Wacha Flocka Flame
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 another busy week for your boy Stat Bundles. I made at least three moves in each of my leagues, so try to keep up as we plow through a variety a free agent fish in the sea.
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.
DeJesus Walks! The Cubs may not be a haven of trustworthy fantasy options, but DeJesus is playing well enough to be owned in more than 11 percent of fantasy leagues. He’s hitting at a .294 solid clip, is scoring runs (24), and is even hitting for some decent power (.213 ISO). Sure the injury-prone DeJesus is not likely to keep up the solid production all year, but while he’s healthy and hitting leadoff, he deserves to be started in more leagues.
The toolsy outfielder continues to see the bulk of playing time in centerfield ahead of Craig Gentry, but hasn’t exactly been lighting up the box score. His power this year has been disappointing, but he’s finally starting to flash some speed. Over his last six games, Martin has swiped five bags and is hitting .389. Speed was never really his biggest asset in the minors (he gets caught stealing an awful lot), but if Texas is giving him the green light, I’m willing to take a chance on the talented OF (unless he starts to fall off... in which case his ass will be back on the free agent bench). Owners in need of some stolen base help may want to give Martin a shot as he is gifted enough to be more than just a one-category helper.
I actually picked up Phelps the morning of his last terrific outing (W, 7 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 3 BB, 8 K), so I didn’t get to partake in those stats. Still, I’m pretty optimistic that Phelps will remain fantasy relevant the rest of the way. He’s always been great at limiting the long ball in his pro career (that helps him a ton at Yankee Stadium), has a nice four-pitch repertoire, and is sneaky valuable in the strikeout department despite not possessing dominant stuff (should keep his K/9 above eight). You’d like to see him cut down on the walks a little, but he’s shown good control throughout his baseball career, so I’m confident that the WHIP will be tidy. Bold prediction: he will have more fantasy value than Phil Hughes by season’s end.
Scott Van Slyke
This add was more of the flier variety, but it could pay some handsome dividends. He’s been beating up minor league pitching for two-plus years now, but the “old” prospect (27 in July) is finally getting a legit look in the majors and is showing off his power (three HRs in 16 PAs). As you can tell by my other pick-ups in this league, I need the OF help. If his power continues to hold up in the bigs, he’ll be a welcome addition to my decimated OF.
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.
I scooped up Loney in this one as a short-term solution for my “What the fuck do I do with Ike Davis?” problem. I mentioned him last week after adding him in my 13-team league (where I still own him). He has zero keeper value, but in a head-to-head league, I can’t just keep letting a walking corpse play at 1B/Util.
I own Jaime Garcia, so when it was reported that he’ll probably need season-ending shoulder surgery, I put in the claim for Wacha assuming he would get the call... he didn’t. Still, I have the roster space to stash this potential fantasy superstar, and that’s what I will do for the time being. Wacha isn’t showing the utterly scary strikeout ability he flashed last year, but he’s still beasting AAA hitters in 2013 (1.89 ERA and 0.90 WHIP). The strikeouts will come, and once they do, he will be knocking on the major-league door. The Cardinals pitching staff has been great so far, but the injuries and some of the overachieving performances they are receiving will start to level off. When that happens, Wacha Flocka Flame will be ready to step in and dominate.
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.
With my outfield in this league destroyed by injuries, anybody getting regular playing time is worth monitoring. Garcia was called up after Austin Jackson was put on the DL with a hamstring injury. He’ll see regular playing time while A-Jax is out, but he admittedly has minimal upside. A potential future 15/15 player in the bigs, Garcia is still a very raw product. He’s not recommended for most fantasy leagues, but anyone in my situation (five-OF league and a slew of injuries to contend with) could do worse.
Scott Van Slyke
See awesome analysis above.
AAA pitching couldn’t handle Valencia this year as he dropped a .294 ISO over 171 PAs before getting called up to the O’s. Yeah, I know, I know. It’s Danny Valencia. The term “deep flier” doesn’t even begin to describe the desperation that comes with a pick-up like this. Still, stranger shit has happened in baseball than Danny Valencia becoming fantasy-relevant.