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Welcome back to our Week 5 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 key, and that's where our attention will be.

Last week we did well with Cody Bellinger and Ty Blach, although I'm taking zero credit for Bellinger. Let's see if we can uncover more options that help you fill key gaps and get you the counting stats necessary to compete. Let's get going.

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Digging Deeper: Week 5 Pickups - NL

You're going to see a trend here. As we turn the calendar to May, pitching options will become thinner and thinner. The key is to be ahead of the curve and procure potential saves sleepers along with minor league starters who may get the call.


Jorge de la Rosa (RP, ARI) - 3% owned in Y! Leagues

The Francisco Rodney experiment has been a roller coaster, to little or no surprise. He has six saves to along with a 12.60 ERA. Management stands behind Rodney, but with the NL West up for grabs this year, they may be forced to make a move should things continue to be rocky. There are (in my opinion) three candidates for the role: Archie Bradley, JJ Hoover, or Jorge De La Rosa. Bradley is more suited in a long relief a la Chris Devenski role, while Hoover has been a set up man his entire career. This leaves us with newly converted reliever De La Rosa.

De La Rosa has been fantastic out of the Diamondbacks bullpen and one of the major reasons for their early success. In 12 appearances he has a 2.53 ERA and a 12:2 K:BB. He's practically eliminated the cutter and curve ball, focusing on the fastball/change combo. His heater is up to 94 mph, four ticks better than 2016. He is a great stash for save needy owners and those looking for ratio relief.


Felipe Rivero (RP, PIT) - 14% owned in Y! Leagues

Another case of save speculating mixed with dominant ratios. Rivero has been one of the few bright spots for the Pirates early on, posting a 0.56 ERA and 1.00 WHIP through 16 innings. His .255 BABIP, 11% line drive rate, and 76.9% strand rate indicate he may be getting a tad lucky, but that's what good relievers do. Rivero, 25, had a 10.75 K/9 in 77 innings last year between the Nationals and Pirates and is a key component of the Pirates bullpen. Tony Watson (seven saves, 0.95 ERA, 1.50 WHIP) has been effective but not efficient. Should the Pirates become sellers and move him, Rivero along with Daniel Hudson would be a prime candidate for saves. In the meanwhile he's a good add for ratios.


Jered Weaver (SP, SD) - 1% owned in Y! Leagues

I... can't believe I'm doing this. But in lieu in the recent injuries in the National League (Noah Syndergaard, Hyun-jin Ryu, Edinson Volquez, Joe Ross just being bad) the options in NL-leagues has gotten slim to say the least. You have to slap yourself out of contemplating Bronson Arroyo it's so rough out there.

That brings us to Weaver. Let's talk about the bright spots. He has a 1.08 WHIP and 14/6 K/BB through 28 and 2/3 innings. He's been able to trick hitters with his offspeed gathering; his 8.0% SwStk is better than Cole Hamels, Matt Harvey, and Tanner Roark. The bad is the hits tend to go very far. Of the six hits he allowed in his Thursday start versus Arizona, three left the park. Weaver is only an add if you need to make innings, but know what you're signing up for.


Christian Arroyo (SS/3B, SFG) - 10% owned in Y! Leagues

Another week, another prospect. This time it's Giants No. 1 hitting prospect Christian Arroyo, who has taken over third base. He's fared well to this point, hitting .250 with two home runs and five RBI in 32 at-bats. I was particularly impressed with his at-bats versus Clayton Kershaw, fighting off numerous offerings to go 2-for-3. He projects to be an empty average fantasy option, although the Giants have aspirations he is Matt Duffy 2.0. I tend to think he's closer to the former, especially when you consider the odd ground-ball philsophy that seems to be happening upon Giants hitters. Arroyo will be a great source for at-bats and is still a must-add for 3B-needy NL-owners, but adjust expectations after seeing Cody Bellinger go nuts.


Michael Taylor (OF , WAS) - 3% owned in Y! Leagues

A quick moment of silence for Adam Eaton owners (myself included). The ACL tear was gruesome to watch and didn't need an MRI to confirm it was bad news. This opens an opportunity, once again, for Michael Taylor to earn his keep. The last time Taylor saw everyday at-bats was 2015, when he hit .229 with 14 home runs, 16 stolen bases, and struck out 30.9% of the time. The Nationals may have room to give him a leash, given the Mets injury woes and the rest of the NL East struggling to stay .500. If Taylor under-performs, don't be surprised if Lorenzo Cain is a National come July. Taylor is an add for Eaton owners and anyone else needed offensive help, but don't be surprised if Chris Heisey begins to eat into his at-bats.


Cory Spangenberg (3B/OF, SD) - 0% owned in Y! Leagues

Everyone likes to poke fun at the Padres, but there's some good fantasy options out west. Wil Myers continues to be a monster, Manual Margot is off to a hot rookie start, and Austin Hedges is projected to hit 35 home runs. Right in the middle of this is Cory Spangenberg, who recently was recalled from AAA and has been planted in the No. 2 spot most nights. He's hitting .286 with a steal in six games so far, and those are the only two categories you can count on from Spangenberg. If he can retain his No. 2 spot, the runs should come as well.


Previously Discussed Players

Tim Adleman (SP, CIN)

Aaron Altherr (OF, PHI)

Jacob Barnes (RP, MIL)

Cody Bellinger (1B/OF, LAD)

Joaquin Benoit (RP, PHI)

Ty Blach (SP, SFG)

Archie Bradley (SP/RP, ARI)

Wilmer Flores (1B/2B/3B, NYM)

Amir Garrett (SP, CIN)

Austin Hedges (C, SD)

Gorkys Hernandez (OF, SFG)

Kike Hernandez (SS/OF, LAD)

John Jaso (1B/OF, PIT)

Michael Lorenzen (SP/RP, CIN)

Jose Martinez (1B/OF , STL)

Miguel Rojas (2B/SS, MIA)

Antonio Senzatela (SP, COL)

Ross Stripling (SP, LAD)

Alex Wood (SP, LA)


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