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April 30, 2014

Deep Impact

Week Four

by Ben Carsley

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The names aren’t as sad this week, as I get to talk about three young players and Gavin Floyd. You can’t win ‘em all, but things are looking up!

Gavin Floyd, SP, Braves
Remember when the Braves weren’t going to have enough pitching to compete after Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy were lost for the season? Welp... here we are at April’s end, and now we’re wondering where Floyd—a savvy offseason pickup by GM Frank Wren—is going to fit in a crowded rotation once he’s healthy. Floyd is currently on a rehab assignment in High-A, and could be ready for the majors as soon as early-to-mid May.

Julio Teheran, Alex Wood, and Ervin Santana are firmly cemented in the rotation, and one would assume that David Hale would be bumped in favor of Mike Minor when the later rejoins the Braves in short order. I’m assuming the plan was for Floyd to take Aaron Harang’s spot, but “Aaron Harang has been too good to remove from the rotation,” is a sentence you can say with a straight face in 2014. This creates an interesting buy-low opportunity for Floyd, who may begin the year in the bullpen but will likely start at some point this year. He’ll be back on everyone’s radar once he comes off the DL, so act soon if you want to speculate on him being in the rotation by June.

Randal Grichuk, OF, Cardinals
Raise your hand if you thought it would be Grichuk, and not Oscar Taveras or Stephen Piscotty, who would be the first Cardinals outfield prospect to get to the majors this year. It’s surprising, but this is where we find ourselves, with Grichuk replacing Shane Robinson and figuring to serve as a bench bat and occasional starter against southpaws. Never considered an elite prospect, Grichuk should be of some interest to deep league owners nonetheless thanks to his solid supporting cast and the fact that he’ll likely only face lefties in the majors.

Grichuk was hitting .310/.351/.529 in Triple-A at the time of his promotion, and he’s shown an ability to take the occasional walk and hit for solid power throughout his MiLB career. On the one hand, it’s doubtful he sees even 250 PA this season. On the other hand, it’s not like you’ve never started a platoon outfielder in a deep league before, and Grichuk isn’t a wholly unappealing option. I wouldn’t actively make room for him, but if he was available and I needed another bat, I’d be fine spending a few FAAB dollars on Grichuk.

Jace Peterson, 3B/SS, Padres
When Chase Headley hit the DL with a calf injury earlier last week, I feared I’d be writing about Brooks Conrad or Tyler Greene or some other fantasy soul-crushing Quad-A retread in this space. Instead, the Padres surprised many by going young and summoning Peterson to the majors. A name who will be familiar to prospect hounds, Peterson is one of the more interesting positional prospects in San Diego’s system, but wasn’t projected to reach the majors this season, or at least not until quite late in the year.

Now that he’s here, what can Peterson do for fantasy owners? Well, he can run a bit, as evidenced by his 51 steals in 2012 and 43 steals a season ago, and he’s shown consistent bat-to-ball ability in the minors, too. But there’s little to suggest that Peterson is ready to succeed against MLB pitching on a consistent basis, and the best you’re likely to get from him right now is a non-embarrassing average and the occasional steal. If you can’t keep him once Headley is recalled and Peterson is inevitably demoted, it’s probably not worth rostering him at this point.

Marcus Stroman, SP, Blue Jays
I’m aware that many deep leagues are also dynasty leagues, and that in such leagues, Stroman has been owned for a long time. But not every deep league is a dynasty league, and so I’m generally going to take one slot in this column to talk about dynamic prospects who are about to make the jump. Last week I highlighted Jonathan Singleton’s early season dominance, and this week, my attention turns to Stroman, who could be on the way to Toronto very, very soon.

In 20 2/3 innings across four starts in Triple-A, Stroman is boasting a 2.18 ERA, 29.2 percent strikeout rate and 6.7 percent walk clip in what’s been a dominating start. Many thought Stroman might see the majors last year before his suspension and Toronto’s collapse, so it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that he looks ready for the next level now. With Dustin McGowan Dustin McGowan-ing (thought to be fair he was excellent in his start last night) and the Jays looking for more impact from an inconsistent rotation, Stroman could potentially get a long look in short order. If you want him, you’ll need to add him within the next few days or someone else will.

Deep League Streamer of the Week: Jordan Lyles
Remember Jordan Lyles? He was the best prospect in the Astros’ system for a while before the Astros paid any attention to their system, and that led to some unreasonable expectations for Lyles in the bigs. Of course, Lyles would’ve failed to meet even more modest expectations, as he had performed quite poorly in the ~370 innings he pitched in the majors before this year. Still, the Rockies liked him well enough to give away a starting center fielder for him, and Lyles has actually rewarded their faith so far, putting up a 2.93 ERA with a 3.54 FIP and three wins in five starts. Lyles doesn’t strike anyone out, but he doesn’t walk too many batters either and Arizona’s offense isn’t exactly daunting right now, with apologies to Paul Goldschmidt. If you’re in need of a cheap win, Lyles is capable of throwing six innings of three-run ball and grabbing a “W” against the D-Backs on Thursday.

Twitter Question of the Week

I adore this question. The answer, of course, is no. No, you should not roster Tzu Wei Lin in any league of any size. But this is the way deep leagues make us think. They inhibit our ability to instinctually know that no, of course Tzu Wei Lin should not be rostered. I was excited to pick up Sean Rodriguez and debated the merits of stashing Trayce Thompson in my deepest league lately, so Ben isn’t nuts for asking this question. But he’s still a little nuts. Is Lin even in the CBS database? He shouldn’t be.

Player Namedrop of the Week: Aquilino Lopez
Random RP Who Will Earn a Win: Fernando Salas
Random Backup Who Will Homer: Sean Rodriguez
Xander Bogaerts Adjective: Unflappable

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

5 comments have been left for this article.

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Premium Article Overthinking It: Three... (04/29)
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