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: fuck no. Here on “Shit I Do,” I will discuss players yours truly has personally invested in throughout the five 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’s been a hot minute (really, a hot furlough) since we blessed you with another edition of “Shit I Do,” but we’re back with a horde of players to discuss. No need wasting space with an intro, let’s get it:
Cameron Maybin a.k.a. It’s Gonna Be May…bin
Owned in just two-percent of Yahoo! leagues, Maybin is worthy of a mass pick-up in most formats. After missing the early part of the season with a biceps injury (bro, he doesn’t lift), he’s been on fire since coming off the DL. In 27 PAs, dude is rocking a .360/.407/.560 slash line. It’s not a total surprise, as the Padres were loving the way he was making consistently hard contact in the minors prior to coming off the DL. Maybin has been an inconsistent fantasy option throughout his career, but he’s always been ultra toolsy and is on a roll right now. Though he has yet to show off his wheels, he once stole 40 bases in a season and is an ideal pickup for those of you looking for a speed boost. Yeah he might fall off, but it wouldn’t be a shock if Maybin capitalized on his talent and put together a very productive fantasy campaign.
Marcus Semien a.k.a. Art Official In-Semien-ation
Ain’t no monkey business going on with this Semien. Eligible at second base, homeboy is owned in just 13 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Kind of crazy considering the stat-stuffing roll he’s been on (three HRs, three SBs, 19 runs, 16 RBIs). Granted, he’s hitting just .213, and that figure might not improve by much since he whiffs like whoa (30.8 K% this year). He also might lose some ABs to Connor Gillaspie once he comes off the DL (should be within a week). That said, I still think he’s well worth a scoop. Semien is playing too well to simply be benched, and if you can absorb the weak BA, he could be a nice asset to run with. He’s got the skill to go 15/20, and if he starts hitting near the top of the order again, the counting stats could be among the best at the 2B position. If you need a two-bagger or MI, I would pounce on Semien if he’s still available.
Corey Dickerson a.k.a. Ladies Call Him “Corey Dick-in-son!”
I already gave you my reasons for picking up Dickerson in a “Homeless Heroes” episode a couple of weeks ago. Since then, Dickerson has put up a .360/.370/.600 triple-slash while hitting towards the bottom of the order. Mark my words: if the Rockies let him continue to play everyday, he will be (at worst) an OF3 by season’s end (with the upside for much more). Go grab him if he’s still out there.
Alcides Escobar a.k.a. Alcides Bitch Tomorrow Instead of Tonight
Over his last 17 games, Escobar has hit .293 with five steals and 12 runs. Yes he’s merely a three-cat player, but he’s getting it done in those three categories right now and has the wheels to finish with 30-plus steals. Still available in almost 70 percent of Yahoo! leagues, he’s a must-have player for owners needing speed at their SS or MI position.
Brian Roberts a.k.a. Health Don’t Fail Me Now!
After starting the season off horribly, Roberts has been relatively steady lately. Over his last 11 games, dude is hitting .326 with two SBs and nine runs. The 2B position is atrocious, and Roberts is worth riding (pause) with when he’s on his three-cat game (as he is right now).
Josh Beckett a.k.a. The Fried Chicken Finagler
Once a highly sought-after fantasy asset, Beckett is now owned in just 24 percent of Yahoo! leagues despite showing a lot of life in 2014. He still has decent zip on his fastball (averaging 92.2 mph per Fangraphs), has cut down on the walks, and is accruing strikeouts at a quality clip (9.42 K/9). Granted, that K/9 will probably drop closer to 8.00, but still, there’s value to be had in this overlooked, former Red Sox slob. HRs are always the thing to keep an eye on with Beckett, but pitching half his games at Dodger Stadium should allow him to post a solid ERA.
Jake McGee a.k.a. Grant Balfour Blows (Saves and Ass)
Grant Balfour owns a 4.73 ERA and 1.37 WHIP, and while he’s looked good in his last couple of outings, he can’t touch McGee’s status. With a 96.5 mph average fastball this season, McGee is just mowing down hitters. He is the best reliever in Tampa Bay’s bullpen, and that’s saying a lot since they are loaded with quality relief arms. I think it’s only a matter of time before McGee is closing games for the Rays, so he makes a nice stash for fantasy owners looking ahead for saves.
Aaron Loup a.k.a. Loup Deville
I spent $11 FAAB bucks on Loup in the one league I own him. Yeah, Casey Janssen seems close to a return and would likely assume closing duties once he’s back to being himself, but we’ve already heard that a couple of times this year. Relief pitchers are up and down from year to year, so I’m not convinced that Janssen (who has had a couple of setbacks already this year) will just pick up where he left off last year. He’s a 32-year-old relief arm with a year-and-a-half of success closing. Yeah Janssen was great last year, but so was [insert dude who already lost their closing gig this year]. Loup, on the other hand, is getting the job done right now, and for that reason alone, he deserves to be owned in more than just 15 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Will Smith a.k.a. Willenium
Francisco Rodriguez has the closing gig in Milwaukee on lock down, but the other cleat can drop at any moment for the 32-year-old who is seeing a ton of work right now. If (when?) K-Rod finally loses it, Will Smith should be the next in line for saves. Even if you think K-Rod will be this good for the rest of 2014, Smith is still an option for fantasy owners looking for strikeout and ratio help. He has been dominating hitters this year, which isn’t a huge surprise considering his breakout performance as a reliever last year.
Lorenzo Cain a.k.a. Cain Disabled
The oft-injured Royals OF is back on the field, and in his first game after getting activated off the DL he went 4-for-5. He’s now hitting .360 on the season and can provide some help in runs scored and steals. Yeah he’ll probably get hurt again at some point, but for now, owners in five-OF leagues can give him a look.
Danny Espinosa a.k.a. Danny Do-Work
With Ryan Zimmerman on the DL, Espinosa is seeing regular playing time in Washington and is showing off his trademark power and speed (four HRs and four SBs in 2014). The career .232 hitter will always be a BA liability, but like Marcus Semien, there is absolute value here considering he is eligible at 2B in fantasy. If you have a banged-up or struggling MI, feel free to roll with Espinosa while he’s playing regularly (and hitting).
Jordan Lyles a.k.a. ER Jordan
How is Jordan Lyles pitching in Colorado yet tossing up a 2.62 ERA and 1.05 WHIP? Easy, ground balls homie. Well, that and a tidy 2.01 BB/9 (by far the lowest of his career). He’s useless for strikeouts (anemic 4.84 K/9 in 2014), but if you are looking for a back-of-the-fantasy-rotation arm to help stabilize your ratios (think, Kyle Lohse), then feel free to add Lyles. You have to figure the Coors Field effect will get to him at some point, but if he keeps inducing grounders, his value should stick.