I acquired two of the six AL-only players and one of the six NL-only players featured in this week’s Deep League Report in my home leagues. I don’t just talk the deep-league game, I live it. If you want to know which players I picked up and what I paid for them, ask me in the comments. On with the show.
AL-only position players
Acquired by the Athletics from the Mariners earlier this month in exchange for Yonder Alonso, Powell should get a decent amount of playing time down the stretch as the good side of a platoon in center field with Rajai Davis. The 24-year-old outfielder has some speed and could swipe a few bags for your roto team over the final six weeks of the season. He’s worth a $6-10 bid in deep AL-only leagues, since steals and playing time are both hard to come by in the free-agent pool, especially at this time of year. Just don’t expect any power.
The Blue Jays have three catchers on the DL right now, leaving Lopez as the starter in Toronto. He has done very little with his playing time so far, collecting only one hit (a single) and one walk with six strikeouts in 12 plate appearances. The 29-year-old hit very well in Triple-A this season, however, posting a .293/.368/.551 line with 12 homers in 223 plate appearances. Lopez could move back into a backup role as early as this weekend with Miguel Montero possibly being activated. Until that happens, Lopez provides something that is hard to find in the free-agent pool in deep AL-only leagues: playing time. Bid $2-6 and hope that he keeps the starting role a little longer than it looks like he will.
Injuries to Lonnie Chisenhall and Michael Brantley have moved Jackson from a reserve to a starter. Quietly having a great season as a part-timer, he sports a .312/.383/.490 line with four homers and one steal in 180 plate appearances. With newly acquired Jay Bruce in one outfield corner and Bradley Zimmer in center, Jackson is getting the majority of his starts in the other outfield corner, but that could come to an end soon with Chisenhall potentially returning by this weekend. Even if it won’t last for the rest of the season, though, playing time is playing time, especially in deep AL-only leagues. Bid $2-5 because it’s hard to believe that Cleveland won’t find a way to keep Jackson in the lineup semi-regularly if he keeps hitting the way he’s been hitting—even after Chisenhall returns to action.
Other Options: Trevor Plouffe, Nori Aoki, Max Stassi
The trade of Tyler Clippard to the Astros has created another opening for the closer’s role on the South Side of Chicago. It looks like the frontrunner for the job this time is Minaya, who has yet to allow a run in five August appearances with six strikeouts and three walks in four innings. On the season, the 26-year-old has a 4.61 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP with 36 strikeouts and 12 walks in 27 1/3 innings. Of course, the White Sox could just as easily give the bulk of their save chances to Jake Petricka or Gregory Infante, so don’t think that Minaya is a lock for saves for the rest of the season. Bid $5-7 as a speculative play in deep AL-only leagues, but understand that you’d be taking on a lot of risk if you get him.
If you’re desperate for starting pitching or innings in bulk in a deep AL-only league, take a look at Graveman. If you don’t have a dire need for starts, look elsewhere, since the 26-year-old has been hit hard since his return from the DL, allowing 12 earned runs, 23 hits and three walks with 10 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings spanning three starts. Don’t bid more than $1 under any circumstances, and be ready to release him if he doesn’t turn things around in his next few starts.
Like Kendall Graveman, Fister is only worth consideration as a pickup deep AL-only leagues if your team is seriously hurting for starting pitching. The veteran righty has a 5.03 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP with 33 strikeouts and 19 walks in 39 1/3 innings, starting six games and relieving in three. He has made two starts since taking the rotation spot left open after David Price hit the DL and has performed slightly better than he did earlier this year, throwing 14 innings and allowing five earned runs with 12 strikeouts and two walks. If you need a starter, bid $1 and hope that e doesn’t have a disaster start for your team.
Other Options: Gregory Infante, Ryan Pressly, Jake Petricka
NL-only position players
On the one hand, La Stella won’t play every day because of the depth of the Cubs’ roster. On the other hand, La Stella could get more playing time than most utility players because Joe Maddon likes to get creative with his lineups. It can’t hurt that in 83 plate appearances, the 28-year-old has hit .313/.422/.493 with two homers. If you need a little production and some positional flexibility and you don’t need an everyday player, bid $1 of FAAB on the versatile veteran. His eligibility at both corner and middle infield could help you widen the range of hitters you can acquire a few weeks from now when you’re dealing with injuries, and that can be important in deep NL-only leagues.
The hand injury that kept Nolan Arenado sidelined for a few days gave Valaika some extra playing time. That’s a good thing since the 24-year-old has done well in limited playing time, hitting .273/.301/.561 with 10 home runs in 150 plate appearances. Arenado returned to the lineup Tuesday night, so Valaika’s days as a starter already have come to an end, but given the way he has hit, it would be surprising if the Rockies didn’t find a way to get him some plate appearances. Bid $1 and see what kind of playing time he gets over the next couple of weeks.
The .273/.298/.545 line that Coleman is currently sporting in 47 plate appearances isn’t all that good, especially the sub-.300 OBP. The distressing thing is that this mediocre line probably flatters the rookie considering that he hit .209/.280/.438 with 14 home runs in 348 plate appearances in Triple-A. He’s also 30 years old, so he’s not a prospect and is unlikely to develop as a player. He has a little pop, though, and he’s been playing fairly regularly for the Padres, so he might be able to contribute some counting stats to your roto team’s totals. Bid $1 if you need a middle infielder and really need to gamble in a deep NL-only league.
Other Options: Andrew Susac, Lane Adams, Carlos Moncrief
Tuesday night was not a good night for Banda. In four innings against the Astros, the southpaw allowed eight earned runs, nine hits and three walks with three strikeouts. He’s still worth a look in deep NL-only leagues since he’s a starting pitcher with strikeout potential and those are few and far between in the free-agent pool. Don’t bid more than $1 on the 24-year-old rookie since he walks too many hitters and will probably have a couple more bad starts like this one before the season is done, but don’t rule him out since innings are innings and you need them to win.
His comeback from testicular cancer is inspiring as hell and led to one of the best Twitter threads I’ve seen in a long time. The fact that Bettis pitched extremely well in his season debut was nearly lost in the shuffle. He threw seven scoreless innings with two strikeouts and no walks. If you need a starter’s innings in a deep NL-only league, bid a couple of FAAB dollars on the 28-year-old and don’t worry about the fact that he pitches for Colorado.
When Vince Velasquez landed on the DL again earlier this month, the Phillies moved Mark Leiter from the bullpen back into the rotation. The swingman has decent numbers on the season: a 4.08 ERA, a 1.23 WHIP, 45 strikeouts and 19 walks in 46 1/3 innings. The righty has been better than that in his last two appearances, allowing only one earned run and no walks while striking out 16 over 9 1/3 innings. He’ll probably remain in the rotation for the foreseeable future since he’s performing well and no timetable has been set for Velazquez’ return. If you need innings or strikeouts, bid $2-4 on the rookie and see what happens.
Other Options: Carter Capps, Matt Bowman, Luis Garcia
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I picked up Boog Powell for $3 as a replacement for the injured Michael Brantley. The new A's CF was my second choice for my open OF spot behind NL import Jay Bruce. My $36 bid on the former Met finished second to a $41 bid from another contending team.
I picked up Rafael Lopez for $2 as a replacement for the injured Russell Martin. Given the number of injuries behind the plate for the Blue Jays, I figured that Lopez would get more playing time in the short term than any of the other catchers available in the free agent pool. The complete list of other catchers available included Dustin Garneau, Cam Gallagher, Omar Narvaez, Chris Gimenez, Juan Graterol and Roberto Perez on waivers with an $8 contract.
I picked up Anthony Banda for $3 and released Pat Neshek. I acquired Pat Neshek a few weeks ago when it looked like he might get some saves for the Phillies before he was traded to Colorado.