You’ve heard about Howard Bender’s draft. And you’ll hear about Jason Catania’s draft and Jeff Zimmerman‘s draft. Because we all got together and decided to pick six, deep league style. Our CI, MI, OF, C, SP and RP all had to come from a pool of players that was owned in less than 10% of Yahoo leagues. Here are my picks and why. In the order I drafted. I had the third pick of four.
A disclaimer about deep leagues and waiver wires: One thing you want are live bodies with some upside. It’s the usual caveat. So Heisey has flaws — he’s now struck out in 18.2% of his at-bats in his first 396 plate appearances, so he might have that flaw. Then again, his minor league rates were closer to 20% most years. He could improve in that category. His BABIP is fine (.308) and though his current ISO (.209) would rank high in his minor-league work, it would still fit. And he’s got a .192 ISO so far in the majors. He stole 27 bases against two caught-stealings in High-A, and had very good success rates all along. So he has good speed. And power. And could improve his strikeout rate. And is battling for playing time with a guy with a .245 career batting average and a strikeout rate over 33%. Yes please.
This is where the live body comes in. Salty might be peaking — this year’s strikeout (28.7%) and walk rates (8.9%) are the second-best he’s ever put up in longer stints. His ISO is at its highest (.181). And yet none of those rates is really exciting. But you know what, he’s a catcher. And if he can hit .240 going forward, there’s not really a better catcher out there for his team to acquire at the trade deadline unless the Tigers want a do-over. Even then, Salty’s defense has probably been enough for his team to look elswhere for upgrades. So yeah, I’m excited about a .240 hitter who might hit six or seven bombs in the second half.
In this sort of draft, a .260 team batting average might just fly. Bartlett should be able to handle that. He has a decent strikeout rate (16.9%), hits the ball on the ground half the time, and could be luckier on the batted ball. His .285 BABIP is below both his career .318 BABIP and his current .354 xBABIP. Add 15 or so stolen bases, a home run or two, and I might be building a well-rounded team.
He’s had a strikeout rate under nine in Double-A the last two years, and a walk rate over five and a half. He does have gas (94 MPH fastball), but he hasn’t shown the strikeout ability in the major leagues yet. He’s an iffy pitcher. But he’s also not Matt Guerrier, and he’s got way more control than Kenley Jansen. And now Jonathan Broxton has been shut down for another couple of weeks, and, well, he’s actually closing games right now, at least when the Dodgers win em. Not too shabby for this spot in the draft.
Rubby De La Rosa
De La Rosa has million-dollar upside. Not like, one million dollars, that wouldn’t be very impressive. But he has great upside, and his stuff is impressive. He has the minor league and the gun numbers to back it up. You have to acknowledge that he has some control problems – he’s walked over four per nine over the course of this full year. A strong changeup and slider should mean he’ll be fine. How bad can a 96 MPH fastball be?
He makes over half of his contact fly through the air and has above-average power. However strange the rest of his career and batting line may be, those two facts are good enough for my deep league first baseman. Of course, the fact that he hits half his balls in the air means he won’t have a strong batting average. In fact, he has an xBABIP (.259) below his BABIP (.276). And he’s showing the worst strikeout and walk rates of his career. But he’s also hitting a ton of infield fly balls (17.3%), almost twice as many as usual (11.6% career). It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say that he might hit fewer in the future. Then those will turn into regular fly balls, and about 10% of those should end up home runs. Seems like a decent deep league corner infielder at least.
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