This is an exciting time of the year for deep league owners as prospects are being called up, slow starters are getting released and playing time opportunities are opening up. No longer do deep leaguers have to choose between fifth outfielders and sixth starters currently pitching in long relief.
Felipe Paulino, KC SP | 6% Owned
If you had read my stuff last year on FantasyPros911 or listened to my weekly radio show, you would be well aware that I loved Paulino last year. He was coming off a decent 4.04 xFIP, but that compared to a ghastly 6.27 ERA, which likely scared off most fantasy owners and made him very cheap at draft time. He posted an excellent strike out rate, backed up by a fastball that averaged 95.4 miles per hour and generated an impressive 11.6% SwStk%. Unfortunately, 2010 did not go so well as his control regressed, the poor luck of 2009 continued through the season, and he dealt with shoulder issues that landed him on the DL. Now he has moved on to the Royals and has a second chance at a starting gig after opening the season in relief with the Rockies. His velocity remains in the 95.0 mile per hour range and he has produced fantastic results with his slider once again. This is the type of arm worth taking a chance on in AL-Only leagues. At the very least he should provide some nice strikeout numbers.
Jeff Keppinger, HOU 2B | 7% Owned
The release of Bill Hall has opened the door for Keppinger to receive full-time at-bats . While never producing much power or showing much speed, he is one of the best contact hitters in baseball. In his career, he has walked more than he has struck out, and only a below league average BABIP of .289 has prevented him from being a perennial .300 hitter. Obviously, he does not have great upside or anything, but his skills remind me of a mini-Placido Polanco. A couple of homers and steals here and there, but the value comes with the playing time and the batting average. Though this does not play very well in mixed leagues, he is a good choice to fill a hole that should cost little in deeper leagues. Finding a player in deeper leaguers that won’t kill your average is difficult, especially in the current environment where BABIP and batting average are down for the league. Luckily, Keppinger is here to save the day.
Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.