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Didi Gregorius and Ben Heller Fantasy Baseball Updates - Ben Rosener’s MLB Beat

Major League Baseball’s regular season is here, and with it comes the daily influx of baseball news that fantasy managers missed in the winter months. Lineup news, actual games happening, constant waiver wire moves, pitching assignments, and bullpen usage.

This column aims to cover any and all fantasy baseball news, big or small, and how it pertains to your fantasy team. Spring training or the regular season, it's covered here.

Has a player who's usually been hitting in the middle of a lineup suddenly batting eighth or ninth for an extended period? The fantasy implications will be covered here. The same goes for injuries and injured placements and whether or not you should consider picking up a player who was recently called up. Basically, any kernel of fantasy news and its relevance to fantasy managers could be covered here. Today, the news of the day is the fantasy impact of Didi Gregorius reportedly signing a minor league deal with the Seattle Mariners and right-handed reliever Ben Heller being acquired in a trade by the Atlanta Braves.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association including Baseball Writer of the Year, Football Writers of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year and many more! Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!


Fantasy Baseball Impact Of Didi Gregorius Reportedly Signing A Minor-League Deal With The Seattle Mariners

Veteran shortstop Didi Gregorius is reportedly signing a minor league deal with the Seattle Mariners, according to a tweet from Russell Dorsey of Bally Sports and Stadium on Thursday afternoon:

Gregorius last appeared in the Majors during the 2022 season for the Philadelphia Phillies, hitting .210 with a .263 on-base percentage, a home run, and a stolen base in 232 plate appearances. The 33-year-old has mostly played shortstop in his career, and he’ll give the Mariners some additional depth at the position moving forward.

The Mariners are set at shortstop, where Gregorius has played the bulk of his career innings.

J.P. Crawford has seen the lion’s share of the starts and innings at shortstop for the American League West club this season, batting .240 with a .345 on-base percentage, three home runs, and a stolen base.

However, it’ll be interesting to see if the Mariners utilize Gregorius at different infield positions in the minors. If that’s the case, Gregorius will certainly be someone to keep an eye on as a potential deep-league option if he can produce at the Triple-A level.

Mariners second baseman have combined for the fifth-lowest fWAR (0.20) and third-lowest wRC+ (71) in the league. Seattle’s third base options currently have the eighth-lowest collective fWAR (0.6) and wRC+ (88).

For his Major League career, Gregorius has made 11 appearances at second base and two at third base, though both of those instances came during the 2014 season when he was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks.


Fantasy Baseball Impact Of Ben Heller Being Acquired By Atlanta

The Atlanta Braves acquired right-handed reliever Ben Heller on Tuesday, per a tweet from the club’s official Twitter account.

Also per the tweet, Atlanta gave up international bonus pool money to acquire the right-hander and optioned him to Triple-A.

Heller owns a career 2.59 ERA and a 5.57 FIP in 31.1 lifetime Major League innings, adding 30 strikeouts compared to 15 walks. All 31.1 of those innings came with the New York Yankees from the 2016 season through the 2020 campaign.

So far in 27.1 innings for Tampa Bay’s Triple-A affiliate this season, the 31-year-old has posted a 3.95 ERA, a 3.87 FIP, while striking out 34 batters and allowing eight walks.

And while Heller will start his time with the National League East club in the minors, he could be worth a look later in the season as a fantasy option in saves+holds leagues with 14 or more teams given how Atlanta’s bullpen has performed so far. The club entered play Thursday with the sixth-most holds (39) in the league and has seen some quality performances from a number of their late-inning arms. However, there have also been a few relievers who’ve struggled this season.

Nick Anderson, Jesse Chavez, and Dylan Lee have all been anywhere from good to very good so far as setup options to closer Raisel Iglesias this season. Iglesias himself has pitched well, too. There’s also veteran reliever A.J. Minter whose 2.93 FIP is a lot more indicative of his effectiveness than his 6.04 ERA in 28.1 innings this season.

Atlanta’s Late-Inning Bullpen Options This Season

  • Raisel Iglesias: 12.2 innings pitched, 2.84 ERA, 3.84 FIP, 23.1 K%, 11.5 BB%
  • Nick Anderson: 25.1 innings pitched, 3.20 ERA, 2.46 FIP, 29.8 K%, 3.2 BB%
  • Jesse Chavez: 26 innings pitched, 1.73 ERA, 2.56 FIP, 39.8 K%, 6.7 BB%
  • Dylan Lee: 20.1 innings pitched, 3.10 ERA, 3.34 FIP, 27.1 K%, 8.2 BB%
  • A.J. Minter: 28.1 innings pitched, 6.04 ERA, 2.93 FIP, 30.4 K%, 6.1 BB%

Still, Kirby Yates and Joe Jimenez have both struggled so far. Yates owns a 3.54 ERA but is also sporting a 5.30 FIP in 20.1 innings of work. He’s also walked 17 batters in those 20.1 innings to go along with 26 strikeouts. Jimenez, meanwhile, has turned in a 4.42 ERA, a 4.65 FIP, 24 strikeouts, and six walks in 18.1 innings in his first season with the team after being acquired in an offseason trade from the Detroit Tigers.

And that’s all without mentioning Collin McHugh. Like Yates, his ERA (3.00) looks good on paper. However, his 4.16 FIP tells a slightly different story. Overall, the veteran logged just 14 strikeouts compared to 10 walks in 24 innings this season.

Unsurprisingly, Anderson, Chavez, and Lee lead Atlanta in holds, but McHugh, Yates, Jimenez, and Michael Tonkin have accounted for nearly a quarter (10) of the club’s holds so far. If the latter group continues to struggle, Heller could – speculatively speaking – be a candidate to see some late-inning work and a few holds opportunities in the process.

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