J.D. Martinez & Chris Capuano: Deep League Waiver Wire

The beauty of playing in a mono league such as AL Tout Wars is that I am able to see first hand who the hot FAAB pickups are. Rather than scour my CBS league’s free agent pool to find players worth considering, I could browse through the players actually bid on in a deep league. Having said that, only one of the two players here were actually added this week. The other was drafted. I’m sure you could guess which is which.

J.D. Martinez | OF DET | CBS 3% Owned

After being released by the Astros toward the end of spring training, the Tigers signed Martinez, perhaps as an option to help replace the injured Andy Dirks. In the minors, Martinez didn’t really display any real standout skills, with the exception of some above average power, almost literally defining the word “meh”. ::small sample size alert:: But then something clicked at Triple-A this year, as he hit a whopping 10 homers in just 65 at-bats, posting a crazy .538 ISO. His strikeout and walk rates didn’t improve at all, so his .528 wOBA was fueled entirely by the power surge. Apparently, Martinez developed a new batting stroke (stance?) over the offseason, which is being credited for his scorching start.

Rajai Davis, who was presumed to be on the short side of a platoon with Dirks before he got hurt, was the main beneficiary, becoming the nearly every day starter in left field. But he’s been awful against righties throughout his career, posting just a .291 wOBA, versus a .345 mark against southpaws. That means that Martinez should be given an opportunity to steal some serious playing time and relegate Davis to fourth outfielder and pinch runner status.

Chris Capuano | P BOS | 4% Owned

In shallow leagues with weekly transactions, middle relievers have no value. Capuano is a middle reliever, but he’s not a typical one. He has been a starter his entire career, but given the full rotation in Boston, he has been relegated to bullpen duty with the ability to go multiple innings. He’s already thrown 14.1 innings in this first month, which extrapolated over the full season, would result in 89 innings. That’s well above the typical 65-70 inning total a middle reliever will pitch. That means additional opportunities for both strikeouts and cheap wins.

And during his time in the bullpen, Capuano has been quite good. He’s currently sporting a minuscule 2.14 SIERA, backed by a splendid 15/2 K/BB ratio and he hasn’t even allowed a run yet. Oddly, his velocity is barely above what he posted last year when he spent the majority of the season in the Dodgers rotation. But, it still sits at a career high.

He’s throwing his slider more often than ever before, at the expense of both his fastball and changeup. That’s strange though because his slider has been terrible at inducing swings and misses and it’s not the type of pitch that typically generates called strikes. Yet, his strikeout rate surge is being driven completely by a huge spike in looking strike rate. That’s head scratching and looks unsustainable. But obviously, you figured he’d be in for some regression without knowing that information.

So while he’s going to experience a skills decline and will certainly allow a run at some point, Capuano should remain a pretty good reliever and throw more often than the typical one. There’s also the chance that he’s the first man called on to replace an injured starter, at which point he could earn value again as a member of the rotation.

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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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Since JD Martinez is not actually playing even after being recalled, what good is he? I would wait until he actually starts playing regularly. I am in a 16 team league, but even by those standards, I can afford to wait a bit until someone is actually playing. He is barely even getting pinch hitting opportunities right now.

Detroit Michael
Detroit Michael

A 16-team mixed league probably isn’t what most folks consider to be a deep league.