This year, we initiated the first ever Fake Teams and Friends fantasy baseball league. It is TGFBI-styled, except the second catcher is a second UTIL spot. Each week I’ll use our adds as a launching point for a study of deep league free agents. As our waivers run on Saturday, this should give you a bit of a head start heading into Sunday’s waiver wire runs.
Watch out world! Garrett (Punk is Dead) has overtaken Mike Kurland of the Bases Loaded pod for the top spot in our league, on the heels of a big hitting day yesterday. Brian Entrekin (Benched with Bubba pod) is still lurking in third place, while our own Zack Waxman is still in fourth. Yours truly has climbed from obscurity a week ago (8th or 9th?) up into the five-spot, one ahead of Joe’s All-Sleeper Team. LET THE GAMES BEGIN.
The disclaimer before we move further along: Austin Riley, Keston Hiura, Yordan Alvarez, Nicky Lopez, Zac Gallen, Brendan Rodgers, and Kyle Tucker are already owned. Each of them represents a priority add depending on your team’s need if any happen to be available in your league. I use the word “priority” loosely, as Rodgers isn’t starting every day in Colorado. Make of that what you will. What I made of it was to not add him anywhere, but if you paid up for him last week I think you have to hold on for now.
Now for this week’s adds, and how much was spent ($100 FAAB budget):
$11 Mitch Keller (Pit - P) to Zack’s Okay Team
$6 Lance Lynn (Tex - P) to Punk is Dead
$6 Marwin Gonzalez (Min - 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF) to Brian Entrekin
$6 Scott Oberg (Col - P) to Brian Entrekin
$5 Pablo Sandoval (SF - 1B, 3B) to No Cigar (Natty Wallach)
$4 Christian Vazquez (Bos - C) to Punk is Dead
$3 Charlie Tilson (CWS - OF) to Brian Entrekin
$3 Felix Pena (LAA - P) to No Cigar
$3 Kevin Cron (Ari - 1B, 3B) to Zack’s Okay Team
$1 Jorge Alfaro (Mia - C) to Brian Entrekin
$1 Jason Castro (Min - C) to No Cigar
$1 Logan Forsythe (Tex - 1B, 2B, 3B, SS) to Ghoji
$1 Craig Stammen (SD - P) to Ghoji
$1 Mark Canha (Oak - 1B, OF) to Ghoji
$1 Amir Garrett (Cin - P) to Ghoji
Zack is showing his minor league guru colors, jumping out in front of everyone for Mitch Keller. Keller will make his big-league debut on Monday during the doubleheader against the Reds. Keller posted a 3.45 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, and a 56:20 K:BB at Triple-A Indianapolis this year. This reads like a spot-start to me, but I suppose there’s a glimmer of hope that if he pitches well, he sticks. I wouldn’t go wild with your budgets, and I wonder if Zack could have gotten Keller for far less.
Lance Lynn has four quality starts over his last five turns, with his most recent one being a gem in Arlington against Seattle: 7.0 IP, 1 W, 11 K, 2.57 ERA, 0.86 WHIP. On Monday Lynn will face the same Mariners again, this time in Seattle. The Mariners have a powerful .223 ISO (2nd) against right-handed pitching, but also strike out plenty at 24.5% (ninth-worst). This is a park upgrade for Lynn, even though it’s a road game. If you’re using him already, I suppose I’d keep that train rolling on Monday. Long-term, I am not a believer, though. Lynn has trimmed his walk rate this year, but I can’t find much else to hang the proverbial hat on. He’s throwing less fastballs and more sliders, and he’s finding the zone a good bit more this year (from 37.4% to 44.8%). In fact, that 44.8% mark represents his highest Zone % since 2011. But he’s still below average in first pitch strikes, and the emphasis in the zone has resulted in more contact, more hard contact, and a lesser swinging strike rate. Given the home park environs in Texas, I don’t think I can trust Lynn this year.
Given my gaping hole at the keystone (no Travis Shaw, no Wilmer Flores) I was really hoping no one would bid on the solid (if unspectacular) Marwin Gonzalez. Alas, here I sit with $0 in FAAB and no Marwin. Let this be a lesson to you all—don’t blow all your FAAB dollars! Gonzalez is benefiting from an inflated .386 BABIP for the month of May, but he’s also making some of his own luck with a 46.7% hard contact rate and 26.7% line drive rate this month. While he’s playing regularly in that stacked (huh?) Twins lineup, he’s a solid enough fantasy baseball regular.
Scott Oberg is the incumbent closer for Colorado while Wade Davis is out with a “mild” oblique strain. Speaking as the guy who just badly strained his oblique a week ago, I expect Oberg to have the closer’s role for a couple of weeks. Oberg is currently toting a 1.69 ERA and 1.13 WHIP over his 21 1⁄3 innings, and he even nabbed the win on Friday night after Trevor Story walked it off in epic fashion. The Coors backdrop is not favorable, but if you need saves you can ill afford to NOT add the guy who was outright named the closer. Thanks for doing us a solid with that announcement, Bud Black.
A couple of catchers went this week. Alfaro has shown some pop despite the poor home park. Jason Castro made this week’s buy/sell column, so go check that out if you want.
Since yours truly is operating on a $0 FAAB budget, I had about 20 players in my queue this week. I was hoping to land a corner infield type, and I ranked them like this: Kevin Cron, Mark Canha, Josh Naylor, and Matt Adams. Wouldn’t you know it, I landed the last two guys. Anyway, Cron looks like a steal for three bucks, as Christian Walker is batting a mere .187/.265/.320 with a single home run during the month of May. He’s doing so alongside a .303 BABIP as well—so it’s not like we can say he’s been unlucky. Walker’s 29.2% strikeout rate in Mar/Apr was already a concern, but in May he has ballooned to a Keon Broxtonian 37.3% rate. The Diamondbacks (27-25) aren’t out of the NL Wild Card race, only 1.5 games behind a playoff berth. Cron will have a chance to unseat the incumbent, and I think Zack got some upside on the cheap with this add.
Mark Canha, Josh Naylor, and Matt Adams all look like short-term rentals for the next week or so. Canha is another bopper for Oakland while Khris Davis is shelved with a hip contusion. Naylor should DH for the Padres while they have back-to-back three-game sets against two AL opponents (TOR, NYY). In all likelihood he’ll be sent back down, though.
Adams will be the primary first baseman for Washington while Ryan Zimmerman is shelved. And actually, Zimmerman’s running program was halted a couple of days ago...so maybe Adams can stick around a little longer.
Here are the guys who were added for $0 this week:
Dexter Fowler (Stl - OF) to Heath Capps
Josh Naylor (SD - 1B) to Heath Capps
Lourdes Gurriel (Tor - 2B, SS) to Joe’s All-Sleeper Team
Kolten Wong (Stl - 2B) to Punk is Dead
Mike Fiers (Oak - P) to The Last of Us (Felsen Raster)
Nick Pivetta (Phi - P) to The Last of Us
Trent Thornton (Tor - P) to No Cigar
Mike Leake (Sea - P) to Bases Loaded (Mike Kurland)
Brett Anderson (Oak - P) to Bases Loaded
Matt Adams (Was - 1B) to Heath Capps
Fowler got to lead off for St. Louis on Friday due to Matt Carpenter’s struggles. Fowler has a shiny .405 OBP that is being buoyed by a career-high 15.3% walk rate. Of course Fowler was 0-for-3 at the plate with three strikeouts on Friday, while Carpenter went 2-for-4 and hit a bomb off of Sean Newcomb in the ninth inning. The good news is that Fowler again hit leadoff on Saturday, so this wasn’t just a one-day lineup shakeup. The bad news is he again went 0-for-3, this time with a pair of strikeouts. Carpenter again had a great day, hitting 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs. As a Matt Carpenter owner in TGFBI—and now a Fowler owner in FT&F—I say LEAVE IT HOW IT IS and let Carpenter rake!
In summation...my next largest blunder of the year might be passing on Lourdes Gurriel to plug my hole at second base. I expected a super-utility role for Gurriel upon his return to the bigs. All Gurriel has done is slug a home run in each of the last two days. You can find me weeping in fifth place, with no second baseman, if anyone needs me.
That’s it for Week 9’s waiver wire glimpse. Hit us up on the Fake Teams Twitter (@faketeams) if you have any questions. And shouts to Garrett (Punk is Dead) for claiming the top spot in FT&F as well as for his strong showing in The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational. Garrett is currently ranked EIGHTH out of 315 teams. You can find him @13atkins13 on Twitter. Give that man a follow!