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Fantasy Baseball Waivers: Deep League Adds

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Heath discusses the first waiver runs for Fake Teams and Friends.

Baltimore Orioles v Kansas City Royals Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

We held the second inaugural Fake Teams and Friends 15-team draft a couple of weeks ago. Essentially, it was our live action version of The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational, and we had a great turnout for a live draft with all 15 teams showing up.

Over the course of the season, I may give you a look into our league. I’ll briefly update the standings, and then let you know who the industry touts are adding from waivers. And since our waivers process on Saturday night, it will give many of you a head start on your waiver research for your Sunday night waiver runs. I know I enjoyed this setup last year, as it allowed me to prep a little for TGFBI waiver runs (which process on Sundays).

We’ve had two weeks of waivers already, and I’ll try to ignore the “churn and burn” types in favor of the names you should truly be paying attention to. I’m also focusing solely on our most recent waiver run from last night, and ignoring the March 1 run (it was not impressive). I want to stay in the present, and I’ll commit to keeping this updated each week if it’s something that people actually find useful. I’m open to tweaking the format as well, to make it more readable. This first effort feels like a long and winding road, but send me your feedback in the comments, eh?

For reference, we are operating on $100 of FAAB for the season. And yes, you can make $0 adds.

March 7 waiver run: The Money Adds

cut Zach Plesac (Cle - P), add Hunter Harvey (Bal - P) for $3 - Heath Capps
cut P Daniel Hudson (Was - P), add P Nathan Eovaldi (Bos - P) for $1 - Heath Capps

Okay, that’s it for the money adds for this week. A quiet sort of week. I’ll confess, at one point I had my Harvey bid up to $11 or so. But then I figured not everyone would be as desperate as I am for saves. I figured right, so I’m happy to have saved a little coin and still landed my guy. Anyway, here’s the announcement from March 4th by Orioles manager Brandon Hyde regarding his closer situation. It has definitely impacted Harvey’s current ADP:

So Hyde gives us the caveat that Harvey has only had three weeks in the big leagues, which is a legitimate worry. Or, it would be a worry, if you were having to spend major dollars or draft capital to acquire his services. But you still aren’t, not even after this announcement. Here’s a nugget from yours truly, a tweet I offered this morning only after safely acquiring Harvey’s services:

So, an ADP of 400. For reference, in a 15-team league with 30-man rosters, that’s 450 players drafted. Harvey’s NFBC ADP right now has him going after Daniel Hudson (382) and before Tony Watson (425). Harvey is a former first-round pick, and over his seven MLB appearances with the Orioles last year his fastball averaged 100 mph. By Hyde’s own admission, this bullpen was a mess in 2019, and Harvey’s brief presence was a stabilizer. Hyde is already tabbing Harvey for a high-leverage role, and seeing as I exited our draft with Brandon Kintzler, Daniel Hudson, and Shaun Anderson as my “closers,” I definitely needed to take a shot here. Let’s all hope that Harvey can keep a clean bill of health, finally. My fake team needs it, and Lord knows the Orioles need it.

As for Eovaldi, it’s me taking a shot on another power arm. He’s sitting in the high 90s already (reached 99 mph yesterday) and I’ll just let the video tell this tale:

That man is looking healthy, and the Boston rotation now looks like just Eovaldi and Eduardo Rodriguez at the top. Guys like Martin Perez, Ryan Weber, and Brian Johnson are backing those two up. Chris Sale can’t healthy soon enough. Anyway, the Red Sox made a move for Collin McHugh on a one-year deal three days ago, so they agree that the staff is looking thin. McHugh is versatile and could work as a starter or as a reliever, so it’s probably a savvy move.

As for Eovaldi, he’s never really given us the strikeouts we’d want based on his epic heat. But his swinging strike rate has trended upward over the course of his career, topping out at 10.7% and 10.6% over the last two seasons. If he can take another small leap forward in 2020 AND stay healthy, we might be onto something. All of these “ifs” are why he is a $1 add, folks. But there are worse darts to throw at this juncture, and if you are constantly churning and burning like I am, Eovaldi should be on your radar—if not on your team already.

March 7 waiver run: The $0 Adds

cut J.P. Crawford (Sea - SS), add Ian Desmond (Col - OF) to The Last of Us
cut Tucker Barnhart (Cin - C), add Austin Romine (Det - C) to The Last of Us
cut Matt Manning (Det - P), add Deivi Garcia (NYY - P) to Zack Waxman
cut Elieser Hernandez (Mia - P), add Jonathan Loaisiga (NYY - P) to Joe Gentile
cut Shaun Anderson (SF - P), add Lewis Brinson (Mia - OF) to Heath Capps

It would appear that we as a league are attempting to figure out who the Yankees’ No. 5 starter will be. “Jonny Lasagna” allowed two runs on two hits over two innings with two strikeouts yesterday, so he’s a fan of twos. And the home run he gave up to John Ryan Murphy came in the—you guessed it—second inning. Anyway, Loaisiga has looked good overall this spring, as prior to the Murphy homer on Saturday he had hurled five clean frames, striking out nine of 15 batters faced. He’s battling with top prospect Deivi Garcia, as well as fellow prospects Clarke Schmidt and Mike King for the fifth spot in the rotation. Older (and arguably more boring) guys like Luis Cessa, Nick Tropeano, and Chad Bettis are also theoretically in the conversation. But since they are boring, moving on...

To me this is short-term (Loaisiga) versus long-term (Garcia). It’s not a bad dart by Joe, especially for a free add. And per his usual, Zack is stashing a prospect that he thinks can contribute this year. He struck gold with a few guys last year, and ended up winning the league. So maybe we should pay attention. In Garcia’s second spring start on Friday, he threw 25-of-37 pitches for strikes—and threw a first pitch strike to all nine of the hitters he faced. He’s undersized at only 5-9, 163 pounds. But he can touch 97 mph with his fastball and has a quality offspeed offering. He did finish last year at Triple-A, where he had a shiny 10.1 K/9 but an ugly 5.40 ERA and 5.77 FIP. He had a home run problem (1.80 HR/9) and walked too many (11.2%). In my mind he profiles more as a guy who may help the Yankees in their bullpen in 2020, but stranger things have happened. I could see him coming up and making an impact. I could also see him staying down on the farm for all of 2020.

Miami Marlins v Houston Astros Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Lewis Brinson looks like the last potential gem in this grouping. And before I go much further, let’s acknowledge that the 32-year-old Rusney Castillo leads all comers in in hits so far during Spring Training. So we’ll take what comes next with a grain of salt. The 25-year-old Brinson is 9-for-22 thus far, including a double, a triple, and three dingers. It’s an extra-base hit party, y’all. Brinson hasn’t drawn a walk yet, but he also has only ONE strikeout over those 22 at-bats, which is a far cry from what we’ve seen from him over the course of his brief MLB career (a 29.8% strikeout rate).

We’ve seen Brinson post strikeout rates in the low 20 percent range over the course of his minor league career, so there’s precedence for a tolerable whiff rate if he can continue to make adjustments to big league pitching. Brinson’s swinging strike rate has come down gradually and ever so slightly in his three big league years (17.4%, 17.1%, and 15.9%). If he can continue to trim it and give us a strikeout rate in the mid-to-high 20 percent range, perhaps his 97th percentile sprint speed might actually come into play during 2020. Brinson is the epitome of a guy you can take a shot on now, but give him the quick hook if he struggles early on. I don’t have super-high hopes, but I am rooting for the toolsy young guy and I only had two bench bats for my fake squad, anyway. Adding more one bat makes me feel a bit more balanced, and I have that luxury given that I have a tiny bit more clarity on my closer situation now.

Lastly, I applaud micro-moves, and I like The Last of Us trading out Barnhart for Austin Romine. Romine is a sneaky C2 play in 2020. I like his ability to contribute in batting average and I dig his pathway to playing time.

Let me know who you are adding, or who you are taking a late-round dart on in your fantasy baseball drafts! Let’s all help each other get better, ladies and gents.