by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Injuries have helped to create opportunities for some under-the-radar players, and with a month left in the season we are looking for any advantage we can get. Let’s take an in-depth look at two players who have suddenly found themselves thrust into the middle of their respective lineups and see if there is any potential production:
Jarrett Parker – Outfielder – San Francisco Giants
He hit 23 HR with 19 SB at Triple-A in 2015, and coming up through the minors consistently showed the upside of a 15/15 player. That has always come with the caveat that he needs to be able to make consistent contact, something that has plagued him regardless of the level he’s played. Having seen time at Triple-A each year since 2014, just look at his strikeout rates:
- 2014 (89 PA) – 25.8%
- 2015 (504 PA) – 32.5%
- 2016 (222 PA) – 29.7%
- 2017 (133 PA) – 23.3%
It’s not necessarily his eye, as he’s been able to draw ample walks, and it’s not that he goes outside the strike zone (26.0% O-Swing% for his career). Entering the weekend he also had shown an improved SwStr% (10.4%), and with his worst Whiff% being an 18.18% mark against breaking balls there is hope for an improvement.
If he can get that in order, to go along with the power potential (he flashed it in ’16, with a 21.7% HR/FB) and having found a home at #3 in the lineup, he could be a difference maker down the stretch. While there could be concern about him falling into a platoon (he’s a left-handed hitter), he’d been on the favorable side regardless.
For those in five-outfielder formats, don’t be afraid to roll the dice.
Wilmer Flores – Infielder – New York Mets
The Mets lineup doesn’t nearly resemble what it was on Opening Day, due to both injuries and trades. In what has developed into a lost season, Flores is going to get an opportunity to play every day and hit in the middle of the depleted lineup. The biggest question has always been where he fits defensively, as opposed to his ability to hit.
Of course it’s not like he brings elite power to the table (12.3% HR/FB for his career), and this season he’s consistently underwhelmed with his line drive rate (17.9%). Average has never been a strong suit, despite an ability to make consistent contact, and the depleted line drive rate doesn’t help that outlook.
Considering the lineup around him, does hitting cleanup even mean that he’s going to be able to drive in many runs? While it would seem like he’s an ideal buy, the upside remains rather limited. Leave him for those in the deepest of formats.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
Make sure to check out our Mid-Season Top 50 Prospects by clicking here!