Here’s a variation on the old DLWW tune: neither guest star this week owes his opportunity to another player’s injury. Rather, each of these two contestants are getting shots because their predecessors were terrible enough to persuade management to shake things up — even if neither player arrives at the majors with terribly high expectations.
Joe Panik / 2B / San Francisco Giants
0 percent Yahoo / .6 percent ESPN / 6 percent CBS ownership
Panik’s opportunity owes to the Giants’ paltry production at second base this year (.188/.286/.325 entering Monday’s action), giving the 23-year-old a chance to pick up everyday at-bats at the keystone sack in San Francisco. The 29th overall pick in the 2011 draft, Panik doesn’t promise much in the way of power — he compiled a .107 ISO in the minors, and that’s before you figure he’ll play his home games at AT&T Park — but one has to love the contact-producing 9.8 percent strikeout rate (9.3 percent walk rate) he posted down on the farm. He even offers a bit of speed, averaging 11 steals during each of his first three years in the minors.
Panik doesn’t offer owners a high ceiling and figures to hit near the bottom of the Giants’ order, but hopefully his ability to put the bat on the ball will reduce the likelihood of prolonged slumps and soothe the growing pains of his introduction to big league pitching. With Marco Scutaro likely out of the equation for the foreseeable future, and the likes of Brandon Hicks, Joaquin Arias and Ehire Adrianza serving as the competition for playing time at second base, Panik should get a shot to prove his worth. That alone spells value, however slight, in the waiver wire business.
Yohan Pino / SP / Minnesota Twins
0 percent Yahoo / .7 percent ESPN / 6 percent CBS ownership
You want deep? How about a guy who made his major league debut after 10 years in the minors? Pino, 30, isn’t going to grace the covers of any fantasy baseball magazines come next winter, but he was putting together a pretty fantastic season down in Triple-A (1.92 ERA, 3.11 SIERA, 25.5 percent strikeout rate), and hey, he quieted the White Sox on Thursday, giving the Twins seven strong innings in a no-decision. His fastball only graces the high 80s, so you’re looking at a guy who relies heavily on his offspeed stuff to beat hitters, including a “pitchfork” changeup that he taught to prized Twins prospect Alex Meyer. The lack of a strong heater might diminish his ability to post anything beyond a league average strikeout rate, but he also limits walks and should benefit from the relative neutrality of Target Field.
Now that the Samuel Deduno verdict on his ability to hold down a rotation spot is in, Pino is the Twins new fifth starter, or, in other words, he’s just been given a membership card in the waiver wire club. That is, at least until either Meyer or Trevor May — both of whom are pitching well in Triple-A and are likely past the Super Two deadline at this point — are deemed ready enough to become major league starters. But regardless of whether Pino is still receiving starts a month from now, owners in deep AL-only leagues might want to take notice of this guy and see whether his lengthy experience could surprise a lineup or two in the next couple of weeks.
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