Waiver Worthy: With Andre Ethier Injured, Is Scott Van Slyke A Player Worth Targeting?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Yesterday brought the news that Andre Ethier would miss the next 10-14 weeks.  While the initial thought would’ve been to bump Carl Crawford up the rankings, don’t be quite so fast.  According to Eric Stephen (via Twitter):

Dave Roberts said Carl Crawford and Scott Van Slyke would likely get lions share of playing time in LF. Now question is who gets roster spot”

Maybe Crawford gets a few extra AB, but Van Slyke has proven that he deserves a chance, at least when a southpaw is on the mound.  In 291 AB in the Majors against left-handed pitchers he has slashed .265/.370/.488 with 16 HR.

Even without the power he has shown a good approach (22.0% strikeout rate, 13.0% walk rate) and produced a better line drive rate (20.5% vs. 17.3% vs. RHP) against LHP.  However, with an average distance on non-groundballs of 274.053 in ’15 (273.555 over the past three seasons) there’s even more upside in the home run.

It’s not to say that he’s been terrible against RHP (.242/.306/.402) and there is the potential for him to develop into an everyday player.  A career .295 hitter in the minors, it’s not unthinkable that he develops into a .260ish type hitter with the upside of 20+ HR and 7-10 SB if he gets regular playing time.  Throw in eligibility in the OF and at 1B and what exactly is there not to like?

Crawford isn’t going to be pushed out of the picture completely, at least not initially, but Van Slyke does have the potential to ultimately earn the job all to himself.  It’s also not like Crawford is a pillar of health, so don’t be surprised if missed time leads to growth in Van Slyke’s role.

Is he a must grab option?  Absolutely not, but in deeper formats if you have the bench spot he’s well worth the flier:

Waiver Wire Guidelines:

  • 10 Team League – Too shallow
  • 12 Team League – Versatility brings consideration, but not a must add
  • 14+ Team League – Must add
  • NL-Only League – Must add
  • Dynasty League – No added value, so use team based guidelines

Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Heat Maps, Baseball Reference

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