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June 26, 2014

Deep Impact

Week 12

by Ben Carsley

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What an intro what an intro what an intro what a mighty good intro.

Odrisamer Despaigne, RHP, Padres
Despaigne missed a ton of bats but struggled mightily with his control in Triple-A this year after defecting to the U.S. from Cuba last season. So what did he do in his MLB debut against the Giants earlier this week? He struck out just one and walked no one over seven shutout innings, of course. He apparently impressed many people on the Internet along the way, as Despaigne has become something of a hot topic over the past few days.

The bad news is that all this talk of Despaigne having a deep repertoire is off base from a scouting POV. He’s really more of an “everything but the kitchen sink” guy, as the reason he needs to throw so many breaking pitches is that none of them really profiles as plus. Fortunately, Despaigne gets to use that skillset at Petco Park in half of his starts, which means he could produce respectable fantasy stats despite his limitations. Don’t go crazy and blow a ton of FAAB on him, but if you are looking for cheap innings in deeper leagues, it’s fine to take a flier on Despaigne.

Brad Mills, LHP, Athletics
We’re all familiar with Cardinals Voodoo Magic and the White Sox’s ability to find mid-rotation starters from nowhere. But don’t sleep on the A’s’ penchant for turning crappy left-handers into serviceable fantasy starters in deep leagues. When Oakland gave the Brewers $1 for Mills (seriously) a few weeks back, no one paid much attention. Now, the lefty finds himself a member of the A’s rotation for the time being.

Mills put up some nice numbers in Triple-A this year, posting a 1.56 ERA, 9.24 K/9, and 2.16 BB/9 in 75 innings. He benefited from some BABIP luck, to be sure, but it was interesting to see his strikeout percentage tick up to 26.2, considering his career average is 19.9 percent. Odds are this is just an aberration, and it’s tough to see Mills as a starter for a playoff team for longer than a few turns through the rotation. But if Oakland mutes his home run tendencies and Mills can keep missing more bats than his career average suggests he should, he’ll become an interesting streaming option at home.

Joe Panik, 2B/SS, Giants
Misspelling aside, Panik is a 70-grade last name. It lends itself to puns. It instills a sense of urgency in the reader. And it lends itself to some of the best (or worst, depending on how you feel about these things) baseball headlines we’ve seen in a long time. For these reasons, we should all be rooting for Joe Panik to turn into a successful major leaguer.

That said, I advise you to root for his success from afar when it comes to fantasy. Panik put up a decent .321/.382/.447 line in Triple-A this season, but he doesn’t project to hit like that in the majors, doesn’t hit for much power, and doesn’t really run. His ability to play both middle infield positions and put the barrel on the ball will let him stick around the majors for a long time, but most likely as a utility infielder.

Deep League Streamer of the Week: Josh Collmenter, Diamondbacks
Yuck, I know. But Collmenter gets the Padres in San Diego on Saturday night, and he’s in an Ace-Off against Eric Stults. Collmenter isn’t very good, won’t grab you many Ks, and isn’t going to be someone you roster for weeks to come. But he’s facing a really bad lineup, probably won’t implode, and has a chance to earn you a cheap win, given the level of competition. It’s not sexy, but he has reasonable odds of getting the job done.

Twitter Question of the Week:

I know that 16 teams isn’t quite as deep as my target audience here, but I think this is an interesting trade offer nonetheless. I like Latos a lot and think he’s a legit no. 2 fantasy starter (no. 1 in deep leagues) when healthy. He’s also still just 26, so I get the temptation to make this move.

But giving up 10 years of control of two players who profile as legit fantasy starters for just two years of a good but non-elite starter just isn’t something I can advise. Arcia has the power and hit tools to bat .275 with 25 homers for many years, which would make him a no. 3 outfielder in this format. Gray’s upside is actually higher than Latos’, and even if you don’t think he’s going to get there, giving up 150 potential starts for 45 is a short-sighted move. If you’re going for it this year and want to deal one of these guys for Latos, I can accept it. But definitely don’t move both.

Player Namedrop of the Week: Odalis Perez
Random RP Who Will Earn a Win: Darren O’Day, RHP, Orioles
Random Backup Who Will Homer: Francisco Cervelli, C, Yankees
Xander Bogaerts Adjective: Adjusting

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

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