Last Minute Pickups: Relievers

Chances are that your league is pretty well decided and today is probably the last day to make some final 2013 pickups. If you see anyone on your roster that you know you won’t be keeping or may have limited value next year it’s always in your best interest to drop that player for someone who can provide your team with an extra trade chip or who could even be a surprise keeper next year. In deeper leagues, one of the best places to make a couple of these bets is at the closer position as closer value can spike right before the season as roles are established during spring training.

Today we’ll look at a couple names that could become solid trading chips or keepers before the 2014 season.

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Last Minute Pickups: NL Starting Pitchers (Part 2)

If you have been following along all week here at TDG, you have read almost a dozen articles about players that we believe can be quality last minute additions to your roster before free agency ends. If you listened to our advice, you could have very easily turned over your entire roster by now, considering we have covered ever position in baseball. As Noel pointed out in his NL Starting Pitchers post, he and I decided to cover four specific categories when looking for a pitcher to stash. Those categories are 1) Returning from Injury 2) Change of Scenery 3) Sleeper and 4) Prospect.

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Last Minute Pickups: NL starting pitchers

Continuing this week’s theme of last minute pick ups for keeper and dynasty leagues, Andy Barnes and I have been assigned NL starting pitchers. We agreed to use a common approach and look at one NL starter coming back from injury, one guy who has had (or could use) a change of scenery, a sleeper, and a prospect each. Andy’s piece will run later today.

The Injured Guy – Casey Kelly, San Diego Padres

The Padres might have more starters who could qualify for this designation than any other team I have come across. I could have written about Cory Luebke, Clayton Richards, or Joe Wieland, but Kelly is the guy in whom I am most intrigued. This is partly because of his age – he’s less than a year older than Wieland, but four and six years younger than Luebke and Richard respectively.

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Last Minute Pickups: AL Starting Pitchers (Part 2)

For those of you in the midst of a long term rebuilding project, the last few weeks of the season provide a great opportunity. I’ve been able to mine the waiver wire with modest success lately, making small upgrades in some positions and patching holes in others. You might hit a homerun with one of your last minute pickups, but you shouldn’t expect to. It’s all about incremental improvement,

If you’ve been reading my sporadically posted ramblings over the past few months, you’ve probably noticed that my primary focus is on pitching prospects and pitchers in general. I feel that my experience as a mediocre high school pitcher gives me some insight into what makes a successful MLB starter, so it’s fitting that I’ve been tasked with following up Mike Buttil’s piece on AL starting pitchers to target in the final days of the season. Taking a cue from Mike, I chose pitchers who were owned in less than 15% of ESPN leagues.

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Last Minute Pickups: AL Starting Pitchers

I don’t think there are any unwritten rules about picking players up during the last week of the season in dynasty leagues. So if it’s okay with Brian McCann, I will move forward with this post and recommend three American League starting pitchers that are widely available and could make decent sleepers heading into the 2014 season. I’ll get the ball rolling this afternoon and my partner and new BFF @80gradewant will put a bow on it tomorrow.

Just a disclaimer, I’m not big on pitching. In fact, most years I would say 75-80% of my staff is plucked from the waiver wire or streamed. That being said, there are plenty of reasons to want good young pitchers on your team, especially the ones that won’t cost you too much to acquire. I decided to use 15% ownership at the four letter word as my cutoff to avoid discussing players that are owned in a lot of leagues, but even with that small number I was surprised to find some of these names. Just goes to show that if you play your cards right and do a little leg work, you can find some nice players on the scrap heap, even at this point in the year. Continue reading

Last Minute Pickups: NL Outfielders

My apologies to those of you who are in shallower dynasty or keeper leagues, as I know my writing tends to skew towards deep leagues, and I’m afraid I’ve revisited that well again here. I don’t have a mixed league under sixteen teams, and my -Only leagues are insanely deep in both major and minor league rosters, so it does affect my writing in that respect.

With that out of the way, I present four players that could be available in deep dynasty leagues that, with minimal investment, could pay off handsomely come next April.

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Last Minute Pickups: Third Base

By coincidence or joke, Bret assigned me the third basemen in this week’s team effort to pinpoint players at each position who are worth picking up in your dynasty league before free agency closes on Sunday. I say joke because—since joining the TDG crew—I’ve already spent a large amount of time discussing the prospects of third basemen for 2014 and beyond, most notably Brett Lawrie and Nolan Arenado. (OK, so two out of my first six posts to be exact. But still, 33 percent!)

I wish it was as easy as finding the next Miguel Cabrera, but, sadly, Miggy’s don’t grow on trees. And they almost never jump from first base trees to third base trees.

With apologies to MVP underdog Josh Donaldson, third base was fairly predictable in 2013, with the usual suspects at or near the top. There were some busts (Chase Headley, Lawrie and Pablo Sandoval immediately come to mind), but overall it was a successful year for the gloved men at the hot corner. The names you are about to see are my favorite third base targets in dynasty formats. Each is owned in less than 25 percent of ESPN leagues and they are listed in order of ownership, from highest to lowest.

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Last Minute Pickups: Second Basemen

I think I need to stop playing in as many deep leagues as I do today.

I say this because when I initially got my assignment to write this installment of our Last Minute Pickup series, my first thought was: crap. I’m going to be writing about the Alberto Callaspo-s, Logan Forsythe-s and Sean Rodriguez-es of the world, extolling the virtues of a .280 OBP in 20-team AL Only leagues with two MI spots.

So I was quite pleasantly surprised when I checked the %Owns of the available keystone baggers in one of my ESPN leagues. Despite the arbitrary 33% cutoff rate I gave myself, there was no real shortage of players both young and old to highlight for this piece.

So if you are in a keeper league and need 2B or MI help for next season, you’re in luck: We’re working with a pretty deep crew here. These are my three favorite players for you to target.

Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals

If you’re a bit tired of hearing about Rendon at this point, it’s certainly understandable. A long line of injuries and an underwhelming bottom line at the MLB level have led to some “prospect fatigue” with the man one considered the favorite to go first overall in the 2011 draft. After beginning the season back in Double-A and destroying that league, Rendon has had a chance at significant MLB playing time this year, and has put up a .263/.325/.395 in 380 PA. Not terrible by any means, but not quite fantasy worthy either, as evidenced by the fact that he’s owned in just 15.6% of leagues. Continue reading

Last Minute Pickups: First Basemen

In this installment of the Last Minute Pickups series I am scouring the waiver wires looking for 1st basemen who can be picked up as possible useful pieces going into the 2014 season.

First base is a position where you really need to have a big-time slugger if you are going to challenge for your league championship. Obviously you are not going to find any studs that fit that description on your Free Agent list in late September. However, you might be able to snare a sneaky-good young player who could develop into a useful role player for your team, or maybe snag an overlooked veteran who could rebound enough to help your team at a corner infield or utility lineup slot. The idea here is to unearth a useful player for free. Who knows, maybe you can turn a lump of coal into a diamond with some shrewd trading if the player has a hot spring training.

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Last Minute Pickups: The Catchers

This entire week at TDG, we’re going to be tackling one subject as a team–which I’m very excited about. The premise: go around the diamond to single out a few players at each position who are worth picking up in your dynasty league before free agency ends this coming Sunday. Additionally, the idea is for this to be helpful to everyone, so we’re going to (more or less) limit this to players who are in the major leagues, so that it can be used in all leagues, including ones where minor league pickups are not allowed in season.

Catcher is that strange position, not too dissimilar to quarterback in fantasy football leagues, where their trade values can be well diminished solely because of a lack of a market. You’re unlikely to have a situation where you play a catcher at a utility position (or another spot if they are eligible), so there are rarely going to be more than a handful of teams looking for a catcher at any given moment. Well, unless you play in a two catcher league–then they become much more valuable as players and commodities. So while stockpiling an extra catcher can certainly come in handy, it may not pack the same punch as stashes you can find at other positions.

With that said, here are a few guys who are worth carrying into next season if you have a spot for them:

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