Well, we made it through the first month of the season, everyone. Congratulations! Take the day off!
If you’re a fantasy baseball manager (and I assume you are?) you know the grind never stops. You don’t even know what stop means! Hell, I drafted 14 teams this offseason after telling myself I’d cut back to three. And while I think that speaks more to my unnatural desire to be drafting baseball teams at all times than anything else and I don’t have any idea who you are personally, well, I think we’re on the same page.
The bottom line is that, as fake-team managers, we’re always on the lookout for an edge. Even if you’re rebuilding, I highly recommend keeping the Watch List Fridge stocked. Whether you’re playing Fantrax, ESPN, NFBC, ABBA, or ACDC, just stroll on over to the player list on occasion, in your free time, and get to scrolling. You never know what gems you’re going to find.
Wait…searching player lists for late-late-league winners isn’t what people do on Friday nights anymore?
Double-wait…people don’t have free time anymore? Hold up…time…no longer exists?
If any of the nonsense above resonates with you, I’ve got you covered. Once a month, and by the grace of the big man himself, Mr. SPStreamer AKA Michael Simione AKA The Pitching Savior To Us All, I’ll be doing a watch list article on players I think all Dynasty Managers should keeping tabs on. Deep Dynasty Follows if you will. Sometimes, they’ll be players who may get an opportunity soon. Other times, we’ll pop the hood to predict a breakout or hone in on boosting a specific category for all you Roto-leaguers. We’ll even talk about those dreaded points leagues! All of these players will have around 35% rostership or less in Fantrax leagues with an ADP of 450 or later to increase the chances of them being available in your leagues.
Let’s do this.
Edward Olivares, OF, Kansas City Royals
16% Rostered, ADP: 596
I’ve had a mini crush on Edward Olivares since his days with the San Diego Padres (a bias of which I am very well-informed). But despite my natural tendencies to root for the Friars, I think it’s pretty easy to see why Olivares has potential on your dynasty rosters. The owner of a 28.9% sprint speed in 2020 (top 5% in MLB), Olivares swiped 21 and 35 bags respectively his last two years in 2018 and 2019 with a combined 30 homers as well. How many did he steal in 2020? Well…zero. But! All but 4 of his at-bats came from the 6th-9th spots in the lineup, which doesn’t lend itself well to such thievery. It may take an injury or underperformance from one of the Soler/Benintendi/Taylor combos the Royals currently employ to allow Olivares a shot at some playing time this season, but I certainly think he’s worth a stash if you can afford the wait.
Tyler Stephenson, C, Cincinnati Reds
36% Rostered, ADP: 485
Tyler Stephenson has the kind of fantasy-friendly profile bat I love to see in a catcher. He’s a big dude, with a big bat, and while he still needs to take his defense to the next level, I think he could ultimately be a .260 average, 20-homer player if, IF, everything clicks and he starts to see regular playing time. The problem, you ask? Well, one Tucker Barnhart stands in the way. Why am I still recommending picking up Stephenson then? Plain and simple: I think he’s a better hitter. He sported +10% walk rates in 2018 and 2019 (his last two years in the minors), has a history of reasonable strikeout rates, and I think he’ll only continue to improve with more big-time plate appearances.
I know, Barnhart has been smoking hot so far, but keep in mind that Barnhart is a career 84 wRC+ hitter and is, despite his excellent start, still sporting a 35.7% strikeout rate this season. Stephenson, rather, has cut his strikeout rate down closer to where we saw it in his last few minor league seasons, and while it’s a small sample, it is still an encouraging small sample. He’s also thriving in games he starts, batting .412 with a 1.018 OPS in such games.
I currently roster Stephenson on five teams (four of which are dynasty), and I wish I had him on more.
Garrett Whitlock, RP, Boston Red Sox
31% Rostered, ADP: 1052
Where the heck did Garrett Whitlock come from!? Sure seems like I should have seen this 6’-5” monster of a reliever coming. In any case, he’s having quite a season so far and I think is worth an extra look this week if he hasn’t yet been scooped in your dynasty league. First of all, that fastball/sinker/changeup combo has made for quite the sea of red on his statcast page, so I went back to watch his 2-inning stint against the Mets on Wednesday. I came away very impressed! He had almost every batter off-balance and left his outing with 4 strikeouts (Lindor, Conforto, McCann, Villar). The only hit he allowed was against Pete Alonso, who punched a quiet single to right against the extreme shift.
Sign me up! I dug through Whitlock’s game logs as well and found that he’s now appeared in 7 games this season, five of which he’s thrown for at least 2 innings. Couple that with a 35.3% CSW and a few holds to boot and I think his rostership should be much higher at this point. If you play in a points league that rewards holds or could use some ratio help in a roto league (and who couldn’t), go get this guy ASAP.
Brad Miller, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies
12% Rostered, ADP: 714
Brad Miller needs to be rostered in more dynasty leagues. I know he’s not a sexy young prospect, but it feels like he’s been a great roster fill-in guy for the last few years. In fact, while he hasn’t always come across regular playing time, he’s mashed 22 taters and scored 108 runs and RBI with a 124 OPS+ over this last 145 games (382 PA’s) dating back to 2019. That’s pretty darn good for a guy my age! I’m not sure what happens to his playing time when Jean Segura gets back to the team in presumably early May, but it’s worth keeping an eye on Miller, especially in daily leagues. He’s batted leadoff for the Phillies over the last few games and has also played first, second, third, and left field this season as well, giving him even more potential for the ever-elusive multi-position eligibility.