Thursday, August 14, 2014

Around The Lineup: 8/14

Taking a look at some players getting picked up off the waiver wire but not on a lot of teams.

Catcher:

Russell Martin

Currently owned in 27% of leagues. He has been the beneficiary of a recent 11-game hitting streak that has raised his batting average from .278 to .288. This may be a nice boost for people owning him now but if you are one those people, you may want to sell high on Martin.

His BABIP is at .352 which is significantly higher than his career total .288. Factoring out this area, he projects to be more of a .235 hitter with the possibility of double-digit home run power. While he does have significantly higher real-life value as he's helping the Pirates stay in contention (3.4 WAR) which could be enough to push the Pirates over the top in the NL Central (boo), his value is primarily on the defensive end (not counted in fantasy) and incredible patience at the plate (13.4% Walk Rate this year) which would give him a .370 OBP (not bad) even with a .236 average. For fantasy purposes, he's currently ranked 202nd out of 325.

First Base:

Lonnie Chisenhall:

Currently owned in 48% of leagues. He's actually the sixth most added first base eligible player so far but the first one below 50% ownership due to him being frequently dropped due to recent struggles.

Which Chisenhall is the real one, the one that hit real well early in the season or the one that is encountering struggles as the Indians try to stay within the fringe of contention. In terms of fantasy ownership, Chisenhall is on the fringe of being an option being ranked 141st overall.

He is starting to come down from his BABIP high from earlier this year and holds more value at third than first. His average is currently projected at .259 and could be a source of 20 homers over a full season.

Second Base:

Dustin Ackley:

Currently owned in 40% of leagues and currently 177th in my player rankings. He does have hits in four of his last five games but needs to show more before I would be sold on him. He currently projects out to be a .257 hitter with the possibility of double figure home runs.

Third Base:

Yangervis Solarte:

Currently owned in 29% of leagues. With hits in five of his last six games, his perceived value is increasing (assuming his mild left oblique quad strain does not lead to missed playing time). His stock in my rankings has also improved as he's gone from 147th to 116th.

Even with his decent showing so far, there are indicators he could be better as his BABIP (.273) is relatively low along with his HR/FB rate. Even though he's hitting .261 this year, he's projected to be closer to a .287 hitter (.394 OBP when you add in 10.7% BB Rate) and capable of throwing in 15 home runs. Along with playing for a widely ignored Padres team and you have yourselves a solid sleeper waiver wire pick.

Shortstop:

Jordy Mercer:

Currently owned in 19% of leagues. His perceived value has benefited from a recent five game hitting streak that has raised his average to .265 which is pretty close to his projection .259. He may have marginal value since he's a shortstop and could crack double-figure homer totals. He has seen a marginal bump in my rankings from his recent stretch going from 212th to 206th.

Outfield:

Michael A. Taylor

Currently owned in 2% of leagues but by far the most popular pick up today (the benefits of homering in your big league debut. While he skipped straight from AA to the majors, his chance of success appears to be high even after discounting his minor league numbers by about 20%.

His highest risk area is the batting average as he no longer has the benefit of AA pitching & a .421 BABIP to work with. With that being said, he has the potential to make up for this in the rest of the categories in a big way as he could be a potential 25 homer/50 steal threat down the road.