A.J. Pollock & Kevin Slowey: Deep League Waiver Wire

It’s true, it’s true. Wednesdays aren’t usually filled with excitement. But wait! It’s deep league waiver wire day and I am positive you have been waiting for this week’s edition since the second you finished reading last week’s. Today I look at two National Leaguers who may be able to help you in a deep mixed or NL-Only league, though they are both likely already owned in your standard NL-Only.

A.J. Pollock | ARI OF | 9% Owned

Heading into spring training, Pollock wasn’t supposed to see many at-bats with four Diamondbacks outfielder ahead of him on the depth chart. But then injuries struck hard and suddenly 2 1/2 weeks in, Pollock has come to the plate more than 30 times already. With Jason Kubel now on the DL, Pollock should continue to see semi-regular playing time. The 25-year-old has had a very clean minor league record, and by clean I mean that he has played at a different level every single year. You don’t usually see that, as most of the time a hitter will be promoted mid-season or begin the next season at the same level he finished at the previous year. This means absolutely nothing of course, but I thought it was interesting to share.

Anyhow, Pollock brings an excellent minor league contact rate and speed to fantasy owners. He has a bit of pop, so won’t be a complete zero in the home run category, but a full season of at-bats would likely still not be enough to get him into double digits. His skills are actually not too different from fellow D-Backs outfielder Adam Eaton, but he doesn’t have nearly the walk rate or as much power. This is exactly the type of player worth adding in deep leagues, because he won’t hurt you in batting average and should contribute positively in at least one category (stolen bases).

Kevin Slowey | MIA SP | 7% Owned

He’s back! The former Twins and Indians starter spent all of 2012 at Triple-A and missed time due to a rib injury. Now he’s in Miami enjoying Cubano sandwiches. Mmmm. We all remember the type of pitcher Slowey was, right? Underwhelming velocity and pure stuff, extreme fly ball pitcher, but pinpoint control. Basically, a pitcher with little margin for error who is prone to the occasional blowup when the balls are falling in between outfielders and flying over the wall. Well, he hasn’t changed.

His F-Strike% ranks 15th among all starting pitchers, while his fastball velocity remains in the 88 mph range. Despite the lack of a fastball, Slowey has still managed to post acceptable strikeout rates in the past, and that all came while in the American League. Before we get to the last positive, it’s worth noting that he is going to likely struggle in the wins department given the weak Marlins offense. Though, it isn’t unrealistic for Justin Ruggiano to go 4-4 with 4 long balls every game that Slowey pitches, so that should provide an offensive spark for the team. But if that somehow doesn’t happen, Slowey has a nice home park that should do its best to hold all his fly balls. At the very least, Slowey’s control should enable him to contribute positive value in WHIP, while he could surprise in the strikeout and ERA departments.

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Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. He also sells beautiful photos through his online gallery, Pod’s Pics. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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…but probably not.