Could A Starting Role For Daniel Descalso Lead To Fantasy Viability?

According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (click here for the article):

“Mozeliak projects Daniel Descalso as next season’s starting second baseman with incumbent Skip Schumaker ticketed for a ‘super utility” role should the club avoid arbitration. The plan may leave Theriot, last season’s opening day shortstop, a nontender candidate in search of a more robust role elsewhere.”

That news should instantly place Descalso on fantasy draft boards. Does that necessarily make him a player that all owners should be targeting, however? I wouldn’t be so sure of that.

In 326 AB for the Cardinals in 2011 Descalso hit .264 with 1 HR and 2 SB. Over his 1,596 minor league career at bats he hit a measly .276 with 27 HR and 31 SB.

The minor league numbers include 618 AB in the Pacific Coast League, where hitting tends to shine. While there he hit .275 with 11 HR and 11 SB. Those numbers would make the 25-year old look a little bit more appealing. If he were able to be a 10/10 player, he at least would have short-term fill-in potential, especially in leagues where a middle inflieder is required. Of course it came in the PCL, so especially the power should be taken with a slight grain of salt.

He did a good job of hitting the ball with authority in 2011 (19.6% line drive rate). It helped to lead to 20 doubles and there is reason to believe that he can continue on that pace this year. That’s going to help, but it’s far from enough.

During his Major League career he has hit .264 thanks to a 17.2% strikeout rate and .323 BABIP. The thing is he has always shown that he can make significantly better contact than that. At Triple-A he posted a 9.9% strikeout rate and his .275 average had significantly more upside due to a .292 BABIP.

You have to think that he is going to make better contact in 2012, which should help lead to a better average. Depending on the make-up of the Cardinals lineup he has a chance to settle into the second spot of the order due to his ability to handle the bat. That should put him in position to score some runs, though I wouldn’t anticipate him surpassing 90.

So, does this sound like a must own option? Yes, he could easily hit in the .280-.290 range, but he’s not going to add a lot in the HR/SB department, or the R/RBI department for that matter. Could he score 80 runs if he settles into the #2 hole? It’s possible, but it’s far from a guarantee that he even hits second.

There’s a lot of offseason in front of us, so it’s not a lock that he even enters the season as the Cardinals starter at 2B. Even if he does, though, he really should be considered a short-term fill-in and nothing more.

What are your thoughts of Descalso? Is there any fantasy appeal there? Why or why not?

Make sure to check out all of our preliminary 2012 rankings:

Catchers
First Basemen
Second Basemen
Shortstops
Third Basemen
Outfielders
Starting Pitchers
Closers

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