Four of the six National League players profiled in this week’s Deep League Report either play for the Mets or have played for the Mets this season. I didn’t do it intentionally and I don’t think it’s meaningful, I just thought that it was odd once I noticed it. Let’s dive in.
AL-only position players
Wade hasn’t been playing much despite starting second baseman Starlin Castro being on the DL, with Ronald Torreyes getting most of the starts at the keystone in the Bronx. Wade doesn’t need much playing time to make a difference for your roto team in deep AL-only league, though, if you’re in a tight race in steals. The versatile infielder stole 26 bases in only 77 games in Triple-A this season and could steal enough bags in a handful of spot starts and a few pinch-running appearances to make a difference for your team. Bid $1 if you need a middle infielder and if a couple of steals could make a difference for you in the standings.
With Joey Gallo on the 7-day concussion DL, it looks like the starts in left field will be split between Robinson and Ryan Rua. A lefty batter, Robinson should be on the good side of the platoon until Gallo returns. The 25-year-old had a well-rounded line in Triple-A this season, hitting .268/.369/.494 with 11 homers and seven steals. He’s also eligible at middle infield and corner infield in addition to outfield, making very useful in deep AL-only leagues. Bid $1 if you need a short-term fill-in on offense, maybe $2 in OBP leagues considering his solid walk rate.
In 90 career plate appearances in the majors, Jones has yet to impress. The 25-year-old has hit .169/.233/.277 with one homer and one steal in his brief big-league career. He has speed, though, so if you need cheap steals in a deep AL-only league and have a dead spot in your outfield, bid a buck on Jones.
On the 18th, Heaney made his first start of the season after rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, which he had a year ago July. He wasn’t great, allowing five earned runs, seven hits and four home runs in five innings while striking out five and walking none. The 26-year-old was a well-regarded prospect before injuries kept him off the field for most of two straight season, so he’s not a bad upside play in deep AL-only leagues, especially if you need innings. Bid $2-3 if you need rotation help.
With Brandon Kintzler now in the NL, Hildenberger is the primary setup man behind Matt Belisle, Minnesota’s new closer. Belisle has been great and deserves the chance, but Hildenberger has been good himself, posting a 2.77 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP with 28 strikeouts and three walks in 26 innings. The 26-year-old won’t pick up any saves, but he should be able to help just about any roto team in deep AL-only leagues in rate stats and strikeouts. Bid $2-3 if you need a reliever with solid rate stats who strikes out a batter per inning.
A series of injuries to their starting pitchers has left the Twins’ rotation a little thin. Gee is getting a shot in the Minnesota rotation for as long as there’s an open spot. His line on the season is excellent so far—he has a 2.84 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP with 26 strikeouts and eight walks in 31 2/3 innings spanning nine appearances including two starts. If you need innings and/or wins in a deep AL-only league, bid $2-4 on the veteran and hope that he keeps up the good work.
NL-only position players
With Rene Rivera traded to the Cubs, the Mets recalled Plawecki to back up Travis d’Arnaud behind the plate. Before his call-up, Plawecki has hitting .328/.375/.514 with nine home runs in 275 plate appearances at Triple-A Las Vegas, an admittedly hitter-friendly park. The 26-year-old could easily provide better offensive stats than several of the rostered backup catchers in deep NL-only leagues. The guy ahead of him on the catcher depth chart is no sure thing, either, with significant injury and performance concerns. Bid $3-5 and hope that he gets enough plate appearances to move the needle for your roto team.
Speaking of Rivera, the veteran backstop is now a Cub. With Willson Contreras on the DL, Rivera is backing but the recently acquired Alex Avila. It seems like Contreras will not return until mid-September, giving the current alignment behind the plate about a month in its current state. While the veteran catcher is known more for his pitch-framing skills than his bat, Rivera has been decent at the plate this season by his own modest standards, hitting .232/.279/.390 with eight home runs, his highest total since 2014. He could end up with more playing time than a normal backup catcher on the strength of his pitch framing, which would be good for his roto owners looking for counting stats. Bid $2-3 and hope he gets a little extra playing time.
The veteran outfielder returned from the DL about two weeks ago after missing nearly two months with a thumb injury. Since his return, he has started every other game and entered the rest of those games as a substitute. The 28-year-old is a better defensive outfielder than any of the three outfielders ahead of him on the depth chart, so he could end up getting a little more playing time than a traditional backup outfielder. Bid $3-5 in deep NL-only leagues on his modest combination of power and speed and hope that he stays healthy.
Trades and injuries opened up a few spots in the Miami bullpen. Steckenrider’s outstanding performance in Triple-A, where he posted a 1.62 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP with 44 strikeouts and eight walks in 33 1/3 innings, made him an obvious choice for one of the open slots. The big righty has made a good first impression for the Marlins, putting up a 2.79 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP with 28 strikeouts and six walks in 19 1/3 innings. The 26-year-old won’t pick up saves regularly, but his 13.0 K/9 and 4.7 K/BB make him a useful relief option in deep NL-only leagues. If you could use a non-closing reliever, bid $1-2 and hope that he keeps pitching like this for the rest of the season.
Arthroscopic knee surgery ended Scott Feldman’s season early, opening a rotation slot for Wojciechowski, a swingman who has made 16 appearances including seven starts, posting a 5.36 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP with 53 strikeouts and nine walks in 50 1/3 innings. The 28-year-old is unlikely to hold his rotation spot if he doesn’t tame his 2.2 HR/9 rate, but you’re not going to find starting pitchers in the free-agent pool in deep NL-only leagues who are safe bets. Bid $1-2 if you need starting pitching, but be ready to release him if he loses his rotation spot or if he has a couple of disaster starts in a row.
The emergence of Sewald as a reliable bullpen contributor is one of the few bright spots for the Mets this season. The 27-year-old has a 3.98 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP with 60 strikeouts and 17 walks in 54 1/3 innings. He won’t be getting any saves in Queens, but he should be useful to teams in deep NL-only leagues that need relief help. Don’t bid more than $1, but include him in your list of contingent dollar bids if you’re filling an empty roster spot.
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