Big Kid Adds (Week 4)

Gary A. Vasquez-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 this year 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.

Batters

Andy Pages (10): I was not surprised with Pages being added in all leagues, I was a little surprised by the triple-digit bids for two reasons. First, I’m unsure how long he’ll remain in the majors once the Dodgers start getting healthy.

The second and more important reason, I’m not sure if he’s a good hitter. In AAA this season, he was hitting .371/.452/.694 (.400 BABIP) with 5 HR and 2 SB. Here is his current Steamer600 projection with hitters who have similar projections. I like to use projections because they take both the league and park context into account.

Most of the above players are rosterable when starting every day, but most can be streamed from the waiver wire.

I feel fantasy managers are chomping at the bits to spend their FAAB and Pages seemed like the best option for the week. Better hitters will be promote and then some intense bidding will take place.

Wilyer Abreu (9): The team has stated that Abreu will start only against righties. Also, Tyler O’Neill is coming off the IL soon. Both kept Abreu’s bids in check.

Over the past two weeks, he’s hit .333/.442/.556 with 1 HR and 4 SB. A .458 BABIP won’t continue.

When he plays, he has the skills to get on base and run. It’s not clear if his playing time will dry up again.

Jonatan Clase (9): The 22-year-old stole 55 bases in 2022 and 79 bases in 2023. If he can get on base, he’ll run (2 SB so far). The issue is getting on base. While he posted a 10% BB% or better in the minors, major league pitchers aren’t throwing him strikes and are making Clase hit his way on base (5% BB%, .286 OPB).

He does have some power (109 maxEV in AAA, 20 HR in ’23), so enough power could materialize for pitchers to respect him Also, Clase’s playing time will likely dry up once Dominic Canzone comes off the IL.

Possibly a stolen base play for a week or two.

Sean Bouchard (8): Bouchard got promoted in time for four games in Colorado and two in Mexico City. I expect him to jump on and off rosters depending on where the Rockies are playing.

Matt Vierling (6): Vierling is an ideal bench bat in deeper leagues. He’s qualified at third base and outfield with a balanced yet unspectacular profile (Steamer600 projection: .256/.323/.393, 13 HR, 12 SB).

One small improvement this season is that his power is up with career-highs in avgEV (92.5 mph) and Barrel% (7%). The results haven’t materialized on the field just yet (1 HR, .089 ISO).

Nick Senzel (6): Senzel returned from the IL and with third base getting decimated. He was one of the best waiver-wire options. This is an addition based entirely on need.

Johan Rojas (5): Of all the hitters added, Rojas might be the most impactful (close with Sano). He struggled to start the season. Over the first 10 games, he hit .419 OPS with 1 SB. Since then, he’s hitting .385/.429/.423. The team wants the 23-year-old to succeed in centerfield and they are giving him every opportunity.

While he’s nearly 100% rostered in the NFBC Main Event (86%), he’s readily available in the 12-team Rotowire Online Championship (28%), CBS (9%), and Yahoo! (6%). On the other hand, the inferior Clase is 100% rostered in the Online Championship, 22% on CBS, and 18% on Yahoo!. Why are people rostering a worse player?

Miguel Sanó (5): The 31-year-old might be living up to his hype from 10 years ago. So far, he’s hitting .300/.390/.420 while being first in the league in average Exit Velocity and second in HardHit%.

Over the last eight games, he’s started in seven of them and hit fourth. Additionally, he’s played four games at third base. Ignore your previous biases and roster him now.

Elehuris Montero (5): Like Bouchard, most Colorado hitters will be in demand with their upcoming schedule. Montero has started in nine of the last 10 games while hitting .210/.250/.226 on the season.

Miguel Amaya (5): For any team that has lost a catcher, Amaya (.262/.304/.429, 1 HR) is a decent add compared to the other options. Going 30 deep at the catcher position is rough.

Richie Palacios (5): Palacios is hitting (.304/.429/.478 with 2 HR and 1 SB) but barely playing (five starts in the last 10 games). He seems to be on the strong side of a platoon with the Rays scheduled to face five righties this week and four next week.

Starters

Albert Suárez 수아레즈 (9): The 34-year-old is not taking the normal route to a breakout but it’s working. Over 11 IP so far, he hasn’t allowed a run and struck out nine batters. His 95-mph fastball has been special so far with a 19% SwStr% while the comps on the pitch have it good, not great (any 4.00 pERA is decent on a fastball).

The comps point to more flyballs, especially since he elevates the pitch.

He’ll start allowing home runs with his 33% GB%, but if he can keep up his 1.6 BB/9, most of the homers will be solo shots.

Besides his fastball, his slider (19% SwStr%) and change (14% SwStr%) have performed on par with the fastball.

The biggest question surrounding him and others in the Orioles rotation is what happens when John Means and Kyle Bradish return from the IL, especially with Cade Povich destroying AAA (0.83 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, 13.7 K/9).

Landon Knack (9): Knack looked good in his debut (4 K, 1 BB, 2 ER, and 4 H over 5 IP) and will get one more start this week. If starting, the 26-year-old righty has a decent arsenal. Here are his three pitches and the swinging-strike rates from AAA and the majors.

Pitch: AAA SwStr%, MLB SwStr%
FF: 12%, 6%
SL: 15%, 15%
CH: 29%, 14%

The 93-mph fastball is acceptable but the secondaries grade out as average or better.

Additionally, he is doing a great job of not walking batters with his 1.8 BB/9 (41% Ball%) in the majors and 2.3 BB/9 (34% Ball%) in AAA.

A solid profile and should be used in two-thirds of his starts.

Mitchell Parker (8): Over two starts (at LAD, vs HOU), the 24-year-old has allowed only two earned runs over 12 IP with 12 strikeouts and no walks. He was just as dominant in AAA with an 11.3 K/9, 0.50 WHIP, and 0.00 ERA in 4 IP. The biggest improvement from previous seasons is his ability to throw strikes (11% BB% in AA last year, 13% BB% in AAA).

Besides throwing strikes (29% Ball%), he has generated quite a bit of swing-and-miss. The whiffs aren’t coming from his 92-mph fastball (4% SwStr%) but from the curve (14% SwStr%) and splitter (30% SwStr%).

If he can limit his non-elite fastball usage to 50% (currently 51%), he should be able to generate enough swing-and-miss to at least be a streaming option.

Jake Irvin (7): Irvin has been solid across the board (3.13 ERA, 3.29 xFIP, 1.00 WHIP, and 7.8 K/9) with little luck being factored in. His biggest improvement so far is cutting his walk rate from 4.0 BB/9 (38% Ball%) last season to 2.4 BB/9 (37% Ball%) this season while the Ball% doesn’t points to a value somewhere near the middle.

The only difference in his arsenal is the addition of a below-average cutter (6% SwStr%, 33% GB%). He is another arm who is streamable, especially in two weeks when he has a nice two-step at Miami and versus Toronto.

Relievers

Mark Leiter Jr. (9) and Héctor Neris (7): Adbert Alzolay has been removed from the closer’s role but it’s not obvious if Leiter or Neris will be getting Saves for the Cubs. Leiter has been the better pitcher but Neris got the last Save chance.

Joel Payamps (8) and Trevor Megill (6): Abner Uribe has not gotten a Save (2 BS) in two weeks, so managers are speculating that Payamps and Megill are taking over the closer’s role. I’d lean Payamps.

Ryne Stanek (5): Stanek has shown mixed results (2.25 ERA vs 5.94 xFIP, 9.0 K/9 vs 5.6 BB/9) but he’s sharing the closer’s role with two Saves so far this season.





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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TBo45
28 days ago

I keep seeing on FG that its a given Wilyer sits against LHP. He started and batted 4th against Martin Perez on Sunday

alang3131982member
27 days ago
Reply to  TBo45

I do feel like he’s only playing because of all the injuries. he was certainly sitting early in the season when they had a full compliment of players.