It’s not cool to cheer for injuries, but for us dumpster-divers, well, sometimes guys getting hurt is what it takes to unearth opportunities. As it happens, the Diamondbacks have seen a couple of guys knocked to the sidelines in recent days, and while that’s unfortunate, we’d be remiss if we didn’t look at two players who are stepping up — both of whom have potential value in NL-only leagues.
David Peralta / OF / Arizona Diamondbacks
1 percent Yahoo / .1 percent ESPN / 5 percent CBS ownership
In terms of opportunity, Peralta should see plenty of playing time in left field at least for the immediate future, as the 26-year-old was called up to replace A.J. Pollock, who will miss about two months with a fracture in his right hand. He hasn’t wasted any time endearing himself to D-Backs fans, as he was pounding the ball to the tune of a 1.072 OPS and two home runs in his first week of play.
A former pitcher who lost several seasons in the late ‘00s with injuries, Peralta has hit at every minor league level at which he’s played, graduating with a .347 average, though he amassed just 223 plate appearances at Double-A this year and hasn’t played a game in Triple-A. The left-handed hitting Peralta has shown a pretty pronounced platoon split in the minors, and thus far in the MLB, he’s seen the majority of his plate appearances batting seventh in the Diamondbacks’ order, which will cut down on his runs scored. But his .200 career ISO in the minor leagues suggests that he’s capable of putting one over the fence every so often, and he once stole 25 bases a few years ago in the Independent League, so perhaps he’ll contribute a steal here and there.
Looking ahead, the impending return of Mark Trumbo next month could leave an odd man out in the Arizona outfield, with Gerardo Parra occupying center and Cody Ross being counted on to get ABs in right. Then again, the 33-year-old Ross has been nothing short of dreadful in 2014 and is likely still suffering from a nasty hip injury he suffered last August. Obviously, if he continues to stay hot, Peralta will find his way into the lineup regardless of who’s out there, but the point is there isn’t a burning need to keep him out of a full-time gig lest the Diamondbacks miss out on Ross’ productivity. That means regular at-bats in a hitter’s ballpark, giving Peralta instant credibility as a flier in deep formats.
Didi Gregorius / SS / Arizona Diamondbacks
1 percent Yahoo / .6 percent ESPN / 6 percent CBS ownership
You remember the 24-year-old Gregorius from last year, when he briefly became fantasy relevant thanks to a strong start to the season. Unfortunately, Gregorius’ stock began falling sometime around Memorial Day, and ultimately hit bottom this spring when Chris Owings took over regular duties at shortstop, relegating the Dutchman to Triple-A. Thing is, Gregorius posted a .310 average and was tied for second in runs in the Pacific Coast League, enough to stay on the radar and get called up earlier this month when Cliff Pennington landed on the DL with a sprained ligament in his thumb. With shortstop being such a thin position — and the possibility that Gregorius could pick up eligibility at second base — he becomes an intriguing free agent candidate.
The problem, of course, is playing time. Aaron Hill is entrenched at second base, and Owings has had a fine rookie season so far. Still, Kirk Gibson says Gregorius will bite into Owings’ playing time, and Gregorius has been successful at the plate thus far, knocking two home runs while batting atop the Diamondbacks’ order over the past week. With a major league career .802 OPS against righties that’s nearly 300 points better than his mark against southpaws, there’s a chance Gregorius could emerge as an interesting platoon option for Arizona. (For those keeping track, Owings was hitting just .243 against right-handers entering Monday, not the strongest argument against a platoon scenario.)
Anyway, a lack of guaranteed playing time means Gregorius is hardly a rubber-stamp addition, even in deeper formats. But he probably merits at least a look for those scouring the depths of the deep league waiver wire.
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