Updated: Aug 10, 2020
Baseball in 2020 has been - in a nutshell - an uncertain, stressful year thus far. A few weeks ago, when it was announced that multiple Marlins’ employees and players tested positive for COVID-19, it seemed that the season was doomed. The following Marlins series’ between the Orioles and Nationals was postponed. Subsequently, the MLB was forced to postpone the Yankees vs. Phillies series, and Phillies vs. Blue Jays series, resulting in a very chaotic week of double headers between 3 teams. Even Commissioner Rob Manfred seemed uncertain over whether the season would be able to continue.
The Miami Marlins have since been able to get back on their feet, return to play, and it seems they are handling matters much better. Now, it’s the St. Louis Cardinals who everyone is pointing a finger at.
St. Louis‘ last 10 games have been postponed. Players and staff have been forced to isolate in their hotel rooms for the last two weeks, and will certainly be isolating for at least another 5-7 days. The MLB postponed the Cardinals series’ between the Brewers, Tigers, Cubs, and their upcoming series against the Pirates will most likely be postponed too. St. Louis will have to make up 55 games in the next 52 days in order to complete the short 60 game season.
This has obviously posed a HUGE problem for fantasy owners in 2020. Which is why I am going to give you my top sleeper picks, to potentially help your team start improving. Whether your team has struggled with injury, players not living up to expectations, or postponements due to COVID-19, let us see if we can find the right fit for you.
Easy to Pick Up: Players With Low Roster Percentage (0% - 30%)
(This list is for offense only leagues. The two fantasy leagues that I am personally in do not take defensive stats into account. If you are looking for defensive help and strategy, I am sorry but this list is not for you.)
Austin Romine - Detroit Tigers (C) 2.7% Rostered
Romine is part of a rebuilding Tigers team that recently had their series against St. Louis cancelled due to the Cardinals COVID-19 outbreak. Romine is currently ranked 11th in catchers according to ESPN with a .286 AVG, 5 runs scored, 1 HR, 5 RBI, and a .310 OBP in 28 plate appearances so far this season. The caveat: The 31 year old veteran catcher Romine is battling with two other catchers on the Tigers roster. The presence of Grayson Greiner and Eric Haase make it hard for Romine to get his reps as the Tigers full-time starting catcher.
Sergio Romo - Minnesota Twins (RP) 16.6% Rostered
Owners looking for help in the saves/holds department can look toward Sergio Romo for a little bit of help. While his saves and strikeouts are low, Romo has been one of the better set-up men in the league this year. His 1.80 ERA and 0.40 WHIP is worthy enough of consideration. Give him a roster spot and drop one of your struggling relief pitchers. Not only that, but Romo has been given his fair share of save opportunities this season. When Twins’ closer Taylor Rogers needs rest, manager Rocco Baldelli goes to Romo out of the bullpen.
David Peterson - New York Mets (SP) 15.5% Rostered
The young rookie left hander and Mets top prospect David Peterson has (so far) proven that he is worthy enough of fighting for the Mets fourth or fifth SP spot. In a season where Noah Syndergaard is out after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and Marcus Stroman has yet to make his 2020 debut, the Mets were struggling to find good pitching help to compliment their ace Jacob deGrom. Incoming: David Peterson. The Mets called up Peterson on July 28th where he threw 5.2 innings, giving up two runs, seven hits and two walks with three strikeouts in 78 pitches against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Since then, Peterson has put up a 2-1 record, 14 strikeouts, a 3.78 ERA with a 1.32 WHIP. While Peterson might not be the best rookie pitcher this season, he is definitely worth considering for owners who are struggling with starting pitching. As a Mets fan (unfortunately) who watches every game, I can confidently say that every time Peterson hits the mound he looks better and more brilliant each time and always gives the team a fighting chance to win.
Randy Dobnak - Minnesota Twins (SP) 25.1% Rostered
Dobnak is another sleeper pick in the SP category. Owners looking to improve their ERA can consider picking up Randy Dobnak to hopefully help in that department. Dobnak has posted a 0.60 ERA in 3 starts this season. His strikeouts are low so please don’t go to Dobnak thinking that your strikeout rate will significantly increase.
Wilmer Flores - San Francisco Giants (2B) 12.8% Rostered
Flores is hard to gauge. On the one hand, he is batting .302 with 5 runs scored, 3 HR, and 8 RBI. On the other hand, he is a career bench player and he is not considered the Giants starting second-baseman. I would not pick Flores up to replace one of my starters, but I would pick him up if I was desperate for a solid hitting bench infielder who I could slot in every now and again when one of my guys has a day off. Maybe he will get more reps as the universal DH has been introduced to the National League.
Victor Caratini - Chicago Cubs (C, 1B, DH) 5.4% Rostered
Caratini comes into week 3 with a .313 AVG, 2 runs scored, and 4 RBI. The only issue with Caratini right now, and it‘s not personal, is that his Cubs were supposed to play a three game series against the Cardinals this weekend. It has since been postponed. With the pattern that we’ve seen so far, if any Cubs staff or players have had any interactions with any Cardinals staff or players, the Cubs could likely be forced to take the week off. But that hasn’t been said yet and there is a chance that they’re back in action Tuesday against Cleveland. Keep an eye on the Cubs schedule. If their series against Cleveland is still on pace to be played, consider picking up Caratini if you’re dying for an offensive catcher. If it does get postponed, hold off. But either way Caratini will be getting plenty of reps in the next few weeks with double-headers coming the Cubs way.
Harder to Acquire: Players with Higher Roster Percentage (30% - 90%)
Chris Bassitt - Oakland Athletics (SP) 51% rostered
In three starts this season, Bassitt has a 1-0 record, 1.08 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, and 15 K’s. Bassitt went 7 innings in his last outing against Houston, giving up 1 earned run, 3 walks and striking out 3. The pattern seems to be that every time Bassitt has a start, manager Bob Melvin lets him go a little longer. Which means that Bassitt could be a potential solid innings-eater for owners struggling to meet their IP minimum.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa - Texas Rangers (C, 3B) 30.2% Rostered
Kiner-Falefa is a base stealing threat. If you’re an owner with a slow team that isn’t stealing many bases (like my team) then you should probably consider bringing this guy aboard. It‘s so hard to find good offensive catching help in the MLB these days, so to have a guy who‘s hitting .342 with 4 stolen bases that can play catcher and third base, is something really valuable to have.
Hanser Alberto - Baltimore Orioles (2B, 3B) 75.4% Rostered
Hanser Alberto is proving that he can be a pivotal piece of the Orioles rebuild. The second year infielder is sporting a .333 AVG, 11 runs scored, 2 HR, 6 RBI and 1 stolen base this season. The power might not be there but the ability to put the bat on the ball is. He will help owners who are struggling for average and OBP. His low RBI count can be attributed to being on a struggling, rebuilding Orioles team.
J.D. Davis - New York Mets (OF, 3B) 85.5% Rostered
Davis has impressed in his second year with the Mets. As of right now, Davis is sporting a .319 AVG, 7 runs scored, 3 HR, and 11 RBI. Davis is a good pickup for owners who need RBI’s. Davis also has massive power which makes him a huge home run threat. Davis will only continue to improve this season, since he has shown no signs of slowing down since his stellar 2019 campaign.
Kyle Lewis - Seattle Mariners (OF) 86.9% Rostered
Kyle Lewis has been the full package this season. Hits for average, hits for power, and comes up clutch with RBI’s. Lewis comes into week 3 with a .356 AVG, 10 runs scored, 3 HR, 10 RBI, and 1 stolen base. Lewis will be hard to pick up in leagues with more than 6 owners, however his stats speak for themselves. He’s obviously worth putting together trade packages for.
I’m hoping that I was able to help some struggling fantasy owners out there. Any of these players would be worth picking up for your bench, or to replace an injured or sick player. I myself have Alberto, Peterson, Romine and Bassitt rostered between the two leagues I am in. These four guys have helped me tremendously as I currently sit in second place in my division (third overall) and I hope they can help you too.
Good luck in week 3, fantasy owners!