Big Kid Adds (8/1/22)

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:

Luis Garcia (9): After Taylor Rogers was removed from the closer’s role the replacement was unclear. Then this tweet came out on Sunday.

Garcia’s results have been great this year with a 9.7 K/9, 1.26 WHIP, and 3.23 ERA. On the counting side, he has 4 Wins, 1 Save, and 17 Holds.

The one issue with Garcia going forward is that Padres see removing Rogers as temporary.

And then the bombshell came on Monday.

And now, Garcia is back to being a setup man.

Jake McCarthy (8): The 24-year-old was decent this season in AAA (5 HR, 11 SB, and .369 AVG in 165 PA) and the balanced approach continued to the majors (3 HR, 4 SB, and .273 AVG in 131 PA). Playing time was holding McCarthy back before David Peralta was traded to the Rays this past weekend.

Before the trade, McCarthy started in seven of ten games. It has been two straight starts since the move.

Paul DeJong (8): DeJong was hitting OK in AAA (.249/.313/.552 with 17 HR and 1 SB) but was added to the MLB roster and got two straight starts at shortstop. While he did steal nine bases in 2019, he’s mainly just a power-only threat (career .200 ISO) who will be a batting average drain (career .237 AVG). Ed. note: Edmundo Sosa was also dealt to PHI.

Pete Fairbanks (7): Fairbanks has gotten the last two Saves for the Rays. He just came off the IL for a torn Lat but averaged a career-high 99-mph on his fastball. In 5 IP so far, he has 6 K while allowing 3 ER (all in his first two appearances).

There will always be a level of hesitancy in rostering Rays relievers, Fairbanks has all the traits to be a dominant closer.

Jonathan Hernández (7): Brett Martin held the closer’s role until he got lit up like a Christmas tree over his last four appearances (21.00 ERA, 12.0 BB/9, 9.0 HR/9, and 3.33 WHIP). Matt Moore secured the Save on Thursday but Hernandez came in and closed out yesterday’s win.

On the season, Hernandez has thrown just 5 IP while striking out three batters and not allowing an earned run.

Jake Fraley (7): The 27-year-old Fraley steps into Tyler Naquin’s shoes on the strong side of an outfield platoon. Fraley has been horrible (.443 OPS) against lefties while being at least average (.735 OPS) against righties over his career.

The enticement from Fraley comes with his 11 HR and 13 SB in 390 career PA. Those counting stats have come with a .194 AVG but a decent .311 OBP (13% BB%). Fraley is a perfect add if you despise your batting average.

Bailey Falter (6): With the lack of starting pitching options, Falter showed enough promise to be added in most of these leagues. In AAA, he had a 9.9 K/9, 1.56 ERA, and 0.63 WHIP. He has struggled to prevent runs (4.85 ERA) in the majors but has improved his strikeout rate each month.

Month: K/9
Apr: 3.7
May: 7.0
Jun: 7.2
Jul: 11.4

The catalyst behind the change is moving from this sinker (9% SwStr%, 29% GB%) to his four-seamer (15% SwStr%, 50% GB%).

I don’t buy that Falter has broken out but he’s interesting enough to use in a start against Washington (Espino).

José Suarez (6): I’m guessing Suarez is being added with the hope that he can pitch well enough to beat the Athletics in his next two scheduled starts. The rostership is not based on his talent.

On the season Suarez has a 5.01 ERA, 4.47 xFIP, 8.6 K/9, and 1.49 WHIP. His struggles continue to be centered around two traits, giving up a ton of walks (4.1 BB/9) and home runs (1.6 HR/9). He hasn’t got them under control in July (3.1 BB/9, 2.1 HR/9, 6.23 ERA) so I don’t know why people are rolling that dice that he’ll turn it around against Oakland.

Franchy Cordero (6): Cordero is a simple one-week streaming option. The Red Sox have seven games against righties (HOU and KC) and Cordero starts against all righties (.707 OPS vs RHP, .492 OPS vs LHP). Stream and drop.

Aledmys Díaz (5): I know Diaz is hitting fine (.250/.306/.420, 9 HR, 1 SB) and qualified at every position except tight end. He’s just not playing (started in seven of the last 10) and the playing time will drop once Michael Brantley comes off the IL and some players are added via trade. I don’t understand the demand.

Jeimer Candelario (5): It looks like Candelario is finally healthy. He missed time for a dislocated shoulder and was hitting just .190/.242/.317 with 5 HR coming into July. In July, he’s hit .267/.353/.520 with 5 HR. The key will be if he can keep the production up in August.

Janson Junk (5): Junk is on everyone’s radar after he struck out nine Royals in just six innings while not allowing a run in his first MLB start this season. The strikeouts were a surprise since he just had a 7.4 K/9 in the minors. I wonder if he made some changes since, in his last two minor league starts, he struck out six and then eight batters. I rooted around on the internet for an answer and couldn’t find one.

Comparing his pitches from this start to his previous relief appearance, his slider velocity was up (81.6 mph to 83.4 mph) along with a different movement. It’s not got great results (10% SwStr%) so far, but it’s the only change I could find. He’s definitely someone to keep an eye on.

Matt Manning (5): There probably should be more buzz about a once top-20 prospect returning to the majors, but Manning has been a disappointment with a 5.50 ERA, 4.98 xFIP, 5.9 K/9, and 1.45 WHIP in 93 MLB IP. That’s just not good.

I’m interested in seeing how Manning’s first MLB start goes. He’s always had good minor league strikeout numbers (> 10 K/9) and is again in AAA (10.2 K/9). The deal is that those numbers have never translated to the majors (5.9 K/9 for his MLB career).

Lewin Díaz (5): Diaz has slid into a full-time first base job with Garrett Cooper on the IL. This addition will look good if Jesús Aguilar and/or Cooper (on rehab assignment) get traded away. Diaz will need all the at-bats he can get to be fantasy viable.

Diaz has one trait and one trait only, he hits for some power. He’s selling out to be a 25 HR per year guy with a low batting average. So far, his career-best maxEV is just 108 mph (44% percentile) but he’s putting everything in the air (career 34% GB%).

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 twice, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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