Today’s deep league waiver wire highlights an outfielder I am somewhat shocked still has such a low ownership percentage and a pitcher who you should get an early jump on.
Alex Presley | PIT OF | CBS 14% Owned
Seriously, only 14% owned? I guess most fantasy owners either just forgot about him after his demotion or gave up on him after his relatively slow start. Then again, his ownership percentage peaked at just 33%, so maybe I just liked him more than most others. After being called back up by the Pirates a week ago, Presley has regained his spot at the top of the order and has hit quite well since. The 26-year old doesn’t walk a whole lot, making him a questionable lead-off choice (then again, the Pirates aren’t exactly swimming with OBP monsters), but he did post a 15.25 BB% over a small sample during his time at Triple-A this year. So maybe something clicked.
He has made acceptable contact at the minor league level, but that took a hit this season with the big club. That rate will need to rebound for him to earn the fantasy value I initially projected for him. His intrigue comes from his power/speed combination. Look at what Alejandro De Aza is doing. This is what I thought Presley could be, but likely with fewer runs and RBIs given the worse offense. He has been hitting a ton of ground balls though, which will help his BABIP, but put a damper on his home run potential. Overall, this is a player I thought had 10/30 potential at the beginning of the season and I think that upside still remains. I am now starting him in my 12-team mixed league outfield as a result of injuries, but I do think he has a good chance to generate value in even leagues that shallow.
Kris Medlen | ATL SP | CBS 10% Owned
Picking up Medlen now would be proactive and a way to get ahead of the articles you know are going to be coming once he gets called back up. Sent back down to Triple-A two weeks ago to transition back into a starting pitcher, he’ll likely be back with the Braves soon to replace Mike Minor or Randall Delgado in the rotation. He has pitched 102.3 innings a a starter in the Majors, compiling a 81/27 K/BB ratio. Medlen missed nearly all of the 2011 season after undergoing Tommy John Surgery in August 2010, but the good news is that his velocity is fine and he has had no problem throwing first pitch strikes and displaying good control.
While his pitch selection hasn’t changed much, his ground ball rate has spiked this year. If this is a real change in skill, this could really help him curb the home run ball as he had been just league average in inducing ground balls in the past. Medlen’s previous strikeout rates and SwStk% marks suggest that he should post a slightly above average K/9; the 5.4 per nine mark he has posted this year in relief looks more like a fluke, as his SwStk% and Contact% would normally match up with a rate in the mid-6.0 range. In deep leagues, don’t wait for him to be called back up as there could be a FAAB war for his services or if your league doesn’t use FAAB, he will most certainly be scooped up immediately upon hearing the news. In shallower leagues, you can probably afford to wait, but like Presley, he could very well earn value in those as well.