Alex Dickerson & Aaron Altherr: Deep League Wire

No, your computer screen hasn’t frozen from several weeks ago, nor is FanGraphs on repeat. Instead, I’m double dipping, reiterating two recommendations I have made over the past month.

Alex Dickerson | OF SD | CBS 3% Owned

With Melvin Upton Jr. packing his bags to depart for our friends to the North, a gaping hole has opened up in San Diego that had been filled by Upton. So guess who’s around to fill it? Dickerson, of course. In fact, he was already earning playing time, as he had started at the position in three of the previous four games that Upton was still in San Diego. I wrote about Dickerson almost exactly a month ago, gushing over his minor league power spike, paired with a significant reduction in strikeout rate, but noted his unclear path to playing time.

Now 80 plate appearances in, he’s performing as well as I could have ever hoped. Has that minor league power surge translated so far? Check, he sports an identical .240 ISO to that of his Triple-A mark, along with a 16% HR/FB rate. Was the improved strikeout rate real? Check, his strikeout rate with the Padres has been identical to that of his time at Triple-A. Woah, so hiow crazy is that?! Heading into yesterday’s games, both his ISO and strikeout rate were exactly the same as his Triple-A marks! His SwStk% of 6.6% fully supports the strong contact ability. I’m not sure what has led to the elite contact skills, but perhaps this is sustainable. Contact + power = big things ahead.

Even more exciting is that his BABIP is just .274, and he has shown inflated BABIP ability in the minors. Of course, he’s not going to post a high BABIP toting around a 20% IFFB%, but that should come down. He might get benched against lefties, and likely at some point this season, top prospects Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe will be up, so his playing time situation could get cloudy, depending on how he’s performing at that time. But for now, he’s intriguing and I would even consider him in 12-team mixed leagues.

Aaron Altherr 5% | OF PHI | 5% Owned

Three weeks ago, I commanded you to be proactive by stashing Altherr before he’s close to returning. Clearly, few of you listened, as his ownership rate only increased from 3% to 5%! But that just means that he’s still widely available, so you likely didn’t miss out. He’s expected to be activated from the DL and join the Phillies by the end of the week after missing substantial time with a wrist injury.

Playing time shouldn’t be an issue. The Phillies aren’t going anywhere and are going to want their 25-year-old to play every day. This is especially true when there’s really no one blocking his path on the outfield corners in Philadelphia. Wrist injuries are scary for power. But we weren’t expecting more than a mid-teens home run total from Altherr to begin with, so whether he goes on a 15-homer pace or an 8-homer pace over the final two months isn’t going to matter much. It’s going to be the difference between just a couple of home runs.

He has a better chance to contribute in stolen bases and he has already swiped two bags in 45 plate appearances (a 27 steal pace over 600 PA) during his minor league rehab stint. He could easily get on a 10 homer and 20 steal pace over the final two months of the season and could be had for free in the vast majority of leagues.

Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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Love Dickerson! You prefer him or Naquin in 5×5? Both looking good, with lefty-benching possibilities. Thanks!