Big Kid Adds (Week 9)

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.

Batters

Mark Vientos (9): In 39 PA, Vientos is destroying the ball with a 1.024 OPS and 3 HR. The key to the turnaround is his improved plate discipline with his walk rate up from 4% to 10% and strikeout rate down from 31% to 18%. Hopefully, he can keep the gains.

The biggest question surrounding Vientos will be his playing time. In the 13 games since being recalled, Vientos has started in seven games while Brett Baty (.631 OPS) started in the other six.

I think it’ll be a frustrating week or two for Vientos managers as he slowly moves into a full-time role. For now, I think he makes a great bench stash who can be started if another corner infielder goes on the IL.

Adam Duvall (8): Since Ronald Acuña Jr. was lost for the season, Adam Duvall has started both games in right field. Over Duvall’s career, he’s been an above-average hitter with hitting homers being his only useful trait. Over a full season, he should hit 30 HR, so he should hit 20 over the rest of the season. At most, he might steal a base or two every season. For his career, he has a .231 AVG and it’s down at .213 this season.

For the managers needing power, he’s one the easiest adds.

David Hamilton (8): Hamilton is on the strong side of a platoon and with the Red Sox scheduled to face six righties in their seven games, he was added. Hamilton is one of many no-power speedsters throughout the league. Here are his Steamer600 (ROS) comps.

Most of the players listed have been useful at one time or another, but because they aren’t average major league hitters, they rarely keep their jobs. Hamilton is just a weekly steamer for teams in need of stolen bases.

Jacob Hurtubise (8): The 26-year-old filled in for TJ Friedl while Friedl was on the IL (off the IL now). Hurtubise was a strong-side platoon bat who moved up to batting leadoff. On the season, he hit .226/.324/.258 with 0 HR and 1 SB in the majors. Here are the comps to his Steamer600 (ROS) projection:

Most of the above hitters are decent and worth rostering if they have full-time roles.

Trevor Larnach (6): Strong-side platoon bat scheduled to face five righties this week. On the season, he’s cut his strikeout rate from 34% K% last season to 21% this season. The extra balls in play has him with a .270 AVG and 4 HR. Streaming option when most righties on the schedule.

Hunter Goodman (6): Mainly starters against lefties. While he can hit for power (2 HR, .213 ISO), he’s struggled to get on base (4% BB%, .191 AVG, 30% K%). Look for better options.

Ji Hwan Bae (5): I’m a little surprised he didn’t end up the list of all-speed, no-power hitters who are Hamilton’s comps. Instead, he’s on Hurtubise’s list. In 420 career plate appearances, he has 2 HR and 29 SB while hitting .239/.307/.318.

Like with the others rabbits, the key will be how much playing time he gets going forward. So far, he has started in three of the six games.

Miguel Andujar (5): He just came off the IL and has three hits including a home run in 12 PA. It’s not obvious how much playing time he’ll get. In four games since returning (all vs RHP), he’s started in three of them.

Nelson Velázquez (5): There was a stretch when he started every other game. Over the last six games, he’s started all of them and hit fifth in five. If the power bat is playing, he needs to be rostered.

Henry Davis (5): With the injury to Joey Bart, some managers assumed Henry Davis would get promoted but Grant Koch did instead.

Starters

Matt Waldron (8): While Waldron was serviceable in April (4.35 ERA, 4.31 xFIP) he has taken off in May with his K%-BB% going from 12.4% to 21.6%. His K%-BB% from May ranks 23rd among all pitchers with at least 20 IP. The change came as he leaned into his knuckleball and away from his slider and sinker while abandoning his cutter.

Here are the results of the five pitches.

Matt Waldon’s Pitch Results
Pitch SwStr% GB% Usage
Knuckle 14% 42% 38%
Four-seam 10% 36% 24%
Slider 5% 28% 18%
Sinker 4% 43% 15%
Cutter 9% 14% 5%

While most people love the thought of a slow floating pitch keeping batters off guard, I think the knuckleball and other pitches with extreme movement variances can perform up. Hitters won’t be able to groove their swing into a specific swing shape.

I was initially pointed to the concept by Lance Brozdowski when looking at Trevor Rogers’s slider.

The next example happened yesterday in Mining the News with Bryce Miller’s splitter.

As pointed out in the article, the splitter (FS) acts as three pitches.

And finally, we get to Waldon. He sees his knuckleball (KN) move all over the place.

The knuckleball, when paired with Waldon’s average or better fastball, makes him an intriguing arm.

While not all pitchers have a pitch with a huge movement profile, but when one does, fantasy managers might want to give take notice.

Albert Suárez 수아레즈 (7): He performed decently as a starter this season with a 1.86 ERA (3.87 xFIP), 1.09 WHIP, and 8.4 K/9. With a couple of injuries to the Orioles staff, Suarez is back in the rotation.

Merrill Kelly 켈리 (5): He is just beginning to throw a baseball and is expected back sometime in July.

Relievers

Jeremiah Estrada (8): At the time I type this artice, Estrada has 13 straight strikeouts. For the season, he has a 0.55 ERA, 0.55 WHIP, and 15.4 K/9 in 16 IP. Also, he has two Wins and a Save. He’s been good.

Luis García – Orange County edition (6): Garcia (4.63 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 8.9 K/9) had a stretch of two Saves in three games and looked like he might be taking the closer’s role from Carlos Estévez (4.76 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 9.0 K/9). I’m not sure if either one is good enough to hold the role.

Players Added in NFBC High Stakes Leagues
Name Number of Leagues Added High Winning Bid Low Winning Bid
Mark Vientos 9 28 1
Adam Duvall 8 67 19
David Hamilton 8 49 6
Matt Waldron 8 34 12
Jacob Hurtubise 8 19 3
Jeremiah Estrada 8 17 2
Albert Suarez 7 33 2
Hunter Goodman 6 24 3
Luis Garcia 6 22 2
Trevor Larnach 6 8 2
Ji Hwan Bae 5 36 4
Merrill Kelly 5 23 2
Miguel Andujar 5 14 3
Nelson Velazquez 5 10 6
Henry Davis 5 8 1
Tyler Kinley 4 32 13
Nick Gonzales 4 26 1
DJ LeMahieu 4 17 7
Tyler Alexander 4 15 2
Isiah Kiner-Falefa 4 12 8
Ray Kerr 4 6 3





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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David Klein
15 days ago

Both Vientos and Baty might start everyday if the ct scan on Alonso’s hand delivers bad news.