Fantasy Baseball Depth Chart Review: Week 8
Welcome to another Depth Chart Review! I’ll be breaking down all the major (and sometimes minor) transactions, injuries, and notable lineup changes around the league from Week 8 to evaluate how they affect the fantasy baseball landscape.
Rockies select the contract of Brendan Rodgers from Triple-A
Rodgers enters the fray with a pedigree as the Rockies top-ranked prospect. With Ryan McMahon and Garrett Hampson unable to provide consistent production at second base, it would appear the Rockies would like to get a long look at their highest upside player. However, this is still the Rockies, and their track record of impatience with prospects is well-documented. Rodgers will need to hit better than he has if he wants to avoid a demotion; he’s sat two consecutive games after going 1/8 with four strikeouts, a single, and RBI in his first two starts. Rodgers has a tremendous hit tool and solid power for a middle infielder. He also increased his walk rate while reducing his K-rate at Triple-A. Plus, he gets to call Coors Field home. Playing time concerns and the Rockies’ poor track record with giving prospects a long leash makes him a risky gamble, but the upside is very tangible.
White Sox reinstate Eloy Jimenez from the 10-day IL and option Nicky Delmonico to Triple-A
Jimenez has yet to find his groove at the plate, struggling before his injury and going hitless so far in his first two games back, including an 0-3 with three strikeouts. The contact skills and power are elite, and a case could be made that Jimenez has more talent than any of the most recent hot prospect call ups. Since the latest flavors of the month seem to be all the rage at the moment, it might actually be a great time to try and buy Jimenez from a disgruntled owner wondering why he hasn’t been able to go off yet.
Braves acquire Anthony Swarzak and cash from the Mariners for Arodys Vizcaíno and Jesse Biddle
Vizcaíno was set to become a free agent after this season and he’s out for the year, so trading him now for value makes sense for a contending Braves team. While it’s possible that Swarzak could continue to get save chances as he did in Seattle, this move was likely more about adding some depth to the bullpen rather than bringing in a bonafide closer.
Red Sox reinstate David Price from the 10-day IL and reinstate Sandy León from paternity leave list
David Price only threw 67 pitches and five innings in his return from elbow tendinitis, allowing two earned runs with no walks. He skipped a rehab assignment, so this explains the low pitch count here. Look for Price to go deeper into games moving forward. León figures to eat into hot-hitting Christian Vazquez‘s playing time, at least when it comes to catching Price, though he will remain the backup.
Padres recall Cal Quantrill from Triple-A El Paso and reinstate Trey Wingenter from 10-day IL; option Gerardo Reyes to Triple-A and option LHP Nick Margevicius to Double-A
Quantrill likely represents an upgrade over Margevicius. He boasts two above average to plus pitches, and he’s a favorite of Eno Sarris. The movement and velocity are there, but a 5.40 ERA and 1.73 WHIP aren’t going to play long at the Major League level. He should get at least one more start as the Padres seek to extend the time between starts for Chris Paddack and Matt Strahm. Wingenter should return to high leverage situations and makes for a great addition in leagues that value holds.
Angels place Andrelton Simmons on the 10-day IL with a left ankle sprain and recall Luis Rengifo from Triple-A
It’s a Grade 3 ankle sprain, so Simmons should be on the shelf for multiple months and may miss the rest of the season. This should guarantee Rengifo gets an extended look. Rengifo’s best asset is his speed, so with extensive playing time, he could offer some steals off the wire if he’s available. He makes for an excellent add in AL-only leagues.
Astros place Collin McHugh on the 10-day IL with elbow discomfort and recall Brady Rodgers from Triple-A
McHugh was a sleeper during the draft season and began the season on a positive note before giving up 24 runs in 18 innings of work as a starter. It’s possible the elbow issues affected his performance, but either way, he had been demoted to the bullpen in favor of Corbin Martin. There is no timetable for McHugh’s return, and he can safely be dropped in all leagues. Rodgers will replace him in the bullpen for now.
Rangers activate Shawn Kelley from the 10-day IL and option Brett Martin to Triple-A
Kelley returns just as Jose Leclerc appeared ready to reclaim the closer’s job. However, in his first game back, Kelley earned a save, but not without allowing a home run. Kelley should have a bit of a leash, allowing the Rangers to deploy Leclerc in the highest leverage situations to further test him and utilize his superior talent. While his days as closer may already be numbered, Kelley is worth an add for anyone needing saves so long as he remains healthy and in the role.
Mariners place Dee Gordon and Ryon Healy on the 10-day IL and recall Shed Long and select Tommy Milone from Triple-A
No word yet on whether Gordon will need further tests, but his value lies in his legs, not his ailing wrist, so keep Gordon stashed while you can. Healy’s injury doesn’t appear overly serious, and Tim Beckham figures to see more time at third base. Long continues to be an intriguing prospect with solid all-around skills, and he’s worth an add in AL-only leagues.
Nationals activate Javy Guerra and place Jeremy Hellickson on the 10-day IL with a strained shoulder
Guerra is a middling reliever who should add depth to the Nationals’ bullpen. The Nationals have been among the worst in baseball when it comes to bullpen ERA (6.60) and xFIP (5.15), so there’s a chance that Guerra could see high leverage innings immediately. He’s worth an add in leagues that value holds.
Giants reinstate Drew Pomeranz from 10-day IL and designate OF Aaron Altherr for assignment
Altherr, Giants fans hardly knew ya. Altherr made a single at-bat with the Giants, and he’s already been let go despite their need for productive outfielders. Side note: based on WAR, the Giants have fielded the worst outfield (4.0) in baseball since 2016. For greater context, the Red Sox have fielded the best outfield by posting a 50.2 WAR. The disparity there is staggering. Anyway, Pomeranz is worth an add in NL-only leagues, given he pitches in an extreme pitcher’s park and had flashed signs of a modest return to form before his injury.
Brewers reinstate Chase Anderson from 10-day IL and option Jacob Barnes to Triple-A
Chase Anderson returns to the rotation, and he was considerably wild in his first start back against the Braves (four walks, only three strikeouts across four innings). His 4.79 xFIP last year screamed regression, and he allows too much contact to recapture his 2017 form (12 wins, 2.71 ERA). He’s worth an add in NL-only and deeper mixed leagues if you’re desperate for starting pitch help, given that he plays for a team with a loaded offense that could hit enough to earn him some wins.
Indians recall Adam Plutko from Triple-A and designate Neil Ramirez for assignment
Plutko rejoined the Indians’ rotation and promptly gave up just one hit (a solo HR to Trey Mancini) in six innings of work. Granted, it was the Orioles, but Plutko probably gets a chance to stick for a while with Corey Kluber out until late summer and Mike Clevinger still on the mend. With a career K-rate of less than 7.00 and the Indians’ offense a shell of its former self, Plutko may not carry much value outside of AL-only leagues.
Pirates place Trevor Williams on the 10-day IL with a side strain and recall Clay Holmes from Triple-A
The Pirates are cautiously optimistic Williams didn’t suffer a long-term injury. What Williams doesn’t offer in terms of strikeouts, he tries to compensate for with excellent command. He still profiles more like a back end fantasy starter or streaming option. He can be dropped by those feeling a roster crunch.
Angels reinstate Kole Calhoun from Paternity List
Calhoun is having a bit of a resurgent season following a lot of swing tinkering and looks poised to cross the 20 home run threshold again for the first time since 2015. However, the .224 AVG and .305 OBP show his contact skills and plate discipline remain subpar. He projects to hit close to .240 with another 15 or so home runs, and that still plays in deeper mixed and AL-only leagues for anyone needing power.
Giants reinstate Buster Posey from concussion IL
Posey is not having a fine season by most metrics. Injuries have taken their toll, and he no longer sits among the top offensive catchers in the game. However, he’s still batting third or fourth in the Giants’ lineup, giving him at least ample opportunity (in theory) for respectable run and RBI totals. It’s worth noting that Posey’s hard-hit percentage (38.8%) is currently the highest of his career, despite only having two home runs on the season. His ISO (.146) falls right in line with his 2016 season where he hit 14 home runs with a .796 OPS. The most concerning thing in his batted ball profile would be his O-swing percentage. Posey typically swung at less than 30% of pitches outside the zone during his peak years, but that number has risen above 35% in 2019. If he can stop flailing at balls off the plate and recapture his plate discipline, Posey offers excellent value moving forward.
Cardinals activate Carlos Martínez from the 10-day IL and recall Ryan Helsley from Triple-A; designate Luke Gregerson for assignment and option Dominic Leone to Triple-A
Many are hoping Martinez will factor into the saves mix in St.Louis, but the Cardinals seem intent to use him in a fireman role, pitching him more frequently in the seventh and eighth innings respectively. It’s also unlikely that the team will stretch him out for the rotation either, so he may have little value outside of holds leagues. Gregerson, sadly, has seen injuries decimate his effectiveness after initially signing a deal to be the team’s closer two years ago.
Mets select the contract of Carlos Gómez and recall Paul Sewald from Triple-A; designate Keon Broxton for assignment and place Michael Conforto (concussion) on the 7-day IL
Conforto has been symptom-free and could return to the lineup this weekend. He’s in the middle of a true breakout year, so if his owner is already feeling anxious that Conforto is going to keep getting injured, consider the Mets’ outfielder an excellent trade target ahead of his return. Gómez is no longer the player he once was, but his return to the Mets after nearly a decade at least offers some nostalgic value. Despite the middling power and speed potential, he’s not worth an add.
Nationals reinstate SS Trea Turner from the 10-day IL
Turner has already stolen two bases in his first two games back with the team, so consider the buying window on him closed if you had been targetting him for speed. Turner likely returns to being a top-20 player, but there could be upside for an even better return. The knock on Turner is the fact that he doesn’t make especially hard contact; however, albeit in only a small sample size (37 at-bats so far), he’s posting a 48.3% hard-hit rate, which would be the highest of his career, to go along with an elevated FB%. This could be a signal that Turner is trying to hit more fly balls and less grounders, potentially leading to more home runs to compliment his stolen base output.
Twins place DH Nelson Cruz on the 10-day IL with a wrist strain and recall INF Luis Arraez from Triple-A
Cruz and his owners had hoped to avoid an IL-stint, but he could be activated this weekend. Expect to have him all next week. The fact he continues to keep mashing at age-38 is a sight to behold, as he should hit around .270 with 25 or so more home runs rest of season according to most projections.
Dodgers place Kenta Maeda (left adductor contusion) on 10-day IL with an adductor strain and recall Matt Beaty from Triple-A while also selecting the contract of Kyle Garlick
Maeda should be fine after fouling a ball off his left leg, causing a groin bruise. This move is more procedural since the Dodgers won’t need a fifth starter until May 28th. Maeda had been struggling with consistency to begin the year, alternating quality and poor starts. However, he posted back-to-back stellar outings before his injury. Maeda one-hit the Nationals over six innings before striking out 12 Padres with no walks in nearly seven scoreless innings in his last start, so the potential for a top-20 pitcher rest of season remains. His ownership is hovering around 75% and you have room, he’s absolutely worth an add and stash.
Rangers place Willie Calhoun on the 10-day IL and recall Delino DeShields from Triple-A
The timing couldn’t be worse since Calhoun was on fire with a .458 OBP, two home runs, and seven RBI since his latest call-up. If you own him, he’s worth a stash given his pedigree, though playing time remains a concern given Henter Pence’s renaissance and Danny Santana (.889 OPS) also playing well. Santana figures to cool off eventually due to an unsustainable .418 BABIP, and despite his swing adjustment in the offseason, Pence remains an oft-injured 36-year-old. Calhoun’s defensive struggles will most likely keep him from an everyday role, but he should grab enough plate appearances to keep showing he belongs on the big league club. On could also argue that his hot start, which led to generous FAAB bids last week, makes him a sell-high candidate given his current absence and the obstacles to playing time when he returns.
Rockies place Wade Davis on the 10-day IL with an oblique strain and select the contract of Jairo Díaz from Triple-A
Davis hasn’t pitched since May 14, and while the strain isn’t considered overly severe, he’s probably going to miss two weeks or more. In his absence, the Rockies may figure to use a committee approach to the ninth inning. Scott Oberg had been the primary handcuff, but his underwhelming 5.75 K% in 20 innings pitched makes him a poor candidate despite the 1.77 ERA (4.90 xFIP). Oberg isn’t getting groundballs as he used to either. Carlos Estevez has been the most electric arm in the pen (29 strikeouts in just 22 innings), but the Rockies also have Bryan Shaw and Seunghwan Oh as well. Consider Oberg to be the favorite for now.