Deep League Waiver Wired: Could Matt LaPorta Regain Fantasy Appeal?

It often doesn’t take much for fantasy owners to forget about once hyped prospects.  Does anyone remember when Matt LaPorta was supposed to be the next big thing?  The centerpiece of the trade that sent CC Sabathia to the Milwaukee Brewers, LaPorta failed time after time.  That led to him opening the 2012 campaign at Triple-A, where many figured he would simply continue to rot.

Of course, the exact opposite has happened.  Just look at his numbers over his first 21 games in the International League in 2012:

79 At Bats
.380 Batting Average (30 Hits)
8 Home Runs
17 RBI
17 Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.451 On Base Percentage
.759 Slugging Percentage
.423 Batting Average on Balls in Play

Obviously there’s a lot of luck involved in his numbers, but they should help lead to another opportunity for him to prove himself in the Major Leagues.

The Indians rank 17th in runs scored (92).  They are 23rd in home runs (17).  They are 18th in batting average (.242).  Yes, they have added Johnny Damon to the mix, in an effort to help, but it’s hard to imagine him being the answer.

Part of their problem has definitely been the production at first base, where Casey Kotchman has gotten the bulk of the playing time (except when Carlos Santana moves out from the behind the plate).  In 67 AB Kotchman is hitting a paltry .149 (10 H) with 2 HR and 4 RBI.  That’s just not cutting it.  If the Indians like him for his defense or not, they can’t continue on with that type of production from a premium position.

Is LaPorta a lock to produce this time around?  Absolutely not.  We all know he’s not going to hit .380, though you have to think that he should be able to hit around .270ish.  In 1,008 AB at the Major League level he has posted a 20.4% strikeout rate, an acceptable number, yet has struggled with a .273 BABIP (leading to a .238 average).

In regards to the power, that is something he has shown a little bit of (30 career HR thanks to a 9.2% HR/FB).  He does offer even more upside, however, with 31 career HR in 495 AB at Triple-A (the International League, not the offensive happy Pacific Coast League).  Obviously you wouldn’t expect a 30 HR outburst, but would it be surprising to see him hit 12-15 in 350 AB?

In shallower formats LaPorta is an easy player to avoid.  However, in deeper formats where you need a little bit of power, he’s a player that is completely off the radar that could pay dividends.  Consider the price tag (grabbing off the waiver wire) and his potential opportunity to produce, he’s well worth making a preemptive claim.

5 comments

  1. Sawyer says:

    Thanks, I had LaPorta last year and dropped him this year when he got sent down. I could see him being a late bloomer, ala Gordon.

    Speaking of other frustrating former prospects, I’ve stuck with Ian Stewart and Sean Rodriguez all year. And, well their numbers aren’t pretty. If you had a chance to replace those two with Michael Carp (I have another 3B at UT) and Brian Dozier, would you?

    There’s a kicker, those two moves would free up cap space to allow me to get Weaver into my starting lineup for Billingsley.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I honestly wouldn’t give up on Stewart quite yet. He has posted a few multi-hit games of late and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him getting going in the not too distant future. Call it a hunch, if you want.

      That said, being able to get Weaver into the lineup is too attractive to pass up. If that’s the end result, it does have merit

      • jmax says:

        I have Stewart in the Trade Counsel League. With a BABIP currently sitting at .235 and a career average close to .300 Im being patient. Maybe once the Chicago weather isn’t so soggy Stewart will pump some out.

  2. Nick Tenaglia says:

    LaPorta is destined for a career in the “Quad-A Team”

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