The end of baseball’s annual trading period means new opportunities for certain players, whose role expansions can make big waves in fantasy leagues. Among the names featured on Monday are a trio of universally pick-worthy players as their roles increase following their teams’ deadline deals.
Felix Bautista, RP, Baltimore Orioles: Among the bigger surprises on August 2 was the Orioles’ decision to trade Jorge Lopez, their only All-Star, closer to the Minnesota Twins. Considering the team is still just one game down in the loss column in the wildcard standings six days later, one might have thought the Orioles were “trying.” It’s perhaps a testament to the team’s outstanding bullpen (ranked third in the majors with a 3.07 ERA) as well as Bautista’s performance of four saves, 12 holds, a 1.77 ERA and strikeout rate of 35.8% – seventh best among qualified assists – during his rookie campaign.
Bautista’s stuff is just as dirty as his predecessor’s, and arguably more so, with a four-seam fastball averaging 98.8 mph and a splitter and slider both boasting at least a 46 percent breath rate (that’s the percentage of missed shots for opposing hitters). ‘ swing). Don’t think of Lopez and Trey Mancini’s trades as white flag moves as this is an up and coming organization that could still make a wild run. If so, Bautista should play a big part in this hunt.
MJ Melendez, C/OF, Kansas City Royals: The Royals had already viewed rookie Melendez as a near regular before the trade with Whit Merrifield, which started him in 69 of 82 games between his May 3 big league debut and deadline, including his outfield appearance in 8 of 12 games that came into play on Monday. With Merrifield gone, Melendez should join fellow catcher Salvador Perez as an almost everyday player, whether it’s a catcher/DH, catcher/outfielder, or an outfielder/DH arrangement between them. Either way, Melendez seems to be the star, at least against right-handers.
Melendez has been more than up to the task, hitting .297/.356/.563 with four homers and 13 RBIs in his last 17 games Monday, and as a big league he’s seen just the power source he’s shown as he has in the past hit 41 home runs this season between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha. Statcast has its average exit velocity in the 81st percentile, a barrel rate in the 75th percentile, and a hard hit rate in the 70th percentile. I’ve written many times here about the benefits of being a catcher-eligible player who gets at-bats in different field positions every day. There’s a very real path to becoming a top three catcher here in the last eight weeks.
Reid Detmers, SP, Los Angeles Angels: Noah Syndergaard’s trade only increases the chances the Angels will need Detmers to fill more innings for them down the stretch and considering the left-hander is on pace for a reasonable 141 frames he’s likely here for the duration. It certainly helps that he worked specifically to polish his slider during his one-start downgrade back to Triple-A Salt Lake in June, with the results being easily visible since.
In the five starts since his recall, Detmers has a 1.16 ERA and 38 strikeouts – 18 of them on said slider – and he has a swinging strike rate of 17.3% on that field, compared to 8, 1% Cheap He had in his 12 starts earlier in the year (including his May 10 no-hitter against the Tampa Bay Rays). Detmers has kept some pretty solid offenses at bay along the way, like the Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers, and Houston Astros, all of whom have above-average runs per game this season. He could finally realize his potential as number 2/3 starter.
Two more players who benefited from Deadline Moves
Devin Williams, RP, Milwaukee Brewer: Believe what you believe about the Brewers’ bullpen plans after Williams’ losses Wednesday and Sunday, but I still firmly believe he’s one of the top five relief pitchers in all of baseball. According to FanGraphs, Williams’ move alone is worth 29.9 runs since the start of his 2020 rookie season, which is nearly double any other reliever in the game. This is his time to shine in the ninth inning and there’s no reason to consider him anything other than a top-five position option now.
Paul DeJong, SS, Cardinals of St. Louis: Edmundo Sosa’s trade to Philadelphia coincided with the return of DeJong, who was demoted to Triple-A Memphis in May after shooting .130/.209/.208 in his first 24 games of the year with a strikeout rate of 29, had hit 1%. DeJong has fixed things on the farm, hitting .249/.313/.552 with 17 homers in 51 games in an inning in the team’s last eight games. He’s a Force-oriented brawler who has little else to offer, something of more interest in the rotisserie than point-based leagues, but with his regular role he’s still worth picking up in either format.
https://www.espn.com/fantasy/baseball/story/_/id/34368292/fantasy-baseball-pickups-post-deadline-darlings-grab-waiver-wire Fantasy baseball pickups – Post-deadline darlings to grab off the waiver wire