Rolling in the deep, part 4

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last week, you know that the Houston Astros will be without second baseman Jose Altuve for the next 8-10 weeks. Fantasy managers who drafted Altuve before he suffered a fractured right thumb during the World Baseball Classic felt the pain. But the smart ones were rushing out to add David Hensley to their rosters – if they could.

If you play in an NFBC league and have already completed your draft, like me, you’re waiting until Sunday to bid on Hensley. His rostership percentage at NFBC is currently only two percent. The 26-year-old infielder made his major league debut last August. He contributed as a utility man, making appearances at second base, third base, shortstop, left field and designated hitter.

More importantly, Hensley shined at the plate, batting .345 with a .441 on base percentage, 1.027 OPS, 191 OPS+, one home run and five RBI. Hensley is slashing .286/.412/.500, with two home runs and two steals in 34 plate PA in spring training. I will be surprised if there aren’t several triple-digit FAAB bids made for the 26th round pick in the 2018 MLB Amateur Draft.

But Hensley is only one of several players who should be considered by fantasy managers looking to improve their rosters. Here are eight more, and all were undrafted in my TGFBI league. This is the last of my four-part series, Rolling in the Deep. If you play in a deeper league, this series was written with you in mind. The eight players listed below are in alphabetical order.


This 24-year-old rookie has allowed just one earned run across 13 innings in an impressive spring, while striking out 15 batters as he competes with Jared Shuster for the fifth spot in Atlanta’s starting rotation. The duo’s spring numbers are nearly identical across the board –  Dodd has a 15:2 K:BB through 13 innings, while Shuster has a 16:2 mark in 12.2 frames.


Garcia is slashing .355/.375/.516 in spring training. He was a solid contact hitter in limited time in the majors last season, batting .318 with two RBI, a double and a run scored over 23 plate appearances. He slashed a combined .285/.359/.427 line over 118 games between Triple-A and Double-A, while adding 11 home runs, 39 stolen bases, 61 RBI and 104 runs scored last year.


Lopes is slashing .441/.462/.618 with a home run, eight RBI, eight runs and six stolen bases in Cactus League play, and he’s in contention for one of the Padres’ roster spots. Lopes hasn’t done much as a major leaguer to this point in his career, slashing .246/.310/.352 with three homers and 11 steals over 290 career plate appearances but the spring training performance has been noticed.


McCormick began 2022 as the strong side of a platoon in center field and had a .676 OPS through the first three months of the campaign, but he came alive during the second half of the season with a .271/.356/.416 slash line, working as the Astros’ primary center fielder. The strong second half and playoff run gives him the edge for a starting job in Houston on opening day.


Montero has hit four home runs across 49 plate appearances, with 11 runs scored, eight RBI and is slashing .318/.388/.614 in spring ball. He made his MLB debut in 2022, with a .233/.270/.432 slash line in 53 games. He struggled with strikeouts at time in the minors, which carried over to the big leagues with a 32.4 percent strikeout rate, and his 4.3 percent walk rate was also poor.


Between shuttling back and forth between the minors and majors and two IL stints, Olivares only played in 53 games for the Royals last season, batting a healthy .286 with four homers and two steals across 174 plate appearances. He has pop and has stolen as many as 35 bases in the minor leagues. The outfielder is just entering his age-27 season and he’s available in my TGFBI league.


A majority of fantasy analysts expect Robertson to lead the Mets in saves in 2023 following the season-ending injury to Edwin Diaz. After pitching just 18.2 major league innings between 2019-2021, Robertson re-established himself, serving as Chicago’s closer for the first four months of 2022. After a solid first half, earning 20 saves, Robertson was traded to Philadelphia.


Shuster was a first-round pick for the Braves in a 2020 Draft class which also included Spencer Strider. Shuster, who is battling Dodd for the a starter spot in the Braves rotation, posted a 3.29 ERA and 145:38 K:BB over 139.1 innings between Double- and Triple-A in 2022. He struck out seven over four scoreless innings in a spring training game against the Red Sox on Friday.

Thomas L. Seltzer, AKA Doubting Thomas, writes about football and baseball for CreativeSports. Be sure to follow Thomas on Twitter@ThomasLSeltzer1.

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