Every Monday from now until the end of the season, we will take a look at players with less than 10% ownership (Yahoo!) who should be on your radar in deep leagues. The majority of fantasy baseball leagues are mixed leagues with 10 to 12 teams, though we know many of you play in 18- to 20-team leagues and/or AL- or NL-only formats. This column is for you all.
Lot of outfield help in this week’s column, so if you lost Joey Gallo or George Springer in a deeper league recently, here are some options to replace them—along with some other deep league options around the diamond as well.
Shawn Armstrong, RP, BAL (5% Owned)
Armstrong has pitched in parts of the past four seasons with both the Indians and Mariners, although he never found a way to stick. He’s in Baltimore now, however, and has a 2.45 ERA and a nine K/9 in 11 innings.
Plus, the recent demotion of Mychal Givens has opened up the ninth inning, and Armstrong earned the first save for the team—making him the front-runner for saves going forward.
Make no mistake, Armstrong is far from a sure thing in the ninth inning, and his horrendous walk numbers and 5.15 FIP suggest some hard regression is coming soon. But for now, if you are desperate—I mean desperate—for saves, Armstrong is a guy to target.
Keon Broxton, OF, BAL (1% Owned)
When the Orioles optioned fellow outfielder Stevie Wilkerson to Triple-A Norfolk, it made it even clearer than veteran Keon Broxton has a regular role in Baltimore’s outfield going forward. His loud tools have always been evident, but he has been bogged down by persistent strikeout issues at the big league level.
For the most part, all that is still the same in 2019. He has a pair of home runs and five stolen bases in 41 games but a ghastly .182/.241/.286 slash line as well. His numbers have been better in Baltimore than they were with the Mets to begin the year, but Broxton is what he is at this point. If you’re willing to buy into those tools, he’s worth a gamble as an everyday player in the homer-happy AL East.
Derek Fisher, OF, HOU (1% Owned)
When George Springer went on the injured list with a shoulder injury, it wasn’t uber prospects Kyle Tucker or Yordan Alvarez who got the call but rather the lefty-swinging Derek Fisher. Fisher is a nice prospect in his own right, and he’s held his own at the big league level this season with a .292/.370/.542 slash line with a home run and a steal in 27 plate appearances.
Fisher won’t ever have the fantasy promise that Alvarez or Tucker have, but it is noteworthy that he has been hitting leadoff for Houston in his past four starts. As long as he is the leadoff man for one of the MLB’s best offenses, he should certainly be owned in more than just 1% of fantasy leagues. I’d be taking a look at him in AL-only formats and 14-plus-team leagues, at least as long as he is playing consistently.
JaCoby Jones, OF, DET (2% Owned)
Similar to Broxton, Tigers center fielder JaCoby Jones is a toolsy outfield prospect with a great glove and above-average power and speed but a tendency to strike out far too often at the big league level.
He’s quietly put together a solid season at the plate, however, hitting .236/.306/.424 with six home runs and five stolen bases. His 31.1% strikeout rate is ugly and will forever keep his batting average down, but he has a great chance to post 15/15 on the season and could even get to 20/20 if he plays every day.
For those in deeper leagues, Jones could be worth a look if you can stomach the low average.
Harold Ramirez, OF, MIA (6% Owned)
Ramirez continued his torrid streak into the month of June, as he already has five RBI in the first two games of the month. He is now sporting a blistering .373/.417/.478 slash line, although that comes with a ridiculously high .436 BABIP. While that’s obviously not sustainable, Ramirez does sport a .287 xBA, so it’s not unreasonable that he could hit around .300 on the season, with a fair amount of runs and RBI.
He has limited power and speed, although he could contribute a handful of stolen bases in time. Still, if you need a batting average stabilizer on the end of your bench in deeper leagues, Ramirez is someone to keep an eye on.
Luis Rengifo, 2B/SS, LAA (0% Owned)
The Angels have called infielder Luis Rengifo up to replace Andrelton Simmons, who could be out through the All-Star break. Rengifo has had his ups and downs at the big league level this season, and he currently boasts a .234/.322/.351 slash line with a nice 12.1% walk rate but an ugly 25.1% strikeout rate.
He’s gotten hot at the plate lately, going 8-for-27 (.296) over the past week. While he continues to adjust to major league pitchers, he will probably have his share of clunkers, but his plate discipline makes him a nice option in deeper OBP leagues, especially for those who need help in the middle infield.
Plus, although he has yet to steal a base in the big leagues, he swiped 41 in 2018 and could be a cheap source of steals as well.
Adrian Sampson, SP, TEX (4% Owned)
Rangers right-hander Adrian Sampson fired off an absolute gem against the Royals this past week, going seven strong innings and giving up eight hits and just one run, a solo shot to Jorge Soler. He also didn’t walk anyone and struck out a career-high 11.
Sampson hasn’t had a ton of success in the rotation outside of his latest gem, but he’s worth keeping an eye on if he can continue to strike out hitters and limit walks going forward. I wouldn’t be picking him up outside of AL-only leagues, but anyone who puts together an outing like that is worth at least keeping an eye on.
(Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire)