Fantasy baseball is a lot like chess. While your superstars will help you win more often than not, you need to know when to sit them. Like a queen, they are powerful and can be the key to winning. But sometimes the queen isn’t the best play. Sometimes it’s the pawn that’s the better play. When used properly, the pawn could be more useful than a rook, knight, or even the queen.
Of course, the hard part is recognizing which of the baseball equivalent have that potential. These guys could still be in the minors or maybe recently called up.
If you have space on your roster, these guys are worth having. They may not produce now, but when they get their shot down the line, you’ll be glad you have them:
Domingo German, pitcher, New York Yankees: He had a couple of relief appearances early in the season that were pretty rough. But against the Cleveland Indians recently, he threw six shutout innings and struck out nine. There is certainly potential there. But German is not a lock to be a part of the rotation yet.
Walker Buehler, pitcher, Los Angeles Dodgers: With five starts under his belt, he has a 2-1 record, has allowed nine runs (for an ERA of 2.67), and struck out 34. However, he has yet to go longer than six innings.
With the Dodgers starting rotation injury-riddled this season, chance are he’s not going anywhere
Jack Flaherty, pitcher, St. Louis Cardinals: His first start of the season showed his potential (five innings, six hits, one earned run, nine strikeouts, and one walk). But his second proved that he is a young player still growing (five innings, four hits, three earned runs, four walks, two strikeouts). There is no reason why he can’t do that growing at the next level.
He’s ready as he’s going to be playing in the minors; he just needs a chance to make the rotation.
Dustin Fowler, outfield, Oakland Athletics: While he wasn’t quite ready during spring training, he appears ready to step up to the big leagues now. He’s hitting .310 in AAA-ball for the Nashville Sounds and is eight for ten on stolen base attempts. When the A’s call him up, he will produce.
Nick Senzel, third baseman, Cincinnati Reds: A .321 hitter in the minors last season, it’s likely just a matter of time before the Reds call him up. He got off to a slow start this season. But he has picked up in recent weeks (he’s hitting .306 in his last ten games).
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., third baseman, Toronto Blue Jays: The 19-year old Guerrero Jr. is killing it for the AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats. In 37 games, he is hitting .407 and has an OPS of 1.131. In his last ten games, he’s hitting .462 with two home runs, 6 RBIs, three walks, and three strikeouts.
Why isn’t he at least in AAA?
Willy Adames, shortstop, Tampa Bay Rays: He’s a patient hitter which often leads to walks and getting on base, but he also strikes out a lot. Through 38 games for the AAA Durham Bulls, he is hitting .314 with three home runs and 23 RBIs. However, he has struck out 35 times (140 at-bats).