Danny Espinosa and Ryan Raburn: Waiver Wire Help at Second Base

Unless you’re sitting on one of the top five or six guys that are out there, chances are you’re struggling with production at second base and are looking desperately to find someone to plug that hole for the rest of the year.  Well, based on these ownership percentages, you might just have that help right in front of you.  Here’s a pair of guys you might want consider using right now…

Danny Espinosa |2B|  Ownership:  ESPN – 25.4%  Yahoo – 20%

When you first look at the stat line, the .217 batting average sticks out like a turd in a punch bowl.  It is, without question, the leading deterrent for most fantasy owners.  However, look a little further and you’ll also see 10 HR and 33 RBI, both good enough for the league lead amongst rookies and top three amongst second basemen.  While yes, the average can be a drain on your team, sometimes you have to suck it up if you’re getting a big boost in the counting stats.  Especially when that average is going to start climbing a little in the near distant future.

If just two months into the season, a low BABIP is an indicator of greener pastures lying ahead, then it’s time to start grazing with the 24 year old Espinosa.  The current .228 BABIP is going to climb and with it, Espinosa’s average and level of production.  His 25.6 K% and 9.9 SwStr%, which are both above league average, tell me that you’re not looking at a huge jump, but he’s certainly been unlucky on a number of balls hit so far.  He’s definitely more of a .260 hitter and if that’s the way he goes the rest of the way and can continue to keep knocking the ball out of the park (consistent ISO numbers well above average), then you’ve got a winner here.  He’s now hit safely in four of his last five games (6-for-15, .400) and has 4 HR and 6 RBI in that span.  He’s going to be snatched up quickly while he’s this hot, so grab him now and you’ll likely reap the benefits of it for the next four months.

Ryan Raburn |2B, OF|  Ownership:  ESPN – 18.1%  Yahoo – 25%

Has his time finally arrived?  The 30 year old Raburn was one of the bigger sleepers heading into 2011 as he was supposed to have the left field job all to himself while hanging on to that second base eligibility from last year.  His 2010 production was outstanding and owners were tripping over each other trying and grab him without reaching too high.  Unfortunately, as the season began, he ran into a hot hitting Brennan Boesch, ended up in a platoon in the outfield, and never really got a chance to get going like he did last year.  Well, with the trade of Scott Sizemore to the A’s, the door has, once again, opened up for Raburn.  It was announced that he would be the team’s starting second baseman, although he ended up in left field the other day.  But who cares where he’s playing, so long as he’s playing, right?

It’s going to take a little time for Raburn to get back into the swing of things.  His strikeout rate is atrocious (36.3%), his walk rate is horrible (4.7%), and his 70.6 contact% makes you want to throw up.  But this is about grabbing a guy before he gets hot, and stashing him on your bench until he finds his groove.  And believe me, once he gets the regular playing time and the consistent work at the plate, he will find it.  15+ HR in limited at bats the previous two years and a career .183 ISO show us the power is there, so once he makes the necessary adjustments, he’s going to do some damage.


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Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over 10 years on a variety of websites. In addition to his work here, you can also find him at his site, RotobuzzGuy.com, Fantasy Alarm, RotoWire and Mock Draft Central. Follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for more direct questions or comments, email him at rotobuzzguy@gmail.com

10 Responses to “Danny Espinosa and Ryan Raburn: Waiver Wire Help at Second Base”

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  1. Ross Geller says:

    “His 25.6 K% and 9.9 SwStr%, which are both above league average”. I think you meant, higher than the league average. The meaning of “above the league average” is better than average. And you meant higher, as in, larger rates than average.

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    • steve balboni says:

      I had no trouble understanding the usage. When a team is the “higher” seed in a tournament they mean a lower number, and when you say something is “down there” it can mean vertical or horizontal, but no English speaker gets confused over this stuff.

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      • Howard Bender says:

        Yes, I meant higher, as in worse than the league average.

        Thanks for having my back Steve….you were always my favorite “fat Yankee”. Long before Cecil Fielder and David Wells, you stretched the pinstripes best.

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  2. GTW says:

    Unless Espinosa cuts down his fly ball rates (47.8 FB%, 16.5 IFFB%) his BABIP won’t increase much. I know it’s only been 283 at bats, but his career xBABIP matches up perfectly to his .232 BABIP.

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  3. Toby Ziegler says:

    Espinosa’s line drive rate is also only 10.7%, which explains the low BABIP.

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  4. batpig says:

    I’m loving Espinosa, I picked him up 1st week of the season. I’m not sure the BABIP will come up THAT much given his style, tons of flyballs, obviously trying to drive the ball over the wall at the expense of contact etc…. but since I’m in an OPS league, I could give a crap about that .200 batting avg.

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  5. aaron says:

    I have Howie Kendrick, and since he went on the DL I have picked up Brett Lawrie and Kelly Johnson (who someone dropped before he found his bat again). My question is should I hold onto to Lawrie who will eventually have 3rd base eligibilty along with 2nd when he gets called up?
    When Howie is healthy again I can put him in the outfield and possibly have a spot for them all….

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    • Toby Ziegler says:

      Aaron, I would recommend you take your Fantasy questions to the Rotoworld Bench Coach Forum.


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      • aaron says:

        Thanks for the heads up Toby, first year doing Fantasy Baseball. Just getting to know this site.

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    • Howard Bender says:

      It depends on a few things. Are we talking about a deep league here where having Lawrie ahead of time is a coup? Or are you just expecting him to get called up and be a monster? Is it a keeper league?

      I’m never a fan of dropping proven talent/regularly playing major leaguers in favor of taking a chance on a youngster unless we’re talking about a keeper league. If you’re just holding him hoping that he’ll be the next big thing, then you might be losing out elsewhere while you wait for him to arrive.

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