With the season swiftly coming to a close, I thought I would take a look back at some of my deep league waiver wire recommendations from early in the season. This exercise is not to gloat, but to examine the players and if their performance this year changes their future outlook and role for next season. Upon reviewing my recs, most did not do much, but two guys really stood out: Ryan Roberts and Chris Heisey.
Ryan Roberts | ARI, 2B/3B eligible next season
On April 20, I recommended Roberts while Melvin Mora (I’m laughing now too) was still the starter in Arizona. After not hitting, and playing sporadically, the D-Backs wised up and released him. That left third base all to Roberts and he certainly took advantage. In my original article, I said that Roberts “could chip in with some power and speed”, and he did just that, swatting 18 homers and stealing 18 bases. His RBI and run totals are uninspiring, but remember they come in just 453 at-bats. Also, normally a .249 average would be scary to a fantasy roster, but given the league-wide loss of skill at hitting it where they ain’t (this year’s Major League wide .255 average is the lowest since 1989), Robert’s mark isn’t the killer it once was. So Roberts has provided quite nicely for owners lucky enough to draft him in deep leagues or add him soon after the season started. But what about next year? Well, there is no clear alternative, so it appears Roberts will likely open the season starting at the hot corner again. I would think his BABIP improves given his LD% and reasonable IFFB%, allowing him to be a decent all around contributor that qualifies at two rather thin positions. At age 31, this is probably the best it is going to get, but he should maintain some value.
Chris Heisey | CIN, OF eligible next season
Back on March 30, I first recommended Heisey when he was the fourth outfielder, while Jonny Gomes trotted out there on most days. I speculated, however, that given Gomes’ mediocre career wOBA and poor defense, Heisey’s all around skill set had a chance to expose itself at some point. Well, after not hitting and subsequently losing more and more playing time, Gomes was finally shipped off to Washington, opening up more playing time for Heisey. Unfortunately, he did not receive the degree of playing time boost as hoped, and still isn’t exactly a full-time starter. But he has made the most of his opportunities by ISOing .240 with 17 homers in just 254 at-bats and chipping in five steals. His extreme fly ball tendency helps his power, but hurts his BABIP, and combined with a weak contact rate, it will be hard for Heisey not to hurt your batting average. Since he barely walks and his defense from the advanced metrics appears just average, he probably isn’t any sort of long-term answer for the Reds. Because of this, he could once again make for a nice last outfielder for deep leaguers, but everyday playing time is probably not in his future.