In honor of the outfield post that I should have done yesterday, here are a couple of deep league outfielders worth talking about today, this fine day.
Mitch Maier, Kansas City (1% owned)
Maier is really most interesting because, with the dearth of options on the deep league waiver wire, he’s an everyday layer that doesn’t completely suck. He really doesn’t have any power, though, as his .092 career ISO suggests. Oh, it might find its way to league average (.147 this year), if only because his minor league slugging numbers were a little better, but it won’t ever be on the level that you’d expect from an outfielder. If you’re owning him for steals, he did steal 99 in the minor leagues… in 687 games. Since 2005, his full-season high was 16 steals, and his speed scores haven’t topped 6.0 at any level since 2006. Maier should be able to put up a decent batting average to pair with his OBP, though. He’s walking 10.3% of the time and only striking out 17.9% of the time. His batting average right now is neutral when it comes to batted ball luck (.314 BABIP), and there’s a chance he betters that number.
Chris Heisey, Cincinnati (1% owned)
Of these two players, Heisey is the riskier one, yet he also owns the better upside. He’s got a tougher playing time situation, since Drew Stubbs was the former center fielder of the future, and Chris Dickerson is finally healthy and played regularly at the end of last year. On the other hand, Stubbs can’t stop whiffing, and Dickerson has some problems against left-handers – there is daylight here, and Heisey has started six straight. Heisey has been the beneficiary of some luck (.354 BABIP) and a strikeout rate (27.6%) that could portend a dropping batting average in the future. He had nice batting averages in the minors (.296 career), and his strikeout rates hovered around 15%, so maybe he’ll whiff a little bit less in the future to offset the dropping BABIP. The power looks like it will be above-average, as his ISO was close to .200 over the last two years at Double-A and Triple-A. He adds speed to the package, with 88 steals in 476 career minor league games, and a nice 20/20 season on his resume. The riskier pick here will give you better dividends if he can hold on to the job. Total Zone had him as an above-average center fielder in the minor leagues, though – he shouldn’t lose the job because of the defense, it seems.