Big Kid Adds (Week 15)

Matt Krohn-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 were originally named “High Stakes Leagues” and there are ten of them. With so much money on the line, these fantasy managers 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 leagues.

Note: After a few weeks with some pop-up starters, just a couple made this week’s list.

Batters

Brooks Lee (10): Many sources have covered Lee in detail. My biggest concern will be how much he’ll play once Royce Lewis returns from the IL. His current 1.087 OPS (.455 BABIP) ensures he’ll stay in the majors, but who knows how he’ll be hitting in a week or two.

The problem is that he doesn’t have a spot in the infield with Willi Castro (128 wRC+) and Carlos Correa (149 wRC+) being solid. Possibly Lee could be on the strong side of a platoon with Castro (career 105 wRC+ vs LHP, 96 wRC+ vs LHP). Or move to the outfield.

Juan Yepez (10): The Nationals moved on from Joey Meneses (.597 OPS in 313 PA) and promoted the 26-year-old Yepez. Yepez’s demand was high for two reasons. First, he has started in every game since being promoted. In deeper leagues, every plate appearance is precious. Also, he’s been decent when he’s played with 14 HR and a .711 OPS in 329 career PA.

In AAA, Yepez was hitting .263/.357/.438 with 11 HR and 3 SB. His plate discipline stood out with a 13% BB% and 14% K%. His projection isn’t that of a must-add player but someone who should be considered in deeper leagues if playing.

These projections aren’t buying the plate discipline adjustment which has continued in a small major league sample.

In 18 PA, he has an 11% BB% and 17% K% with a .826 OPS. The biggest change from previous seasons is that he’s focused on pitches in the strike zone with career-highs in Zone Swing% and Contact%.

Worth a shot especially if the new plate discipline sticks.

Jack Suwinski (9): Pittsburgh is scheduled to face six righties this week, so Suwinski, who only faces righties, was in demand. He has hit .181/.261/.324 (.225 BABIP) with 8 HR and 5 SB. Over his career, he has a .570 OPS against lefties (39% K%) and .771 OPS against righties (29% K%).

A streaming option for just his week.

Lenyn Sosa (6): In these leagues, having a regular with position flexibility and some hitting talent (.656 OPS, 4 HR, 3 SB) makes Sosa an interesting add.

Miguel Vargas (6) and James Outman (5): These adds are from Jason Heyward heading to the IL. Before Heyward’s injury, Heyward was facing righties and Vargas lefties. Now, Vargas is still only facing lefties and James Outman is up to face righties. A Friday start by Vargas against a righty might have thrown some people off, but the platoon still exists.

Outman struggled in the majors earlier this season by hitting .147/.250/.266 with 3 HR and 1 SB. Most of the 27-year-old’s struggles centered around his 32% K%. The strikeouts improved a bit in AAA with a 26% K% but I expect a bump in the majors.

I find it tough to roster either one.

Jon Singleton (6): Currently is on the strong side of a first base platoon (May 22nd was the last start versus a lefty). This year, it is a .542 OPS against lefties and .745 OPS against righties.

The Astros are scheduled to only face four righties this week, so he’s nearly unstartable. I guess that fantasy managers were focusing on his .322/.403/.441 (.436 BABIP) slash line over the last month and not looking forward.

Xavier Edwards (5): With Miami releasing Tim Anderson, Edwards has started six straight games at shortstop. In AAA, he posted .330/.376/.450 with 1 HR and 5 SB in 119 PA. He showed very little power with an 80.9 avgEV and 101.6 maxEV. Of the 404 hitters with 50 batted ball events, the average exit velocity would be the second lowest with the maxEV being the 3rd lowest. There are no signs he will hit with over-the-fence power. He might have decent ISO’s by turning singles into doubles and doubles into triples.

Here are the hitters with similar Steamer600 projections.

It’s not an inspiring list with Tim Anderson being one of the top comps. The one player to dream on might be Steven Kwan but Edwards will need to add some power before joining that discussion.

A speed and batting average source with possible league-worst power.

Angel Martínez (5): The Guardians just promoted the 22-year-old to majors where he’s hit second in five straight games while playing centerfield, second base, and third base. In AAA this season, he was hitting .316/.416/.537 with 5 HR and 2 SB in 114 PA. Like Yepez, he showed elite plate discipline with 13% BB% and 12% K%. That discipline has continued to the majors with a 28% BB% and 7% K%.

Projections do not like him with an OPS range of .610 (ATC) to .672 (Steamer) and ISO range of .090 to .123. I might like his power a bit more. In AAA, he posted a 108.6 maxEV that would put him as league average. Major leaguers with the same value are Thairo Estrada (.146 ISO), Jackson Chourio (.141 ISO), and Maikel Garcia (.117 ISO). A bit better.

With him playing, getting on base, and not being a complete zero in power, he’s an interesting add.

Starters

Luis L. Ortiz (7): Ortiz has mainly thrown out of the bullpen but as a starter, he has 0.75 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, and 9.0 K/9 in 12 IP. His 28.6% K%-BB% would rank second among qualified starters behind Garrett Crochet.

He’s changed his pitch mix by cutting the usage of both sinker and four-seamer by 3% points and dropping his changeup (5% SwStr%). At the same time, he added a cutter (7% SwStr%). His bread-and-butter pitch is his slider (15% SwStr%).

While the pitch mix changes can’t be ignored, the biggest change is that he’s throwing strikes. His walk rate has dropped from 5.0 BB/9 last season to 2.7 BB/9 this season with his Zone% increasing from 47.5% to 52.4%.

He’s an add where possible to see if he can keep the walks down like Jake Irvin did.

Chris Paddack (6): Paddack came off the IL and jumped right into a two-start week against the White Sox and Giants. Against the White Sox, he lasted five innings with three strikeouts, two walks, and two earned runs. His pitch velocity and mix were within his season’s norms.

Relievers

A.J. Puk (8): Managers are speculating on closers getting traded and Tanner Scott is one of the obvious choices. As a reliever, the lefty has a 2.63 ERA (3.23 xFIP), 0.83 WHIP, and 8.3 K/9

Jalen Beeks (5): The 30-year-old is the closer in Colorado with the last two Saves. He’s been decent recently by only allowing a run in two of his last 13 appearances. During that time frame, he has a 3.45 ERA, 6.3 K/9, 1.09 WHIP, 3 W, 2 Holds, and 2 Saves.

NFBC High Stakes Leagues Adds
Name Leagues Added High Winning Bid Low Winning Bid
Brooks Lee 10 123 6
Juan Yepez 10 14 1
Jack Suwinski 9 20 2
A.J. Puk 8 20 4
Luis L. Ortiz 7 22 3
Chris Paddack 6 38 1
Lenyn Sosa 6 18 4
Miguel Vargas 6 13 1
Jon Singleton 6 13 1
James Outman 5 29 2
Xavier Edwards 5 28 2
Jalen Beeks 5 11 1
Angel Martinez 5 8 1
James Wood 4 305 251
Matt Wallner 4 14 2
Michael Mercado 4 11 3
Trey Lipscomb 4 8 5
Keston Hiura 4 7 2
Hayden Birdsong 4 5 1





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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Crazyhurdlers
9 days ago

Anyone know why CLE has this carousel of UTIL types (JRodriguez, Noel, Clement, now A Martinez) instead of Juan Brito? Bad start but picked it up lately and is a big name prospect who started the season on the 40man.

EonADS
8 days ago
Reply to  Crazyhurdlers

He doesn’t really have a defensive home, and with Noel, Schneeman, and Martinez already up and hitting well (Noel and his 136 wRC+ is the low man), there’s not really room for him at the moment.

Also lol at Martinez being a Utility guy. He’s outhitting Brito so far (and has looked comparable in all upper-minors stops) with better defense. Prospect reports give them the same Game Power, but that’s not accurate. Martinez is better at it, and it’s pretty obvious. Brito trades some of his power for contact, Martinez doesn’t.

Last edited 8 days ago by EonADS