuesday, they got to exchange lineup cards when both were in their teams’ respective starting lineups, with their parents interviewed in the stands during the game and then Richie hit a homer (after Josh had homered in their previous game). Like I said, fun! Unfortunately, the only leagues they might be relevant in are the deepest NL-only type where one or two counting stats could make a difference in the standings… but the good news is they are both 0% owned, so likely available if you’re in such a predicament.