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.
Not a lot has happened since the All-Star break, but a few call-ups and some strong performances have vaulted some new players onto the list for this week. Enjoy!
Luis Arraez, 2B/OF, MIN (3% Owned)
Luis Arraez was featured last week, but I couldn’t leave him off now that his hit streak has reached nine games. He’s now slashing .385/.444/.510 in 108 plate appearances on the season. The sample size remains small, and the two home runs and one stolen base aren’t exactly lighting your fantasy league on fire, but any player hitting that well deserves a closer look.
Arraez boasts a 10.2% walk rate and just a 7.4% strikeout rate, and while his .402 BABIP is going to come down, his .323 xBA proves he is still hitting really well. Arraez has been a mainstay in Minnesota’s lineup for the month of July, and while he’s shifted around the batting order, it’s safe to say he will rack up plenty of runs and RBI in a loaded lineup.
I’m not ready to jump on Arraez in 12-teamers, but anything deeper than that, and he is probably worth a look. His high-contact approach could lead to a future breakout if he develops some more raw power—a la Jose Altuve and Francisco Lindor.
Mike Brosseau, 2B/3B, TB (3% Owned)
The Rays seem to just find these guys, don’t they? Infielder Mike Brosseau is slashing an absolutely blistering .395/.425/.816 through his first 40 big league plate appearances, including three home runs in the past two days.
While that power surge may seem fishy, it’s worth noting that Brosseau knocked 15 round-trippers for Triple-A and hit 13 homers with 11 stolen bases in 2018 at Double-A.
The biggest question for Brosseau going forward will be playing time. While he’s started seven of the past eight games and has certainly earned more at-bats, the team will eventually get Brandon Lowe and Matt Duffy back from the injured list. Now that Nate Lowe has cemented himself into the lineup full time, Brosseau may end up in a super-utility role, which will hamper his fantasy value.
Still, while he’s playing every day, I’m snatching Brosseau up in 14-team leagues or deeper and don’t even mind people grabbing him as a temporary stopgap in 12-teamers.
Dylan Bundy, SP, BAL (9% Owned)
So this isn’t the first time I’ve suggested picking up a veteran pitcher with, shall we say, less-than-stellar numbers. Dylan Bundy hasn’t had much success in the past few seasons, and he’s currently sporting a 5.28 ERA a 1.37 WHIP and a 4-11 record. And he’s on the injured list.
If you’re still with me, here’s why I think Bundy could be worth a look in deeper leagues. For starters, he’s posting a very solid 9.49 K/9, and while his 3.13 BB/9 isn’t great, it’s not terrible either.
Believe it or not, Bundy is extremely close to having two Money Pitches in the first half. His changeup is boasting a 44.4% O-Swing rate, a 44.7% zone rate and a 18.1% swinging-strike rate. Meanwhile, his slider has a 42.9% O-Swing rate and a massive 23.4% swinging-strike rate but falls just short in the zone rate at 38.3%.
So we have a pitcher who boasts an ERA higher than 5 but with two of the best pitches in baseball. He’s always been homer prone—and the juiced balls of 2019 certainly aren’t helping—but if he can mix his pitches a little better (his fastball is awful), he could find plenty of success in the second half.
Bundy is only expected to miss one start and should be back for the second half. If he gets traded to a team that has a history of turning pitchers around (Houston, anyone?), he could be a great buy-low candidate. Even if not, I’m willing to give him a chance in deeper formats.
Jeimer Candelario, 3B, DET (2% Owned)
Jeimer Candelario was featured last week, but he gets another nod after racking up four RBI in the three games since the All-Star break.
In fact, since June 26, Candelario is slashing .319/.396/.638 with four home runs, one stolen base, and eight RBI. His early-season struggles have bogged down his overall slash line, which is an ugly .216/.306/.361, but it certainly looks like Candelario has turned things around after a rough start to the year.
Candelario now appears locked into Detroit’s lineup going forward, and while it’s not exactly Murderer’s Row, he should find opportunities to knock in runs if he can stick in the lineup going forward.
I’d expect Candelario to be worth owning in any league deeper than 12 teams, especially formats that count OBP.
Alex Dickerson, OF, SF (4% Owned)
After 19 disastrous games with the Padres to start the year, Alex Dickerson was waived and ended up catching on with their NL West foe to the North, the San Francisco Giants.
Dickerson has had considerably more success in the Bay, boasting a .340/.421/.740 slash line with four home runs and 15 RBI in just 17 games played.
He’s not going to hit .340 going forward, but in an outfield that needs help, he should hold on to a full-time role as long as he is hot at the plate. In NL-only and deeper mixed formats, he’s worth picking up and riding out while he’s hot at the plate.
Phillip Ervin, OF, CIN (0% Owned)
Reds outfielder Phillip Ervin is having a weird year. In 65 plate appearances—an admittedly small sample size—Ervin has a .356/.415/.593 slash line with nine runs and nine RBI. Great, right? He also has a disastrously bad 32.3% strikeout rate, fanning 21 times this season.
His recent 6-for-6 performance definitely ballooned his numbers, but if he can sneak his way into an everyday role, he would have value in mixed leagues. For now, he’s still worth a roster spot in NL-only leagues.
Daniel Hudson, RP, TOR (7% Owned)
This is the time of year for fantasy owners who are desperate for bullpen help to start looking for potential “second-half closers”—guys who take over in the ninth inning after the regular closer gets traded. With Ken Giles out with a small injury last week, the Blue Jays turned to Daniel Hudson to close things out.
Giles is an obvious trade candidate, and the 10-year veteran Hudson looks like the beneficiary for the second half. Hudson is having a fine season in the bullpen, boasting a 2.85 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and a 9 K/9. There are some concerns—namely his 4.39 BB/9 and his 4.47 FIP and 4.57 SIERA—but if you are in need of saves in the second half, Hudson is one of the safer bets to take a flyer on at the moment.
Bubba Starling, OF, KC (1% Owned)
The 26-year-old Bubba Starling was nearly out of baseball last season, next on a long list of failed top-five draft picks for the Royals. He has had somewhat of a renaissance this year, however, and after hitting .310/.358/.448 with seven home runs and nine steals in Triple-A Omaha, the Royals called him up to make his big league debut.
Starling is 2-for-10 with two runs and one RBI so far, but the important thing is that he started all three games after getting recalled, hitting seventh in all of them.
Should he end up getting regular at-bats for the rest of the season, he’d be worth a look in 14-team or deeper leagues and AL-only formats. He could chip in eight to 10 steals and a handful of home runs down the stretch—nothing crazy but useful in deeper formats.
(Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire)