Derek Dietrich & Kyle Blanks: Deep League Wire

Let’s take another dive into the free agent pool,
With the hopes of finding a hitter with more than one tool,
So you don’t end up looking like a fool.

You may find more of Pod’s Poems on the forthcoming PoemGraphs, where we calculate RARP (rhymes above replacement poet) and discuss the ridiculousness of haikus (really, a poem that doesn’t rhyme? that’s NOT a poem).

Derek Dietrich | MIA 2B/SS | 6% Owned

With both Donovan Solano and Chris Valaika hurt, Dietrich got the call last week after spending no time at Triple-A. I don’t know what the deal with the Marlins is, but it appears that they no longer have a Triple-A affiliate. This must be the case because they keep calling up players from Single-A and Double-A as if their Triple-A club has ceased to exist. Anyhow, Dietrich is the latest roll of the dice as the team looks for offense in every corner of their organization. He experienced a nice skills surge during his time with the Double-A club, as his walk rate nearly tripled from his last tour at the level, while his strikeout rate dropped and his ISO leaped forward.

He’s not your stereotypical middle infielder as he has stolen just 12 bases throughout his minor league career, and that came along with 12 caught stealings. It’s safe to assume that he won’t be given the green light on the base paths and any swipes will just be a bonus. I am usually not a fan of hitters who skip Triple-A, and Dietrich is no exception. But, the injured hitters he replaced are some of the weakest regulars in baseball to begin with, so he has a real good shot to hold a starting job all season. He will probably provide enough power to have value in deep leagues.

He has also inexplicably been hitting in the three hole over his last two games, once again in a bid to get their best hitter and a more proven one in Justin Ruggiano fewer at-bats. I don’t understand it, just like most of what the Marlins have done, but hey, as long as Mike Redmond is managing and the organization is making questionable decisions, might as well take advantage. If he remains in the middle of the order, that will obviously benefit his runs scored and RBI totals.

Kyle Blanks | SDP OF (may also have 1B eligibility) | 2% Owned

I typically hate to recommend a hitter who doesn’t play every day. This year, I am not participating in any leagues where teams have to start bench players, but many of you do. So with that in mind, here’s a true deep league name. Once upon a time, Blanks was a big-time power prospect. But injuries, including Tommy John surgery, have really derailed his career and limited him to just 546 plate appearances across five seasons with the Padres, including this year. He now returns after essentially missing all of last year due to labrum surgery.

With outfielders that include Carlos Quentin, Will Venable, Chris Denorfia, Mark Kotsay, and eventually Cameron Maybin when he returns from the DL, Blanks will clearly not be playing every day. But, he has hit 21 homers in 472 career Major League at-bats, while posting a strong .193 ISO. Strikeouts have been a problem in the past, though so far in a very small sample, his strikeout rate and SwStk% sit at a career best. He’s the type of deep league acquisition who could really pay dividends if he lucks into at-bats. Rather than settle on the low upside safe guy who might give you a couple of homers and steals, it might be a more prudent move to pick up the guy who can potentially be a difference maker.

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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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What you should have talked about with dietrich: What will his HRs look like? Does he have the power to hit 20 possibly? His K rate so far is a bit crazy, so what will his AVG eventually look like. If he becomes a .250 10-5 guy, I dont see any valued there.