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.
The trade deadline, which is coming up at the end of the week, often has a monumental effect on the fantasy baseball landscape—particularly in deeper leagues when even more pedestrian players can have major shakeups.
That doesn’t mean you should stand pat until then however. Here are seven players who are worth a look in deeper leagues after dominant weeks last week.
Matt Beaty, 1B/3B/OF, LAD (2% Owned)
It’s got to be frustrating to be a fan of a team in the NL West that’s not the Dodgers. They not only have a fantastic, young MLB squad, but they have a ton of up-and-coming prospects who make them potential contenders for years to come.
Plus, even the unheralded players they acquire seem to turn into stars. The latest—aka Max Muncy 2.0—is Matt Beaty.
Beaty was a 12th-round pick back in 2015. After a solid but unspectacular run in the minor leagues, Beaty made his big league debut earlier this season. Through 41 big league games, it’s hard to complain about his production so far. Beaty is hitting .303/.325/.513 with five home runs and 24 RBI—with most of that production coming in the past week.
Beaty isn’t a regular starter, having only started two of LA’s past 11 games, but he mashed three home runs with seven RBI in his past four games.
Until he is a regular starter—which may not happen considering the Dodgers’ depth—Beaty is only worth a look in NL-only leagues and very deep formats. Keep an eye on him if he ends up earning regular playing time, however.
Tyler Beede, SP, SF (7% Owned)
There’s been a lot made about Giants starter Tyler Beede on this site in the past few days. First, Daniel Port wrote a fantastic Going Deep piece about Beede and his newfound slider. Then, Nick Pollack followed it up by leading with him in an SP Roundup, talking more about his slider after his dominant eight shutout innings against the Mets on Friday.
Beede’s 4.70 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 8.34 K/9 are all fairly pedestrian, but his new approach—the Blake Snell approach of going fastball up and breaking pitches down—has seemed to help him in recent outings. Is he a slam dunk start from here on out? No, not necessarily, and not against the Cubs this week, but he is definitely an arm worth monitoring going forward.
Jeimer Candelario, 3B, DET (3% Owned)
A quick look at Jeimer Candelario‘s season numbers will scare most fantasy owners away, and for good reason: He’s slashing an ugly .218/.306/.371 with a 26.4% strikeout rate and below-average Statcast metrics.
However, after a recent demotion to Triple-A Toledo, Candelario has found his stroke at the plate. Since June 26, a span of 77 plate appearances, the Candy-Man is slashing .304/.377/.594 with five home runs, 13 RBI, and a steal.
The third baseman has always been a nice deep-league piece in OBP leagues, where his 10.1% walk rate really plays up. He’s cemented himself in the middle of Detroit’s lineup, and while they don’t have the firepower they once did, he still earns a fair share of runs and RBI.
I’m not rushing out to pick up Candelario in 12- or 14-team leagues, primarily because third base is very deep this year, but in deeper leagues that count OBP, he’s one to keep an eye on. He’s facing some weak pitching this week in Seattle and LA, so at the very least he could be a streaming option for those who have an extra bench spot.
Jon Jay, OF, CWS (1% Owned)
The White Sox signed veteran outfielder Jon Jay in the offseason, primarily as a way to entice free agent Manny Machado into town as he and Jay are close.
It didn’t work, and Jay spent the majority of the season on the injured list. He’s healthy now however and has quietly cemented himself in an everyday role in the outfield and in the middle of Chicago’s lineup. Through 77 plate appearances, Jay is slashing a robust .314/.355/.386 with eight runs scored and five RBI.
The reason he’s only owned in 1% of leagues, understandably, is that he’s yet to record a home run or a stolen base.
Jay has never been a great fantasy asset because of limited power, but in the past he’s contributed on the basepaths, with 29 stolen bases between 2012-2013. Those days are gone however, which probably limits Jay to being a batting average stabilizer who might provide the occasional run scored. That’s not exceptionally useful in most formats but does carry value in deep mixed leagues and AL-only formats.
JaCoby Jones, OF, DET (2% Owned)
After a short stint on the injured list, Tigers center fielder JaCoby Jones is back and hitting leadoff in the Motor City. In three games, Jones has gone 5-for-13 with three runs scored and a round-tripper. That bumps his season line to a surprisingly effective .252/.317/.458 with 10 home runs, six stolen bases, 31 runs scored, 24 RBI, and a career-high 6.8% walk rate.
I keep coming to Jones not just because of his combo of power and speed and the fact that he is playing every day and hitting leadoff but because his hard-hit data is through the roof. I mean seriously, look at this:
Jones is crushing the ball, is in an ideal spot in the lineup (although it’s not much of a lineup), and has enough speed to make an impact on fantasy teams. Yet, for some reason, he’s only owned in 2% of Yahoo! leagues. I get that his 28.5% strikeout rate is bad and his history doesn’t scream consistency, but for now, I’d be snatching him up in any league deeper than a 12-teamer.
Bubba Starling, OF, KC (1% Owned)
Starling hit his first big league home run on Sunday after racking up his first steal on Friday. He now owns a nice .286/.355/.429 slash line through 31 plate appearances, with a 9.7% walk rate and a 22.6% strikeout rate.
A former top prospect who was nearly out of baseball a year ago, the 26-year-old has had himself somewhat of a renaissance in 2019, with seven home runs and nine steals down in Triple-A. He has now taken over as Kansas City’s starting center fielder, starting eight of the past 10 games.
He earned at least a hit in seven of them, and while he may not be a big power source going forward—his hard-hit rate is a pitiful 17.5%—he should earn quite a few steals and score a lot of runs as a regular starter for the Royals.
Starling is worth a look for those in need of steals, particularly in 14-team or larger leagues and AL-only formats where he is available.
Mike Yastrzemski, OF, SF (3% Owned)
I’ve featured Mike Yastrzemski on this column a handful of times, but his past week has been exceptional. In his past eight games, Yastrzemski went 13-for-34 with eight runs scored, four home runs, and nine RBI. He has been on an all out tear and has settled in quite nicely in the second third of San Francisco’s lineup.
Yastrzemski’s overall line is rather pedestrian, with a .259/.303/.500 slash line and disappointing plate discipline numbers that include a 5.7% walk rate and a 27.3% strikeout rate.
I’m not confident that Yastrzemski is going to be a great source of power down the stretch—he’s never hit more than 20 home runs in a single season until this year—but I do think he’s a nice addition in 14-team or larger leagues and certainly in NL-only formats.
(Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire)
Is Starling just a younger version of Pillar or Kiermaier or maybe A.Eaton? The profiles seem eerily similar.
I would say that’s a pretty high-end projection. His defense is good but not on the level of Pillar or KK, and his offense probably won’t match Eaton’s. A poor man’s Pillar seems plausible, although I’m not sure the power will ever be there.