Now that Memorial Day is just around the corner, it’s time to get down to the real business of spending our FAAB — wisely this time. Sure, it’s fun to throw around 50% of your budget in the first month, but what do you have to show for it after its all said and done? An injured reliever and a fourth outfielder? Perhaps. If that doesn’t sound like you, congratulations on resisting the urge and perhaps congratulations on fielding the only team out there not riddled with injuries.
I’ll be continuing to look over weekly trends in waiver pick-ups and FAAB spends across a series of leagues, with a focus on National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC) 15-team leagues, including the Main Event (ME) and The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational (TGFBI). The ME sports 43 different leagues (645 teams), while TGFBI has 29 leagues this year (435 teams). If you don’t play in these leagues, don’t worry, there’s useful info coming your way here as well. The trends from these leagues give all fantasy managers insight into the value being put on both long-term and short-term production, while bringing light to some of the tough decisions that have to be made to get the most out of your roster, whether it be a 40-man roster or 20-man roster.
To put things in perspective, all NFBC rosters have 30 spots with no Injured List (IL) spots, so in a 12-team league like the Online Championship (OC), the “best” 360 players are rostered at any given time while in a 15-team league like the ME or TGFBI you could assume the “best” 450 players are rostered, making scraping the free agent barrel a bit more difficult. Of course, I put the word best in quotations, as the players rostered will fluctuate based on not only the managers that play in the league and their own evaluations, but also the roster construction and needs of the teams involved. With no spots to stash injured players, NFBC leagues force managers to make tough decisions when it comes to when to cut players not performing and how long to stash both prospects and injured players, giving everyone else watching an eye into the potential production of players on the edge of your watch list. You don’t have to play in an NFBC league to make use of the information provided from those who do.
Ok, now that formalities are out of the way let’s get to work pointing out some of the most interesting trends, pick ups, and drops I noticed in the latest FAAB period, which concluded on May 23. I’m going to keep my focus on the 15-team leagues this week as the pick ups here may still be readily available in your 12- or 10-team leagues, so keep an eye out.
Getting the Call
The Prospects are Coming! The Prospects are Coming!
Ok, not all the prospects, but as we’ve been well past the “service time manipulation” date in mid-April and now supposedly approach the nebulous Super-2 date, typically sitting in late May/early June, MLB teams tend to feel a bit more comfortable bringing up prospects to fill holes left by injury, trades, or simply poor performances, rather than going out and signing quad-A type players to try an revive their careers (though of course examples of these situations still arise, especially with teams that don’t have an obvious option knocking down the door on their Double-A or Triple-A squads). This week, enter Taylor Walls, Corbin Martin, and even Danny Santana? Ok, Santana isn’t exactly a prospect, but he was called up by Boston, less to fill a need and more simply due to the production he’s been showing in Triple-A Worcester along side touted prospects Jarren Duran and Jeter Downs, both of which are expected to join the Red Sox line up at some point this season. I speculated prior to Santana’s call up that there simply didn’t look to be enough playing in Boston time to warrant anything more than a speculative bid, but the field obviously disagreed, with Santana averaging $72 winning bids across the Main Event, where he went from 0% rostered to 100% after FAAB closed. Speculators were a bit more tempered in TGFBI as he was added in less than 70% of leagues at just an average winning bid of $39. With the demotion of Michael Chavis, Santana may have enough runway to fulfill the price point, and has already made strides toward that goal as he homered in his first two games up with the Red Sox.
This is a time that, if your roster allows it, to start checking your wire for prospects that may have been drafted and dropped. Some formats, like the NFBC, do not allow you to claim players without MLB experience that season, even if they had been called up (see Cole Tucker of the Pirates, who was called up late last week but did not appear in any games and thus, was not added to the NFBC player pool before FAAB bidding). In other formats you may have rules about players on not showing up in the player pool unless they are on their MLB team’s 40-man roster. Of course, if your league has set NA slots on your roster, you should be filling them at all times. With the recent announcement of Alek Manoah being called up to start Wednesday’s game for the Blue Jays, we should start seeing more than a few higher end prospects worth speculating on and a few of them were speculated on during your pre-season draft — like say a certain Wander Franco or even Bobby Witt Jr. — and have slowly been being dropped in many leagues by teams who’s rosters simply cannot hold a player that cannot produce for their teams due to injuries of other producing players or simply poor performances elsewhere.
Maybe Next Time Don’t Punch a Wall (or Bench)
With all the injuries going around, it won’t take much to see a mass dropping of a player not producing, or not able to produce. We saw this with (close to) season-ending injuries for Aaron Hicks and Huascar Ynoa but also with expected short stints on the IL with Wade Miley. The season is difficult enough to manage through typical arm soreness, obliques, and pulled hamstrings, no one needs to be worrying about who’s going to break their hand playing video games, punching a wall, or taking off their shirt.
Watch Your Drops
Some interesting single league drops from the Main Event this past weekend included Andrew Heaney, Dylan Bundy, and Kris Bubic, while in TGFBI we saw Pavin Smith, Charlie Blackmon, and Raisel Iglesias, hit waivers in a single league. It will come as no shock to anyone to see each of them get bid on this Sunday, especially in such deep leagues. A helpful tactic to consider: as you’re looking over your league FAAB results, simply add the interesting dropped players to your watch list. That makes it easier to remember to consider a bid on them come the end of the week.
Most Dropped Players
Photos by Kiyoshi Mio and John Cordes/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Jacob Roy (@jmrgraphics3 on IG)