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April 2, 2014

Deep Impact

Introduction

by Ben Carsley

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I never thought I'd find people out there like me.

For years and years on end, I subjected myself to nothing but standard 10- and 12-team leagues. I thought I knew stress. "Oh, which no. 3 starter should I pick up for this spot start?” I would ask a more innocent, less world-weary version of myself. "Which decent outfielder must I claim as an injury replacement," a more hopeful, younger Ben would ponder in 2010. Those were the days of sound sleep and easy championships.

Fast forward to 2014, and I am now a grizzled deep-league veteran who is wiser to the trials and tribulations we all face on a daily basis. Not all of us are so lucky to have a Dexter Fowler or a Josh Willingham on the waiver wire. We do not all have the luxury of choosing between Tim Hudson and Tyler Skaggs for spot starts.

No, we deep-league masochists need to filter the pool of available players by 2013 OBP to find Logan Schafer and jump eagerly at the chance to add him to our rosters. We take that final, deep sip of scotch before we resign ourselves to a spot start by Eric Stults, because hey, yeah, he pitches in Petco, and you know, maybe he could possibly grab a win, maybe! It's no way to go through life, but it's something many of us can't quit.

And so, fellow insane fantasy owners with too much time on your hands and too deep a knowledge of MLB rosters for your own good, this is a column for you. Some weeks, I will write about overall deep-league strategy. More often, I will take a look at some deep-league assets who are flying under the radar. And sometimes, I might just sit here and use this space to weep via text. I welcome your suggestions, and would love for reader feedback to be a major part of this column.

Let's start things off nice and slow with a look at four players at whom those in standard leagues would scoff, but who those in deep leagues may want to consider rostering in short order. May Xander bless you all.

Abraham Almonte, OF, Mariners
In one of the finest displays of lineup construction we've seen in recent years, the Mariners have elected to bat Almonte leadoff for the foreseeable future. The good news is that Almonte showed a willingness to take a walk in the minors in 2012 and 2013, and that he has enough speed to run a bit when he does reach base. The bad news is that Almonte doesn't project to reach base at a high clip in the majors and he has zero track record to tell us that's a projection we should ignore.

Do I think Almonte will remain the Mariners leadoff hitter for the majority of the year? No, I don't. But Almonte is a good gamble in deep leagues nonetheless incase I'm wrong, as I'll admit that there's enough upside here for a .265 average, 20-plus steals, and decent run totals from a player sitting atop a mid-tier lineup. It's not sexy, but in leagues with 100 or more outfielders, Almonte should probably be owned.

Mike Carp, 1B/OF, Red Sox
Shane Victorino injured his hamstring in the Red Sox' final spring training game of the year, necessitating a trip to the disabled list that will keep him out until at least mid-April. While conventional wisdom dictates that Jackie Bradley Jr. stands to see the most time in Victorino's absence, I'd be willing to bet it's Carp who sees the majority of Victorino's starts against right-handed batters.

There was no more anonymous contributor to the 2013 Red Sox than Carp, who hit .296/.362/.523 with nine homers in 243 PA. You can decry those numbers as a result of a high BABIP or small sample size all you want, but Carp is a career .259/.337/.440 hitter against righties in 689 PA. He may be subbed out for a better defender in many games, but Carp could see 10-plus starts in the middle of the Red Sox lineup this month.

Derek Dietrich, 2B, Marlins
It's April 2 and we're already talking about a Rafael Furcal injury: What are the odds? Oh, like, 100 percent, you say? Very well. As predictable as Furcal's demise and Dietrich's rise is, it still presents the latter with a decent opportunity to solidify himself as a more meaningful part of Miami's future. While Dietrich's first MLB action in 2013 was largely uninspiring, he did manage to hit nine homers in just 233 PA, and that type of power from a MI makes him interesting to deep league owners regardless of the other flaws in his game.

It's fair to question Dietrich's hit tool, but at this point it’s tough to see how he's not a 15-plus, and potentially 20-plus, homer option at second base. A player who’s been impatient historically, Dietrich's 11.3 percent walk rate in Triple-A last year likely holds the key to his future. If he can walk at about a 10 percent rate, he could post decent enough OBPs to go along with his power to be a viable starter. If not, Dietrich is likely headed for a career as a utility infielder with pop. Either way, Furcal will reclaim the starting job when he comes back in a week or so, but oddly enough, I have a good feeling Dietrich will see 300-plus PA in the majors this season.

Maicer Izturis, SS/2B, Blue Jays
With Jose Reyes lasting approximately four minutes into his 2014 season before hitting the disabled list, the Blue Jays have been forced to turn to the likes of Jonathan Diaz to man shortstop on a regular basis. According to manager John Gibbons, Diaz will start at short every day, opposite of Ryan Goins, who will hold down second as the Jays take a defense-first approach.

That sounds all well and good, but the bet here is that after 10-or-so games of the Diaz/Goins combo hitting for a combined line of, like, .100/.100/.100, Gibbons will reconsider. Enter Izturis, who's 33 and not that great, but who's a career .269/.331/.373 hitter and who was productive as recently as 2012. I'd bet Izturis sees at least 15 starts in April, and he could score a handful of runs and steal a few bases during that time. Exciting!

Deep League Streamer Start of the Week: Jacob Turner, SP, Marlins
I'm of the opinion that Turner should be owned in all deep leagues, as I think he's a poster boy for post-prospect fatigue. I get why his lack of strikeouts and spotty track record to this point make him an untenable mixed league option, but he has the stuff, youth and home ballpark to finish as a top-100 fantasy starter this year. This week, Turner starts at home against the Rockies and Franklin Morales on Thursday. That sounds like a matchup that could end with a Marlins “W,” and with Turner lasting six-plus innings without killing your ERA. Welcome to deep league streaming!

Twitter Question of the Week:

Strong question, Brett. It's difficult to narrow this down to just one Pokemon, as Xander is a creature who possesses aesthetic beauty, understated power and significant mental acuity. I suppose we can liken him to a fully trained, tame, passionate Charizard, as flame wheel is still an excellent move even if it might have to come from third base in a few years.

  • Player Namedrop of the Week: Alay Soler, SP, NYM
  • Random RP Who Will Earn a Win: Nick Vincent, RP, SD
  • Random Backup Who Will Homer: Chris Colabello, 1B/OF, MIN
  • Xander Bogaerts Adjective of the Week: Sumptuous

*Special thanks to Mauricio Rubio for the "Deep Impact" series name. Glad to see our time together in Arizona left some sort of impression.

Ben Carsley is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Ben's other articles. You can contact Ben by clicking here

30 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

Ian Hudson

Nice introductory article, and Deep Impact was as fantastic an option for your series name as BP would allow, I think.

If you could employ either one of the outfielders listed here or comprise your last spot with a platoon of say, Garrett Jones and Matt Joyce (whoever is facing a righty that day), which way would you go?

Apr 02, 2014 03:51 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

Thanks, Ian.

I'd go Joyce, Jones, Almonte, Carp I think

Apr 02, 2014 07:09 AM
 
Ian Hudson

That's what I was thinking- woo confirmation!!

Also, are you going to sprinkle Tea Leoni references throughout the articles? I mean, moreso than you were already going to?

Apr 02, 2014 10:56 AM
rating: 0
 
RotoLando

I thought Ass Pennies was pretty good.

Apr 02, 2014 04:01 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

It was, but I think the reasons I had to shy away from that one are fairly obvious. It deserves a TINO shoutout though.

Apr 02, 2014 08:06 AM
 
tmangell

Great addition to the fantasy coverage at BP! Makes me glad I re subscribed last Saturday! As an owner in three leagues (one 8-team NL only, one 8-team OBP 5x5 mixed) and one 10-team OPS 5x5 mixed H2H) with a bunch of veteran owners, this column is sorely needed!

Apr 02, 2014 04:27 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

You should write in to TINO, strong candidate for WFFOTW

Apr 02, 2014 08:08 AM
 
Greg Ioannou

How can you diss Jonathan Diaz, man? He has a 333/500/333 line, and has a third of the team's home runs this season. He's one of the few players on the team with World Series experience.

Apr 02, 2014 05:05 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

I will give you 16 internet dollars if Jonathan Diaz gets 50 hits this season.

Apr 02, 2014 08:06 AM
 
Greg Ioannou

Given how unlikely he was to make the team, that seems a pretty safe bet. But I do think his tiny-sample stats are pretty funny.

Apr 02, 2014 08:30 AM
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DDriesen

Welcome to the deep end of the pool.

Apr 02, 2014 05:34 AM
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Silverback38

Ben, Great article. I also never did thank you so I'll do it now. I got in on the Xander train when your writings were for RotoEx.... It was a mid grade but tons of upside score. Little did I know you had a Stalker-like crush on the dude. Nonetheless. I picked him up then and will soak in his glory in an endless keeper league. Thanks.
So many great options now that I have subscribed to this team. Will keep an ear out for the next Groupie-like crush.
Maybe there should be an article titled "Stalker Crushes" or "Groupie Crushes".
Haha.

Apr 02, 2014 05:38 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

You joke, but I'm going to talk to Bret about this.

Apr 02, 2014 08:07 AM
 
Silverback38

I wasn't really joking too much. I think an article like that would be useful. Yes, we have quite a bit of various analyses of different players but if you were to identify these types of players, it would be that much more telling; if they are important to the professionals, then they should likely be important to us competitive players. I'd be personally interested in the players that aren't common, like everyone in the top 50-100. Most here are fanatics enough to know all those.
It could be Stalker-Crush of Triple-A; Debaucherous craving of Double A; Groupie-infatuation of Single-A; Puppy Love of High A; Exotic Lust of International players....

I know players will change levels but it will expose so many more players to those of us that can't get enough.
Just some thoughts.

Apr 02, 2014 11:32 AM
rating: 0
 
cannoncruz

Still like "You're not in 12 team anymore, Toto", but Deep Impact works.

Glad that us 30 team owners can come out from hiding and have an article dedicated to us.

Thanks BP and Ben, I will look forward to these articles.

Apr 02, 2014 06:04 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

Thanks!

Apr 02, 2014 08:07 AM
 
KerryFam4

Agreed! Glad there's a place for people who can commiserate with me on Kyle Blanks being among the Padres final cuts (for Xavier Nady and Tommy Medica?) and whatever Walt Weiss is doing to avoid starting Corey Dickerson in CF (are we looking at the exceedingly rare 4-player platoon?).

Apr 02, 2014 08:47 AM
rating: 1
 
edgewatertim

Sorely needed this series. Thanks Ben!

Apr 02, 2014 09:37 AM
rating: 0
 
danrnelson

Sumptuous is apt, especially if you have ever seen his topless photo. It's my dyansty team's profile picture, obviously. Should definitely be considered for the cover of the BP Annual next year.

Apr 02, 2014 09:44 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

I'm pushing for it, yes.

Apr 02, 2014 10:39 AM
 
traindoggah

Thanks, for going deep. Ben, really. But please push yourself to go even deeper - all these guys are owned in my deep 16-team dynasty,

Apr 02, 2014 10:30 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

Mike Carp should not be owned in a 16-team league!

Apr 02, 2014 10:39 AM
 
ramtax

In my 14-team dynasty league with 40-man rosters (25 active), Mike Carp is not only on a roster, along with lots of guys who are even less desirable.

Apr 04, 2014 09:57 AM
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cnote66

Good stuff! In a 24 team, dynasty league, this article should be useful throughout the year.

Apr 02, 2014 10:32 AM
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kcheaden

In a deep league where I need saves and power would you roster Farnsworth or Dietrich?

Apr 02, 2014 12:21 PM
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davinhbrown

Deeper Ben, deeper.

Dietrich was a hot commodity in my re drafts (12tm NL only) and 12tm NL only dynasty.
Logan Shafer? Multiple $'s.

Seriously though, looking forward to this article this year.

Apr 02, 2014 16:07 PM
rating: 0
 
RotoLando

Thanks to DEEP IMPACT, I no longer feel weird for holding onto Jesus Aguilar past Spring Training.

What's with Chris Colabello? I need power, but does he ever get playing time? Is there a Twins beat writer I can follow on Twitter to get a heads up?

(DEEP IMPACT should always be capitalized, and said out loud with some ominous bass in your voice, a la "deep hurting " from MST3K)

Apr 02, 2014 17:44 PM
rating: 0
 
greenengineer

Deeper please. Almonte, Carp and Maicer were all drafted in my 12 team AL only 4x4 keeper league. Almonte went for $14.

Apr 03, 2014 09:26 AM
rating: 0
 
SC

"That sounds like a matchup that could end with a Marlins “W,” and with Turner lasting six-plus innings without killing your ERA"

Not. So. Much:

Turner: 6IP, 8H, 5ER, 3BB, 1K

though to be fair, the Marlins (but not Turner) did win.

Apr 04, 2014 08:49 AM
rating: 0
 
brucegilsen
(999)

Thanks for starting this column. I'm in a year 26 12 team NL only 24/270 old school 4x4 keeper league and most of the other articles are geared toward shallower leagues.

Apr 07, 2014 19:46 PM
rating: 0
 
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Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Str... (04/02)
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Fantasy Article Deep Impact: Week Two (04/16)
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