In today’s waiver wire column, I look at two hitters who will see increased playing time due to some surprising roster moves. Let’s dive in…
Mike Carp | SEA 1B/OF | CBS 6% Owned
With the somewhat surprising demotion of Justin Smoak, Mike Carp returns from the disabled list to man first base full-time. Carp’s primary contribution to fantasy teams is his power. However, he is coming off a shoulder injury and we all know how shoulder issues could sap a hitter of his power. So it’s something to be aware of. That said, if he is completely healthy, his power is good enough to potentially flirt with mixed league value. He sports a career HR/FB ratio near 14% and pro-rating his short career over 600 at-bats would yield 22 homers. That pace even includes a span of 91 at-bats from 2009-2010 in which he hit just 1 home run, and his HR/FB ratio has been at least 16% since. With a below average contact rate and a home park that has killed BABIP marks and overall offense, he’s not going to help in batting average. But in this time of lower batting averages, he won’t kill you. If he hits in the middle of the Mariners order, he might also be a cheap source of RBIs to go along with the long balls.
Jordany Valdespin | NYM 2B/OF | 4% Owned
In another surprising transaction, the Mets every day right fielder and Eno Sarris favorite Lucas Duda was demoted to Triple-A yesterday. This move likely opens up a full-time spot for the fantastically named Valdespin. If you have no idea who Jordany is or had no clue when he was first called up, you’re not alone! The 24 year old was ranked 7th among Mets prospects this pre-season after posting decent, yet unspectacular minor league numbers. Valdespin was originally a middle infielder and apparently maturity issues had held him back. I haven’t heard even a whisper of any issues while in the Majors, so it doesn’t appear to be problematic at the moment.
Valdespin has shown a nice power/speed combo throughout his minor league career and has displayed a surprising amount of pop so far with the Mets. Unfortunately, his entire statistical profile screams at this being unsustainable. First and most obvious is his nearly 19% HR/FB ratio. Next, he has hit line drives at just a 7.5% rate. That is undoubtedly going to rise at the expense of some fly balls. He has also been hackerific, walking just twice against 17 strikeouts. For all the red flags though, he does offer some solid fantasy potential. While the power is going to regress, he still possesses some, having hit 17 homers at Double-A and Triple-A last year. He also has pretty good speed, stealing 37 bases last season, though his base stealing prowess doesn’t appear to be fully polished given his mediocre success rate. ZiPS RoS projections prorates to a 15 homer and 26 steal season over 600 at-bats, which makes for an excellent find on free agency. He’ll probably beat his .252 batting average projection since his contact rate should be better, so at worst he should be neutral in the category. He’s a better add than Carp and could earn a bit of value in mixed leagues as well.