Photo Credit: bridgetds
Most fantasy writers have no problem recommending players you should go after, but do they really pick up all the players they hype up? I’ll answer for them: no. Here on “Star’s Shares,” we’ll discuss players yours truly has personally invested in throughout the three leagues I’m in. If a player is good enough to sit on one of my teams, then surely they are worthy of your attention.
It was a busy week for yours truly. Injuries and slow starts forced my strong, sinewy hand. Fortunately, the waiver wire yielded some solid investments in all three of my leagues.
More after the jump:
The 13-Teamer Pick-Ups
The bros in this tier are the ones many of you will find most useful. This league features just one catcher, three outfielders, and no CIs or MIs. It also utilizes classic 5x5 roto categories and daily free agent pickups. It’s as default as it gets, with one major difference: the innings limit is 2000. It forces streaming and aggressive pitching strategies. This is a league I’ve been running for over 10 years. The league is composed of personal friends of mine, Sons of Roto readers, and a couple of competitive fantasy gamers found on Yahoo! message boards.
My interest in Gordon dates back to before the 2012 season, when Dee Gordon was the poster child for the SS edition of “Tiers, Not Fears.” The high-contact/no-power speedster has obvious three-category upside, with his stolen base potential being of the game-changing variety. He fell on his face last year when given a starting opportunity, but is doing well with regular at-bats so far in 2013 (.265 BA, 12.5 BB%, five steals in nine games). He can carry a team in the SB department, so he’s worth owning in all leagues until further notice.
After homering in three straight, I felt compelled to pick up Moustakas since I had a need at third (Kevin Youkilis and Will Middlebrooks are both sidelined). I’m not too optimistic about what Loose Tacos is bringing to the fantasy table. For starters, I’m always wary about heralded hitting prospects in the Royals organization. Aside from the fact that dudes like Eric Hosmer and even (to an extent) Billy Butler never live up to the lofty expectations, the favorable home parks in AA and AAA greatly inflate the numbers (and hype) of all KC youngsters. I’m merely hoping for some short-term power help and will be thrilled if I get even that. Moustakas will never be a 30 HR guy in KC, but if he can at least hit for a more respectable batting average and provide decent pop, I can live with that for a couple of weeks if I have to. Fantasy owners really hurting at the hot corner can pick him up if he’s available, but don’t be afraid to send his ass back to the waiver wire if he sucks.
This is a classic case of riding the hot hand (something your mom does often when I slip my fingers down her skirt). Loney can always be counted on to hit for a solid BA, but he’s actually providing decent pop this year (.183 ISO) and is a quality add for those of you looking for some BA help. Like Moustakas, feel free to send the Loney Island back to the cold, dark waiver wire if his play falls off.
I never draft people like Infante who offer little in the way of power or speed. However, when your BA is in dire straits, these streaky hitters are the ideal players to add when you are looking for cheap rentals. Even though he hits towards the bottom of the order in Detroit, he’s still providing help with runs scored and is a fine add for those of you looking for 2B or MI help.
Ozuna is a solid offensive prospect, but I didn’t expect him to perform this well in his first major-league run. The batted ball profile is looking right and big-league pitchers aren’t embarrassing him at the plate. He’s got the potential to go 18/10 this year. While I’m not ready to put money on him reaching that goal, that doesn’t take away the fact that he’s a good free agent OF to pick up if you have a hole in your fantasy outfield. Hey, if he starts to get overwhelmed at the plate, you can always drop him.
Koji Uehara/Junichi Tazawa
I actually picked up Uehara a day before Joel Hanrahan suffered a potential season-ending injury. I happened to beat everyone to Tazawa after it was reported that Red Sox manager John Farrell preferred Tazawa over Uehara. I’m holding onto both since I think each of them could be a quality fantasy closer, and I’m content letting this situation play itself out on my roster. Tazawa is owned in most leagues, but Uehara is still sitting out there on a ton of waiver wires. There’s no guarantees that Tazawa will excel in the closer’s role. With uncertainty stills surrounding the ninth inning gig in Boston, Uehara deserves to be owned in all leagues until Tazawa proves he can handle the closer’s job.
The Keeper Krackpots
This is a 10-team, head-to-head keeper league that I joined this year after inheriting someone’s team. Even though it’s only 10 teams, it’s a highly competitive money league that has waivers three times a week. Only one catcher in this one, but five OFs (LF/CF/RF/OF/OF), plus a CI and MI. Saves do not count for shit in this league, which gives it a nice twist. OBP, SLG, K/BB, and quality starts count on top of the usual 5x5 cats. Of course, because it’s a keeper league, you also take next year into consideration with some of the pickups.
My OF injuries are piling up, and even though I don’t think Wells will keep up the hot hitting for that much longer, I’m at least willing to give him a week-long run in my OF while the Yanks are cruising. He’s hitting for some pop, providing a good triple-slash line, and is even sprinkling in some steals for good measure. I’ll take it.
I rode the Yuniesky Betancourt wave for as long as I could, but it was time to make a switch (before Betancourt really starts to shit the bed). Infante isn’t a sexy name, but he’ll be a solid fill-in option at MI for at least this week while I patiently await the return of Aaron Hill.
The Blog Wars Ballers
Blog Wars is the annual Sons of Roto league. It’s a 15-team roto joint that includes writers from Yahoo!, Razzball, Fangraphs, and others. It’s 5x5 and is a daily league, but includes two catchers, five OFs, a CI, and an MI. There are also five DL spots and daily free agent moves are allowed. It’s highly competitive because everyone in here writes about fantasy baseball and is usually picking up a sleeper weeks before the casual fan even hears of them. For this league, the waiver wire is mostly about long-term potential and it’s not uncommon to see people stash dudes who aren’t even starting. Of course, because of the depth, it’s also normal to see people picking up scrubs simply because they are getting regular playing time.
Crawford’s offensive game is obviously limited, but when you play in a league this deep, any warm bodies that are starting on a regular basis and are eligible at MI are well worth owning. Prior to picking up Crawford, I was starting the likes of Munenori Kawasaki and Jordany Valdespin. Don’t get it twisted, I appreciate what Valdespin brings to the table, but he’s still only a bench player on a terrible Mets team, so I can’t exactly be starting him every day. At least with Crawford I’m starting an everyday player who isn’t killing me in any category (other than steals). I just need him to hit for a decent enough BA to make it worth my while.
He’s in a platoon in left field with Andres Torres, but Blanco gets to face righties and he’s playing much better than Torres overall, so I’m confident that he’ll easily see the lion’s share of PAs there. Blanco can chip in on steals and is hitting at a decent .289 clip. With my OF decimated by injuries (Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Reddick, and Peter Bourjos are all on my DL), I have to get creative.
He’ll wind up back on the free agent pile as soon as Chris Heisey comes back, but Lutz has been playing well in Cincy as a fill-in player and I picked him up to provide a boost to my roster in the short-term. He would actually be a decent long-term option in deep five-OF leagues if he stuck around thanks to his power potential, but for now he’s merely a band-aid player in fantasy.
This was a pre-emptive strike to ensure I would have Heisey when he makes his return off the DL. I’m still a believer in Heisey and his plus-power and he will see all the PAs he can handle when he returns. Sure he was doing jack shit prior to getting hurt, but the potential is there for him to be a difference maker. Fantasy owners in need of power or OF help should consider picking Heisey up.