June 7, 2017
Deep League Report
Last week, the Deep League Report was on hiatus due to the positional re-rankings that my Baseball Prospectus fantasy team colleagues and I completed. It makes its triumphant return this week, satisfying your cravings for platoon outfielders and non-closing relievers. I’m sure you missed it terribly. I missed you, too.
AL-only position players
Eric Young Jr.
He’s 32 years old now, but Young is still fast as hell. In 44 games in Triple A, Young had 15 stolen bases along with a surprisingly good .354/.419/.528 line. The injury to Mike Trout has given the veteran speedster a shot at playing time in the Angels’ outfield and he’s making a strong case for himself since his call-up a week ago, hitting .348/.444/.565 with a homer and two steals across 27 plate appearances. If he can sustain 75 percent of that production going forward, he’ll have a spot in the offensively challenged Anaheim lineup, and if he has a spot in the lineup, he’ll steal some bases.
He’s a one-category player, but that category is speed—which is in short supply—especially in the American League. The White Sox called up Engel during the last week of May to act as a backup at all three outfield spots. He stole 45 bases across three minor-league levels last season after stealing 65 bases in the low minors in 2015. His .221/.312/.463 line in Triple-A this year prior to his call-up doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence for what he’ll do in the bigs, although his walk rate there was encouraging and the eight home runs he hit there already represent a career high for the 25-year-old in a full season. The biggest issue for Engel is playing time, though, since Leury Garcia, Avisail Garcia and Melky Cabrera are all playing well for the South Siders. If you need steals, Engel is definitely worth a buck or two of FAAB, and maybe a buck more than that in OBP leagues in case he figures out how to translate the plate discipline he showed in Triple A to the majors.