So the 2011 season is underway and after pitching a whopping 1.1 innings, a closer has already lost his job. It must suck to be Fernando Rodney right about now. I could continue this rant about how sometimes managers seem to show such little understanding of the concept of sample size, but I have digressed enough. On to this week’s deep league waiver wire options for fantasy teams already fishing for some free agent bait.
Juan Miranda, ARI, 1B | 5% Owned
Despite only accumulating eight at-bats over the team’s first four games, manager Kirk Gibson reported today that Miranda will probably get most of the starts at first base early on this season. Of course, the emphasis should be on early. If Miranda is not hitting, the job will likely go to Russell Branyan, unless of course Brandon Allen is tearing it up at Triple-A, at which point he may get the call. Bottom line is if Miranda hits, he should see the majority of the playing time. Will he hit is the question though. In his minor league career, the 28-year old has shown solid power and an above average walk rate, while making acceptable contact. He has also shown a good propensity to hit fly balls, generally hitting them over 40% of the time. Unfortunately, according to his splits, he has typically had trouble with lefties, with the exception of his 2009 season when he posted an uncharacteristic .291/.371/.507 slash line. In addition, this same splits page shows some unimpressive MLEs, which gives us less reason for optimism. However, playing half his games in a ballpark that favors left-handed power (114 LHB HR park factor), and on a team likely going nowhere, the D-Backs should exercise plenty of patience with him. He won’t be making fantasy owners rush to the waiver wire to add him anytime soon, but Miranda could provide some cheap power.
Jayson Nix, TOR, 2B/3B | 2% Owned
Filling in temporarily while Jose Bautista takes a short leave of absence, Nix is expected to fill a utility role for his new team. With the ability to fill in at second and third base, and enough power to at least be considered to start at designated hitter if necessary, he should find enough at-bats to contribute in the counting stats. Nix’s biggest attributes are power (.172 and .184 ISO rates the last two seasons) and tons of fly balls (nearly 48% FB% last two seasons). Sounds like a perfect fit for the Jays, huh? Unfortunately, all those fly balls find gloves more often than the average hitter, keeping his career BABIP at an ugly .247. Nix has played in hitter’s parks most of his career, and he finds himself moving to one that inflates right-handed home runs by 16%, so he should continue to enjoy hitting at home. Though he only stole one base in three attempts last year, the 28-year old has shown better speed in the past, with 10 steals in 2009 and double digit totals during his minor league days. The extreme fly ball ways and low LD% means his batting average is going to be of no help, but the power should be enough to generate some value in AL-Only leagues.