This will be the last ottoneu most wanted report of the season, but there are still some hot unowned targets out there for contenders and rebuilding teams alike. Let’s take a look at the most added players over the past week:
Jake Junis has 4.32 FGPts/IP over his last ten appearances, and a fantastic 6.00 Pts/IP over his last six starts dating back to August 6th. That kind of production is an oasis in the ottoneu SP desert for teams in need of innings, even if he’s more likely to be a 4.00 Pts/IP pitcher over his remaining starts. He’s probably a must add in all leagues right now, given he’s pitching well and is young enough (24) to offer upside.
Jack Flaherty has struggled a bit in two starts so far with the Cardinals, but he’s been a highly productive minor league pitcher and appeared at #57 on Eric Longenhagen’s updated Top 100 prospects list. Flaherty should stick in the rotation the rest of this season with the trade of Mike Leake, and should be in the rotation mix in 2018 as well, so he makes an excellent target for ottoneu owners with an eye toward next year.
The results weren’t pretty for Luiz Gohara in his first major league start with the Braves, but he flashed the elite stuff (16.9% swinging strikes) that helped him carve up minor league hitters during his rise through the system. Gohara isn’t as polished as Flaherty is, but was even higher on the mid season Top 100 list at #42. He will likely struggle with command in the short term, but the high strikeout profile makes him a tantalizing target in FanGraphs points leagues.
Matt Olson has mashed during his time with the Athletics this season, popping 15 HR in 150 PA with a .387 wOBA, and is another young player (23) at the top of the most added list. Olson was a fringy ottoneu prospect as a 1B-only guy, but with OF eligibility for 2018 he’s a much more interesting player. I would temper enthusiasm a bit given his 30% strikeout rate, but he’s always had plus raw power and it’s translated into game power so far.
Jorge Polanco very quietly had a 101 wRC+ in a limited sample (270 PA) last year for the Twins as a SS eligible player. While he hasn’t been quite as good this year (89 wRC+ over 454 PA), he’s been on fire at the plate since the calendar turned over to August (.451 wOBA and 185 wRC+ in 144 PA). That’s exceptional performance from a SS, though it’s hard to know if this is just an extended hot streak or the beginning of a breakout for the 24 year old. As you can probably tell, the most added list is dominated by young players performing well, and Polanco has the best MLB credentials of the group so far.
Dillon Maples is a former starting pitcher prospect that the Cubs moved to the bullpen in 2015, and the conversion has allowed Maples his first taste of the big leagues. Even as a Cubs fan I’m quite surprised that he’s been added in so many leagues, as I don’t expect him to have much of an impact as a reliever in ottoneu any time soon. I’d love to be proven wrong, but I think Maples probably needs another full season in AAA to fully develop into the high strikeout/high groundball reliever he showed in flashes this year. Even then there’s no guarantee he pitches in high leverage roles any time soon.
Austin Hays has appeared a couple of times on Carson Cistulli’s Fringe Five series this year, was an honorable mention on Eric Longenhagen’s mid season Top 100 list, and appeared on KATOH’s mid season top 100 list as well. That’s what happens when a player has a .420 wOBA across three levels since being taken in the 3rd round of the 2016 MLB draft. Hays received a September promotion to the Orioles, but he’s unlikely to play much. Hays is a classic overachieving and under-scouted prospect, so the time to grab him is now, before any potential big league success. Worst case scenario he turns into a pumpkin and you cut him this offseason with little opportunity cost, best case scenario he flashes enough to increase his value significantly.
If there’s one name on the most added list that sticks out like a sore thumb, it’s Doug Fister, a player so highly regarded that he didn’t sign with the Angels until May for a $1.75 million base salary. He then opted out of his contract with LA almost exactly a month later after spending that time in AAA, and was then claimed by the Red Sox. The veteran starter has turned back the clock over his last ten appearances with 5.20 Pts/IP in 56.1 IP. Fister has been especially good over his last four starts, with a 6.68 Pts/IP while averaging 7.5 IP per start. The Red Sox must be working the same late season magic they applied to Rich Hill in 2015, and the ottoneu owners who have added him over the past few weeks have reaped the benefits.
In many ways Kyle Gibson is the same command/control pitcher that peak Doug Fister was, but one that hasn’t fully developed yet. Gibson isn’t really a great bet in FanGraphs points leagues long term given the lack of strikeout upside, but he’s another pitcher with a recent run of success (5.36 Pts/IP over 26.2 IP in his last four starts). The ceiling may be lower than guys like Flaherty and Gohara, but you could do much worse if you’re desperate for innings.
If Doug Fister stuck out like a sore thumb, Robinson Chirinos sticks out like a neon green third arm. Unlike every other name on this list, he’s not young, and he’s not a pitcher. So why are ottoneu owners snatching him up? It probably has something to do with the .381 wOBA, and the increased playing time at catcher for the Rangers now that Jonathan Lucroy is in Colorado. Chirinos may already be 32 years old, but I like him quite a bit as a sneaky catcher option for next season, and his projections are quite favorable (.334 wOBA per Depth Charts).
Are there any other names you’ve seen added in your leagues recently? Let me know in the comments!
Justin is a life long Cubs fan who has been playing fantasy baseball for 20+ years, and an ottoneu addict since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @justinvibber.