Relative Waiver Wire: Dylan Bundy, Derek Dietrich

Two different places on the fantasy baseball spectrum, right here. Not much to say besides that before we get to the players, so … let’s get to the players.

P Dylan Bundy, Baltimore Orioles

Ownership: CBS 32% | Yahoo! 6% | ESPN 0.1%

Fantasy owners haven’t forgotten about him just because he’s been rehabbing from June surgery to reconstruct the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. It seems as if there’s a good chance that, when Bundy is ready for major league activation, he joins his club’s bullpen, either initially or eventually, and not its rotation. But hey, rotisserie and head-to-head managers have to seek talent, the attribute likeliest to make a difference for them in their league’s standings.

I figure that Bundy is basically owned in AL-only and keeper leagues, most of the latter those with high-volume carryover. It’s time to begin to think about tucking this one in your back pocket in leagues beyond those formats, beginning with the 15-team or greater mixed league. Your league’s setup is going to help to determine how viable an option this is for you.

Bundy is available in my Tout Wars league. We have unlimited DL space in it. I’ll have to pay a price to acquire him – not his FAAB one, likely, because we should be well enough in advance of any sort of hype about his return as not to stir the masses, but I’m required to keep him in my lineup for a full week if I win him. That means zeroes from one of my nine pitching spots for a week.

This kind of move is easier to justify in an AL- or NL-only league, but it’s barely different from the acquisition of a reliever, who might throw two or three frames in a given week, in my league. He’d then go on my DL and I’d go in search of a replacement for him on my roster. Maybe I’d revisit Brandon McCarthy, on whom I refuse to give up (but had to drop this past weekend). I also have a couple of guys already on the DL who should be ready for activation by then.

Bundy’s entry of waiver wire doesn’t require a great deal of detective work, just some hope. But it’s some nice hope. The talent level of the subject of this investigation isn’t in question. Those who make their way back from TJS aren’t givens to recover completely, let alone to reach an approximation of their previous level of performance. Bundy would be fortunate to avoid any sort of setback, even if it’s a minor one.

Bundy has made two rehab starts at the Low A level, however, and the results have been encouraging, to say the least: seven hits, one run and one walk conceded, with 15 K’s, in 10 innings. It’s not really about how the numbers stack up, of course, although they look pretty. The O’s plan for Bundy has him on course, whatever the intended 2014 destination. The organization is surely going to handle its prized prospect with extensive care. Buck Showalter can hardly contain his excitement, though.

Baltimore fancies itself a contender, as has been the case in the previous couple of seasons. Bundy is another potential late-season addition to their 25-man who could solidify their position. It doesn’t take much these days for an opportunity in a rotation to manifest. Kevin Gausman has dibs on the next one, of course, and he’s probably not far from getting it. Sometime after the break, in August perhaps, Bundy may be next. Or he might simply solidify the bullpen – and, by September, present as this would-be postseason team’s best option at closer, against a backdrop of Zach Britton and Tommy Hunter. Either way, the 21-year-old Bundy could play a part in the final act for 2014 title winners.

2B Derek Dietrich, Miami Marlins

Ownership: CBS 8% | Yahoo! 1% | ESPN 0.5%

I almost wrote about Dietrich on a couple of occasions before his club sent him to Triple-A New Orleans. Boy, would that have been embarrassing! Miami hasn’t been concerned about his stick work as much as his glove work. The description of that scenario would probably sound familiar to Marlins fans and fantasy owners who remember when Dan Uggla could hit a little. It seems like so long ago, doesn’t it? Aren’t all 293 diehard Fish fans glad that he’s the Atlanta Braves’ problem now? End digression.

I couldn’t help but wonder if Dietrich, 25 next month, had simply not caused much of a reaction from those in NL-only formats of any depth, based on his ownership rates. AL- and NL-only leagues probably don’t constitute much of the fantasy landscape these days, so I could easily be wrong about that. Now that Rafael Furcal (strained hamstring) is expected to miss extensive time, to no one’s shock or dismay, Dietrich will play pretty regularly again.

He isn’t much of a candidate for ownership in mixed leagues. In those of 15 teams or more, with at least 14 in the hitting portion of the lineup, we’re starting to talk about him, though. I had Dietrich on my list of possibilities on a few occasions in Tout; I even placed a bid on him in one week. I’m not really after what he provides anymore; I own Tommy La Stella and Matt Carpenter and have needs elsewhere. Dietrich would just be something slightly less than a pseudo-luxury.

Tout is an OBP – not AVG – league, and in those types, he might fit just a tad better, though. He’s willing to take one for the team (eight HBPs in 165 MLB plate appearances this season; with his four for the Zephyrs, this marks Dietrich’s fourth full campaign in four with well into double digits in that category. He’s drawn a few walks. There’s even a little room for his BABIP (.286) to improve and bump that .245 average up several points or more, so he’s not an auto dismissal for those whose leagues have stuck with batting average.

Don’t expect a speed contribution. But Dietrich does have a bit of pop. He’s listed at 6-foot, 205 pounds, and he has a career major league ISO of .184 in 398 plate appearances. In his 1,614 minor league plate appearances, his mark is .206. He’s pretty close to peak power age. If he were to hold his role in Miami, his rest-of-season ZiPS projection looks like a pretty fair bet as far as round-trippers (eight) are concerned. I’d consider given him a tad more credit in the AVG (.237) and OBP departments (.301).

What limits the upside and make him a target only in deep leagues is the likelihood that he’ll continue to platoon. Dietrich is on the good side of the arrangement with Ed Lucas, but the PT will probably remain limited. Dietrich hasn’t hit southpaws well or displayed good control of the strike zone against them in the majors, albeit in his quite limited sample size of times having faced them. There isn’t much in his farm numbers, besides little disparity between his BB% and K% against pitchers of either handedness, to suggest that the PT situation will improve in his favor.

Still, there’s a place for Dietrich, somewhere, in some roto or head-to-head league. Seriously, why would the Marlins depend on, let alone expect, the return of Furcal? Dietrich usually bats second and in a surprisingly interesting lineup and has some power. Seems decent to me.



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Nicholas Minnix oversaw baseball content for six years at KFFL, where he held the loose title of Managing Editor for seven and a half before he joined FanGraphs. He played in both Tout Wars and LABR from 2010 through 2014. Follow him on Twitter @NicholasMinnix.


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AlEastbound
Guest

I don’t see why Bundy wouldn’t join the rotation. Strict innings count but pitching every fifth or sixth day with a starters routine seems smarter for his recovery. IMO

bdsparty32
Member
bdsparty32

Agreed. Obviously they want to be careful with him, but if they’re gonna bring him up to the big club this year, it should be in a starting role. His future is as a starter, so there’s no reason to mess around with him. Look what happened with Marcus Stroman when Toronto brought him up and moved him to the bullpen. He would help the O’s more by going out every 5th day and throwing 5, maybe 6 innings, until they shut him down.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Well right now they have six starters. Assuming Gausman takes over for Gonzalez, the only question is do they replace one of their established starters for Bundy. An injury would probably guarantee he starts.

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