Straight Cashner Homie
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.
We skipped a week because there was little activity on my end on the waiver wire, but we’re coming back strong with a slew of money pick-ups who could make a big impact for fantasy owners.
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 5×5 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.
After missing two-plus months of baseball, Morrison made his 2013 debut in June and has been a very effective player since returning (.282/.371/.518, .381 wOBA, and .235 ISO). His 11.3 BB% is the healthiest it’s been in three years and he’s making more contact than ever before in the majors (86.3 Contact%). It’s only a 24 game sample size and the oft-injured Marlin could always find his back onto the DL. Yet for right now, there’s little reason to avoid him in fantasy. If you are in need of a OF or 1B bat, you could do a lot worse.
I owned Adams earlier in the season, hoping that the injury-prone trio of Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, and Allen Craig would clear the way for regular playing time at some point. Alas, the Cardinals are experiencing one of those “everything goes right” type of seasons, and Adams has been forced to languish on the bench. However, things may finally be turning. Holliday left Thursday’s game with a hamstring injury, and while all reports indicate that he is aiming to return after the All-Star break, that shit is no guarantee. Holliday has battled back problems the last couple of years and at age 33, it’s possible this hamstring problem will be an ongoing issue this year (he already missed Friday and Saturday’s games with the ailment). It makes sense for power-starved owners to pick up Adams now. Worst-case scenario: Holliday returns as the picture of impeccable health and you send Adams back to waivers with little cost. However, if Holliday needs to go on the disabled list, Adams would quickly become a serious impact fantasy option for the second half of the season.
I don’t like that he’s suddenly transformed into a low-K/high-contact pitcher (especially after posting a 10.10 K/9 last year in the bigs), but it’s hard to argue with the rest of Cashner’s results this year. He’s flexing a quality batted ball profile (16.5 LD% and 53.9 GB%) and has cut down on the walks (2.54 BB/9). He’s still got insane stuff and I have to believe that his pathetic 6.07 K/9 is due to shoot up in the second half. Still, even if he just keeps up his current pace, we are talking about a solid fifth fantasy starter in mixed formats (one that is owned in just 30 percent of Yahoo! leagues).
You won’t get any “Beckham has finally broken out” exclamations here on this site. I’ve pretty much thought Beckham was an overvalued hype-machine by-product from jump street. However, in need of 2B help, I went to Beckham and have been happy with the results. He’s not hitting for much power (.108 ISO) or stealing many bags (a respectable five on the year), but he’s lacing line drives (23.7 LD%) and is hitting at a robust .335 clip. I’m expecting this to be more of a short-term rental, but there’s no harm in riding the hot-hitting Beckham until his bat cools off.
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 5×5 cats. Of course, because it’s a keeper league, you also take next year into consideration with some of the pickups.
No moves made in this league as I’m sitting pat with my roster for the time being.
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 5×5 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.
I had to pick-up an OF after Peter Bourjos landed back on the DL, and Ross was the most competent guy on the free agent pile. He’s been a solid option in July (.283/.340/.478) and has yet to go on one of his patented hot streaks this year. He’s best left for deeper leagues at the moment since he’s not murdering the ball, but he could quickly become a universal add if he catches fire.
Replacing the corpse of Chris Iannetta with Phegley may prove to be one of the biggest upgrades I make this year in fantasy baseball (mostly because Iannetta blows more often than your mom at a Dancing Bear party). Phegley is carrying over his insane power production from AAA, sporting a .345 ISO in his first eight games. Naturally, all that power comes with the potential to strike out a ton and hit below .250 (he’s at .241 right now), so I have to include a “BA liability” disclaimer. Still, he is a must-own player for two-catcher leagues at the moment and is even worth a scoop in one-catcher leagues for those owners stuck starting the likes of Miguel Montero.