More Preseason DL Slot Options

Like last week, I will continue to look at players officially on the DL that may be be picked up in a league and stashed in a DL slot. I am not looking at DL eligible players owned in almost all leagues like Michael Pineda, Chris Carpenter and Scott Baker. I will try to look a little deeper for players to fill a team’s DL slots.

(All owned percentage are ESPN, then Yahoo.)

Mike Carp (58%, 20%) – I usually don’t look at players with such high ownership rates, but his ownership trend is down (-14% at ESPN) and could continue to decline. Some of the drop could be from people only picking him up for the games this past week between Seattle and Oakland. Or it could be because of the injury. No matter the reason for the drop, Mike should be owned in all deep or AL-only leagues. While he will probably strikeout over 20% of the time, he has displayed some power. ZiPS projected him to have 21 HRs this season before the injury occurred. Besides his power, he adds roster flexibility by being qualified at 1B and OF.

Chipper Jones (42%, 31%) – I am completely surprised by his low ownership rate. Do 60% or more of all leagues have no DL slots? Chipper is the best available hitter on the DL. He plans to return playing on April 13th. While these dates usually get pushed back a bit, there is no reason he should not be stashed on a DL slot. Even if a team doesn’t plan on using him when he returns, keep him for trade bait or keep him in the DL slot until league rules force his removal to keep other owners from utilizing him.

Ryan Vogelsong (5%, 52%) – Ryan is currently out with back problems. I am not sure how truthful the team is being about him being injured. He plans to return to the team on April 15th which just happens to be the first time they need a 5th starter. After a career year in 2011 (2.71 ERA, 13 Wins), Ryan should regress a bit in 2012. I see him as a league average pitcher. He will be useful in NL-only leagues once he returns.

Freddy Sanchez (0%, 2%) – When Freddy returns from the DL, he will have some value in deep or NL-only leagues. He regularly plays 2B when healthy, so he can be counted on for the few counting stats he generates. He will put up a decent AVG (2009: 0.293, 2010: 0.292, 2011: 0.289), so he won’t bring it down a team’s AVG. While he is not a star, he can be useful.

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Jeff writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first season in Tout Wars, he won the H2H league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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A variety of thoughts:

1. Great idea for a column.
I am a big believer in using DL slots to extend the bench. I used to think I could use it as a bank to create value for future trades, but I often have trouble realizing that trade value because of the injury-averse managers in my league.

2. Putting the idea into practice.
I just used this strategy — and this very column — to bolster my keeper league team (12-team, mixed, 25-man rosters, 7×6 roto scoring which uses traditional 5×5 categories, plus OBP, SLG, and HLD).

I cut my last-round pick to fill out my 3 DL slots. In other words, I cut Fernando Salas for 4 players: Chris Carpenter, Scott Baker, Chipper Jones, and a MR to be named later. If that were a trade, I’d say that I win hands down.

By they way, any suggestion on whom I should pick up to replace Salas? My other MR are Koji Uhuera and Mike Adams. I was thinking about Kerry Wood, but he could easily be the next subject of this very column.

3. Why is everyone so sour on Chipper?

I think most of Chipper’s value these days come from his slashing stats, not his counting stats. Given his injuries and age, a big drop in PA seems possible, which could greatly reduce his ability to boost your team’s slashing.

4. So then why did I pick him up?

Superstars often find a way, and Chipper is a superstar. He’s got a better-than-your-average-40-year-old’s chance chance to get enough PA to at least boost my slashing stats, especially since my current 3B (Mark Reynolds) is a black hole at batting average.

Platooning the occasionally health Larry Wayne Jones with Mark Reynolds might turn my 3B production line from, say,

.215/.300/.490 38 HR/9 SB/80 R/80 RBI

into something like

.250/.345/.470 28 HR/5 SB/80 R/80 RBI.

Besides, I’ve never owned Larry Wayne Jones before. I think it might be fun, or at least interesting, to follow his last season into history by owning him on my fantasy team.