by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Do you play in a deeper fantasy league? Does your waiver wire appear barren, on the surface? In this series we look at players who are owned in less than 10% of both ESPN and CBS formats, to help determine if they are worth grabbing or not.
Travis Snider – Outfielder – Pittsburgh Pirates
CBS – 7%
ESPN – 0.3%
Snider’s name has been popping up in fantasy circles for some time, though he’s never lived up to the hype. After hitting 14 HR for the Blue Jays in 2010, he had hit a total of 12 HR over the next three seasons. He’s also never hit above .255 in a season where he had at least 75 AB. Couple that with little speed and it makes sense that fantasy owners have finally run out of patience.
However, over the first few weeks Snider’s performance has pu him back on our maps. Through 13 games he’s hitting .261 with 3 HR and 6 RBI, though you can argue if it is a believable line or not:
- 20.4% strikeout rate vs. 26.4% career mark
- 22.2% line drive rate vs. 19.5% career mark
- 23.1% HR/FB vs. 12.9% career mark
It’s easy to forget that Snider was once considered among the elite prospects in the game. A first round pick back in 2006, he hit 23 HR in the minors in 2008 and was largely considered a Top 10 prospect entering 2009. Even back then, however, there were red flags in regards to strikeouts as well as his ability to hit southpaws (according to Baseball America, “Snider struggled versus southpaws in the high minors, hitting a mere .233/.295/.310 in a limited sample of 116 Double-A and Triple-A at-bats”).
Maybe the strikeouts have changed, though we’re still dealing with a small sample size. We also all know that he’s simply not going to continue with the power he’s shown thus far and the Pirates haven’t even let him face a lefty to date.
He’s going to be a better play for a week where the Pirates face mostly RHP, especially while he’s hot (and hitting second in the order). However, with Gregory Polanco marinating in the minors it may not be long until he’s out of a job.
Alberto Callaspo – Second Baseman/Third Baseman – Oakland A’s
CBS – 10%
ESPN – 5.1%
One of the concerns with Callaspo is where he is going to play, with Josh Donaldson at third base. While the A’s have not been using him at second base this season, they have been using him as the DH most of the time. The again, Oakland second basemen entered play on Tuesday hitting .209 with 0 HR and 0 RBI, so you have to wonder how long it will take for the team to start slotting him in there.
Not that Callaspo offers big power, but he does have 10+ HR in four of the previous five seasons. He also had the ability to hit for a strong average, with a career 8.7% strikeout rate and 20.6% line drive rate (previous three seasons have been 22.4%, 20.7% and 24.6%).
He’s hardly an All-Star, but positional flexibility and the potential to go .275 with 10 HR makes him well worth owning in all deeper formats.
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, Baseball America, MLB.com