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From Farm to Roster: Potential Call-Ups For Week 5


Today is a busy article since we've had quite a few call-ups between last Thursday and today and even more who we know are coming this weekend. Three of the five priority pick-ups I mentioned last week are already in the Majors and two of the guys on the Watch List (Franklyn Kilome and Dane Dunning) also got the call. With more teams vying for the expanded playoff spots, call-ups seem to be happening at a rapid rate. Hopefully, together we can lock into a few more guys before people have to shell out crazy FAAB dollars to roster them.

Below I'll discuss players on a team's Taxi Squad or Alternate Site Camp who are worth keeping an eye on or stashing in hopes of reaping fantasy goodness. I'll list league sizes where the player could be relevant and give you information on the situation so that you can make the most educated decision possible.

As a point of clarification: Taxi Squad and Alternate Site Camp are two different things. When teams go on the road, they are able to bring three players who are not on the active roster, in case of an emergency. This is the Taxi Squad. These players cannot appear in games unless there is a corresponding transaction but are clearly those that are the closest to being "called-up," so it's important to keep an eye on those. The Alternate Site Camp is where all other players in the 60-man pool are and could be seen as this year's "Minor Leagues." They will scrimmage each other and get instruction, but only some of them are potential call-ups this year while others are top prospects who are simply there to get work in. Teams can also add players to their 60-man pool or release them from it, so these will also be fluid.

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Now that we've covered that, let's look at some guys who should be on your Pick-Up and Watch List radars. Remember that these are players who are NOT on the active roster, so there will be few pick-ups each week since it's rare you would want to grab a lot of guys who aren't active in a season where every game played counts.

 

Priority Pickups

These are players I believe you should put in claims for now (depending on your league size) based on their proximity to playing time.

Joey Bart, C San Francisco Giants

10-team leagues

We have a new top-dog on the column with the news that the Giants are going to call up Joey Bart to be the team's starting catcher. Considering the locked-in playing time, Bart needs to be added in all leagues and can be started immediately in two-catcher ones, but I would think of him as a bench stash in 10-team, single catcher leagues until you can see what he looks like against MLB pitching. I believe what you can expect from Bart for 2020 is MLB-ready power with an inconsistent approach and hit tool and not much speed on the basepaths. Still, his power alone should make him a factor at the catcher position, and if he shows the increased patience he did at AA, he could hit consistently enough to be an easy top-10 option in all league types. Just remember that Jo Adell, who is considered an all-world prospect, is hitting .200 through his first 10 games, so it's reckless to assume Bart will come up and hit immediately and jettison a proven and reliable catcher option for him.

MacKenzie Gore, SP San Diego Padres

12-teams with deep benches or 15-team leagues

I would have sworn before the season started that Gore would be promoted. Alas, here we are. Still, I remain convinced that we will see Gore soon. Adrian Morejon got the start for the Padres on Tuesday and was relatively impressive over three innings where he also showcased a weird and devastating knuckle-change.

His outing gives him another start at least, but that rotation spot is absolutely Gore's long-term, especially with the team only a half game out of the playoffs currently. The team called up Luis Patino two weeks ago, but he's pitched exclusively out of the bullpen, as they claimed he would, so Gore is the logical choice for a Padres team that is trying to compete this year. The 21-year-old Gore, struggled slightly in 21.2 innings of AA last year but still had a 10.38 K/9 on the back of plus command and great spin rates on his secondary pitches. Expectations should be tempered at his age in his first taste of the big leagues, but you'll definitely want a piece of him.

Matt Manning, SP Detroit Tigers 

12-teams with deep benches or 15-team leagues

Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal made headlines when they were promoted on Monday, but here's the thing: Manning may actually be better than both of them. Mize has the big name, but Manning was the superior arm in AA last year, registering a 2.56 ERA, 28.1 K%, and 20.9% K-BB% across 24 starts. He's been the healthier pitcher between the two in his career and pairs a mid-90s fastball with a dynamic curve that he can throw on the corners for strikes or in the dirt as a strikeout pitch. His changeup is average right now, which could cap his ultimate upside, but if he gets that working, he's a legitimate ace. If the Tigers are going for it this year, calling up Manning to take Michael Fulmer's spot in the rotation - or even poor poor Matt Boyd's - would make sense. Gore is likely the only rookie SP I'd spend more FAAB on then Manning, so if you have a deep bench, stash him now to save yourself the cash.

Brendan Rodgers, 2B/SS, Colorado Rockies

12-teams with deep benches or 15-team leagues

NOTE: David Dahl was placed on the IL and Rodgers was called up after this article was submitted.

There have been some rumblings that the Rockies are going to call up the former third overall pick. With David Dahl (.189/.237/.243) and Sam Hilliard (.167/.268/.278) both struggling, Garrett Hampson has cemented himself as a regular in the outfield. That has left Ryan McMahon at 2B, Trevor Story at SS, and Daniel Murphy at 1B, and a rotating cast of characters at DH. It's certainly feasible that Rodgers could push his way into the 2B job, moving McMahon to 1B and Murphy to DH. However, this is the Rockies and they're likely going to find ways to continue to get Matt Kemp and Chris Owings in the lineup unless Rodgers comes out swinging an incredibly hot bat. The 24-year-old saw his K% spike in his brief Major League debut, which highlighted his aggressive tendencies. He has great hands and the potential for real power, but his plate discipline leaves a little to be desired. He's apparently looked good on defense and has the athleticism to be a steady defender and the speed to chip in a few steals. He's likely no longer a future superstar, but he has enough of a well-rounded skillset to be a strong fantasy contributor.

Sixto Sanchez, SP Miami Marlins

12-teams with deep benches or 15-team leagues

The Marlins announced that they are calling up Sanchez for the weekend series in Washington, and I am approaching him cautiously. Last year in AA, he showed his typical high-90s velocity but had the same trouble consistently missing bats with his fastball. An 8.48 K/9 in AA is not necessarily a number that makes you think of elite pitching prospects. His fastball wasn't able to beat minor leaguers simply with velocity, so it's not going to be able to do it in the majors either. His change-up is dynamic, but the slider is inconsistent, which means that I'm not entirely sure Sanchez has enough secondary stuff to keep MLB hitters from sitting on a fastball that has been hit a lot in the minors. I have no information on if any of this has been worked on during the quarantine, so I'm willing to pick Sanchez up and stash him on my bench to see what he looks like in his first starts. Just remember that for every Casey Mize, who impressed in his debut, there are more Tarik Skubal's or Nate Pearson's (before the injury) who run into trouble in their first major league starts. You don't have the time in 2020 to give Sanchez 3-4 starts on your bench to figure it out.

Ian Anderson, SP Atlanta Braves

12-teams with deep benches or 15-team leagues

Anderson gets bumped up from the Watch List to the Pick-Ups as Touki Toussaint continues to struggle as a starter. I think it's inevitable that Bryse Wilson takes Toussaint's spot in the rotation, but Wilson has a spotty MLB track record of his own, and Kyle Wright has also been a mess as a starter for the Braves this season, which could open up another spot for Anderson, the Braves top pitching prospect. He still needs to refine his curveball, but the 21-year-old has a dynamic fastball and changeup pairing that, if he finds that consistent third pitch, could make him another dynamic young arm in the Braves staff. With the other young pitchers faltering, and Anderson apparently carving up his teammates (below) the Braves may have no chance but to call him up if they want to compete this season.

Jake Fraley, OF Seattle Mariners

15-team leagues

Fraley pushed his way onto the Major League roster last year after hitting .298 with 19 HR and 22 SB across 99 games at AA and AAA. He struggled in his 41 plate appearances with the big league club, but that may have been due more to a series of injuries than a lack of talent. He has the defensive chops to stay in CF long-term and has always shown himself to be a solid contact hitter with plus speed. The power growth last year was nice to see and seemed to come from a concerted effort to lower his GB%, so maybe it's here to stay. Even without the power, the defense, speed, and contact profile make him an upgrade over what Seattle is currently getting from newly-optioned Mallex Smith (.133/.170/.178) and Dee Gordon (.125/.186/.150), and Tim Lopes has always profiled as more of a utility player than a full-time outfielder. With Jared Kelenic likely starting 2021 in the Mariners outfield and Kyle Lewis playing himself into another spot, the Mariners could very well see if Fraley has the chops to complete the outfield trio long-term.

Christian Pache, OF, Atlanta Braves

15-team leagues

NOTE: Nick Markakis was diagnosed with COVID-19, and Pache was called up after this article was submitted.

Pache's presence on this list is dependent on how Ronald Acuna's wrist injury heals. The Braves, of course, are pushing to compete this year, but wrists can take a while to heal due to the way in which they're stretched and flexed in almost every aspect of a baseball game. With Acuna on the shelf, the Braves are rolling out an outfield of Edner Inciarte, Nick Markakis, and Adam Duvall, with Marcell Ozuna at DH. That's not a playoff-caliber unit. Duvall and Markakis likely still have value as platoon bats, but Inciarte is truly struggling to a .186/.262/.220 slash line. He brings strong defense in CF but that's Pache's calling card. The 21-year-old is likely better defensively than Inciarte is right now and has shown enough growth at the plate over the last year to suggest that he could be a better overall option even with his swinging strike rate a bit too high and power not yet fully developed. If Acuna's injury seems like it might linger, and Pache does get the call, his defense will keep him in the lineup regularly, but don't expect many fireworks with the bat. He'll steal some bags and score some runs in a strong lineup, but this isn't a Dylan Carlson or Alec Bohm type of offensive profile just yet.

Triston McKenzie, SP Cleveland Indians

15-team leagues

It's tempting to fully buy-in on McKenzie because of the Indians' track record of success in developing pitching. McKenzie was a prospect I was really high on a few years ago, but he also missed all of 2019 and threw only 90 innings in 2018, so his development has certainly been stalled by injury. When on, McKenzie has a deceptive delivery with good life on his fastball and a potentially plus curveball. The Indians have done well with pitchers who lack elite velocity, so McKenzie fits in well there, but without a consistent third pitch, which he hasn't shown in the minors, he'll be hard to rely on in the majors. Also, I can't help but think this is a short-term solution as the Indians are likely to either call back Zach Plesac and Mike Clevinger or trade them and bring in other starting pitchers. Given the uncertain nature of McKenzie's repertoire and his potential short stay in the majors, I would personally wait in anything but the deepest of leagues.

Watch List

These are players who I don't believe warrant an immediate add but are guys who should be on your radar for a call-up in the near future. If you're in a really deep league, perhaps some of these guys could act as a bench stash, depending on the size of your roster and health of your team. 

Fernando Rodney, RP Houston Astros

Ryan Pressly has turned the corner a bit in the last week, and I'm slightly less concerned about the health of his arm, so Rodney moves from a pick-up to a player to watch.  Pressly had a late start to the season, has already dealt with an arm issue this offseason, and has altered his pitch mix to limit the use of his curveball, which was his best pitch last year. There's a chance he is still not 100%. That's where Rodney comes in. It may seem like a joke since he's almost 44-years-old, but the veteran certainly has experience. Despite his 5.66 ERA last year, his pitch mix, velocity and x-stats were near identical to 2018, when he finished with a 3.36 ERA and 25 saves. He also gave up fewer fly balls and less hard contact in 2019, so I think the poor results were a bit flukey. If you roster Rodney, you won't be doing it for the ratios, but he should have a mid-9 K/9 and could be in line for saves on one of baseball's best teams. If you stash him now, you could get that for free.

Andrew Vaughn, 1B, Chicago White Sox

It may seem crazy that a guy who was drafted last year could make the major leagues this season but that's how pro-ready Vaughn was as a hitter. He's not a gifted athlete, but he's a patient, strong, and smart hitter. He makes a tremendous amount of contact and has plus power already. In a season with an expanded playoff format, and a few of the AL favorites showing cracks in the armor, the White Sox have every incentive to push to compete this season. That may mean moving on from Edwin Encarnacion soon. The 37-year-0ld was only signed to a one-year contract and is clearly not part of the team's long-term plans. He's also started the year off ice cold with a 1.60/.208/.300 triple-slash with 2 HR and 3 RBI in 14 games. Not everybody can age the way Nelson Cruz does, so perhaps he needs to step aside for Vaughn and his beautiful swing.

Stephen Gonsalves, SP, Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox rotation is a mess and if they were serious at all about putting a competent team on the field, they would have done something about it by now. As a result, I'm not entirely convinced the team is going to make any drastic moves to add talent to their big league club, but calling up a newly signed free agent like Gonzalves might be in the cards. The 26-year-old has yet to find success in the Major Leagues, but he was a former highly regarded prep prospect who has a 2.50 career minor league ERA and put up a 2.96 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 8.52 K/9 in AAA in 2018. After missing most of last year with an elbow injury, he appears back to full strength and could be a much better option in the Sox rotation than the aforementioned pitchers. If he gets a job, he could be rosterable in deep leagues given the offense behind him or streamable in certain match-ups.

 

Now the holdovers from last week that still intrigue me.

Seth Beer, 1B/DH, Arizona Diamondbacks

I'm likely dreaming on this one a little bit since Beer has never played above AA, but the Diamondbacks are struggling on offense and might be aggressive in trying to remedy that since this was a season they were built to compete. Also, there has never been a more perfect year to call-up Beer since he's a below-average defender who will benefit greatly from the DH position where Jake Lamb is currently slotted in and hitting .063 in seven games. As a former college player, Beer has a mature approach at the plate. He's yet to register the walk rate in the minors that he displayed in college, but he demonstrates good patience and is not a major strikeout bat. He has always been relatively pull-centric in his approach and has the power to be a consistent force as a middle of the order.

Brandon Marsh, 1B/OF, Los Angeles Angels

Brandon Marsh has begun getting reps at first base, which makes me think that the Angels are experimenting with ways to call him up despite their crowded outfield. With Shohei Ohtani locked in at DH, that means 1B is the only spot for Marsh. It's currently being held down by 40-year-old Albert Pujols, who is off to a .196/.255/.392 start with 3 HR and 8 RBI. The power output has been nice, and I can't see the Angels immediately going to Marsh; however, he's a talented prospect with a good eye and solid speed. He's often overlooked because he shared an outfield with Jo Adell, but if he seems primed to get a call-up, you're going to want him on your roster.

Ryan Mountcastle, 1B/OF, Baltimore Orioles

At some point this season, the Orioles are going to call up Mountcastle, we're just not entirely sure when. He doesn't really have a set defensive position, but he has plus-power and hit 25 HR with a .321 average for the Orioles AAA club last year. He doesn't draw a lot of walks but doesn't have an egregious K% either, so he could profile as a .260 hitter with solid pop. If you have deep benches, you can stash him in 12-team leagues since it's a near-lock that he'll be up eventually, especially with D.J. Stewart starting the year on a 0-for-21 skid. There's no logical reason for the Orioles to trot him out over Mountcastle, but so far they show no indication that they're going to do anything differently.



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Below you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings, tiers, player news and stats for Week 7 of the 2020 NFL season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Weekly PPR Rankings Weekly Half-PPR Rankings Weekly Standard Rankings Dynasty League Rankings  ... Read More


Fantasy Football Trade Targets - Week 7

The fantasy trade market is always a fun one to evaluate. Articles like this are essentially glorified "Who's Hot and Who's Not" pieces but the tables are turned to where sometimes, you want to trade for those that are cold and trade away those hot. Now, six weeks into the season, we have several big-name players underperforming... Read More


Re-Evaluating the Rookie Running Back Class of 2020

We're six weeks into the 2020 NFL season and are starting to get some good ideas of what usage patterns are looking like. Which means we probably have enough data now to start to re-evaluate where certain players stand in relation to other players. For example, we've got a better idea of how this year's... Read More


WR/CB Matchups to Target and Avoid - Week 7

The CB Matchup Chart has been a helpful resource all season, specifically in Week 6. Last week's article was predictive in forecasting boom games for Julio Jones, Justin Jefferson, and Christian Kirk. It also predicted let-downs from Robby Anderson, Cooper Kupp, and Mike Evans. This week's chart will give the most accurate landscape of CB matchups yet,... Read More


Pivot Plays and Post-Waiver Pickups - Week 7

Things are starting to get difficult for fantasy football managers. Indianapolis, Minnesota, Miami and Baltimore all have the week off, so fantasy managers are already playing shorthanded. Fielding a full lineup is going to be tough as it is if you have a few injuries. If one of your key guys is listed as questionable... Read More


Week 7 Stream Team - Shallow and Deep-League Pickups

Welcome to Week 7 of the NFL season. Each week we will be providing streamer advice for all of those who need it, which is pretty much anyone and everyone. Streaming players with the best matchups each week as well as during your stud's bye weeks is an integral part of winning a fantasy championship... Read More


Lies, Damned Lies, and Fantasy Football Statistics (Week 7)

The more data we get as the season goes on, the better equipped we are to interpret matchups and make informed decisions. Then Week 6 comes along and blows it all to hell. The unpredictability of sports is what keeps us intrigued, as frustrating as it may be at times. Numbers are supposedly to be... Read More


The King's Week 7 Fantasy Football Lineup Rankings (Premium Content)

Welcome back, RotoBallers!  Below you will find my Week 7 fantasy football lineup rankings. The ranks are available in PPR, Half PPR and Standard formats. They will be updated as needed, so make sure to check back for the latest versions. Skill Position analysis is primarily based on the PPR ranks. The rankings are powered by... Read More


Slow Starters Ready to Break Out in Fantasy?

We are now more than a third of the way into the fantasy football season and a seemingly clearer picture is available across the landscape. After a pandemic-shortened offseason and lack of preseason exposure, there were plenty of worries headed into the first month specifically. Thus far, one of the most prevalent topics with regards... Read More


Fantasy Football Warning Signals for Week 7

The warning signals get brighter by the week since we have more data to work from. The larger the sample size the easier it is for us to connect the dots from the latest trends. Football is a game of small samples and many variables, making it one of the hardest sports to predict. How... Read More


How to Value Clyde Edwards-Helaire with Le'Veon Bell in KC

Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Jonathan Taylor? Coming into the season this was the biggest question for fantasy GMs, both dynasty managers who were thinking long-term and redraft managers who wanted to know who would be better for this season. There were many different theories and believe me when I say, both sides thought they were 100%... Read More


NextGen Stats - Quarterback Breakdowns and Takeaways

It's been a month since the last time we took a look at our beloved quarterbacks. Numbers are numbers, and numbers don't lie. You can twist them, but looking at them objectively, numbers say that no matter what, rushing the ball is almost always a worse option than passing it in today's game. That's why... Read More


Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Week 7

Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement.... Read More


Coaching Matters: Offenses That Will Improve From Week 6

This series continues into its sixth week of where I dive into offensive areas that will improve or decline based on coaching in order to glean insight as to fantasy football value. In Week 6, we saw performances such as Ryan Tannehill throwing for 364 passing yards, the Houston Texans running backs combining for 66 rushing yards, and the New... Read More


Tape Tells All: D'Andre Swift's Week 6 Performance

Welcome to another edition of Tape Tells All. I've been thinking of rebranding as just TAPE. All-Caps like that. Probably wouldn't be a good idea for SEO purposes, right? Anyways, this week we'll be discussing Detroit Lions rookie running back D'Andre Swift. Swift set a lot of career highs this week, with bests in carries... Read More


Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

Week 6 was like the 2020 of fantasy football weeks. All those great matchups meant nothing, those studs let you down, and your bench likely went crazy. The good news is that we didn't have any season-ending injuries to running backs or games canceled due to COVID, so in retrospect maybe we shouldn't complain. The... Read More


FAB Bidding - Week 7 Waiver Wire Targets

Whether it's injuries, bye-week blues, or simply poor performance, we've got the waiver-wire cure...but it just might cost you! Alongside our famous waiver wire pickups list and our weekly waiver wire columns by position, this column focuses on suggested waiver wire bidding percentages for fantasy football owners in leagues using a Free Agent Budget (FAB). In... Read More


Waiver Wire Express - Week 7 Lightning Round

Week 6 was relatively healthy and had no coronavirus delays, so let's just take a moment to bask in that. That said, we still saw Miles Sanders (knee) and Zach Ertz (ankle) go down, while Mark Ingram (ankle) has a bye to get healthy. Week 7 byes are Baltimore, Indianapolis, Miami, and Minnesota. Let's get... Read More


Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

Fantasy GMs are to be commended for rising to the unique challenges that have unfolded during this regular season. Injuries to critical players is an unwelcome reality that occurs every year. This is also the case for backs that were expected to operate as RB1s, but have been relegated to committees. However, this season has... Read More


Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

Six weeks of NFL football are behind us, aside from a pair of Monday games, including a late afternoon game between the Bills and the Chiefs. In terms of wide receiver production this week, we didn't have the huge breakouts like we had in Week 5. Chase Claypool didn't score four touchdowns. In fact, only... Read More


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Of the 1,015 hitters sampled(1) between 2015 and 2019, there were only 14 instances of hitters making more productive contact against pitches outside of the strike zone than against pitches inside of the strike zone based on xwOBAcon. Based on the same sample, the average hitter was a whopping .116 points better against pitches inside... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 23rd, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 23rd, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Lineup Order Risers and Fallers: AL West 2020 Review

It’s the offseason and there are about to be a bunch of moving parts. This allows for speculation in terms of players gaining or losing playing time, moving up or down a batting order and much more. The idea here is to highlight some lineup situations for each team and some potential winners or losers... Read More


2021 1st & 2nd Year Players with James Anderson - Benched with Bubba (Episode 317)

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Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 21st, 2020

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RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 20th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 54: 2 Early Mocks APD Player Debates - Benched with Bubba (Episode 316)

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Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 18th, 2020

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The 2020 MLB season will always be one for the record books, even if everything that took place will have multiple asterisks attached to it. Evaluating Statcast numbers is a nice way to find hot and cold hitters, as well as underachievers and overachievers. Now that the regular season is over, let's reflect on the... Read More


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RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 16th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


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Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They dig into trends, some interesting risers/fallers, and much more. They also go over some listener questions at the end to keep the Fantasy Baseball information coming even in the offseason. Be sure to subscribe... Read More