by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
With Ryan Howard heading to the DL and potentially heading towards knee surgery (which could ultimately end his 2013 season), where will the Phillies go for a 1B? They could conceivably move Michael Young across the diamond, opening a spot for either Cody Asche or Maikel Franco at 3B, but it’s no guarantee that Young is on the roster come July 31 anyways.
On Saturday it was Laynce Nix who manned 1B, but he is hardly the only immediate option. Yesterday it was Darin Ruf, but is he really the best bet? Let’s take a look at the alternatives and who fantasy owners want to focus on:
His start was his first since June 13, so this was likely just a convenient reason to get him into the lineup. He’s hitting just .204 with 2 HR over 98 AB and holds little value to fantasy owners.
John Mayberry Jr.
He’s hitting .253 with 6 HR and 5 SB over 186 AB and has often been the odd man out in the Philadelphia outfield (outside of when injuries have opened up playing time). A right-handed hitter, he has 35 HR and 14 SB over 794 AB since 2011.
He also has been hitting the ball extremely well this season, with a 22.0% line drive rate, meaning there is room for improvement in his .304 BABIP. He does need to limit his popups a little bit more (18.0% IFFB), but that shouldn’t be a major concern.
He’s proven that he can hit around .250 with some speed and power, making him an ideal candidate to see increased playing time.
Recalled to take Howard’s spot on the roster, Ruf made a major splash last season when he hit 41 HR between the Majors and Minors. That has hardly been the case in 2013, however, with just 7 HR over 304 AB at Triple-A. Also a right-handed hitter, it looks like last season may have been the aberration:
- 2011 (Single-A) – 11.0% HR/OFB
- 2012 (Double-A) – 27.1% HR/OFB
- 2013 (Triple-A) – 10.8% HR/OFB
It’s clear which number stands out, isn’t it? Like Mayberry he has the ability to play both 1B and the OF, so he’s an ideal player to have on the roster at this time. That said, unless he can get the power swing going, he’s likely going to be more of a bench option in Philadelphia.
It would appear that John Mayberry stands the most to gain from Howard’s absence, and also has the most fantasy upside. If you are targeting someone off the waiver wire, that’s the direction we’d recommend going in. He may not get the bulk of the starts initially, but long-term he has more upside then the current alternatives.
Sources – Fangraphs, Minor League Central