Welcome to our Week 3 edition of Digging Deeper, our weekly column where we will focus on deep league waiver wire options. My counterpart Tom Bellucco will be handling the American League while I focus on the National League.
For those that have played in limited size leagues, you are well aware that at-bats and innings are the precious commodities. You are not going to find a top-100 player on the wire at any point this season. In fact, top-150 is a stretch. And as the year goes on, the options are going to get uglier and uglier. Players in shallow standard formats who are here because they love fantasy baseball (thanks for reading!) will find some of these players apprehensive. But at the end of the day at-bats and innings are king, and that's where our attention will be.
That said, we can still uncover some options that help you fill key gaps and get you the counting stats necessary to compete. Let's get going.Editor's note: Get 50% off any MLB Premium Pass. Draft guide, cheat sheets, 200 days of DFS access, and over 20 premium tools. Dominate your leagues all year long! Sign Up Now!
Digging Deeper: Week 3 Pickups - NL
Antonio Senzatela (SP, COL)
21% owned in Y! Leagues
It's likely Antonio Senzatela has been scooped up in NL-Only formats, but deep mixed formats may have left him on the waiver wire. The Coors Field exposure is going to scare off most people, but there's a lot to like here. Senzatela has a 14/4 K/BB ratio in 19 innings to go along with his 2.37 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. The defensive-factored ratios (2.90 FIP/3.71 SIERRA) indicate it's not a complete fluke. He has now gone seven innings in consecutive starts and the Rockies need the other starters to step up while Jon Gray is sidelined. Add Senzatela with confidence in deep formats.
Ross Stripling (SP, LAD)
2% owned in Y! Leagues
After giving teammate Alex Wood some love, we'll focus on his right-handed counterpart. Stripling, like Wood, has been operating out of a long relief role after posting 14 starts in 2016. He's been electric so far, allowing one run and posting a 13/1 K/BB through 8.2 innings. Wood is expected to take Rich Hill's spot in the rotation, which is good for Stripling owners. Check out his 2016 numbers between starting and relieving.
|Season||SP / RP||IP||ERA||TBF||H||2B||3B||R||ER||HR||BB||IBB||HBP||SO||AVG||OBP||SLG||wOBA|
|2016||1st Through Order as SP||30.0||2.70||126||29||4||1||10||9||1||8||1||0||27||.246||.294||.322||.269|
|2016||2nd Through Order as SP||30.1||3.86||126||32||9||0||14||13||6||5||0||0||19||.265||.298||.500||.336|
|2016||3rd Through Order as SP||15.1||9.39||72||16||7||2||16||16||1||10||1||1||9||.262||.375||.492||.367|
|2016||1st Through Order as RP||18.1||1.47||70||14||2||0||3||3||2||3||0||0||15||.209||.246||.333||.252|
|2016||2nd Through Order as RP||6.0||3.00||24||4||1||0||2||2||0||4||1||0||4||.200||.333||.250||.259|
He was noticeably better as a reliever. In a long relief role Stripling isn't likely to see hitters twice, let alone three times. This allows him to use his whole arsenal in that first at-bat, which is evident by the slider usage increased to 37% this year, up 17% from 2016. If you need ratio help, Stripling is an excellent play.
Michael Lorenzen (SP/RP, CIN) - 9% owned in Y! Leagues
The Reds have been one of the early surprises in baseball and their bullpen has been a huge factor so far, with Lorenzen right in the middle of things. Lorenzen has made six appearances in multiple roles, including long-relief, set-up, and most recently, closing. He was a starter throughout his time through the Reds system but has found himself used in relief since joining the major league team in 2016. He was excellent last year (2.88 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) in 50 innings and has a 10/2 K/BB ratio to start the year. The Reds closer situation is still in flux so saves are still in play with Lorenzen, but he's still worth an add thanks to ratios.
Austin Hedges (C, SD) - 6% owned in Y! Leagues
There's a chance Hedges, was dropped in your deep league due to his 0-for-17 start to the 2017 campaign. I know I certainly had my patience tested, but it has rewarded those owners who stayed the course. Hedges had an excellent series in Atlanta, going 5-for-11 with two home runs and three RBI. His last home run was worth noting; a 98 mph well placed fastball on the lower outside edge from Arodys Vizcaino that Hedges took to right field. The fact he was willing to take it opposite field is encouraging. Hedges, 24, was an excellent hitter in the PCL, a hitters paradise, but 21 home runs and 20 doubles is still real power. If you are need of a C2, look no further than the young Padre.
Jose Martinez (1B/OF , STL) - 1% owned in Y! Leagues
Martinez caught my eye during spring training thanks to his monstrous line (.380/.508/.740) that earned him a roster spot after being a non-roster invitee. He's looked great in limited at-bats (7-for-15) although his first base work needs polishing. Don't judge him though; the 27-year old spent his minor league career as a corner outfielder.
Martinez is a big boy (6'7") who doesn't generate the power one would expect from that size, but he does have good plate discipline (10.0% BB%) and the ability to hit to all fields. His biggest issue is playing time. Matt Carpenter's finger injury opened some at-bats earlier this week, but that is temporary. Will the Cardinals give Martinez a chance in left field? Can't be much worse than The Matt Adams Experiment. Regardless, Martinez should be owned in NL formats.
Aaron Altherr (OF, PHI) - 1% owned in Y! Leagues
The Phillies made some interesting moves this offseason. In the middle of a rebuild, they signed veterans Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders to patrol the outfield opposite Odubel Herrera. This effectively closed off an opportunity for Altherr to show the Phillies he was not the .202 hitter from 2016.
Altherr made adjustments to his swing this offseason and it paid off in Spring, slashing .303/.395/.591 with four home runs in 66 at-bats. He's off to a strong 2017 as well, hitting .308/.357/.615 with a home run. The recent injury to Kendrick has opened up time in left field, although Daniel Nava has seen the first two starts. Expect Altherr to see increased playing time versus lefties. In turn, don't be shocked when Altherr is starting come June.
Previously Discussed Players
Alex Wood (SP, LA)
Amir Garrett (SP, CIN)
Archie Bradley (SP/RP, ARI)
Gorkys Hernandez (OF, SFG)
Joaquin Benoit (RP, PHI)
Miguel Rojas (2B/SS, MIA)
Wilmer Flores (1B/2B/3B, NYM)