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 “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.
In this inaugural edition of “Shit I Do,” I thought it would be important to lay down some ground rules for how this will all go down:
1) Only players I actually pick up in my leagues will be mentioned in this space.
2) Profanity will get thrown around these parts. It won’t be profanity just for the sake of profanity, but I’m operating on a “write as I speak” basis because that’s what artsy, underground, heroic writers like myself do to separate ourselves from the boring “experts” out there churning out fantasy content that is about as usable to serious fantasy owners as condoms are to me.
3) The leagues I participate in are varied. There’s a keeper league (a 10-teamer, but one with deep rosters, non-standard stats, and a host of competitive owners), a couple of 14-teamers, and a 13-teamer. 5×5 leagues, OPS/triple-slash formats, non-save leagues, save+hold leagues, two-catcher, one catcher, five OFs, two UTILs… you get the idea. The point is, I make all sorts of moves for all sorts of reasons, so you’ll get a varied selection of players that will make sense for the league(s) you play in.
Now that we got the formalities out of the way, let’s commence:
Yangervis Solarte a.k.a. Sol Brother
In any league where I needed an SS or MI, he got picked up. I’m surprised he’s still only owned in 20-percent of leagues considering he’s the fourth best shortstop in Yahoo! fantasy right now. And this is all while hitting ninth in New York’s somewhat struggling lineup. He doesn’t bring much pop or speed to the table (think below double-digits in both HRs and SBs), but he’s been lacing the ball all over the place. He makes a ton of contact and limits the strikeouts, so while his fantasy appeal is limited thanks to his power/speed deficiency, he could give fantasy owners some solid run while he’s on a roll. Who knows, with the way New York’s infield is shaping up, he might be good for a full season’s worth of startable stats in leagues that use MIs.
Abraham Almonte a.k.a. Go Abe Shit!
A little-known talent to most fantasy owners, Almonte warrants an add in leagues that use four or more OFs (or for those of you who think you need a boost in runs scored or steals). He’s hitting leadoff in Seattle’s lineup and has the wheels to steal 20 bases (which should happen if he sticks at the top of the order). Strikeouts are a big concern, which means a shitty batting average is also in play. However, he at least knows how to take a walk (10.8 BB% in minor league career). I see no reason why he can’t return startable fantasy numbers all year if Seattle keeps him at the top of the lineup.
Matt Joyce a.k.a. Matty Nice
This is the first year that Matt Joyce comes into the season with regular ABs (at the DH position), yet the former perennial sleeper has few suitors despite being off to a quality start in 2014 (.391/.500/.609). Remember that Joyce was one of the better power hitters in the first two months of the season last year before falling off dramatically. This offseason, he put on weight and made it a goal to keep strong all year. There is definitely some 25-plus HR potential here (career .206 ISO), so I see no reason to avoid him.
Chris Colabello a.k.a. Ciao Bello
I already shouted out Colabello in an edition of “Homeless Heroes” that spotlighted the virtues of the white-hot slugger, so you can refer to that for a breakdown on why he makes sense as a pickup.
Sean Doolittle a.k.a. Sean Doo-Work
This is only for those of you in the mood for speculating. Jim Johnson blows, this much we know. He just lost his hold on the closer’s job today. Ryan Cook is the favorite for save chances early on, but don’t sleep on Doolittle. In 2012, he recorded a break-neck 11.41 K/9 and has a career SwStr% of 11.8 percent. While left-handed relievers rarely get trusted to handle closing duties, I think a progressive organization like Oakland would have no problems handing the reins to Doolittle if he proves to be their best reliever (which I think he is).
Edinson Volquez a.k.a. Edinson’s Reinvention
Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has turned around the careers of walk-happy, control-lacking veterans before (A.J. Burnett and Francisco Liriano), and I’m very encouraged by the early signs with Volquez. The most impressive stat thus far? His six strikeouts to one walk. For a guy with a K/BB career mark of 1.78, that’s a tremendous 180 (even in a small sample size). He can no longer throw in the mid-90s, but I think his stuff is still good enough to be mixed-league relevant. If you are looking for some SP help in deeper formats, Volquez is a solid gamble.
Jason Hammel a.k.a. Hammel Toe
Owned in just eight-percent of leagues, Hammel is a player deeper league owners can certainly consider. I think the National League will treat him well. Plus, when you can pair solid ratios with a K/9 above seven, you can sit on my staff anytime (pause).
Jason Kubel a.k.a. Toaster’s Kubel
Let me be clear, I’m not very optimistic that Kubel keeps up his strong start to the season (.462/.481/.731). That said, he does have a solid power resume to lean on and the Twins seem intent on running him out there on a regular basis. I only picked him up in one league (a five-OF, two-UTIL format) as an extra power bat. If you are fiending for some pop in a deeper league, chances are he’s sitting on the free agent heap (though I would be quick to drop him if he sucks or another more attractive option pops up).