There are only a few weeks left in the season. For some roto owners, that means fine-tuning their roster to optimize their performance across their league’s categories. For others, it means acquiring assets at prices that make them profitable keepers for next year and beyond. This week’s Deep League Report splits its attention between players who can help you in the standings this year and players who might be a bargain for you next year. Here we go.
AL-ONLY POSITION PLAYERS
Dozier certainly earned his September call-up after hitting .305/.400/.642 in 110 plate appearances in Double-A followed by .294/.357/.506 in 434 plate appearances in Triple-A. Hunter Dozier also hit 23 home runs and stole seven bases combined across the two levels. What the 25-year-old hasn’t been able to do is get into a game with the Royals since he was promoted over a week ago. He might be able to help you with a home run or two, or maybe a stolen base, or even just a few runs or RBI. That’s all contingent on playing time, though, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be getting any of that barring something unforeseen. That said, in keeper leagues, he’s not a bad play for 2017 and beyond. And once the Royals stop thinking about making the playoffs this year and start thinking about 2017 and beyond, Dozier might find himself playing a little. Put in a small bid in keeper leagues and think about putting in a small bid in redraft leagues if you’re particularly desperate or if something happens to one of Kansas City’s regulars.
He played regularly for a short while prior to the recall or Nori Aoki, but it looks like Ben Gamel will be splitting time in an outfield corner for now. He hasn’t done much in his first exposure to the big leagues, hitting .138/.265/.138 in 35 plate appearances. The 24-year-old fared much better in Triple-A this season, hitting .308/.365/.420 in 533 plate appearances with six home runs and nineteen stolen bases. In a part-time role, Gamel can help move the chains for your roto team in the counting categories. And if the Mariners fall out of contention for a wild card spot, the well-rounded outfielder could get everyday playing time through the end of the season. Bid a speculative buck on him and keep an eye on his playing time over the next few weeks.
He’s a boring option at this point in his career, but Michael Bourn can help your team if you’re locked in a tight battle in stolen bases. He won’t do much besides steal bases and he won’t play every day, but he can steal a couple of bases down the stretch in a fourth outfielder/pinch-runner role. That can earn you another half-point or maybe even a full point in the SB category. I do feel the need to note that since the 33-year-old was acquired by the Orioles on August 31, he has not stolen any bases. He did hit a home run for Baltimore, though, which was a nice surprise. Bid a buck or two if you need steals.
It looks like Houston has pulled David Paulino from their rotation after one three-inning start in which he allowed four runs. That makes David Paulino a poor play in redraft leagues, since he’ll probably be used in a long relief role for the rest of the season. He’s a good play in keeper leagues, though, after a great run in Double-A where he posted a 1.83 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP in 64 innings with 72 strikeouts and 11 walks. Steer clear in redraft leagues, but feel free to place a bid for 2017 and beyond in deep AL-only keeper leagues. Make sure to limit your bid in a way that leaves some profit potential for next year. Without that profit next year, there’s no point making a play for him.
After ending last season in Low-A and starting this season in High-A, it’s a bit of a surprise to see Yohander Mendez in the majors. The Rangers simply couldn’t ignore the 21-year-old’s stellar performance this year, as he put up a 2.19 ERA with a 1.02 WHIP in 111 innings across High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A with 113 strikeouts and 41 walks. He’ll be pitching in relief for Texas, but he should still be able to contribute to your roto team down the stretch in strikeouts and rate stats. He also makes a good speculative play for 2017 in keeper leagues, although he’s unlikely to start the 2017 season in the majors. His big league debut against the Mariners was one to forget, as he allowed four hits, one walk, and five earned runs in one inning of work. That shouldn’t dim his prospects for the rest of this season or for next season. Bid $1-2 on the tall, scrawny lefty confidently.
The Yankees may have found a bullpen arm to replace some of the production they traded away at the deadline when they moved Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller. Jonathan Holder had a monster of a season in the minors for the Bronx Bombers, posting a 1.65 ERA and a 0.66 WHIP in 65 1/3 innings split between High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A with a whopping 101 strikeouts and a miniscule seven walks. He hasn’t been quite that successful with the major league club yet, as his stat line shows a 5.40 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP in his first 3 1/3 innings with two strikeouts and two walks. Bid $2-4 if you’re looking to replace a starter with a reliever to lock in your rate stats but still need a few strikeouts to stay competitive.
NL-ONLY POSITION PLAYERS
Roman Quinn has one thing to offer to your roto team: speed. He has stolen 30 or more bases in every minor league season he’s played, and in the one that he didn’t reach 30, he had 29 in only 58 games. Aside from a rehab stint in the Gulf Coast League, the speedster spent the season at Double-A Reading, posting a .287/.361/.441 line there in 322 plate appearances with six home runs, 31 SB and eight CS. Skipping over Triple-A, the 23-year-old doesn’t figure to be an everyday starter in the outfield for the Phillies for the rest of the season, so his opportunities will be few and far between. Still, if you’re in a tight race in stolen bases, Quinn could help you gain a point in the standings even if his role is limited to pinch runner, pinch hitter and spot starter. He might be slightly more valuable in OBP leagues due to his nine percent walk rate in Double-A, but keep in mind that decent walk rates for low-power hitters like Quinn often don’t translate well to the majors, where pitchers choose to pound the zone against hitters that probably won’t take them deep. In deep NL-only leagues, bid $2-4 if you need steals and don’t have anything to lose in the other counting categories.
The numbers that Tom Murphy put up in Triple-A this season speak for themselves: a .327/.361/.647 line in 321 plate appearances with nineteen home runs and one stolen base. That’s a good line for anyone and a great line for a catching prospect. And yes, Triple-A Albuquerque is a great place to hit, but Colorado’s home park isn’t exactly rough on hitters, either. The issue with the 25-year-old for the rest of the season is playing time. He’s locked into a three-way time share behind the plate for the Rockies with Nick Hundley and Tony Wolters, so he might not get enough starts to make the kind of impact he could with a starter’s share of playing time. Bid $2-3 in deep redraft leagues if you’re thin at catcher, and bid a little more than that in keeper leagues as a play for next year.
He isn’t thought of as much of a prospect any more since he’s already 26 years old and he doesn’t have a standout tool, but he did post a solid .267/.316/.435 line in Triple-A this year with fifteen home runs eleven stolen bases in 522 plate appearances. He’ll be splitting time with Ichiro Suzuki and Christian Yelich in the outfield corners in Miami while Giancarlo Stanton is unable to play the field. In a full season, the Alabaman has the potential to put up double-digit totals in both home runs and RBI, although he would be unlikely to reach twenty in either category. That translates to 1-3 of each over the course of the rest of this season. In keeper leagues, it doesn’t look like Hood has much of a shot at a starting gig in the outfield in Miami next year with Yelich, Stanton, and Ozuna in place, but you never know who will stay healthy and who will change teams during the offseason. Bid a couple of bucks in redraft leagues and maybe a buck more in keeper leagues.
He had a good season in Double-A last year with a 2.98 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP in 163 innings with 11 strikeouts and 40 walks. He wasn’t as good I Triple-A this season, posting a 4.34 ERA with a 1.33 WHIP with 39 strikeouts and fourteen walks in 45 2/3 innings, but San Francisco’s needs at the big league level led to Suarez’ callup. His numbers in the majors so far are close to his Triple-A numbers: a 4.37 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP in 70 innings with 50 strikeouts and 22 walks. After several relief appearances with the Giants, he was inserted into the rotation. This week, he has two home starts, one against the Padres and one against the Cardinals. If you’re looking for a two-start starter because you need wins, strikeouts, and/or innings, Suarez isn’t your best option, but he’s one of the best that might be available in the free agent pool in deep NL-only leagues.
He missed 80 games this season due to a PED suspension, but Alec Asher’s performance before and after the suspension was good enough to merit a callup by the Phillies. In 58.7 innings split between Double-A and Triple-A, the 24-year-old posted a 2.46 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP with 40 strikeouts and eight walks. He doesn’t have an elite strikeout rate, so don’t expect tons of Ks. And for what it’s worth, in his one major league start, the Floridian allowed two hits, one walk and no earned runs over six innings, albeit with no strikeouts. He has two home starts this week, one against the Pirates and one against the Marlins. Bid a few bucks if you’re looking for productive innings, but steer clear if you’re in a pitched battle in ERA and/or WHIP since Asher’s pitch-to-contact approach makes him a candidate to put up a disaster start that could cost you in the standings.
After toiling in the minors for years, Grant Dayton made his major league debut with the Dodgers in August. He earned the promotion by posting a 2.42 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP with 91 strikeouts and eleven walks in 52 innings split between Double-A and Triple-A. That terrific strikeout rate and miniscule walk rate caught the Dodgers attention, and he hasn’t disappointed, putting up a 1.77 ERA and a 0.74 WHIP with 28 strikeouts and six walks in 20 1/3 innings out of the bullpen. If you’re in a dogfight in rate stats and are looking to replace a risky pitcher with one who can help stabilize your ERA and WHIP, the 28-year-old is a good bet. Bid $1-2 on the lefty reliever and hope that he can sustain this high level of performance.