by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
First it was Josh Hamilton who was lost for an extended period of time. Now we’ve learned that Kole Calhoun has joined him on the DL, being sidelined for the next 4-6 weeks with an ankle injury. The initial move was to recall Brennan Boesch, who will join J.B. Shuck and Collin Cowgill to fill the sudden void in the Angels’ outfield. Yes, Raul Ibanez could be thrown out there on occasion as well, but just how much remains to be seen.
One player who doesn’t get much attention is Matt Long, who is currently marinating at Triple-A. The numbers aren’t overly impressive, as he’s struggled to make contact early on this season, but he’s definitely shown signs. Through Wednesday he was hitting .222 with 2 HR, 5 RBI, 12 R and 3 SB.
“Platoon/role player type but could prove useful if he gets hot at the right time.”
— John Sickels of Minor League Ball
The big red flag has been 21 K in his 45 AB (39.6%), but that has never been an issue for him before:
- 2011 (High-A/Double-A) – 15.0%
- 2012 (Double-A/Triple-A) – 17.7%
- 2013 (Double-A/Triple-A) – 20.0%
It’s pretty easy to write-off that early season number as a small sample size and nothing more. However, the power and speed have been there in recent years. In 2012 he posted a 12 HR/24 SB season and followed that up with a 14 HR/19 SB campaign in 2013.
Along with the strikeouts, Long has also shown an ability to draw a walk. Since 2011 he owns a 10.4% walk rate, including 8 walks thus far this season. That would certainly be helpful, especially with the team’s sudden need atop the batting order.
One of the reasons Long may not have arrived yet is because he is not currently on the 40 man roster (besides his contact issues). Should things go downhill or the mish mosh of alternatives falter, however? The Angels are built to win now, so they aren’t about to let an opportunity pass them by.
Long isn’t going to be an All-Star, but his power/speed would certainly bring value in the deepest of five-outfielder formats as well as all AL-Only leagues. John Sickels of Minor League Ball may have summed it up best (click here for his full pre-season Top 20 Angels prospects):
“Older prospect at age 26, tools are limited but he does a lot of things well, hit .293/.371/.471 with 14 homers, 20 steals, 63 walks in Double-A/Triple-A. Platoon/role player type but could prove useful if he gets hot at the right time.”
Now is the perfect time to stash him, before the rest of your leaguemates start hearing his name popping up. Depending on your situation/league size, he could be a “lightning in a bottle” type player at worst.
Sources – Minor League Baseball, Minor League Central, Minor League Ball