May 23, 2011
Value Picks at First, Third and DH
The middle of May marks the first time that fantasy owners should take a serious look at their lineups, deciding if their higher draft picks are worth cutting loose. Lots of other options cropped up this week, thanks to injuries and roster moves, leading to a Value Picks reshuffling and a flurry of marginal VPs in Playing Pepper.
Scott Rolen (44 percent ESPN, 54 percent CBS)
Melvin Mora (<1 percent ESPN, 4 percent CBS)
Juan Miranda (<1 percent ESPN, 3 percent CBS)
You can read my earlier writeup of Miranda here, indicating his modest ceiling and good (but not great) minor-league numbers. Chase Field should help his power, while Brandon Allen lurks in the minors if he stumbles. Allen is hitting .318/.422/.534 after a slow start to the season, but he could end up in left field instead. All of this makes Miranda a good risk-reward gamble, worth an immediate add in NL-only leagues and deeper mixed leagues.
Ty Wigginton (7 percent ESPN, 23 percent CBS)
Hideki Matsui (10 percent ESPN, 19 percent CBS)
Danny Valencia (3 percent ESPN, 29 percent CBS)
Matt LaPorta (5 percent ESPN, 43 percent CBS)
Even a four-hit game on Monday and a two-hit game Friday—one of them a homer—couldn’t budge LaPorta’s ownership. He picked up the Golden Sombrero in his other games but walked three times while striking out twice. Whether the loss of Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore sends LaPorta into a slump or pushes him to new heights remains to be seen, but ESPN owners may not notice.
Daric Barton (<1 percent ESPN, 18 percent CBS)
Eric Hinske (8 percent ESPN, 4 percent CBS)
The Twins expect Jim Thome (13 percent ESPN, 10 percent CBS) to return from the DL today, bringing walks and home runs in part-time play.
Replacing an injured Adam Lind, Eric Thames (4 percent ESPN, 4 percent CBS) was called up to DH after bopping .342/.419/.610 in hitter-friendly Las Vegas, but he’d have to really shine to stick as a starter after Lind returns.
If you believe in comebacks, look at Dallas McPherson (0 percent ESPN, 0 percent CBS), promoted by the White Sox after Mark Teahen hit the DL. McPherson hasn’t hit in the big leagues (.245/.297/.454) like he has in the minors (.293/.378/.575), and hasn’t been in the bigs since 2008, but Chicago’s hot-corner situation is unsettled enough for him to grab some significant playing time if he hits.
Travis Hafner’s DL stint means more playing time for former AL-Only VP Shelley Duncan (4 percent ESPN, 0 percent CBS), who will start against lefties, bringing power and a low batting average to AL-only owners.
A fourth disabled player—Derrek Lee—opens the door for Baltimore’s Brandon Snyder (0 percent ESPN, 1 percent CBS). His .278/.342/.438 line in the minors predicts a good but hollow batting average; he’d only hit .286/.341/.439 in his 90th PECOTA percentile, not a great line for a first baseman.
A career .268/.316/.427 line against righties made Greg Dobbs (5 percent ESPN, 8 percent CBS) the heavy half of Florida’s hot-corner platoon. His .408 BABIP indicates regression ahead, but he has dropped his fly-ball rate from a career 44.5 percent to 25.6 percent, leading to more ground balls (47.4 percent this season vs. 35.4 percent career). This shift might help those grounders to keep finding holes, but it will diminish his power.