Andrew Wilkins & Ryan Rua: Deep League Waiver Wire

Monday wasn’t just Labor Day, it was an exciting time for fantasy leaguers and baseball fans alike. It was roster expansion day! Yesterday, Eno discussed a whole bunch of names that were recalled, but concluded that none of them were very intriguing for this year given playing time concerns. However, two players called up before Monday are of interest.

Andrew Wilkins | 1B CHW | CBS 1% Owned

So the White Sox traded Adam Dunn and that meant that there was a gaping hole at designated hitter. Okay, so it wasn’t gaping. Because the DH slot could literally be filled by any hitter, the team could have played anyone there, especially given their place in the standings. Instead of just rotating through a bunch of their current reserves, they called up Wilkins on Sunday. He’s a left-hander too, and already sat against opposing starter Tommy Milone last night. So he’s going to be platooned, but at least he’ll receive the lion’s share of at-bats.

Heading into the 2013 season, Wilkins was ranked as the 14th best prospect in the White Sox system by Marc Hulet. He was then identified as one of five sleeper first base prospects last summer. Unfortunately, that was the end of the accolades, as he failed to appear on any future prospect lists or even get a mention since that last article.

That’s probably because Wilkins posted a disappointing .330 wOBA during his first taste of Triple-A action, including a mediocre .158 ISO. For a corner infielder without elite defensive ability or great plate patience, it’s not what you want to see. But in his second time around the level this season, he had a true breakout performance. He socked 30 homers, fueling an impressive .265 ISO, and even cut down on his strikeout rate while showing such massive power. U.S. Cellular Field is an excellent park for offense, and with the potential for DH at-bats on the good side of a platoon, he could provide some cheap power without killing your average.

Ryan Rua | 2B/3B TEX | 1% Owned

The Rangers have suffered through a ridiculous spate of injuries this year and Rua has become one of the beneficiaries. Though he played mostly second and third base in the minors, he has shuffled between first base, DH and left field so far with the Rangers. The important part is that he has started every game since being recalled last Friday. Rua made Carson Cistulli’s Fringe Five in early May, while Kiley McDaniel believes his future upside is as a corner utility/platoon guy. Of course, we don’t really care about what Rua may do over his entire baseball career, just that he’s receiving at-bats and should continue to over this last month of the season. But the point was made to remind you all that this is no top prospect.

Rua did hit 18 homers this season split between Double-A and Triple-A, but that was quite the decline from 2013, when he mashed 36. He did improve upon his strikeout rate though and chipped in with a couple of stolen bases. Given that his power was primarily on display in the lower minors, it’s an open question if it will reappear against stronger competition.

While he does possess more valuable position eligibility than Wilkins, his offensive profile is inferior, with similar walk and strikeout rates, perhaps a steal or two, but significantly less power potential. He’s worth consideration given his current regular playing time, but I think Wilkins has the greater upside for the rest of the year.

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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