During the course of the season, I will be discussing players owned in 10% or fewer of leagues on CBS Sports. Hopefully these targets will go on to have career-rest-of-the-seasons and you will thank me endlessly for sharing my wisdom. I apologize in advance if any players I mention are not available in your particular league, as I am not quite all-knowing, but working on reaching that level in due time. And off we go…
Alexi Casilla | 2B/SS MIN | 7% Owned
Casilla has seemingly been around forever as a prospect and a potential source of cheap steals, but his star is barely visible at this point. Fortunately, this may be his one last chance to prove he belongs in the Majors as the Twins have handed him the starting shortstop job. He makes excellent contact (career 13.4 K%), but a consistently low LD% has kept his BABIP below league average at just .278. With just a few more line drives though, he could contribute positive batting average value relative to the rest of the shortstop pool. Of course, you are primarily speculating on Casilla for his speed. Luckily, behind his ugly .291 career wOBA, he has impressed in one area: stolen bases. In his short career spanning 1,073 plate appearances, he has stolen 35 bases, while being caught just 4 times. That’s a nearly 90% success ratio my fellow fantasy fanatics! Now granted, Casilla has had problems getting on base in the past, but even matching the mediocre .331 OBP of last year could lead to a 30 steal season. There’s nothing better than cheap speed (okay, I could think of a few things), so AL-Only leaguers should pay attention.
Joel Peralta | RP TB | 6% Owned
Raise your hand if you believe that Kyle Farnsworth will hold onto the Rays’ closing gig all season. I do not see any hands (or any people for that matter, just this flat screen with colors), so I guess figuring out who may actually lead the team in saves would be a worthy endeavor. Joel Peralta may very well be that mystery man. Always displaying strong control, his strikeout rate spiked to a career best batter per inning last season, backed by an impressive 11.3% SwStr%. In fact, his career SwStr% is well above average at 10.1% and points to the potential for such a strikeout rate all along. Yes, the fly ball rate is scary (55.6% last season, 46.5% career) and his career ERAs prior to last year do not inspire much confidence, but the Rays are currently void of any standout relievers obviously fit for ninth inning duties. With Farnsworth, well, Farnsworth, Jake McGee a lefty, all of 24 years old and whose Major League resume includes a whopping five total innings, and J. P. Howell recovering from shoulder surgery and not expected back until sometime in May, Peralta appears to be the last man standing.
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