Big Kid Adds (Week 19)

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 four or more of these leagues.


Matt Wallner (9): I wish I would have taken a chance on Wallner last week when some of his projection (Steamer600 ROS) comps stood out.

Daniel Palka isn’t going to turn many heads but a Brett Baty clone would be interesting. Wallner has gotten off to a decent start with a .258 AVG, 5 HR, and 1 SB in just 74 PA. With borderline major league talent, his fantasy value jumped since he has been playing every day.

The 25-year-old has started 12 straight games even with both Buxton and Polanco in the lineup. All of his at-bats might dry up if the Twins add someone at the trade deadline. For now, enjoy the steady contributions.

Kyle Isbel (8): I am a little surprised to see Isbel so high on this list. His playing time has been steady with eight starts over the last 10 games. In 182 PA this season, he’s hitting .230/.264/.391 with 4 HR and 4 SB. Now, he has been on a bit of a hot streak by hitting .317/.317/.561 over the past two weeks. Probably just a volume play.

Mitch Garver (6): With Jonah Heim headed to the IL, Garver takes over as Texas’s primary catcher. Garver has been fine his season (5 HR, .252 AVG, 135 PA) and he was probably just added by the Heim managers.

Michael Toglia (6): Even before C.J. Cron was traded to the Angels, Toglia was getting a decent amount of playing time. He had started in nine of the last 12 games, all at first base.

His hitting profile centers around power and that is about it. In AAA, he hit 16 HR with a .226 ISO. In the majors so far (65 PA), he has hit two bombs.

His problem is that he has too much swing-and-miss in his game. Last season, he had a 37% K% and this season it is down to 29%. He gets eaten up by sliders (24% SwStr%) and changeups (27% SwStr%). Several players on the waiver wire provide a similar profile so just stream the matchups.

Dominic Canzone (6): Canzone got promoted around the All-Star break but was getting the playing time to be fantasy relevant. In AAA, this season, he hit .354/.431/.634 . with 16 HR and 2 SB. His 1.065 was higher than Jake McCarthy and Alek Thomas posted there.

In his first eight games in the bigs, he only started in three games but starting on Wednesday, he started in four straight games. In 41 MLB PA, he is hitting .237/.293/.368 with 1 HR. As for his projection comps, all of them are impressive.

And now he has been traded to the Mariners to see how his playing time shakes out.

Cade Marlowe (6): Marlowe is interesting in that he has a nice power-speed combination but could struggle with his batting average. A comparable hitter is recently promoted Zack Gelof.

In AAA this season, Marlowe had 11 HR and 25 SB but with a 25% K%. In the majors so far, he has 1 HR and 2 SB while posting just a 17% K%.

As for his playing time, it is on the upswing. After his debut, he sat for three games. Since then, he has started in five of six games. The one game he say was against a lefty. The Mariners face five righties this week, with four in the first half and just one in the second half.

A decent speed option if playing. Could be impacted by Canzone’s arrival, though.

Jon Berti (5): Regular playing time has put the speedster on everyone’s radar with seven straight starts. Berti can be a difference maker in the stolen base category. Last season, he led the league in stolen bases in just 404 PA.

Tom Murphy (5): While Cal Raleigh limits how often Murphy can start, Murphy has been taking the most of his chances. On the season, he has 8 HR with a .285 AVG. Also, he has started in four of the last six games (1 at DH).

Andruw Monasterio (5) and Brice Turang (5): I’m going to group the pair together since both have been playing every day but the playing time may come to an end. Brian Anderson is about to come off the IL and Luis Urías is waiting in AAA.

Turang has been a decent source of steals (11 SB) but a drag on batting average (.208 AVG). Monasterio provides a fewer bags (4 SB in 123 PA) but with a decent batting average (.298).

If I was to pick one, it would Monasterio based on the simple fact he is hitting better (.768 OPS) than Turang (.592 OPS) in real baseball.


Luis Medina (6): Medina has been a good pitcher over his last four starts once he found the strike zone His Zone% increased from 48% to 51%. Also, his walk rate dropped from 5.2 BB/9 to 2.1 BB/9. His 9.0 K/9 is coming from an elite slider (24% SwStr%) and good curve (15% SwStr%). Even being on the A’s, he has been able to get three Wins. He’s worth gambling on but just make sure the walk rate doesn’t creep up.

Jake Irvin (5): A few teams are going to roll the dice on Irvin’s two-step (versus Milwaukee and at Cincinnati). For the season, Irvin has been horrible with a 4.96 ERA (5.35 xFIP), 1.43 WHIP (3.9 BB/9), and 7.3 K/9. He has been a bit better in the second half with a 6.32 ERA (4.08 xFIP), 1.34 WHIP (2.3 BB/9), and 10.9 K/9. The improvement has been steady.

Month: K%-BB%
May: 4% (14% BB%)
June: 8%
July: 14%

Besides throwing pitches in the strike zone, the only other source for the extra strikeouts I could find was an increased fastball velocity.

He should be on watch lists to see how this week’s two starts go.


Gregory Santos (8): For now, the righty looks to be the White Sox’s closer until Liam Hendriks comes off the IL.

Brooks Raley 레일리 (7): The 35-year-old soft-tosser (90 mph fastball) has gotten the first two save chances since David Robertson was trade to the Marlins. The deal is that Raley might also get traded.

JoJo Romero (6): Romero (3.92 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and 8.7 K/9) got the first post-Jordan Hicks Save for the Cardinals. I’d still prefer rostering Giovanny Gallegos or Ryan Helsley but in deeper formats, taking a dart on the small chance Romero gets the closer’s job might be worth it.

NFBC High Stake League Adds
Name Leagues Added High Winning Bid Low Winning Bid
Matt Wallner 9 $37 $2
Gregory Santos 8 $53 $18
Kyle Isbel 8 $9 $1
Brooks Raley 7 $24 $2
Luis Medina 6 $24 $2
Mitch Garver 6 $16 $5
Michael Toglia 6 $13 $2
JoJo Romero 6 $8 $1
Dominic Canzone 6 $4 $1
Cade Marlowe 6 $3 $1
Jon Berti 5 $22 $3
Jake Irvin 5 $18 $2
Tom Murphy 5 $4 $1
Andruw Monasterio 5 $4 $1
Brice Turang 5 $3 $1
David Peterson 4 $8 $4
Brandon Belt 4 $8 $2
Erik Swanson 4 $8 $1
Adrian Houser 4 $4 $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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