You want deep? Then let’s drill, baby, drill, as injuries to a couple of established American League stars in Week 2 have opened up spots for some deep league fantasy options to get a chance to shine.
Erik Bedard / SP / Tampa Bay Rays
0 percent Yahoo / 0 percent ESPN / 1 percent CBS ownership
He’s back! After injuries to Matt Moore and Alex Cobb, the 35-year-old Bedard will join the Rays’ starting rotation, at least until Cobb returns from an oblique strain. Bedard, of course, is subject to get hurt at any minute, though he managed to put up more than 150 innings last year, the first time he’s done so since 2007. He’s also in somewhat of a battle with Cesar Ramos to stick around after Cobb returns, and, looking further ahead, to staying in the rotation after Jeremy Hellickson, disabled until at least June with an elbow injury, is due to come back.
Bedard walks too many hitters to be much help in the WHIP department, and hasn’t posted a sub-4 ERA since 2011. But he’s continued to strike out batters at a better than 8 K/9 rate in recent seasons despite unremarkable SwStr% and velocity results, and the Rays could help him grab some wins. He’ll also be pitching his home games in a ballpark that was the American League’s most favorable to pitchers, at least as per our park factors last year. So while owners in mixed leagues have no need to hand Bedard the keys to a roster spot right now, he could have some value in AL-only leagues.
J.B. Shuck / OF / Los Angeles Angels
1 percent Yahoo / .8 percent ESPN / 4 percent CBS ownership
Josh Hamilton’s ill-advised headfirst slide into first base last week has opened up a spot for Shuck, 26, to get some regular at-bats and become a potential factor in deeper fantasy leagues. Entering into the better end of a platoon with Collin Cowgill, the left-handed hitting Shuck has already produced at the major league level, belting a home run against the Mets over the weekend and going 5-for-17 on the season entering Tuesday’s action.
Although he’s never been regarded as a significant prospect, Shuck actually received rookie of the year votes last year, when he batted .293 over 129 games. But despite hitting over .300 in the minors, Shuck isn’t going to deliver home runs on a regular basis — he hit just 10 of them in 2,342 minor league plate appearances — and likely won’t steal too many bases, though he swiped eight last year. Still, owners in AL-only leagues might find a use for him, as he could offer some help in batting average and runs, as he plays for an Angels’ offense that’s off to a hot start.
Karl, a journalist living in Washington, D.C., learned about life's disappointments by following the Mets beginning at a young age. His work has appeared in numerous publications, and he has contributed to the 2014 and 2015 editions of The Hardball Times Annual. Follow/harass him on Twitter @Karl_de_Vries.