It’s a short week in roto, with no games for four straight days. I suggest that you take advantage of the break and spend a few days thinking about things other baseball, reconnecting with friends and family and getting a little rest so you can come back to the game refreshed in a few days.
If you’re still reading this, you have chosen not to take this advice. Very well, then. Let’s get the All-Star week edition of the Deep League Report started.
AL-only position players
The Yankees haven’t quite had the problems with injuries that their crosstown rivals in Queens have experienced, but they’re not far behind. Most of the Mets injuries have been on the pitching side, while in the Bronx, health issues have knocked out just about everyone given a shot at the first-base job. Greg Bird has missed most of the season, Matt Holliday has been on the DL with an illness and Tyler Austin hit the DL with a hamstring injury shortly after his call-up.
The next man up is Choi, who was having a good first half in Triple A, hitting .289/.371/.505 with eight homers and two steals. The 26-year-old has struggled in 142 major-league plate appearances, posting a disappointing .171/.275/.374 line between the Angels a season go and the Bombers this season. He probably won’t have much time to establish himself with Holliday nearing a return and Austin Romine poised to take away playing time should Choi struggle out of the gate. He has shown the ability to draw walks, so he’s a better gamble in OBP leagues than AVG leagues. His eligibility as an outfielder based on 20 games played there with Anaheim a season ago could come in handy in deep AL-only leagues, too. Bid a buck and don’t expect much more than a couple of weeks of stats.
This past week, Presley was activated from the DL into a good situation in Detroit. Mikie Mahtook has done very little to claim the center-field job for himself in Presley’s absence. At worst, the 31-year-old will be on the good side of a platoon, and it wouldn’t take much more than a week-long hot streak for him to claim the job outright. He has hit .286/.355/.393 with one home run and three stolen bases in the 21 games he has played. Expect more of the same going forward. Bid $3-$4 in deep AL-only leagues since Mahtook is unlikely to take any starts away from Presley over the next few weeks.
Miguel Montero—Blue Jays
Quickly designated for assignment by the Cubs after throwing Jake Arrieta under the bus last week, Montero was acquired by the Blue Jays for cash or a player to be named later. The veteran backstop will back up Russell Martin while Luke Maile is on the DL due to a knee injury. His defensive stats against the running game are among the worst in the league, but the 34-year-old has hit .262/.344/.402 with four homers this year, decent marks considering the rigors of the position. He’s worth a dollar pickup in deep AL-only leagues but not much more, even in OBP leagues, since he’s unlikely to start more than twice a week behind Martin.
The 33-year-old isn’t the pitcher he used to be, but Sanchez is looking a little better than he did over the past two seasons. He has decreased his BB/9 rate to 2.6 this year after a 3.1 mark in 2016 and a 2.8 mark in 2015 while increasing his K/9 rate to 8.9 on the heels of two consecutive seasons at 7.9. He has made four starts since rejoining the Tigers’ rotation in June, and given the lack of competition for starts, he should stay there for as long as he can avoid injuries or a disastrous string of performances. Bid $2-$3 and expect what he is now—not what he used to be.
A hip injury postponed Cishek’s 2017 debut until mid-May. Since then, he has performed well, posting a 3.86 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP with 12 strikeouts and four walks in 14 innings. The former closer is unlikely to return to the role any time soon, but he should provide reasonable rate stats and strikeouts over the course of the rest of the season. Bid $1 if you need a reliever in deep AL-only leagues and pad that bid by a few bucks if holds are a category in your league.
Hildenberger earned his recent promotion to the majors, posting a 2.05 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP with 35 strikeouts and eight walks in 30 2/3 innings at Triple A. The rookie has impressed in his first 8 1/3 innings with the Twins, too, allowing only two earned runs with nine strikeouts and three walks. A Minnesota pitcher who can strike out batters is a rare specimen, which means that the 26-year-old could see himself in a higher leverage role in the near future if he can sustain his current level of production. If you like gambling on potential future closers, place a $1 bet on Hildenberger in deep AL-only leagues based on his strikeout totals and his experience closing throughout his minor-league career.
NL-only position players
Despite injuries the Giants have suffered to their infield, Gomez will probably still struggle to find enough playing time to make an impact, even in deep NL-only leagues. That’s not his fault – the 24-year-old was hitting .305/.330/.458 with eight homers in 322 plate appearances at Triple-A when he was called up. He’ll probably end up back in Triple-A shortly after the All-Star break is over, but if you’re thin at corner infield, bid $1 on Gomez as a bet against Jae-Gyun Hwang holding down the third base job while Eduardo Nuñez and Ryder Jones are on the DL.
Tommy La Stella—Cubs
He’ll never get a chance with the Cubs as an everyday player, or on the good side of a platoon, but La Stella can still provide value in deep NL-only leagues. He doesn’t strike out much and he has shown the ability to draw walks at a healthy clip in the majors, posting an OBPs of .357 last season and .385 through 65 plate appearances this season. His positional eligibility is helpful, too, as he can be played at both second base and third base in just about any roto league. That versatility can help accommodate other players who otherwise might not fit into your active lineup. Don’t bid more than $1, but don’t avoid the 28-year-old just because he doesn’t have much power and won’t get a shot at a starting gig with his current team.
With Jayson Werth and Michael Taylor injured, the Nationals were delighted to see Heisey return from the DL to help their depleted outfield corps. The 32-year-old has always seemed a bit stretched as an everyday starter, but he should get a decent amount of playing time for as long as Werth and Taylor are sidelined, considering that his primary competition for playing time is Ryan Raburn. Heisey has done very little at the plate so far this season in limited playing time, but he has decent power and has the potential to pop a few more homers than just about anybody else who might be available in the free agent pool in deep NL-only leagues. Bid $2-$3 and hope that his biceps injury is fully healed.
He hasn’t been anything special, but Chacin has been solid enough in San Diego this season to make himself worth starting in deep NL-only leagues, at least during weeks when the Padres aren’t visiting Denver or Phoenix. You need innings in bulk in deep leagues and the 29-year-old starter has delivered 102 innings across 18 starts with a 4.32 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP, 88 strikeouts and 35 walks. If you’re short on starts or innings, bid a buck or two on the veteran, but think about benching him when he’s starting on the road against the Rockies or the Diamondbacks.
He’s far down the depth chart for saves in Miami, but that hasn’t stopped Wittgren from being useful in deep NL-only leagues this season. The 26-year-old has a 3.62 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in 37 1/3 innings with 40 strikeouts and seven walks. Those strikeouts can obviously help in roto, and his peripherals indicate that his rate stats are likely to be useful through the end of the season, too. If you need relief innings, consider a flier on Wittgren, but don’t bid more than $1 since it’s unlikely anyone else will bid on him.
His 3.14 ERA is a little higher than the 2.53 mark he posted in 2016 and the 2.33 figure he posted in 2015, but Kontos has still been one of the most reliable arms in the San Francisco bullpen this year. Of course, that has a lot more to do with the rest of the Giants’ relief corps than it has to do with the 32-year-old. The righty has 47 strikeouts in 43 innings this year, good for a 9.8 K/9 rate after consecutive seasons in which he struck out less than six batters per nine innings. It’s hard to say if the strikeouts are sustainable, but if they are, he’s easily worth a $1 of your FAAB in deep NL-only leagues.