It’s the final final day that teams can trade players, so there will be some post-deadline analysis coming. Here are a couple guys that are more sure things, as they are already on their teams and we have some historical data to analyze. Then again, there’s plenty of historical data that suggests that Jeff Francoeur and Manny Delcarmen are not good pickups no matter what team they are on.
Marcus Thames, Yankees (7% owned)
The book on Thames is that he mashes left-handers, and his platoon splits back that up. In 781 plate appearances against lefties, he has an .860 OPS that is eminently useful. Tom Tango’s the book says that we should regress his performance against lefties against 2200 plate appearances for right-handed batters, and his minor league stats going back to 2005 don’t show this same split, so we are justified in being skeptical. On the other hand, Thames is getting most of his at-bats against lefties and his team obviously believes he can hit southpaws best. This might sound like bad news – Thames is on a crowded team, and there are fewer lefties in baseball than righties – but it’s not. Predictable playing time is useful, since most fantasy teams have benches. Put Thames on your bench, and he’ll play once Lance Berkman comes back anyway. You see, Curtis Granderson has a split in the other direction, which makes moving Brett Gardner over to center and playing Thames in the outfield the probable course of action for the Yankees against southpaws. Finding an .800+ OPS batter that you can slot in against lefties is nice. Finding one that has hit six home runs in the past six games is just the cherry on top.
Mike Morse, Nationals (2% owned)
Morse is battling Willie Harris, Roger Bernadina and Justin Maxwell for playing time in the Nationals’ corners right now, but there are reasons to like this former shortstop’s chances of carving out some time for himself. For one, he’s hot, with ten hits in his last 15 atbats. Another thing that Morse has in his favor is power. He’s suddenly found his power stroke since moving to the weaker league, with a .231 ISO last year and a .243 ISO this year. Of course, those numbers have only come in 240 plate appearances and are not yet statistically significant, but a quick check of his minor league ISOs shows that a definite trend is in place. Last year, he had a .219 ISO in the minor leagues, and this year at Triple-A Syracuse, he turned in a .216 ISO. He’s a little over his head right now, and he usually hits too many balls on the ground (career 34.1% flyballs) to show this kind of power, but he’s worth a shot in the deepest of leagues. Harris is a career utility player or backup type, and while Bernadina is exciting and young, Maxwell is neither as young as he used to be (going on 27 now), nor as good as we though he might be. Right now he’s just not making any contact with a 20% walk rate and a 40% strikeout rate. Morse has a chance to carve out some time for himself as the regular right fielder.