Each week we’ll look at a handful of different players rostered in less than 15% of fantasy leagues who you should consider picking up. Many of these players will have the most value in deeper leagues where waiver wire options aren’t as plentiful. Still, they could also occasionally be useful additions in other, more standard-sized leagues depending on your options at their position. This week it’s Wil Crowe, James Kaprielian, Jonathan Loáisiga, and Jace Peterson who are worth your time as potential additions in deep leagues.
All roster percentages mentioned in this column are via Yahoo fantasy leagues as of Sunday afternoon.
Wil Crowe – 6%
If you’re looking for a reliever who can help you lower your weekly ERA and WHIP numbers, Wil Crowe is the reliever for your fantasy team.
As an added bonus, he could also double as an under-the-radar save stash.
With the Pirates entering play Sunday with a 16-23 record, it’s possible the team could trade away veterans as the summer months continue. Of course, that’s purely speculative, but with playoff odds already at 0.2% per FanGraphs, it might make sense to trade away some productive players who might not be crucial to the team’s future down the road.
For Pittsburgh, most of their productive veterans have been relief pitchers this season – David Bednar (37.8 K%, 0.87 ERA in 20.2 innings), Chris Stratton (2.19 FIP in 14.1 innings), and Dillon Peters (3.74 ERA, 2.91 FIP in 21.2 innings). Bednar and Stratton have combined for 10 of the team’s 11 saves this season.
The only save that doesn’t belong to the duo? That would be credited to Crowe, and although it was a three-inning save, the former National does seem like the next in line for save chances if both are traded.
Featuring a changeup and slider-heavy arsenal, Crowe has been elite at limiting hard contact thanks in part to both pitches, not to mention a four-seam fastball that has been similarly effective at limiting hard contact.
Entering play on Sunday, just 24 four-seam fastballs, minimum 100 four-seamers thrown, had a lower hard-hit rate than Crowe’s. What’s more of the aforementioned 24 four-seamers, just six had a higher average velocity than the Pittsburgh reliever’s most-used fastball offering.
*Minimum 100 Four-Seamers Thrown. Also Among Four-Seamers With an Average Velocity Of At Least 94.7 MPH.
James Kaprielian – 7%
James Kaprielian has made four starts so far this season, and while his 4.50 ERA and 5.14 FIP look unideal on the surface, much of that is likely due to the 28-year-old’s first start of the year on May 1.
Against the Guardians, the right-hander logged just two innings while surrendering four walks, four earned runs, and three hits.
In his three outings since then, two against the Twins and one against the Tigers, Kaprielian has thrown at least five innings while surrendering two runs or fewer. He’s given up just two home runs this season and looks like a useful streaming option in the right matchups this season.
And those matchups could be coming in the very near future.
The right-hander’s next start should come as part of a three-game set in Seattle. After that, the A’s will play four games at home against Texas (in a series Kaprielian looks set to pitch in). Assuming Oakland’s rotation schedule keeps moving along with no interruptions, the former Yankee prospect’s next outing after the matchup with the Rangers would come at home against Boston. All three contests are prime streaming matchups in quality, pitcher-friendly ballparks.
As of Sunday, all three teams rank outside the top 14 in the league in runs scored. So far this season, only nine teams have scored fewer runs than the Mariners. One of those teams is the Rangers. Boston is ranked higher than the duo at the moment, as only 14 teams in the league have scored more runs than the Red Sox. But, much of that has had to do with Trevor Story’s recent hot streak. Prior to their series against the Mariners on Thursday, 21 different teams had scored more runs than Boston this season.
Jonathan Loáisiga – 14%
Jonathan Loáisiga was already playing a key role in the Yankees bullpen prior to Chad Green’s placement on the injured list on Sunday. The reliever was tied with Green and Michael King for the second-most high-leverage appearances on the Yankees roster behind only Aroldis Chapman.
Now with Green sidelined (he’ll reportedly have Tommy John surgery, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said per a tweet from MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch), Loáisiga could see even more high-leverage and setup work. And while he might not be the next in line to close games if Chapman struggles – that might be Holmes – the 27-year-old should be even more productive for fantasy managers in saves+holds leagues.
The reliever owns a 5.06 ERA in 16 innings this year, but besides that, the only real blemish on his stat line is a rather unideal 14.9% walk rate, which is in the sixth percentile league-wide.
Otherwise, Loáisiga has continued to miss bats and register low exit velocity numbers more or less as he always has.
Entering play Sunday he ranked in the 70th percentile or better in hard-hit rate, barrel rate, whiff rate, chase rate, and average fastball velocity.
The walks certainly aren’t something to be taken lightly, but Loáisiga’s holds and strikeout potential makes him a worthwhile addition in saves+holds leagues.
Jace Peterson – 9%
Jace Peterson enjoyed a quality season in Milwaukee in 2021. Registering more than 300 plate appearances for the first time since 2016, the 32-year-old hit .247 with a .348 on-base percentage, six home runs, and 10 stolen bases in 302 plate appearances.
Capable of playing all three infield spots not named shortstop, Peterson also saw regular time in the outfield for the Brewers, bringing plenty of versatility to Craig Counsell’s team. He also brought, and continues to bring, plenty of versatility to fantasy managers as well.
In Yahoo leagues, Peterson is eligible at first base, second base, third base, and in the outfield.
Given the on-base percentage and 12.6% walk rate last season, the veteran was obviously more valuable in leagues where on-base percentage was part of the scoring.
For the most part, his numbers this year look fairly similar to last season’s metrics, with a low BABIP playing a part in a lower batting average, and as a result a lower on-base percentage.
As with a number of stolen base threats in fantasy, there’s a little bit of a trade-off in terms of other categories like batting average, but Peterson’s versatility and ability to contribute some home runs makes him a more than useful bench option in fantasy.
Adapted by Justin Redler (@reldernitsuj on Twitter)