Big Kid Adds (Week 2)

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.

Hitters

Joey Wiemer (9): Got promoted with Luis Urias headed to the IL and Tyrone Taylor still on it. Wiemer should provide some power and speed but be a drag on a player’s batting average. I tweeted out some comps.

He has an OK profile if playing every day, but far from an elite talent who will force himself to the majors.

Ji Hwan Bae (8): It seems like he’s playing and has two stolen bases so far. Additionally, he has started two games at second base and could add to his outfield eligibility. Keep an eye on his playing time since he could start losing it if he struggles at the plate.

Ramón Urías (7): I could see two forces behind these adds. One, Urias is starting. The other is that there are no middle or corner infielders on the wire.

Yonathan Daza (7): Four games at home (COL) against Washington to end the week makes him a nice streamer.

Nolan Gorman (5): A .500 BABIP and 2 HR will make any hitter look good. Fantasy managers might as well chase the hot streak to see if there is a change.

Trayce Thompson (5): A three-home run game will catch everyone’s attention. Thompson sat the first two games (vs RHP) and then started against a lefty when he went off. He did get a start in game four (0-4, 2 K) against a righty. He is probably on the short side of a platoon thereby killing his fantasy value.

Trevor Larnach (5): He is batting cleanup for the Twins and trying to stay healthy. He’s probably a must-roster in all but the shallowest of leagues.

Omar Narváez (5): If a team lost a catcher (i.e Joey Bart), Narvaez is probably one of the better options on the wire.

Elehuris Montero (4): He’s been starting every game at third while hitting fifth or sixth. He has 1 HR so far with a 50% K%. With four games in Colorado this week, he is a streaming option.

David Hensley (4): While he is just utility-only qualified, he has started in three of the first four games with two at second base for the injured Jose Altuve.

Gio Urshela (4): He started all three games for the Angels, two at short and one at third. The lack of third-base options has him on manager radars as a bench option.

Orlando Arcia (4): I’m in one of these deeper leagues, and Arcia was the best middle infield option. I lost out on the bidding and ended up with J.P. Crawford. There was just no one else on the wire. The key is that he’s playing.

Victor Robles (4): He started all three games in center. He probably got a boost for his three games in Colorado.

Starters

Michael Grove (9): Two starts against Colorado (at LA) and Arizona will perk up any manager’s ears. In the second half of last season, he posted a 14% K%-BB% in the majors. Qualified starters with similar rates last season were Jose Berrios and Jose Urquidy.

His fastball is below average at best but his slow curve and slider both had swinging-strike rates over 16%. The key for him is finding a fastball that does anything (e.g. miss bats or generate groundballs).

Zach Plesac (6): Two starts this week against Oakland and Seattle and then the Nationals the next week. A decent streaming option even though he is projected for a 4.50 ERA. He just doesn’t strike out many batters (career 7.0 K/9).

Tyler Wells (5): Projected for one start this week against the Rangers and then has a two-start week after that against Oakland and White Sox. Over his career, Wells has been an ~4.50 ERA starter who gets a limited number of strikeouts (6.6 K/9).

Kutter Crawford (5): In 79 innings in the majors, Crawford has been able to strikeout batters (9.0 K/9) but also has that deadly combo of too many walks (3.5 BB/9) and home runs (1.5 HR/9). He did drop his walks down to 2.6 BB/9 in Spring Training.

Most of the attention for Crawford is from his potential two starts against Pittsburgh and at Detroit (tentative).

Tylor Megill (4): With a couple of injuries to the rotation (Verlander and Quintana), Megill will get a few starts. Megill is a must-roster with this news with his career 10 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9. The only downside with him is that he has given up a decent number of home runs (1.7 HR/9). It is tough to know if giving up those home runs is a skill with only 142 innings thrown.

A small red flag is that his fastball velocity is down 1.4 mph, along with his other pitches, when compared to last season. He was able to keep up the strikeouts by leaning into his slider (18% to 42% usage, career 15% SwStr%).

Drey Jameson (4): I’m a fan of Jameson and was drafting him early in the offseason until the 25-year-old righty was sent to the bullpen. Last season, he threw a 95-mph sinking (77% GB%) fastball along with a devastation slider (24% SwStr%). Those two pitches could easily make him a top-40 starter but he was mixing in a pathetic change and below-average curve.

In four innings out of the bullpen this weekend, he featured his slider (52% usage) and posted a 24% SwStr%. His problem was that he walked three batters and allowed a home run in his appearance. He might be headed to a rotation spot depending on the medical status of Madison Bumgarner.

James Kaprielian (4): It’s a two-start week for him against the Guardians and Rays. He’s projected for a near 5.00 ERA on the season and is not someone I’d recommend for streaming.

Josh Fleming (4): Fleming gets one start against the Nationals. He should get decent results with his groundball nature (59% GB%) but his defense failed him last season (.402 BABIP). It’ll be interesting to see if he can make his arsenal work this time.

Relievers

Pierce Johnson (9): He got the first Save chance with Daniel Bard on the IL.

Dany Jiménez (5): Got the first Save change in Oakland with Trevor May pitching the 8th inning.

Andrew Chafin (5): So far, he has a Save and Win pitching in high-leverage spots for the Diamondbacks. He might not get all the Saves, but a decent fill-in reliever when there are no good starting options.





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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Gavin
1 year ago

What am I missing about Trevor Larnach that he’s a must-add?

Jonathan Sher
1 year ago
Reply to  Gavin

He was a top-40 prospect who rose quickly through the minors, showing power and patience, had a decent debut (91 wRC+) after just 62 PA in AAA, but had that potential stunted by injuries. He had an .890 OPS entering June 2022 before being sideline by a core injury he tried to play through and that later required surgery. He has the confidence of his manager and he’s batting cleanup in a lineup with Correa and Buxton ahead of him and Miranda and Gordon behind him.

If you’re playing in a shallow league selecting all-stars, he’s not a must add. but in 5 OF, deeper leagues, he may be the best available OF on the waiver wire.

Gavin
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Sher

Thanks for the reply Jonathan.

Paul Sporermember
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Sher

Very well said, I agree. Still a big Larnach fan!