Big Kid Adds (Week 5)

Denny Medley-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 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.

Josh Winder (9): His spot start (6 IP, 7 K, 1 BB, 0 BB) was great, but he may back to the bullpen with Sonny Gray coming off the IL. I’m not sure if he’s worth holding as a long reliever since he has a 4.4 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 10 relief innings. We’ll see how things go.

Juan Yepez (9), Jose Miranda (9), Jarren Duran (9), Royce Lewis (8): The rookie callups got a ton of attention before FAAB ran on Sunday so I won’t go into too much detail with them. I one I was hoping to add cheaply (didn’t happen) was Duran. Since he was already demoted by Sunday, I thought managers would not want to speculate on him. I was wrong.

Ben Gamel (7): Gamel has been on fire in May (.458/.480/.792 with 1 HR). Additionally, he has a nice seven-game week with the last three in Cincinnati against three righties.

He’s improved his swing-and-miss by chasing fewer pitches out of the zone (27% for his career, 25% this season) and swinging at more in the zone (63% for his career, 70% this season). These 2022 values are both career bests. The combination has his contact rate up to 79% and his strikeout rate down to 21% K% (career 25% K%).

On top of that, his career StatCast Hard Hit rate is at a career-high 43%. He’s made major improvements at the plate and boosted his overall production. A solid add for those paying attention.

Tyler Wells (6): In any model, Wells’ two-start week jumped off the page. I use Razzball’s weekly projections and Wells came in as the 27th best pitcher for the week.

Two starts against Kansas City and Detroit should put any pitcher on the two-start radar. As I write this, he threw six innings allowing one run with three strikeouts. He left the game with a 6-1 lead.

Nothing stands out with him. He seems very average (4.50 ERA, 4.18 xFIP, 7.0 BB/9, 2.0 BB/9). As he transitioned from the bullpen, he lost some velocity (95.2 mph avgFBv last year, 93.9 this year), but he’s throwing the fastball fewer times (59% usage to 44% usage).

He utilizes four pitches (four-seam, curve, change, and slider) but it has only been 56 pitches this season so it’s tough to grade them. Here are some comps on this fastball.

It’s not a great fastball, but serviceable. Maybe Wells will lineup for one of two more weeks like this one over the rest of the season.

Jeffrey Springs (6): Springs will possibly get two appearances this week. He’s appeared in nine games so far and thrown 13 innings (0.69 ERA, 2.52 xFIP 9.7 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, and 52% GB%). He attacks hitters with a three-pitch-mix (sinker, change, slider) with his changeup (25% SwStr%, 50% GB%) being his best offering. With pitching drying up in 15-team leagues, he’s a necessary chance for a team.

Bryson Stott (6): Stott gets another chance at the majors with Didi Gregorius (knee) on the IL. In 38 MLB PA, Stott’s results have been horrible (.135/.158/.162, 3% BB%, 32% K%). He’s been seeing a ton of hard fastballs and has a 14% SwStr% against them. Simply, if he can’t hit an MLB fastball, he’s done.

In AAA, he’s been great (.333/.375/.611 with 2 HR and 2 SB) but needs to translate that success to the majors. How I’d approach Stott is as a bench bat to see if he can start performing and not rely on him.

Ji-Man Choi (6): Choi returns from the IL to probably sit on his manager’s bench for the week. Choi only faces righties and the four he would get this week are Syndergaard, Ohtani, Gausman, and Manoah. The next week his matchups are better (Detroit and Baltimore).

Fueled by a .542 BABIP, he’s hitting a career-best .326/.456/.543 with 2 HR. He is striking out 35% of the time so when his BABIP regresses, the average could be ugly. I don’t think there is a reason to hold him, just stream him when he’ll get six games against righties.

Brady Singer (6): The Royals are likely calling up Brady Singer this week and it should be intriguing. Brady has been just over a 4.00 ERA pitcher in about 200 MLB innings, but he’s only thrown two pitches, a fastball and a slider. Now, he has a changeup.

If he can use the change 15% or more of the time, he could take a major step forward. His slider is near elite (15% SwStr%, 51% GB%) and while his sinker doesn’t miss bats, it does have a 52% GB%. Shrewd addition.

Colin Moran (6): Moran has hit three home runs this May and nothing else while filling in at first base for Joey Votto. The lefty has six games against righty starters this week (four at home, two at PIT).

This was the perfect scenario for rostering him with guaranteed playing time and plenty of righties (career .788 OPS vs RHH, .603 OPS vs LHP). I could see him being dropped in all six leagues next week.

Rafael Montero (6): With Ryan Pressly struggling (FBv down 2.4 MPH, 11.4 K/9 to 5.1, 1.8 BB/9 to 3.4, 2.25 ERA to 5.06), Montero (12.4 K/9, 0.89 WHIP, 0.73 ERA) is the obvious closer in waiting. Montero has already held the closer’s role when Pressley was on the IL and got three Saves.

Montero’s career has been a series of ups and downs, but a career-high 96 mph FBv and manageable walk rate (career 4.3 BB/9, 2.2 BB/9 this season) have him throwing at his best. He’s throwing his fastball (17% SwStr%, 35% GB%) about two-thirds of the time while mixing in a sinker, change, and slider.

Martín Pérez (6): I just shudder thinking about this rollercoaster. I see the appeal with him allowing just one run over this last three starts (20 IP) with 14 strikeouts. During that stretch, he had a 5.9 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, and 3.72 xFIP).

Last season, he had better strikeout and walk numbers, but a 4.74 ERA (4.48 xFIP). The biggest difference this season is that he’s leaning into his sinker (25% to 39% usage, 71% GB%, 6% SwStr%) which has his overall groundball rate up from 44% to 54%. The pitch’s comps are… him.

The pitch is the same as ever, but historically, its groundball rate is closer to 53%. He’s keeping the pitch low in the zone thereby generating more groundballs as shown by this Driveline Baseball graphic.

Here are his sinker locations over the past three seasons.

2020

2021

2022

He’s getting everything out of his skill set that is comparable to the 2022 version of Dakota Hudson and Logan Webb.

Edward Olivares (5): Rarely does an unrostered hitter’s projection make him a must-add, but Olivares’s jump to that point when he looked like he was a full-time hitter. Even though he hurt his hamstring and went on the IL, I still think he’s worth a stash.

His preseason Steamer600 had him at 21 HR, 13 SB, and a .258 AVG. Hitters with similar projections were Gleyber Torres (22, 13, .268), Harrison Bader (22, 13, .246), and Andrew Benintendi (19, 13, .264). All three are 100% rostered in the NFBC Online Championship (12 teams, 30-man rosters) and were going at or before pick 250 in draft season.

In 39 MLB PA, he’s not disappointed by hitting .371/.421/.486 with 2 SB. He’s likely a must roster in all formats if starting.

James Kaprielian (5): He’s had two starts since coming off the IL. One was a complete disaster (2 IP, 2 K, 4 BB, 4 ER) and the other was good (5.2 IP, 7 K, 2 BB, 1 ER).

When healthy, he’s been able to strike out batters (career 9.4 K/9) but the walks can be an issue (3.4 BB/9). Home runs (career 1.5 HR/9) were also an issue with his just 35% GB% but maybe with the new sad, boring ball fewer flyballs will leave the park. He might be worth gambling on when throwing at home or in larger parks.

Humberto Castellanos (5): I guess some managers really wanted a two-start week (vs MIA, vs CHC). So far, so good since he pitched as expected against Miami (5.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 K, 1 BB).

For the season, he has a 5.8 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 35% GB%, and 4.32 ERA. The only thing saving him from being a complete disaster (4.72 xFIP) is a 0.4 HR/9. There is not much going on in his profile with a sub-90 mph fastball and his curveball is his only pitch with a greater than 8% SwStr%. Now, he could lean into the curve more than the current 27%  with his sinker (52% GB%, 8% SwStr%) and take a step forward. Right now, his violating the Yu Darvish Rule by also throwing a slider (just 1% SwStr%), change, and four-seamer.

Monitor for a pitch mix change and possibly roster against weak opponents.





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 once, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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LightenUpFGmember
5 days ago

Nope… you’re going to need a lot more graphs and charts to get me interested in Martin Perez again.