Friday is all about fantasy baseball pickups. Here are the latest Glengarry Leads.
Francisco Alvarez, UTIL, New York Mets (29% rostered)
We knew Francisco Alvarez was headed to New York at some point, but the trip was hastened when Omar Narvaez (calf) landed on the injured list Thursday. Narvaez could miss eight-to-10 weeks, so Alvarez should get time to show what he can do. Of course, Alvarez is still a work in progress as a defender and will not be forced into every-day play. He’s not in Friday afternoon’s lineup, though given that it’s a day game and he’s just joining the team, perhaps that’s to be expected.
We have to soft-pedal the Alvarez news somewhat. He’s also not catcher-eligible at Yahoo yet, though he needs only five games to get that tag. On the plus side, we’re talking about a universally hailed hitting prospect (the three main prospect boards ranked him third, fourth and ninth entering this year), someone who conked 27 homers in 411 at-bats in the minors last year.
I won't guarantee he's a smash, but sure, there's plausible upside here, obviously.
Myles Straw, OF, Cleveland Guardians (26%)
We mentioned Myles Straw in a previous column, but he’s still lagging at 26%, so here's another tug for your arm. Straw is off to a crisp .364 start with five walks and five steals, and based on his high-percentage thievery in recent seasons, a 50-steal finish wouldn’t surprise me. You’ll need to make up for Straw’s power gap elsewhere, but if he’s going to be this dominant a specialist, he should be rostered in most mixers.
Pierce Johnson, RP, Colorado Rockies (30%)
We try not to be choosy when it comes to closers; we just want that one stat. So even though Pierce Johnson has to deal with the Colorado atmosphere, his handshakes still merit consideration. He has closed up shop in two of his three appearances, and he’s missing plenty of bats — seven strikeouts in three innings. While we’re human beings and would love to see Daniel Bard come back strong, possessing a closing job is 90% of the battle — and it’s plausible Johnson might keep this job all season.
Zach Eflin, SP/RP, Tampa Bay Rays (last call — 52%)
Sometimes it’s as simple as betting where the smart teams are betting. I didn’t expect the Rays to give Zach Eflin a three-year, $40 million deal, but it forced me to reevaluate the 28-year-old. Eflin has outstanding control, and he’ll be working in front of a plus defense. The park and the bullpen are also likely to help.
Eflin answered the bell with an easy win over the Tigers — not the last time we’ll say that this year — and he’s approved for Friday’s turn against Oakland. Perhaps this is a temp-to-perm position. Also, take note that Eflin is both starting- and relief-eligible in Yahoo.
Anthony DeSclafani, SP, San Francisco Giants (11%)
Speaking of teams that know how to handle pitchers, the Giants are one of those clubs. They steered Anthony DeSclafani to a breakout season two years ago, and maybe Disco is back in our plans after a tidy opener to the 2023 season (six innings, one run, four strikeouts against the White Sox). Last year’s season was a wipeout, with a bad ankle that required surgery. DeSclafani looks healthy again, and pitching in San Francisco is good work if you can get it.
Brian Anderson, 3B/OF, Milwaukee Brewers (last call — 61%)
Brian Anderson lost his way a bit in his final two Miami seasons, but from 2018 to 2020, he was a .266/.350/.436 stick with an OPS+ of 112. Now he’s with the Brewers, an obvious park and lineup upgrade. Injuries have protected Anderson’s spot in the lineup, and given that he’s in an age-30 season, it’s possible we haven’t seen his best year yet.
I won’t quibble with anyone who blanches at Anderson’s inclusion here, given that he has crept over 50%. If your league pays attention, he’s long gone. But I suppose it makes sense to give him one more mention for shallower leagues or pools that have staggered rules on pickups.