Big Kid Adds (8/30/22)

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:

Brayan Bello (9): The 23-year-old righty has made seven MLB appearances (five starts) and has really struggled with walks (5.2 BB/9) leading to poor results (7.27 ERA, 2.08 WHIP).

His walks were down this month. Combining the results from AAA and the majors, he had a 2.0 BB/9 (2 BB) over 13.2 IP. In his last major league start, he only walked one Blue Jay over five innings. And he gave all those gains back last night with 3 ER, 3 BB, and 2 K in 4 IP.

As for an arsenal, his sinker (71% GB%), change (19% SwStr%, 53% GB%), and four-seamer (12% SwStr%, 46% GB%) are all getting decent results. The sinking action of these pitches has his groundball rate at 61%. His issue is with his slider (4% SwStr%, 43% GB%, 18% usage) and during his last two starts, he has its usage down to 13%.

With some teams just needing Wins and strikeouts, at least one manager in every league took a chance on Bello with his two starts (@ MIN, vs TEX).

Franchy Cordero (8): This addition didn’t go as planned for those rostering Cordero, but in the end, it might work out. The Red Sox had been using a first base platoon with Cordero facing righties and Bobby Dalbec against lefties. The Red Sox have gone and decided to use red-hot Christian Arroyo (.878 OPS in 2H) as the first baseman. But somehow Cordero still gets to play … as the centerfielder!? We’ll see how the playing time works out for the rest of the week.

Cordero is showing some rosterable talent. In 259 PA, he has 8 HR and 4 SB with a .228 AVG. The batting will always be an issue until he gets his strikeouts (32% K%) under control. He has been a bit better against righties with a 31% K% and .240 AVG (38%, .167 vs LHP).

Playing time might be an issue but a chance worth taking.

Rafael Montero (8): When Ryan Pressley went on the IL earlier in the season, Montero stepped in as the closer (9 SV this season). Montero will step in and at least be the closer for this week with Pressley able to come off the IL on September 6th.

While Montero walks a few too many batters (3.5 BB/9), the rest of his profile is clean (2.68 ERA, 3.38 xFIP, 55% GB%, and 9.6 K/9). He’s generating even more weak contact than his groundball rate indicates. While his sinker (65% GB%) and change (70% GB%) keep the ball on the ground, his four-seamer (36%) generates a ton of weak popups. The only item missing right now is a sub-2.0 BB/9.

Cade Cavalli (8): The 24-year-old Cavalli is considered to be one of the top pitching prospects in the game (we rank him 20th overall). He was fine in AAA with a 3.71 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 9.7 K/9. The trait holding him back is the walks.

Year, Level: BB/9
2021, AA: 5.4
2021, AAA: 4.7
2022, AAA: 3.6

While the walks are headed down, he still lacks control. In his first major league start, he walked two batters and hit three more over four innings of work.

I don’t think his demand would have been too high if he wasn’t scheduled to face Oakland this week. We’ll see how the “start everyone versus Oakland” strategy works out.

Victor Reyes (8): Reyes has nearly been the same hitter over the course of the season (.693 1H OPS, .706 2 HR OPS). Two things have changed to push up his value.

First, he’s playing every day (14 straight starts) while batting second in the lineup. In deeper leagues, That volume will be in play.

Second, he’s finally stealing some bases after showing the potential for 15 to 25 steals in previous seasons (33 SB in 1186 career PA). Both his steals have come in August and hopefully, there are more to come.

Bailey Falter (7): With Zack Wheeler headed to the IL, Falter is back in the rotation and will face the Diamondbacks on Wednesday. In 51 MLB IP, he has a 4.41 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and 8.1 K/9. The single issue holding him back is his 2.1 HR/9. He does generate a ton of fly balls (29% GB%) and his home run rate projections are between 1.1 HR/9 and 1.7 HR/9.

He’s leaned into generating flyballs even more as he is fading his sinker (9% SwStr%, 30% GB%) and throwing his four-seamer (13% SwStr%, 42% GB%) more. The batted ball results seem backward, but they’re not. The change happened around the All-Star break. Before the break, he had a 13% K%-BB% and a 19% K%-BB% after it.

It’s a change, but he’s still not a must-start will all the home runs allowed.

Brian Anderson (7): He has started 15 of 16 games since coming off the IL while hitting .196/.327/.435 with 3 HR in the heart of the lineup. Volume play.

TJ Friedl (5): My issue with Friedl is that he’s on the strong side of a platoon with Stuart Fairchild (.767 OPS). The Reds were scheduled to only face four righties this week, so right away, he’s tough to roster.

There are some signs that he can provide some help to certain teams. In 139 PA, he has 6 SB with a .252 AVG. He also stole 10 bases in AAA.

While he has shown some home run power in AAA (12 HR in 2021 and 8 HR in 2022), that power has not transferred to the majors (3 HR in 175 MLB PA). He has a .433 SLG in the majors this season, but just a .325 xSLG. His legs have helped push up his power with the six doubles and four triples.

Check for a righty-heavy schedule and roster if needing speed.

Nick Martinez (5): With Josh Hader glitching, Martinez got the last three of the Padres Saves while throwing OK (7.9 K/9, 1.29 WHIP, 3.07 ERA, 4.04 xFIP).

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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1 year ago

The Bello start against the Twins was a harsh reminder that the guy doesn’t pitch long nor has he been dominant in the majors *yet*. Still hopeful for next year, but it seems that Wins will be tough to come by with the rookie this season on that rather dysfunctional Sox team.