Only two weeks left in the regular season, this is nearly your last chance to go diving into the free agent pool and attempt to uncover some treasures.
Salvador Perez, KC C | 9% Owned
Perez has basically acted as the starting catcher for the Royals since making his debut when he was recalled on August 10. With no other clear candidates to man the position next year, it appears to be Perez’s job to lose. His greatest attribute is his contact ability. He never posted a K% worse than 12.2% at any minor league stop, typically settling in around 10%, which is fantastic. This will allow him to actually contribute in batting average, despite playing a position in which fantasy owners sometimes choose to activate a player with as few expected at-bats as possible to minimize the damage. In his limited Major League sample of 98 at-bats, he has even hit line drives at a rate just above 25%. Even if that drops next year, an above league average LD% combined with an excellent contact rate could really help him generate some value in the batting average category. He has some pop, though it’s nothing significant, and may be expected to post a home run total in the high single digits, assuming full playing time. As is usual with catchers, his speed is nonexistent. For deep leaguers in need of a catcher (and there are always team in this situation!) or keeper leaguers wanting to get a jump for next year, Perez should be a nice target whose potentially strong batting average will provide a nice floor for his value.
Kenley Jansen, LA RP | 10% Owned
Javy Guerra is still officially the Dodgers closer, but his skills are merely decent for a reliever and he is probably not the long term answer. Kenley Jansen, on the other hand, may be. Despite being demoted earlier in the season due to control problems and then missing time from shoulder inflammation and then an irregular heartbeat, Jansen has still managed to throw 45.2 innings of dominant baseball. Control issues or not, when you strike out 77 batters in such few innings, you are doing something right. The poor control is obviously a concern, as are the extreme fly ball ways, but inducing swinging strikes at a 15.6% clip is just ridiculous. That number of whiffs will more than makeup for the negatives. In terms of skill set, he actually looks similar to Craig Kimbrel, who has become an elite closer. The good news is that control issues are the easiest to correct of the triumvirate (K/9, BB/9, GB%). I don’t think it’s necessary he improve his control to become an excellent closer, but it would certainly help. The other hesitation I have is his reliance on his fastball, which he has thrown just over 86% of the time in the Majors. That is not an automatic red flag, as this strategy works for Matt Thornton, but is something to be aware of.
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