With solid replacement options dwindling, most of Michael’s Value Picks stick around, but several are in their final weeks on the list.
June is a tough month for waiver-wire pickups; all the early bargains are long gone, starting positions have largely solidified, and most of this season’s call-ups haven’t yet begun to arrive. That means even more patience is required from fantasy players, a virtue that paid off for owners of one VP this week and a lesson to those who are ready to drop a talented hitter after a prolonged cold spell. Patience can make for some nail-biting weeks and short-term statistical swoons, but it’s always good to remember the baseball cliché that the season is a marathon, not a sprint.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
Michael sweeps four VPs off the list while bringing in two Rockies and two hot-hitting first base call-ups.
Being a fantasy owner requires balancing three P’s: production, playing time, and the patience to see if a hitter will improve the former after an increase in the latter. This week, I’m losing my patience with two hitters while sticking by another one who’s about to get more playing time. Owners without my patience can find other options in another set of P’s—the Playing Pepper section—but you can find some fantasy value in any of this week’s players, which is our goal here at Value Picks.
Godzilla and Lonnie Chisenhall join this week’s Value Picks list, while Michael waves bye-bye to a hot Smoak and a cold Barton.
Fantasy prognostication is not a perfect science, but my Value Picks have been solid, graduating six players in seven weeks, including top performers like Adam LaRoche, Chris Davis, and Will Middlebrooks. Along the way, I’ve made some bad calls too, of course, largely on single-league players like Brad Eldred and Conor Gillaspie. This week features one of both kinds—a promotion and a demotion—along with the usual crop of strong performers available on at least 80 percent of most leagues’ waiver wires.
As the fires from countless Memorial Day barbecues cool off, Michael looks at who’s hot this week among corner infielders.
Memorial Day is a good time to reflect on the relative unimportance of fantasy sports, where injuries are rarely life-threatening, the battles are (mostly) metaphorical, and hitting a bomb is considered a good thing. My deepest thanks to the uniformed men and women who allow (among many other freedoms) these players in a different sort of uniform to play a kids’ game while we fans to watch, before spending inordinate amounts of time dissecting their exploits for the sole purpose of bragging rights in our fantasy leagues. Play ball!
This season’s most significant corner infield call-up makes this week’s Value Picks list, along with an old, dependable, and much-maligned first baseman.
Though fantasy owners always try to anticipate the next big call-up, those decisions often have more to do with immediate roster needs than long-term concerns. As a wise man once said about life, promotion decisions are what happens when a team’s busy making other plans.
The majority of Michael’s VP list turns over this week, but he’s got plenty of replacements lined up, including three who picked up their first home run of the year last week.
Statistically speaking, a single home run (like a single hit) is fairly meaningless. It’s the ultimate small sample, showing how one batter did against one pitcher (and one pitch) under one specific set of conditions. But psychologically speaking, when it’s the first home run of the season, it can mean so much more. The hitter feels confident in his swing or relieved at having gotten his first longball of the season out of the way, and it could mean a turnaround is coming. Look at Albert Pujols: in 27 plate appearances since his first jack of the season, he’s picked up 5 RBI—as many as he picked up in the 114 plate appearances before he finally went yard.
Looking for a replacement for your injured third baseman? Michael looks at plenty of hot-corner options this week, especially in Playing Pepper.
As Jason Collette and Paul Sporer covered in BP’s Towers of Power Fantasy Hour podcast this week, four front-line third-base qualifiers—Evan Longoria, Mat Gamel, Kevin Youkilis, and Pablo Sandoval—hit the DL this past week, leaving fantasy owners scrambling at an already-thin position. While many of the replacement players are marginal, sometimes a warm body is all you need to keep your fantasy squad afloat until more help arrives via an early-season callup. I’ll examine a few of those hot corner replacement options in this week’s column.
As the first month of the season closes, Michael’s Value Picks list only loses two players, although it won’t be long until the list graduates a few more members.
A compulsive lineup tinkerer, I have a rule with my fantasy teams to mess with them as little as possible the first month of the season, except in the case of injury or outright demotion. It’s too easy to overreact to small sample sizes, hot and cold streaks, or that tweet suggesting the manager’s secret man-crush on an obscure player in Double-A.
Despite rising ownership rates, Michael’s VP list stays afloat with some great early-season values.
The deep pool of early draft oversights and lesser-known players is drying up, as evidenced by rising ownership rates among nearly all of the VPs. As your fellow owners start giving up on some of their early gambles and as the injuries keep piling up, that pool will get even shallower. Grab your bargains while you can, before the mad rush for players begins.
Michael graduates his first VP of the season, but he still points out plenty of undervalued corner infielders to be found on your league’s waiver wires.
For our nation’s scholars, graduation is just around the corner, but we start things early here at Value Picks, bidding adieu to our first departee. He leaves the list after quickly exceeding ownership thresholds, but I’ve got lots of other players ready to prove themselves to VP readers, including several bubble candidates in Playing Pepper.
Michael leads off the regular season Value Picks with a fresh slate of productive players you can find on the waiver wire, even in the deepest leagues.
The principle at Value Picks is simple: find valuable players with less than 20 percent ownership in most (preferably all) of the Big Three fantasy sites (Yahoo!, ESPN, and CBS). It’s not always easy to find players fitting this description, but in past seasons, I’ve called readers’ attention to then-undervalued players like Gaby Sanchez, David Freese, and Lucas Duda, who enjoy much higher ownership rates these days.
Michael looks at the fate of several first-round draft picks at the corner infield spots in Colorado, Minnesota, and San Diego, and peeks at some Spring Training stats in Playing Pepper.
If you need further confirmation of how difficult baseball is, compare its amateur draft to those of football or basketball, where first-round picks generally go onto success and top-pick busts like Sam Bowie or Ricky Williams make headlines. Baseball’s draft history, on the other hand, is littered with first-round failures and late-round successes. Some first-round picks eventually help their clubs but not always at the position where they were drafted. This week’s Value Picks looks at several Spring Training storylines surrounding former first-round draft picks and whether there’s any fantasy value to be found there.