June 10, 2014
What an intro what an intro what an intro what a mighty good intro.
Jeff Locke, SP, Pirates
Gerrit Cole is on the disabled list, which makes me very sad. Locke is replacing him for the time being, which should make deep league owners somewhere in between very sad and mildly interested. Last year, Locke was able to post an ERA of 3.52 in 166 1/3 innings in the majors, grabbing 10 wins and 125 strikeouts. However, Locke’s walk rate helped to send him back down to the minor leagues this year, and the left-hander was knocked around pretty good in Triple-A.
Locke true talent level shouldn’t allow him to perform as well in the majors as he did a year ago, but it should allow him to stay in the majors, at the very least. Locke may not be anything more than a no. 5 starter, but a no. 5 starter who plays in PNC Park has some value in leagues with 18 teams and up. Feel free to use Locke in favorable matchups moving forward, though keep him away from auto-start status. He’s no Chase Whitley.
Drew Stubbs, OF, Rockies
Carlos Gonzalez is on the disabled list, which makes me very sad. “Exploratory surgery” doesn’t sound fun at all, and while we don’t yet know how much time CarGo will miss the season, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him out for a majority of the year. That’s going to open up a ton of time for Stubbs, Corey Dickerson, and Brandon Barnes. And while Dickerson seems to be a fantasy favorite, I think Stubbs could be a significant contributor in deep leagues in the second half.
Stubbs is hitting .325/.362/.492 through 131 PA so far this season, notching four homers and seven steals along the way. I don’t expect Stubbs to continue to hit for this type of average, of course, but he can take advantage of his natural power in Coors, and he has enough speed to finish the year with close to 20 stolen bases, too. Even if he only hits around .240 with 10-plus homers and 12-plus steals from here on out, that would make him a valuable asset even in leagues of medium depth.
Eugenio Suarez, SS, Tigers
Andrew Romine is on the disabled list, which makes me... well, I don’t care, honestly. Mark Anderson and I took a look at Suarez when he was called up early this week, but it’s worth taking a deeper dive into his fantasy value from a deep league-only point of view here. Suarez can handle the bat a little and that, coupled with his defense, should make him a major leaguer for a good while. But he’s a good hitter for a slick-defending shortstop -- not a good hitter in general -- and there really isn’t a ton of reason for optimism from a fantasy POV. Yes, he bats in a good lineup, and he can very occasionally run into one, as we saw against Jon Lester on Saturday. But if you’re looking to Suarez to save your middle infield, you’re in trouble.
I’d rather have Suarez than Jordy Mercer, Adeiny Hechevarria, or Eduardo Escobar, and you can make a solid argument for playing him over Ruben Tejeda or Brandon Crawford, too. But Suarez is behind even the likes of Yunel Escobar and Zack Cozart in my eyes, and you need to be in a bind in an AL-only league or in a really deep league to consider rostering him.
Deep League Streamer of the Week: David Phelps, Yankees
Of all the deep league streamers I’ve suggested so far, this is the one I’m least confident in—and I’ve suggested using Chris Young and Jacob deGrom, so that’s a weightier condemnation than you may originally believe. Nonetheless, if you really need pitching help, you can go with Phelps in Seattle against the Mariners on Thursday, when he faces off against the mysterious Roenis Elias. While Seattle’s been playing good ball lately, they still have just the 16th-best offense in the majors, and if Phelps can mitigate the damage caused by Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager, there are plenty of easy outs in the M’s lineup. Again, I don’t love this matchup, but Phelps at least has the potential to escape with a non-damaging ERA and a shot at a win. Yay deep leagues!
Twitter Question of the Week:
Lots of good names here, so let’s take a look. Of all the fantasy prospects you listed, I’d probably rank them: Sano, Bradley, Lindor, Gallo, Taillon, Frazier, Almora, Mondesi. That’s just off the top of my head and I reserve to the right to change my mind, but from that list you can probably discern that I’d recommend dropping Almora and Mondesi and picking up Gallo and Frazier. Mondesi is a nice MLB prospect but he’s much stronger in real life than in fantasy. The same is true to a lesser extent for Albert Almora, though we should give him credit for having a fairly high floor. These guys are all easy top-100 fantasy prospects, but I think the delineation here is clear enough to make this an easy call.
Player Namedrop of the Week: Gabe Gross (h/t Craig Goldstein)
Random RP Who Will Earn a Win: Sean Marshall, Reds
Random Backup Who Will Homer: Stefen Romero, Mariners
Xander Bogaerts Adjective: Good
Ben Carsley is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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