The draft pick compensation for qualified free agents in Major League Baseball is something I would expect to get changed in the next bargaining agreement. We’ve seen lesser caliber free agents get signed as in turn clubs forfeit the compensatory pick. Front office executives have changed the way business is done and have held a hard line in regards to spending and draft choices. The main reason Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel didn’t get signed before the MLB draft was due to draft pick compensation. Other factors could be cost and length of contract, but being tied to draft pick compensation was a dagger. The fact that they couldn’t get signed with the compensation tag scared me off a bit, maybe the duo isn’t as good as they once were. Is it possible the league is saying these name brand pitchers aren’t as name brand anymore?
As a fantasy player I have refused to draft any players that don’t come to spring training at the start. I watch enough free agents get signed late, fall behind in spring training and stink up the joint. When both didn’t get signed as spring training was underway, I anticipated Keuchel and Kimbrel would remain unsigned until after the compensation date passed. Owners that drafted those players lost 9 weeks of production. Owners that took the plunge could have used other players in those spots to possibly win more games. I looked thru my 4 fantasy baseball leagues to see the records of the teams that own Keuchel, Kimbrel, or both. The results were all across the board. I was the latest out of all 4 leagues to pick up Keuchel. I got him on June 2nd. In every other league both were drafted and held onto.
League 1 Kimbrel was drafted in the 11th round of a 10-team snake draft in a daily categories league. Hindsight that owner passed German Marquez, Charlie Morton, and Kirby Yates. Then he doubled up on Keuchel in the 17th round passing on Ken Giles, Alex Colome, and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Granted no one knew Ryu would break out like this, but how many more wins would he have with a combo of any of those players for 9 weeks. This owner is in 4th place in the league burning 2 roster spots for 9 weeks. He is a solid player and was comfortable doing such. He’s made 26 roster moves this season around holing onto those two. He is a solid player and was comfortable doing such.
League 2 Kimbrel was selected in the 12th round of a 12 team snake draft in a daily categories league. Kirby Yates went just after Kimbrel was selected. Charlie Morton, Madison Bumgarner, and Rick Porcello were selected later that round. Tyler Glasnow and Luis Castillo were selected in the next round. He’s lost the Saves category with just Roberto Osuna as a closer. The commissioner of this league is a good player and currently sits in 6th place. Keuchel was drafted in 21st round and subsequently dropped a few days later for Matt Strahm. I was able to pick up him on the Sunday before the MLB draft. I am currently in 1st place in my division 2nd overall in a tightly contested league. I’m limited to 3 roster moves each week and 50 for the season. I’ve made 17 moves so far one of which is Keuchel. There’s no way I have the record I do with burning a roster spot for Keuchel.
League 3 is a weekly 10-team dynasty league with an auction draft. Keuchel and Kimbrel are owned by the same team that sits at a league worst 1-8. Keuchel cost $2 dollars ($7 next year) and Kimbrel went for $7 dollars ($12 next year). Gained nothing with those 2 donuts on the roster for 9 weeks.
League 4 is a weekly 12-team keeper league with an auction draft. Keuchel went for $5 dollars and is on a 1st place team. That owner is a Keuchel fan and drafts him every year. Kimbrel went for $11 dollars and is on a team that has scored more points than anyone else, but is in 6th place with a below .500 record. That owner hedged his bet with spending big money on Edwin Diaz and Kenley Jansen as well. In that scoring format Closers with high strikeout rates have a high value. His hitters are thin and that money could have brought some more firepower to his lineup. That below .500 record could easily have flipped with Kimbrel’s money spent elsewhere.
Each scenario for owning Keuchel and Kimbrel is different. It all depends if you have enough depth to cover the donut on your roster for that period. I just think of all the pickups that I’ve been able to make to help me win games. Those pickups wouldn’t have happened if I were sitting on either Keuchel or Kimbrel. For me personally, I don’t recommend sitting on players in fantasy sports. I would rather have active players at my disposal.
Padres OF Franmil Reyes
2 road games vs. the Diamondbacks and 4 on the road against the Reds. Tough to find a better parks for a hitter. Reyes has taken over as the starting RF for the Padres and made the most of it. Slash rate of .407/.515/.889 over the last 14 days. Owned in 2.2% of ESPN and 4% of Yahoo leagues.
Astros DH Tyler White
Taken over the DH spot from Evan Gattis. .333/.388/.689 slash rate the last 14 days. White faces the Twins for 3 at home followed by 3 on the road with the Red Sox. Owned in 36.3% of ESPN and 41% of Yahoo leagues.
White Sox SP Reynaldo Lopez
2 home starts this week on Monday vs. the Tigers and Sunday against the Angels. 2 or less earned runs in 4 of last 6 starts. Tigers are batting an American League worst .235 vs. Right-Handed Pitchers. The Angels meanwhile have lost 7 of their last 10 at the time of this post. It’s tough to trust a 5-9 Pitcher at playoff time, but these 2 starts make Lopez a worthy streamer. Owned in 10.6% of ESPN and 12% of Yahoo Leagues.
Blue Jays OF Billy McKinney
6 games on the road this week in Baltimore and Miami. McKinney was a 1st rd pick by the A’s in 2014, then has been a part of 3 deadline deals going from A’s to Cubs then Yankees, and now Blue Jays. McKinney has found a home in Toronto and is still just 23-years-old. Keeper league players may want to invest in McKinney. Daily players certainly should take notice of his .350/.480/.800 slash rate since getting called up. Certainly that slash rate isn’t sustainable, but I recommend riding the hot streak. Owned in 2.2% of ESPN and 2% of Yahoo leagues.
Athletics OF Ramon Laureano
Minor league slash rate of .297/.380/.524 in Triple-A this season. Laureano has put together a few defensive highlights since getting the call up. Offensively Laureano is forcing his way into more playing time. Owned in 1.8% of ESPN and 5% of Yahoo leagues. 3 on the road with Houston this week followed by 4 at home against Seattle.
Brewers RP Jeremy Jeffress
Converted 3 of 4 Save opportunities last week. Owned in 32.6% of ESPN and 57% of Yahoo leagues. The Brewers are on the road in Cincinnati and Washington this week. Owners chasing Saves may want to put Jeffress in their lineup.
Cardinals OF Harrison Bader
.342/.422/.658 slash rate the last 14 days. Owned in 29.2% of ESPN and 27% of Yahoo fantasy leagues. Plays 3 on the road with the Dodgers followed by 3 on the road vs. the Rockies. Dodgers allow just a .230 opponents batting average vs. Right-Handed hitters, however I’d recommend riding Bader’s hot streak. I was able to pick him up in a daily categories league. Keeper league owners should certainly pick up Bader.
Rays 2B/SS Willy Adames
Last 14 days has slashed .351/.442/.595 along with 4 steals. The 2B/SS eligibility means Adames ownership should spike in short order. Owned in just 23.7% of ESPN and 33% of Yahoo leagues. I picked him up in one of my daily categories leagues. Sadly owned in one of my keeper leagues.
White Sox SP Carlos Rodon
2-starts this week Tuesday at home vs. the Twins and on the road Sunday with the Tigers. Rodon rounding into form with an opponent’s batting average of .154 the last 28 days. Owned in 57.1% of ESPN and 58% of Yahoo leagues. Strong recommendation to use this scoring period.
Blue Jays C Danny Jansen
.275/.390/.473 slash rate at Triple A this season. Blue Jays will take a look at younger players going forward as they play out the string 30.5 games out of first place. Owned in 2.8% of ESPN and 16% of Yahoo leagues. With how thin the Catcher position is this season Jansen is worth the proactive pickup. I was able to pick him up in 2 of 4 leagues.
Orioles CF Cedric Mullins
Adam Jones has moved to Right Field to accommodate Mullins getting work in Center. Slash rate of .288/.346/.465 in between Double and Triple A this season. 21 steals this season could help owners looking for a late push in SB. Owned in 3.7% of ESPN and 6% of Yahoo leagues.
Angels SP Andrew Heaney
Faces the Padres and Rangers on the road this week. Both of this week’s opponents are in last place in their respective divisions. Owned in of 51.8% ESPN and 59% of Yahoo leagues. I’m ignoring the 0-5 record on the road and using him this week in a daily league.
Rays OF Mallex Smith
Owned in 21.7% of ESPN and 25% of Yahoo leagues. Slash rate of .364/.455/.564 in the last 28 days. 3 home games with the Orioles and 3 on the road with the Blue Jays this week. The Blue Jays have allowed the 3rd most stolen bases in MLB. Smth is tied for 8th in MLB with 23 stolen bases and 5 in his last 4 games. Look for Smith to be off to the races.
Angels OF Kole Calhoun
Ignore the .206 batting average this season. Calhoun has raked to the tune of a .320/.409/.760 slash rate the last 28 days. Owned in 58% of ESPN and 56% of Yahoo leagues. Faces the Tigers and Athletics at home this week.
Rangers CL Jose Leclerc
Should be the Rangers closer going forwards. Picked up a Save on Saturday. 12.6 SO/9 in 40.2 Innings so far this season. 2.21 ERA and 0.984 WHIP. This 24 year-old should be able to close out games to ride out the season. Owned in 15.5% of ESPN and 24% of Yahoo leagues. I was able to pick him up before Kela was traded.
Athletics 3B Matt Chapman
.462/.548/.1038 slash rate the last 7 days. Faces the Blue Jays and Tigers for 3 games each at home this week. Jays and Tigers in the bottom 3rd of baseball in home runs allowed and opponents road batting average this season. Chapman is owned in 49.4% of ESPN and 47% of Yahoo leagues.
Royals OF Rosell Herrera
.333 avg since the All-Star break. Royals may take a look and see what they have in Herrera. AL-Only option or DFS play, but maybe develops into more. Owned 0.2% of ESPN and 0% of Yahoo leagues. 6 games on the road this week 3 and 3 with the White Sox and Twins.
Rockies SP Jon Gray
2 road starts this week vs. the Cardinals and Brewers. 14.1 IP and 3 walks since returning from demotion to Triple-A. Owned in 54.3% of ESPN and 58% of Yahoo leagues. Matchups are tough, but Gray has the stuff to go against anyone. Trusting it has seemed to be his problem.
Cubs OF Jason Heyward
4 home games with the Diamondbacks followed by 3 on the road with the Cardinals. .321/.404/.449 slash rate the last 28 days. Career averages vs. Diamondbacks and Cardinals .213/.231 aren’t in Heyward’s favor, but I’d ride this hot streak. Owned in 39.4% of ESPN and 28% of Yahoo leagues.
Rays 2B/OF Joey Wendle
.343./.400/.567 slash rate over the last 28 days. The Rays are competitive, but could be in sell mode at the deadline. Wendle can help daily fantasy players with his multiple position eligibility. Owned in 11.5% of ESPN and 6% of Yahoo leagues.
Mets RP/SP Robert Gsellman
Expected to take over the closer’s role with Familia traded to Oakland. Gsellman is owned in 18.1% of ESPN and 29% of Yahoo leagues. The Mets are terrible and should let this 24-yr-old pitcher see what he can do. Owners that ride the closer carousel may want to make a claim for Gsellman. I own him in 2 of 4 leagues.
Braves SS/3B Johan Camargo
.371 OBP over the last 28 days. Has scored a run in 4 out of his last 6 games. 8 games this scoring period 2 at home with the Blue Jays and 3 vs. the Diamondbacks followed by 3 on the road against the Nationals. The eventual arrival of Austin Riley may have been postponed with a knee injury. Riley is rehabbing in rookie league ball and will eventually return to AAA. Strikeouts are still high for the 21-year-old prospect. Camargo’s production may be able to keep Riley in the minors for the time being. Camargo can help daily players looking for OBP and low K. Owned in 18.5% of ESPN and 23% of Yahoo leagues.
Reds OF Jesse Winkler
I would consider Winkler in a DFS play for his .391 OBP. His playing time isn’t consistent enough to merit weekly locking leagues as of yet. Owned in 14.8% of ESPN and 16% of Yahoo leagues. Could carve out more of a role as the 2nd half approaches, but fantasy players need to be selective when to deploy Winkler at this stage. Has 3 games on the road vs. the Indians, 3 on the road with the Cardinals, and 3 home against the Pirates.
Tigers SP Jordan Zimmerman
Faces the Rays in Tampa on Wednesday. Has been a huge free agent disappointment due to injuries. Since returning from the DL, Zimmerman has a 1.80 ERA and 0.72 WHIP in 25 innings. 24:1 K:BB ratio not too shabby either. ESPN ownership is 18.2% while 23% in Yahoo leagues. Worth the pickup for this matchup and to see if he can keep it going.