Not dead yet
Photo Credit: Keith Allison
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.
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.
I can’t even start Gattis at catcher in this league because I already own Victor Martinez, which just goes to show how highly I think of Gattis. He’ll be starting in my outfield, and he’ll have solid value there thanks to his elite power this season (.324 ISO and 23.5 HR/FB). Yet he somehow remains unowned in a significant number of leagues. He’s been a top five fantasy backstop to date, but people are still sleeping on him. Even with Brian McCann back in the fold, the Braves are still finding ways of getting Gattis pretty regular at-bats. Why wouldn’t they? Dude has been slugging the shit out of the ball this year and should continue to pile up the high-end power numbers for the catching position.
I actually drafted Reddick in this league, but when the injuries piled up on my team, I had to cut bait. Fortunately, I was able to pick him back up upon his return from the DL. It seems like a lot of people have written him off, but he still possesses a nice blend of plus-power and double-digit SB ability. If you are looking for a potential difference-maker at the OF position, Reddick is worth grabbing.
With Brandon McCarthy on the shelf with another shoulder injury, Skaggs finds himself in Arizona’s starting rotation. Admittedly, I think Skaggs is a bit overrated as a prospect. Don’t get it twisted, he’s a solid player who should pitch in the majors for a while, but his fantasy ceiling isn’t sky-high. His curveball is a nasty swing-and-miss pitch, one he can command with ease. However, his fastball isn’t of the blow-you-away variety (tops out in the low-90s) and his changeup is still a work-in-process. That said, the lefty has shown good control during his pro career, so if he can get ahead of the count and punch out hitters with his breaking stuff, he can be a useful fantasy SP from the jump. He’s worth the pick-up for owners looking for some pitching help.
He’s likely to occupy Cleveland’s closer’s chair for a long time once the organization deems him ready, and that might come sooner than people think. Chris Perez is on the DL with a shoulder injury and his ninth-inning replacement (Vinnie Pestano) has battled some elbow woes this season. Meanwhile, Allen has been beasting on major-league hitters (25.2 IP, 2.10 ERA, 11.92 K/9, 2.81 BB/9). I’ve had a knack this year for owning RPs before they became closers (Rex Brothers, Luke Gregerson, and Junichi Tazawa... soon), and I think Allen fits the same bill. At the very least, he will provide solid ratio and strikeout help for fantasy owners.
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.
For me, Markakis has been one of the most overrated fantasy options of the last five or six years. He never delivers much power or speed, so I never understood the need to roster him in universal leagues. However, he has been on a roll since May 22nd (.345 BA, .292 ISO, 11 RBIs, 9 Rs in 12 games). I’ve been rotating the hot hand at one of my OF spots for most of the season, so even though I don’t like Markakis much, he’ll stay in my lineup until he cools off.
His 4.83 ERA doesn’t look all too welcoming, but Jimenez is doing a lot of things right in 2013. His 9.05 K/9 is higher than any mark he’s had in the majors and he’s also gone back to inducing a ton of weak contact (17.8 LD% and 48.4 GB%). Sure the 4.07 BB/9 is scary, but keep in mind that he’s shaved it to 3.30 in the last five starts. Jimenez will never again be the utterly dominant flame-thrower he was during his hey-day in Colorado, but if his peripherals hold up, he could be a surprisingly useful mixed league option. Owners in desperate need of some SP help should certainly look him up.
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.
Another example of me riding a streaky hitter (pause). Uribe is notorious for going on prolonged tears (or slumps), and he seems to be on the start of one right now. Over his last 25 PAs, Uribe is hitting .455 with five doubles. Sure it’s possible he’ll fizzle out soon and go back to the waiver wire, but stats are stats, so if Uribe is at the beginning of a serious roll, you want in.
This is simply to add some OF depth as I await the return of a couple of injured players. I have no delusions of Coghlan playing well enough to stay on my team all year, but he’s in the midst of a 10-game hitting streak (.429/.442/.643). Again, stats are stats, so if I only get a few good games out of Coghlan, that works for me.