When searching each week for those under-owned gems for deep league use, it reminds me how bad I feel for those Only-leaguers dealing with an injury. Your replacement options are throw up inducing and you’re basically flipping a coin between two hitters that get five at-bats a week. That is no fun! Though the first player discussed below is most certainly owned in all NL-Only leagues, he should be available in deeper mixed leagues and would therefore be worth a look.
Gerardo Parra, OF | 3% Owned
The injury to Willie Bloomquist opened up the opportunity for Parra to reclaim full-time left field duties in Arizona. The 24-year old has a little bit of power and some speed, but we are still looking at upside of just about 10 home runs and 15 steals if playing a full season. Though he has only made contact at about a league average rate for the D-Backs, he has shown much better ability in the minors. Interestingly, Parra has only accumulated 36 at-bats at the Triple-A level, so maybe it is not so surprising that his contact ability has waned during his short career. With a ground ball tilt and a history of above league average BABIPs, he has the potential to hit .300 all year if that strike out rate does come down.
Mark Melancon, RP | 2% Owned
Face it, Brandon Lyon sucks. I know that on the surface this has not been so obvious, with ERAs of 3.12 in 2010 and 2.86 in 2009, but his xFIP has never dropped below 4.06. He has already blown two saves and you cannot expect a pitcher with the quality of his stuff to continue benefiting from such good fortune. Enter Mark Melancon. With solid strikeout rates, good control and ground ball rates consistently above 50% in the minors, this is a potentially elite skill set. With Wilton Lopez on the DL, Melancon has become the primary set-up man for the ‘Stros. Middle relievers have real value in Only leagues, so even if he does remain just a set-up man, he should be worth a FAAB bid. The upside of course is that Lyon continues to stink and Melancon takes over the closer gig and holds it the rest of the year as one of the better stoppers in the game.