Big thanks to Mike Gianella for putting together last week’s Deep League Report while I was on vacation in Ireland. I’m well rested and ready to go, so let’s get started and see if I still have my fastball.
AL-only position players
He never has hit much in the majors before this season, but Adrianza is hitting .301/.345/.411 with one home run and six steals in 85 plate appearances. His track record suggests that he won’t be able to sustain this level of performance, but his defensive prowess combined with a level of offensive production somewhere between his 2017 numbers and his pre-2017 numbers could earn him significantly more playing time at the expense of some of the weaker players in the Twins lineup. There’s no need to bid more than $1, though.
One thing has kept Guyer in the major leagues throughout his career: his ability to hit lefties. OK, maybe two things if you also count getting hit by pitches. That first skill has put the 31-year-old on the bad side of a platoon for most of his career, a role that has limited his playing time and his roto production. However, next week (Monday through Sunday 8/6), six of the seven starters that Cleveland is scheduled to face are lefties. Guyer should get more playing time this coming week than he has all season and he will for the rest of the season. Bid a buck if you could use that playing time.
There’s no guarantee that he’ll win the starting second base job in Anaheim over the course of the next month or so, but Cowart is the best option considering that the other ones are the thoroughly underwhelming Nick Franklin and Cliff Pennington. Cowart was having a great season in Triple A at the time of his call-up, hitting .311/.383/.482 with 12 homers and 19 steals in 413 plate appearances. Feel free to bid at least $8-10 on the 25-year-old since players with the potential to provide both power and speed aren’t available in the free agent pool in deep AL-only leagues very often. Bump it up should if league’s context or your team’s needs call for it, especially if your league is a keeper league.
Other Options: Brett Nicholas, Trevor Plouffe, Garrett Cooper
Clippard assumed the closer’s role vacated by David Robertson on the South Side of Chicago when the two switched teams as parts in a multi-player trade between the White Sox and the Yankees. The bespectacled 32-year-old hasn’t made a great first impression on his new team so far—his first two appearances ended in walk-off victories for the Royals. Still, saves are hard to come by in deep AL-only leagues, so Clippard is worth at least a $15-20 bid in that context provided he hasn’t lost the job outright by the next bid processing cutoff in your league.
Traded to Seattle last week, Phelps will occupy the same high-leverage non-closing role he had in Miami. He has put up good numbers all year, posting a 3.28 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP in 49 1/3 innings with 55 strikeouts and 21 walks. The 30-year-old could stand to walk a few less batters, but his line is otherwise solid, especially considering the replacement level of production available in the free-agent pool in deep AL-only leagues. Bid $2-3 if you need bullpen help.
Working exclusively as a starter after making all but one of his appearances as a reliever last year, Cahill has been a revelation. Conventional wisdom says that his numbers should deteriorate moving from relief to a starting role, but the 29-year-old has increased his K/9 from 9.1 to 10.6 while decreasing his BB/9 from 4.8 to 3.5. Traded from San Diego to Kansas City, Cahill is the kind of NL import that can make a big difference in AL-only leagues despite not being as widely known as some of the other players who have switched leagues this season like Jose Quintana and J.D. Martinez. Bid at least $10-15 and feel free to go higher if you have the budget and the need.
Other Options: Ryan Buchter, Brandon Maurer, Sergio Romo
NL-only position players
Coming off a career year in which he hit .270/.349/.510 with 18 home runs in 342 plate appearances, Rodriguez signed a two-year deal with Atlanta, where he was expected to get a significant amount of playing time. Then, in January, he was involved in a car accident and damaged his left shoulder. The injury was originally thought to be a season-ending one, but he was able to make his season debut last week. He hasn’t done very much in his first 20 plate appearances this year, but no one should be drawing conclusions from a sample that small. Bid $3-4 if you need help in the middle infield and hope that the 32-year-old rediscovers his 2016 form.
Ranked number 36 on BP’s Midseason Top 50 prospect list, Kelly is definitely worth a bid in deep NL-only leagues. For the time being, he will be backing up Yadier Molina, a situation which could continue for quite a while considering that Molina’s contract extension runs through 2020. Considering Molina’s age and declining performance as well as Kelly’s pedigree, the rookie backstop should get the chance to start regularly before 2020, but it’s hard to know when that chance will come, making him a difficult valuation proposition in deep NL-only leagues. Bid $2-3 in redraft leagues and as much as $10 in keeper leagues
Called up as a reserve while both Chris Heisey and Ryan Raburn are out, Stevenson is expected to provide depth in the outfield for the Nationals. He wasn’t doing much in Triple A, hitting .246/.293/.319 with only two home runs in 73 games. What makes him interesting for roto in deep NL-only leagues is his speed. He stole 39 bases in 133 games between High A and Double A last season. He probably won’t play much in Washington while he’s up and he probably won’t hit much when he does play, but his speed makes him interesting in the current low-steal environment. Bid $1 and hope that he plays enough to steal a few bags for your team.
Other Options: Tyler Moore, Kelby Tomlinson, Dusty Coleman
After a few seasons as a journeyman middle reliever with mediocre stats, Swarzak has been fantastic, posting a 2.23 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP in 48 1/3 innings, with 52 strikeouts and 13 walks. The White Sox cashed in on his emergence, trading him to the Brewers for a minor-league outfielder to slot into their increasingly formidable farm system. The 31-year-old won’t supplant Corey Knebel as the closer in Milwaukee any time soon, but if he keeps pitching the way he has this season, he’ll still provide plenty of value in deep NL-only leagues. Bid $3-4 to replace your worst reliever or fill a slot vacated by an injured pitcher.
His numbers for the season are terrible: an 8.56 ERA and a 2.05 WHIP with 20 strikeouts and 13 walks in 27 1/3 innings spread across six starts. Bailey was awful in his first two starts after missing the first three months of the season, allowing 14 earned runs in only 4 2/3 innings across both games. In three of his past four games, the 31-year-old has allowed two runs or less while throwing six innings or more, showing glimpses of the quality starting pitcher he used to be. Bid $2-3 in deep NL-only leagues and hope that he can recapture some of his former glory, but be ready to release him if he starts getting torched regularly.
As a soft-tossing lefty with a fastball that doesn’t come close to clacking 90 miles per hour, it’s hard to predict continued success for Suter. Still, it’s also hard to argue with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP through 38 innings. The 27-year-old has a rotation spot right now, and he’ll hold on to that sport as long as he keeps performing the way he has so far. Bid $1-2 on the chance that he can keep this up, but be ready to cut him loose if other teams start hitting him like he’s a 27-year-old rookie with an 86 MPH fastball.
Other Options: Jose Urena, Jake Barrett, Brian Duensing
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