Big Kid Adds (6/21/22)

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

While the NFBC Main Event garners most of the attention, there are a handful of leagues with even a larger entry fee ($2.5K to $15K). They get originally named “High Stakes Leagues” and this year there are nine of them. With so much money on the line, these fantasy managers are going to try to gain any advantage. Most of the time, these managers will be a week or two ahead of everyone else on their adds. Here are the players and some information on the ones added in five or more of these leagues.

C.J. Abrams (8): With Manny Machado out with a sprained ankle, Abrams has been promoted back to the bigs. It’ll be interesting to see how the Padres handle Abrams’s playing time and how well will he hit.

Abrams started the season with the big league club but was mainly a bench player. From Opening Day to when he was demoted on May 10th, he played in 20 of the 30 games while just hitting .182/.270/.273 with 1 HR and 1 SB.

He was demoted to the minors where he hit .314/.364/.507 with 7 HR and 10 SB. While his plate discipline was similar between both levels, nothing else matched up. The 21-year-old was showing no power in the majors (52 GB%, 7% HR/FB%, 30% Pull%) and went completely the opposite way in AAA (41% GB%, 18% HR/FB%, 47% Pull%).

I have not read or heard about any changes he made in AAA so it’s tough to know if the changes are his or the league environment or a combination of both. Abrams is worth rostering, at least on a bench, to see how the next two weeks shake out.

Orlando Arcia (8): With Ozzie Albies going on the IL, Arcia gets a multi-month run as the Braves second basemen. In most formats, he started out qualified as an outfielder but played seven games at second base.

The 27-year-old Arcia might be a sleeping giant now that he has a full-time role. Coming into the 2020 season, he reworked his swing and has been a different hitter. Here are his stats before and after the adjustment.

Orlando Arcia’s Adjustment
Seasons PA HR AVG OBP SLG BB% K% GB% Barrel% HardHit%
2016 to 2019 1255 26 .249 .295 .365 6% 21% 53% 3% 28%
2020 to 2022 352 10 .261 .321 .418 8% 19% 47% 6% 41%

It’s not game-changing but he’s showing 15 to 20 home run power with a decent batting average. Those who rostered Albies, will find Arcia to be a decent replacement.

Ryan Feltner (7): I considered Feltner to be an afterthought coming into the season because he played for the Rockies and walked way too many hitters (2021: 6.8 BB/9 in AAA, 7.1 BB/9 in MLB).

He’s reworked himself by simply throwing more strikes with his Zone% up from 51% to 54% and his First Strike% from 49% to 64%. By throwing more strikes, he’s cut his walk rate down to 2.4 BB/9 and lifted his strikeout rate from 8.5 K/9 to 10 K/9. Additionally, he’s added over 2 mph to his fastball (10% SwStr%, 45% GB%). Those changes make him a streamable road option (at ARI this Saturday).

One issue is that he’s basically a fastball-sider guy (77% usage) even though he throws an ineffective change and curve ball. He might struggle the second or third time through the order.

Kendall Graveman (6): With Liam Hendricks (forearm) on the IL, Graveman could step in and be the closer. Graveman has been serviceable (8.5 K/9, 1.33 WHIP, 2.51 ERA) and will hopefully get a Save a week for those who added him. The problem is that Joe Kelly got and converted the last Save opportunity.

Brad Hand (6): Corey Knebel is not the Phillies closer and it seems like Hand and Seranthony Domínguez will be sharing the duties. Hand has been given the last two Save opportunities. One he converted and in the other, he gave up a run but eventually got a Win.

For this season, Hand has some good (9.3 K/9, 2.21 ERA) and some bad (5.3 BB/9). The walks have his WHIP up to 1.38 and could offset any Saves he does accrue.

Luis Patiño (6): Patiño is out on a rehab assignment (oblique) where he threw 29 pitches and should have a few more rehab appearances. While he is on the way back, it’s tough to gauge his talent.

While he was known to be a hard thrower, his velocity has been heading downward (96.8 mph to 95.7 to 94.7). While he just barely threw this season (0.2 IP), his strikeout rate dropped from 10.9 K/9 to 8.6 K/9 from 2020 to 2021. I haven’t been able to find how hard he’s throwing but more information might be available after tonight’s start. His last AAA start didn’t even have a post-game write-up.

For someone who relies on his fastball, the 1 mph drop could mean his strikeout rate could be near a middling 7.5 K/9. And then there are still the control issues.

He doesn’t have a couple of non-fastballs to fall back on. His slider (14% SwStr%) has been average. None of his other pitches grade anything close to average.

Leody Taveras (6): I’ve written up Taveras in my last two articles so I’m not going to go into much detail.

He has started all seven games since being recalled and is batting ninth. Nothing new jumps off the page in his 23 plate appearances so far. These managers are just hoping the 7 HR, 7 SB, and .294 AVG can translate from AAA.

Josh Winckowski (6): The 23-year-old righty was added because of his two-start week (vs DET, at CLE) and not his talent. The first start was a success with him getting a Win over Detroit while just allowing two runs over six innings.

Normally, he’s not better than a middle reliever to start except in these ideal weeks. His 6% K%-BB% would rank as the third-lowest of the 61 qualified starters.

He’s never been a strikeout pitcher in the minors but might be able to improve on pitch mix. He mainly throws a sinker (3% SwStr%, 56% GB%), slider (15% SwStr%), four-seamer (12% SwStr%), changeup (worthless in a small sample).

The weight of the sinker (42% usage) can be seen with his 50% GB% and low strikeout rate. While he has a 3.68 ERA, I believe his talent lies closer to his mid to high-4.00’s ERA estimators and projections.

Daniel Castano (6): Another untalented two-start guy (vs COL, vs NYM) who lucked into not allowing any earned runs (one unearned) this season (92% LOB%). His stats are padded because he’s only made one start.

In that start, the 27-year-old lefties fastball velocity was down 2 mph (93.3 mph to 91.3 mph). He struck out three batters and walked two over six innings. Projections have him at a reasonable 6.0 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, and a 4.50 ERA.

Over three different seasons, his changeup (15% SwStr%, 54% GB%) is the only pitch that grades out as average. The rest are way below. He only throws the change 19% of the time, so I could see him bumping up its usage and getting better results.

That said, I’ll bet against bad pitchers staying lucky.

Jarren Duran (5): After struggling in 112 MLB PA last season (.215/.241/.336), Duran has gotten another shot with Enrique Hernández on the IL (hip).

He’s leadoff for five of the last six games and is hitting .310/.394/.517 with 0 HR and 2 SB so far this season.

The big question coming up in a day or two is will he be demoted again when Hernandez comes off the IL or will one of the other outfielders head to the bench.

Brian Serven (5): I figured the Rockies catcher would have been snatched up last week when several catchers got hurt and the Rockies were at home. He’s been fine by starting in six of the last 10 games while hitting .321/.387/.536 with 3 HR on the season.

Keegan Thompson (5): I liked Thompson for a bit but he’s been falling apart but was added to stream against Pittsburgh. He was great as a multi-inning reliever (1.38 ERA, 3.65 xFIP, 0.92 WHIP, and 8.7 K/9) but horrible as a starter (4.97 ERA, 4.90 xFIP, 1.41 WHIP, and 7.1 K/9).

Looking at his individual pitch results, none of them measure up as average. He’s throwing a cutter or fastball 69% of the time so hitters know some fastball is on the way.

I can’t get behind using a 5.00 ERA talented pitcher no matter who he is facing.

Dylan Bundy (5): Bundy started the season out with a sub-3.00 ERA in April but it has been over 6.00 for the rest of the season. He does have an OK stretch coming up with a home game against Colorado and Cleveland on the road next week.

One aspect of Bundy this season is that he messes with his pitch mix so much from game to game.

While the four-seamer usage stays consistent, the usage of the other four pitches bounces around. Here is how those pitches perform.

Pitch: SwStr%, GB%, Usage
Four-seamer: 8%, 23%, 41%
Splitter: 14%, 64%, 23%
Slider: 20%, 36%, 22%
Sinker: 5%, 44%, 11%
Curve: 5%, 50%, 9%

There is no reason for him to keep throwing the sinker and curve. They are horrible.

Until Bundy dumps both for three to four straight starts, I’m not interested in rostering him.

Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR once, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 month ago

Petco is a pitcher park where balls go to die (even before the Deadball). Also, earlier in the year April/May was cooler and It’s starting to warm up in San Diego. And El Paso is very much batter-friendly and I think a lot of other parks in that league.

Last edited 1 month ago by philconow