Week five of the major-league season is upon us already, and now is when we typically will see a lull in viable waiver-wire choices. These limited options make for tough decisions of whether to go with a dead spot rather than spend any more valuable FAAB on a so-so player. As a grizzled veteran of AL- and NL-Only leagues, I have always been of the belief that you need to spend your FAAB when the opportunity arises, and not wait for future uncertainties of inter-league trades or late-season call-ups by big league clubs.

That said, the continued injuries and slow starts by several players have brought us fantasy owners a weekly cornucopia of potential saviors to our respective fantasy seasons. This week offers up some more interesting players, so without further ado, here is the latest installment of The Deep League Report.


Position Players

Eddie Rosario, OF, Minnesota Twins

The Twins called up Rosario this week to replace Oswaldo Arcia when Arcia was placed on the DL with a hip injury. It was a historic debut for Rosario on Wednesday night, as he became the 29th player in major-league history to hit a home run on the first pitch he saw. Rosario can hit, but his defense has been the concern, so the Twins moved the former second baseman to the outfield to accelerate his path to the majors. Rosario has been a top prospect in the Twins organization the past few years and opened a lot of eyes with his performance in the Arizona Fall League, hitting .330 with 18 RBI and 10 stolen bases. Rosario should get his share of ABs in the OF while Arcia is on the shelf and is solid AL-Only FAAB option who has more value in keeper leagues. He might stick if he can continue to produce.

Carlos Perez, C, Los Angeles Angels

Like Rosario, Perez had a memorable big league debut for the Angels on Tuesday night, as the 24-year-old catcher became the first player to hit a walk-off home run in his major-league debut since 2003, when Miguel Cabrera did it with the Marlins. Perez was acquired by the Angels in the offseason from the Astros (along with Nick Tropeano) in the Hank Conger deal and had a strong showing in the Venezuelan Winter League. Perez was slashing .361/.418/.556 in his first 17 games in Triple-A at the time of his call-up, and Chris Iannetta has looked inept at the plate (.094/.192/.109 through his first 21 games). There is no reason to doubt that Perez could steal playing time away from Iannetta if the rookie produces.

Chris Colabello, 1B/OF, Toronto Blue Jays

Remember when Colabello had 27 RBI last April with the Twins? If you don’t, that’s okay, because neither did I. Colabello was called up by the Blue Jays this week after putting up impressive numbers in Triple-A: namely, a .337/.421/.554 line with five home runs in 23 games. With Michael Saunders’ knee still not 100 percent, Colabello could see his share of ABs. He is 6-for-8 with two ribbies in his first two games with Toronto, so maybe he can relive some of last year’s early-season magic.

Joey Butler, OF, Tampa Bay Rays

The former 15th-round pick back in 2008 was called up on Sunday when Desmond Jennings was placed on the DL, and he paid immediate dividends for Kevin Cash by hitting his first career HR in Fenway Park on Monday night. Cash was on record as saying he plans to use Butler "a lot" while Jennings is out, so you should put him as one of your contingency waiver-wire picks if you need an outfielder this week.

Preston Tucker, OF, Houston Astros

While he has not received as much recognition as the more highly regarded prospects in the deep Astros farm system, Tucker has put up solid numbers at every level of the minors. After posting video-game-type stats in his first 25 games at Triple-A this season (.320/.378/.650 including 10 home runs and 32 RBI) Tucker was called up yesterday when George Springer was placed on the seven-day concussion DL. While Tucker does not project as an everyday player in the OF, he has a good stick and could provide offense if you have a dead spot. It’s unclear how long the former Florida Gator will be up with the Astros, but he is worth a waiver-wire flier.

Other AL-Only FAAB hitting options: Jose Pirela, SS, Yankees; David Lough, OF, Baltimore Orioles; Chris Herrmann, OF, Minnesota Twins


Chasen Shreve, RP, New York Yankees

I wrote about Shreve in Monday’s Free Agent Watch. The southpaw came out of nowhere in 2014 and posted a 102-to-15 K:BB ratio in 76 innings over three levels, including 15 punchouts with the Braves over 12 1/3 innings. He was dealt to the Yankees over the winter in the David Carpenter deal, and has been providing Joe Giraridi with productive innings out of the pen this season. While Shreve will not be in the mix for saves with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances handling the late-inning duties, middle relievers who can put up peripherals like Shreve does will always have a spot on deep AL-Only league rosters.

Esmil Rogers, RP, New York Yankees

Rogers has a 17-to-5 K:BB ratio and 1.038 WHIP over his 17 1/3 relief innings. Right now, he is a serviceable arm in deep AL-Only leagues, and hemight be next in line for a spot start if the need arises. Rogers is no someone to target right now, but he is a pitcher to keep on your radar if he continues his success in his middle-relief role.

Will Harris / Tony Sipp, RP, Houston Astros

Okay, I know… let it go, Keith. Sorry, but I love the Astros bullpen and both Harris and Sipp should be owned in AL-Only leagues. The experts may not respect them, but you should.

Here are their combined numbers on the season: 3-0, 28 1/3 IP, 32-to-7 K:BB ratio, 0.64 ERA, 0.600 WHIP.

They are good.

Other AL-Only FAAB pitching options: Tommy Hunter, RP, Orioles


Position Players

Austin Hedges, C, San Diego Padres

Hedges has been regarded as one of the top catching prospects in the game the past couple of years, but that notion has been primarily based on his defensive prowess behind the dish, and not for his skills with the bat. It’s yet another thin waiver-wire week in the NL from a position player perspective, though, so Hedges does warrant some interest. He’s not a bad flier if you need a second catcher, especially in keeper formats.

Other NL-Only FAAB hitting options: Phil Gosselin, 2B, Braves; Tucker Barnhart, C, Cincinnati Reds


Seth Maness, RP, St. Louis Cardinals

Maness is the type of reliever you would think would have more value in real baseball than in our world, but the sinkerballer has earned $17 in standard NL-Only 5×5 formats the past two seasons, showing he brings fantasy value as well. Maness has already picked up two saves this year, and with Jordan Walden on the DL for the next 6-10 weeks, he could be in line for more if Trevor Rosenthal needs a breather. Realistically, Maness is an unassuming but effective reliever who does not allow many free passes, and who boasts strong ground-ball rates that lead to strong ERA and WHIP totals for fantasy owners. If he can grab a few more saves, that’s just gravy.

Zach Rosscup, RP, Chicago Cubs

The concerns with Rosscup have been with his control, evidenced by his walking 19 batters over his first 20 big-league innings. The control issues have not surfaced yet in 2015, and the lefty reliever has a 12-to-1 K:BB ratio though 10 1/3 innings. He has not been used as a LOOGY this year—he’s faced nearly twice as many RHB as lefties—and hehas a win and couple of holds already on the season. Rosscup could be a pitcher to keep an eye on the Cubs bullpen this year.

Nick Vincent, RP, San Diego Padres

If you have been reading my material on the site, you know I love my middle relievers. Vincent was sent down on April 10th due to a roster bind, but he was called back up last week by the Padres, and I expect Vincent to return to his old reliable self. Vincent has been an overlooked fantasy asset in the Padres bullpen, but he has been one of their more reliable short men the past three seasons. Vincent improved his BB/9 rates in each of the past three years (1.8 BB/9 last year), while his K/9 rate jumped to 10.1 in 2014. He was called upon often in high-leverage situations in 2014 and allowed only six of his 42 inherited runners to score while registering 20 holds. Vincent’s numbers would have been electric if not for a battle with shoulder fatigue in June, when he gave up nine runs in just 2 1/3 innings over four appearances before being put on the DL. When he came back off the DL in July, he returned to his dominant form and had 25 consecutive scoreless appearances. Vincent is lethal against right-handed batters, holding them to a sick .162/.199/.227 line the past two seasons. Vincent’s peripherals will help any fantasy team, and he gets an added bump in NL-Only leagues that count holds.

Paco Rodriguez, RP, Los Angeles Dodgers

I wrote about Rodriguez, last week, but felt he still warrants mention based on the Dodgers bullpen. The back end of their bullpen remains a fluid situation because of injuries. With a career 10.7 K/9 and strong ratios in an unstable Dodgers’ pen, I still like Rodriguez as an NL-Only pitching play right now.

Other NL-Only FAAB pitching options: Alex Torres, RP, Mets; Dale Thayer, RP, Padres; Jean Machi, RP, Giants

Thank you for reading

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I like me some Nick Vincent too but unfortunately he's just been optioned back to Triple-A
Hi kalimantan,
Yeah, Vincent had a rough outing last night, and was demoted today.

Not sure if he is masking an injury, but I am holding out hope Vincent will be back soon. The Padres bullpen is so deep, which leads me to believe San Diego will be entertaining trade offers for Vincent. I am not sure why any other team would not be interested, depending on the cost, of course.
I would like it if you added in AAA or bullpen arms that have a good chance of starting in the near future. Every starter in MLB is taken in my league, and I could use some help on prospective starters to watch for.
Hi Todd Stevens,
Thanks for reading and for the feedback!

I have thought about adding AAA players into the mix, but that opens up a much wider player pool of players, and not many leagues allow for minor league players in their FAAB pool.

If there is more feedback from others that this would be helpful in their respective leagues, I am more than happy to sprinkle in some AAA players if it adds value to the folks who check out this article.
The Pirates DL'd Andrew Lambo and called up Steve Lombardozzi, so if you need a Pirates utility infielder and S-Rod and Kang are already owned...
Hey jfranco77,

Thanks for your continued participation in this weekly article!

I have always been a Lombardozzi fan, and thought it was a quality sign by the Pirates. However, S-Rod (or "Serpico" as his Pirates teammates refer to him as) has been a big contributor off the bench for Clint Hurdle. Kang delivered a huge pinch-hit, game-tying HR in the 9th inning against the Cardinals this weekend, and with his salary he will get AB's off the bench.

While I like Lombardozzi, not sure I see him making much of a fantasy impact.
Happy to help, and FWIW, I agree with you. I think the fact that they replaced Lambo with Lombardozzi means they really view "Serpico" as more of a PH and backup OF/1B than 2B/SS.
In a traditional 4x4, would you cut starters like Garza and Marquis loose for middle relievers like Maness and Rosscup? If I did so, I'd be effectively dumping Ws.
BTW, it's an NL-only. In case that isn't obvious.
For Maness, probably yes. I'm always hesitant to bet on MRs with a couple good months of performance. They can be just as volatile as a low-level SP.

I'd happily broom Marquis. I really want to believe that the new pitch will fix him but I just can't get into it.

Garza's SwStr is down a little and his margin for error was always so thin anyway... I want to like him, but I could probably pull the trigger on dumping him.
Hi timjrohr,

Thanks for checking out the article and for your question!

I am in a traditional 4x4 league, so I know the dilemma with Garza. In the last three years, here are Garza's 4x4 earnings - $5, $9, $7...not overwhelming. You like to have a regular SP that does not throw up negative earnings, but how valuable are those innings when middle relievers off the waiver wire are putting up sick ratios?

I would drop Marquis in a heartbeat for Maness, and would also do so for Rosscup. As for Garza, I would try to leverage Garza in a trade, pushing his value as a serviceable SP, which has value in NL-Only leagues.

Garza's dramatic reduction in K rates and his overall drop in performance in his first six starts at his age raised big red flags for me. He might be worth another start or tow, but the leash should be very short, timjrohr.