Going, Going, Yan
Photo Credit: james_in_to
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.
Making a shit-ton of moves at this point of the season doesn’t necessarily reek of desperation. I’m all about maximizing stats across all positions, so if a player isn’t getting the job done (talking to you Ike “Watch My Career Crash” Davis), you have to sit/drop him and move on to the next one. Plus, if you make enough moves, you come across a long-term option who you can use the rest of the season... as long as you don’t drop him.
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.
In Yahoo!, Gomes is eligible at 1B, 3B, and catcher, which gives fantasy owners some nice flexibility. Of course, it’s his catcher status that should have fantasy owners getting all moist in their undergarments. Never a heralded prospect, Gomes is being overlooked in fantasy mostly because people have no idea who the fuck he is. Yet for an unknown player, he had a pretty decent minor league career. His career ISO in the minors sits at a solid .197 mark, and that comes with a .287 BA. Gomes spent years with the Blue Jays before he was traded to Cleveland this winter. People in baseball tended to view him as a utility player throughout his career, thanks to his ability to play multiple positions. However, he’s making his case for regular playing time with the Indians (68 PAs, .292 BA, .338 ISO, 5 HRs, 12 RBIs/Rs). If he keeps hitting like this, he should have no problem finding at-bats in Cleveland’s lineup. Right now, walking corpse Jason Giambi is the primary DH. Since Gomes can play all over the field, manager Terry Francona has the luxury of spelling his everyday players by giving them some DH at-bats (or just sticking Gomes there). Of course, there is a very good chance that he’ll do jack shit and end up being dropped. However, Gomes is well worth owning in all Yahoo! leagues simply based on the fact that he’s eligible at catcher and could be a season-long solution at that position.
This is my annual Brandon Belt pick-up. It’s been a rough go for Belt since he arrived to the majors with so much promise. Between Belt’s inconsistencies and Bruce Bochy’s distrust of the first baseman, it’s been a languishing ordeal for anyone who has owned Belt over the last couple of years. It looked like 2013 would be more of the same when he opened the first month of the season with a .235 BA. However, he’s been way better in May (.277/.373/.523 and .246 ISO) and is getting ample playing time as a result. I’ve been let down by Belt too many times before to fully trust that he’s finally turned the page. However, we can’t ignore the fact that he’s shown serious promise in his minor league career and is talented enough to be a fantasy star. He warrants ownership in most leagues because he has more offensive potential than a Louis CK standup set.
This marks the third time Seth Smith has been picked up in a league of mine. As I’ve said before, Smith is a streaky hitter who is well worth riding when he’s hot (pause). If you have an OF or UTIL struggling to get it done, bench them and pick-up/start Smith.
This was more of a stream play against the Marlins, but if he pitches well, I may let him stick around for at least one more turn in my rotation. I’m not convinced that Odorizzi will be a reliable fantasy option since he doesn’t have overpowering stuff and lacks consistent high-end statistical production in the minors. Still, he is talented, so he’s getting a shot.
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’ve grown tired of Vernon Wells, so a streaky Smith will work just fine at filling my fifth OF spot for now. A stellar example of the advice I just gave you a couple paragraphs before. Damn I’m nice.
Jorge De La Rosa
He’s a two-start SP this week, and will pitch against the ‘Stros Lights and Dodgers. That makes him a solid H2H start. Mixed leaguers don’t really need to take stock of De La Rosa for anything other than streaming purposes, but he is someone to keep an eye on. His strikeout totals have been disappointing so far, but his 9.0 SwStr% indicates his K/9 should get near the 7.0-range (instead of the 5.5 he’s at right now). De La Rosa owns a career 7.77 K/9, so it’s possible he’ll become of use again in that category at some point. When that happens, he’ll be worth owning as a SP5. Until then, treat him like a pair of old inner city sneakers and leave him on the wire.
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.
Gomes carries even more value in this league thanks to the deeper starting lineup, enabling me to plug him at a variety of positions if dudes like Pedro Alvarez and Luke Scott are struggling or have a tough match-up. Of course, I will never do that. I’m maximizing his value as a backstop and starting him there.
I picked Adams up on the same day that last week’s “Star’s Shares” was posted, but he’s only worth owning for the next few days if Kevin Youkilis works his way back into the Yankee lineup. Adams has performed admirably over his first 37 PAs (.306 BA, 2 HRs, 6 Rs). 12-team mixed leagues have no need to concern themselves with Adams as he has very modest power, but owners in deeper formats can certainly find a home for this BA bandaid if there’s a setback for Youkilis.
For whatever reason, a Mets uniform was just what Rick Ankiel needed to be a solid fantasy contributor. Ankiel has been killing it with NY (39 PAs, .278 BA, .333 ISO) and the team’s OF is terrible enough to allow him to play regularly. The odds are against him doing this all season, but If he keeps showing this type of power (two HRs, four 2Bs, and a triple), he’ll be a bonafide fantasy option.
Erik Kratz/Chris Iannetta
I’ve owned Chris Iannetta since buying him in an auction league for two bucks. Yet he was performing so terribly that It got to the point that I was willing to entertain any alternative. Enter Erik Kratz. Then Iannetta blasted a HR on Thursday and Friday. Enter Chris Iannetta. I’m seriously hoping Iannetta sucks again because I’m really not too fond of owning him, but I also don’t want to see one of the other bloodsuckers in this league pick him up if he goes on a tear. The things we do for our fantasy sports teams.