We’re back with another dive into the deep blue sea where we hunt for hidden treasures. Many owners are likely still hurting for a replacement for Jacoby Ellsbury and I have uncovered an outfielder and a possible outfielder (depending on your league’s eligibility rules) who may be worth a look.
Will Venable | SD OF | 15% Owned
Venable has never eclipsed the 400 at-bat mark in his career. A large reason why is his craptacular .262 career wOBA against lefties. And since he’s not exactly a world beater against righties, he hasn’t even been a full-timer against them. But, he does play strong defense in right field, and that has kept him in the lineup. Overlooking his many deficiencies, he does provide a nice power/speed combo. And that’s exactly what you are losing from the injury to Ellsbury. Despite calling PETCO Park home, he has managed to produce above average ISO marks and sports a career 11% HR/FB ratio. Simply dividing his career at-bat total by two to get a full 600 at-bat season, you’re left with 18.5 home runs (that 1/2 a home run was especially impressive).
The Padres know they have to be aggressive on the base paths given their meager offense and unforgiving park, so he should continue to steal bases as a good clip. Prorated to one full season results in 31.5 steals, meaning he would actually be a threat to go 20/30 if he ever earned every day playing time. Unfortunately, his contact rate has been poor and has hampered his ability to contribute in batting average. But hey, for someone likely available in deeper leagues, you can’t have it all!
Trevor Plouffe | MIN SS/OF | 2% Owned
I am a fan simply because I love saying his last name out loud. Try it yourself, you would be surprised how enjoyable it is. Plouffe came into the season qualifying at shortstop in all leagues, but did play 13 games in the outfield last year and 17 at second base, so he may qualify at those positions in some leagues. Either way, he should see most of the starts in right field after Ben Revere was demoted and the Twins decided that outfield defense wasn’t important. Plouffe was once a pretty good prospect, but he did little in the minors through 2010, with his best wOBA coming in at just .331. He did show improved power during his third stint in Triple-A in that last year, but that’s about the only positive.
Then in 2011, he suddenly went nuts, wOBA’ing .437 with a ridiculous .323 ISO, though it came in a relatively small 192 at-bat sample. And of course, this was the fourth time he was playing at the level. Still, that type of power can’t be a complete fluke, and he does have a bit of speed. He is likely available in all but the deepest of leagues and is worth taking a shot on if you’re hurting for offense. His possible positional flexibility also adds to the allure.