Note: FanDuel is hosting a one-day Fantasy Baseball league tonight. It's $5 to enter and pays out $100,000 in cash prizes. First place wins $10,000. Sign up now!
Every team's roster got a little bit bigger Tuesday.
Which means more mouths to feed, which means less consistent at-bats and innings for just about everybody.
Which is why playing time is an even more important factor than ability when assessing a September callup's Fantasy value.
Fortunately in the case of Hector Olivera, he should have plenty of both.
Hector Olivera, 2B, Braves (40 percent owned)
You wouldn't think we'd have to wait so long to see a 30-year-old Cuban defector in the big leagues, but between the Dodgers' overloaded infield and Olivera's health concerns, it has taken all season.
The Dodgers, you say? Well, that was his team for most of this season. Olivera is the player the Braves gave up top prospect Jose Peraza and established starting pitcher Alex Wood to get at the trade deadline, don't forget.
No doubt, they think highly of him, and they're not alone. Here's what Ben Badler of Baseball America had to say about him in March:
"If the health checks out, Olivera can be an above-average player, an immediate impact bat and one of the favorites for a 2015 rookie of the year award."
And his assessment was based on scouting reports like this one:
"I'm on board," said one international scout. "He's big, strong and geared to take stuff the other way. It's a closed-off stance with looseness to the hands but lightning bat speed to get to balls on the inside, and he has an advanced plan. He's pretty advanced in his control of the strike zone. He's going to have success.”
You wouldn't know it by his .272 batting average and .702 OPS in the minors, but those came over just 125 at-bats that were broken up by elbow and hamstring injuries.
"I don't think I'm 100 percent quite yet, but I'm close," Olivera told MLB.com. "Within these next few days, I think I'll be where I need to be."
Are the major leagues the best place for him to rediscover his stroke? Probably not, but it's not like the Braves have anyone else they need to play at third base (yes, he'll be eligible there soon). And if he meets his upside -- something like a more powerful version of Howie Kendrick, I'd say -- he'll be a nice find in deeper leagues.
Alex Gordon, OF, Royals (82 percent owned)
With all the buzz surrounding the September callups, most of which won't make a relevant Fantasy contribution this year, it's easy to overlook the horde of players returning from the DL this time of year. And while at 82 percent ownership, Gordon isn't widely available, he's too available for a player of his caliber.
He has been one of the most reliable outfielders in Fantasy over the last few years -- not a stud exactly, but too valuable to remove from the lineup in most formats. Kole Calhoun would be a fair comparison (and judging by his 2.68 Head-to-Head points per game to Gordon's 2.67, an apt one). Calhoun has a little more home run power probably, but Gordon closes the gap on peripherals -- doubles, walks and the like. And it's not like he was having one of his better seasons when he went down.
Gordon probably would have gotten more time to recover from his groin injury if rosters hadn't expanded, so the Royals may give him occasional days off over the next couple weeks. He's good enough to overcome it, though. I'd expect him to make an even bigger impact down the stretch than trendy pickups Stephen Piscotty and Carlos Beltran.
Drew Smyly, SP, Rays (51 percent owned)
That's more like it for Smyly. The left-hander looked rusty in his first three starts back from shoulder tendinitis, but his velocity and control both suggested he was healthy, which meant it was only a matter of time before he got back to pitching like he did in his first nine starts for the Rays dating back to last year.
OK, so maybe the 2.01 ERA, 0.77 WHIP and 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings he had in those starts is an unrealistic expectation for anyone other than Zack Greinke, but wherever his numbers ultimately wind up, Smyly showed he still has the ability to dominate Tuesday, striking out 10 Orioles over seven shutout innings. His 19 swinging strikes were a season high. The only Rays pitcher to have a start with more than that is Chris Archer.
One start doesn't confirm Smyly is back, but this one was good enough to justify immediate action in Fantasy. If he builds off it, he gives you another top-of-the-rotation arm at the time of year when it could make all the difference. Remember: Some pundits were calling him a dark horse Cy Young candidate at the start of the year.