Isn’t it fun playing the free agent pool merry-go-round? Ya know, picking up another player seemingly every week to fill that one roster spot you just can’t find a permanent player for. Between injuries and demotions, that describes about half my Tout Wars roster. Awesome. Here are two options for deep leaguers, one is almost guaranteed to be temporary, the other could potentially become permanent.
Dan Johnson | 1B TOR | CBS 1% Owned
Half the Blue Jays offense is on the disabled list, which resulted in the well-traveled Johnson to get the call to fill one of the team’s many holes. It doesn’t feel like that long ago when Johnson was a pretty good prospect in the Athletics system, but amazingly, he’s now nearly 35! He’s accumulated almost 1,600 Major League plate appearances and has posted some rather intriguing skills over that time. Of course, the majority of those plate appearances came back from 2005 to 2007, as he’s come to the plate just 296 times since then heading into this year.
He has walked at a well above average clip while striking out less frequently than the average bear, and actually walking nearly as much as he has been punched out. He has also shown above average power with a .173 ISO and has always displayed excellent power in the minors.What has held back Johnson’s overall offensive output is his putrid .243 career BABIP. It’s a head-scratcher though, as his batted ball distribution was fairly reasonable, perhaps suggesting just a slightly below average BABIP. Maybe a .290 mark would be deserved, but certainly not as low as he has posted for his career. And of course, since BABIP is super fickle over small samples, it’s the type of overall skill set worth gambling on for a couple of weeks. A couple of lucky bounces here and there and you have yourself a four-category contributor freely fished from the free agent waters.
Jordany Valdespin | OF MIA | 1% Owned
After spending years in the Mets minor league system and eventually accumulating 350 plate appearances in 2012 and 2013, Valdespin has caught on with the Marlins. After a host of injuries to the team’s many second basemen, Mike Redmond recently indicated that they are going to give Valdespin a look and grant him regular playing time. Of course, he was on the bench against a left-handed starter yesterday, so perhaps regular plating time is actually code for strong side of a platoon. Either way, he should receive the lion’s share of at-bats at second for the time being.
And for now, he’ll be batting second in the lineup, which is a pretty good spot, regardless of who happens to be hitting behind you. In Valdespin’s short MLB career, he hasn’t been very impressive with the bat. But, he’s shown both power and speed, swatting 12 homers and stealing 14 bases. That’s essentially a 15/20 pace extrapolated over a full season. But like Johnson above, Valdespin has been bitten by a ridiculously low BABIP. His .249 mark looks a bit more earned as he’s failed to hit line drives at an acceptable clip and has hit far too many pop-ups. If he could get his swing ironed out so he’s not popping everything up and manage to hit just .250, his power and speed will be enough to make him worthwhile in deeper leagues.
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