We are making a change going forward, and The Deep League Report article will appear on Wednesdays starting next week; the Free Agent Watch will take its place on Fridays, beginning today, and will cover any midweek transactions that might impact your interest in available players.
With that out of the way, here are the players who might pique your interest this week:
Shane Robinson, OF, Minnesota Twins
I have written about Robinson in past articles, but he is still available this week in Tout Wars, so I am mentioning him again. The Twins activated Robinson from the family emergency list, and with Jordan Schafer now on the DL, Robinson could go back to seeing extended playing time considering his production before the DL stint. Robinson can still be a source of speed off the waiver wire this week if that is what you are seeking.
Geovany Soto, C, Chicago White Sox
Tyler Flowers’.205/.253/.295 line this season surely hasn’t instilled confidence in the White Sox’ brass, even though his career line of .217/284/.376 should have been a strong indication he is not the future backstop on the South Side of Chicago. Soto is not the answer, either, but he could prove to be a better offensive option at this point. In deep AL-only leagues where a second catcher is a hot commodity, Soto is a worth a flier.
Welington Castillo, C, Seattle Mariners
Castillo was dealt from the Cubs to the Mariners this week, and he will settle in as Mike Zunino’s backup. The veteran backstop’s playing time will probably be limited, but Castillo does have a little pop and has tallied a combined $17 in earnings in standard NL-only 5×5 formats the previous two seasons. In deep AL-only leagues, Castillo is not a terrible second-catcher option.
Slade Heathcott, OF, New York Yankees
With Ellsbury on the DL with a knee sprain, the Yankees recalled Heathcott earlier this week. Chris Young would seem to be the likely choice to get the majority of at-bats with Ellsbury out, but Heathcott has some speed, so the 2009 first-round pick could provide a couple of steals in the interim. That’s worth a buck or two of FAAB.
Other AL-Only FAAB hitting options: Marc Krauss, 1B/OF Los Angeles Angels; David Lough, OF, Baltimore Orioles; Zach Walters, MI/OF, Cleveland Indians
Tanner Scheppers, RP, Texas Rangers
Word out of Texas is that Neftali Feliz’s job as closer is not “secure.” As fantasy owners, we pounce on headlines like that. With a rebuilding team, you might think a pitcher with a dynamic arsenal, like Keona Kela (who has been profiled here), will be given the first chance to show what he can do. However, Scheppers posted 10 scoreless outings in Triple-A after his demotion last month, and he excelled in a late-inning role with the Rangers in 2013 with a 1.88 ERA and 1.07 WHIP over 76 2/3 innings. Scheppers saved 11 games in Triple-A back in 2012, so he’s a nice spec play for us deep leaguers.
Steve Geltz, RP, Tampa Bay Rays
Geltz has a 22-to-7 K:BB ratio though 17 innings with a 0.882 WHIP. The Rays bullpen uses a heavy rotation, which means Geltz will bring value in AL-only formats with these peripherals.
Will Harris / Tony Sipp, RP, Houston Astros
Sipp gave up a walk-off HR to James McCann in the 11th inning yesterday, but I refuse to shy away from my weekly soapbox of why Harris and Sipp should be owned in deep AL-only leagues. Below are Sipp’s and Harris’ updated combined numbers on the season:
3-1, 38 2/3 IP, 45-to-9 K:BB ratio, 0.70 ERA, 0.647 WHIP
I have started to see some traction this past week with both Harris and Sipp being claimed in a few leagues, but still not enough. The two have combined for $9 in earnings in standard AL-only formats so far in 2015, so they continue to have value in deep in AL-only leagues.
Other AL-Only FAAB pitching options: Edward Mujica, RP, Oakland A’s; Tommy Hunter, RP, Baltimore Orioles; Chasen Shreve, RP, New York Yankees
Pedro Ciriaco, IF, Atlanta Braves
With Chris Johnson, Kelly Johnson, and now Phil Gosselin on the DL, Ciriaco should see additional playing time in the Braves infield. Ciriaco is what he is, but has shown he can hit for a high average in Triple-A and does have some speed, which we saw when he swiped 16 bags as a part-time player for the Red Sox back in 2012. He’s a decent fill-in if you have a dead spot in your middle infield.
Other NL-Only FAAB hitting options: Tucker Barnhart, C, Cincinnati Reds; Jose Lobaton, C, Washington Nationals; Rafael Ynoa, 3B/SS, Colorado Rockies
Sean O'Sullivan, SP, Philadelphia Phillies
I have been reluctant to bring O'Sullivan’s name into the mix this year, simply because I have not been a believer. While I still may not be a believer, he’s been effective in the Phillies rotation thus far, sporting a 3.68 ERA and 1.182 WHIP over his first four starts. He tossed six scoreless innings in his last start, Sunday against the Diamondbacks, and earned the win for his efforts. The journeyman gets the Nationals this weekend for the third time in this young season. Monitor that outing, and if he posts another quality start, we might need to revaluate our preseason projections for O’Sullivan.
Sam Dyson, RP, Miami Marlins
The knock on Dyson had been his pedestrian K/9 and H/9 rates, but this year Dyson has improved both his called- and swinging-strike rates to the tune of a 10.2 K/9. He has continued to be an extreme ground-ball pitcher with a 65 percent rate so far this year, following up on his 63 percent clip over his 42 relief innings a season ago. With Cishek now removed from the closer role and with A.J. Ramos’ history of control issues, a pitcher on their staff who boasts improving K numbers and seems to induce double-play groundballs on demand should be owned in NL-only formats.
Jumbo Diaz, RP, Cincinnati Reds
Since a five-run implosion against the Brewers back on April 29th, Diaz has settled in and been much more consistent over his last eight appearances, posting a 0.714 WHIP and .174 BAA. Diaz has a 16-to-3 K:BB ratio over his 15 1/3 innings this season, along with a solid 1.043 WHIP, and he is still the best eighth-inning arm for the Reds (sorry, Tony Cingrani owners). The big fella also saved 105 games in his minor-league career, so if anything happens to Aroldis Chapman, Diaz would seem to be next in line for saves.
Other NL-Only FAAB pitching options: Dale Thayer, RP, San Diego Padres; Jordan Lyles, SP, Colorado Rockies; Luis Avilan, RP, Atlanta Braves
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Thanks for your continued contribution to this weekly article...I always enjoy your comments/insight.
I have been worried about Mesoraco for a while now, and the latest news this weekend is not promising. If you need a second catcher and Barnhart is available he is not a bad option. Barnhart has some pop.
I feel vindicated! I hope both of them keep this up for you - Harris especially has been extremely impressive thus far.
Thanks for checking out the article!