More injuries opening up opportunities! Pair these two studs and you have the potential to receive a serious power and speed boost. Or not. But maybe.
Jarrod Dyson | OF KC | CBS 5% Owned
With Norichika Aoki out after suffering a groin injury, the major beneficiary is the slap-hitting speedster Dyson. As a lefty, he’ll split the right field at-bats with Justin Maxwell in a strict platoon situation. You know what Dyson offers – speed and lots of it. He’s stolen an insane 96 bases over his short Major League career, or about 71 bases per 600 plate appearances. He’s essentially what fantasy owners were hoping Billy Hamilton would be, but without a full-time role!
While he’s no .300 hitter, he does have some hidden batting average upside. He swings and misses quite infrequently, but you wouldn’t necessarily know that by just looking at his only slightly better than average strikeout rate. But those strikeouts seemingly stem primarily from his unwillingness to swing. His Swing% has consistently been below the league average, which is odd because his Zone% is actually above average. In other words, pitchers are throwing him strikes, which they should given his complete lack of power. Yet, Dyson doesn’t seem all that interested in swinging. But with his extreme ground ball ways, you’d think he’d be more than happy to slap the ball on the ground and use his speed to leg out base hits.
So the potential is there to become a little more aggressive, put more balls into play and see his strikeout rate decline, at which point his batting average might contribute some positive value. He’s not going to help you in homers or runs batted in, obviously, but he could be neutral in runs scored with that potential to help in batting average.
Carlos Pena | 1B TEX | 1% Owned
Seriously. The Rangers injuries woes continue, as they now search for a replacement for the replacement. After losing Mitch Moreland to an ankle injury, who was replacing Prince Fielder at first, who himself is out for the year, the Rangers tried journeyman Brad Snyder. He was given a short leash and let go after he happened to not perform over a tiny sample size. After learning that Moreland will indeed be lost for the year, the Rangers are attempting to catch lightning in a bottle again, this time by signing Carlos Pena. Yes, that Carlos Pena.
Pena, of course, was given up by the Astros last year, played in four games for the Royals, and wasn’t heard from again. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and now Pena is getting his chance on the Rangers first base carousel. The good news is that Pena’s plate discipline, namely his walk and strikeout rates, were the same as they have always been last year. He didn’t become less patient or suddenly start striking out 40% of the time. He hit line drives at an above average clip, avoided the pop-up, and maintained a mid-teen HR/FB ratio.
Unfortunately, he lost the ability to loft the ball, as his fly ball rate fell to a career low, plunging below the 30% mark for the first time. That dampened his ability to hit for power resulted in a wOBA below .300. That’s really it folks. It was only a matter of too few fly balls, as every other skill was right in line with past seasons. So perhaps Pena wasn’t truly done after all, and maybe that low fly ball rate was just a fluke. Or, it could just be an old player following the aging curve trend in relation to his batted ball distribution.
Whatever the case may end up being for his fly ball rate, Pena comes to a home park that ranked fifth in baseball in left-handed home run factor at 110. He’s obviously not going to help your average, but his value gets a huge boost in OBP leagues. While he could very well be released in a couple of weeks like Snyder, the Rangers have few other alternatives at this point.
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