Still paying attention or has preseason football pulled you away? If the former is your answer, then here are two manly man with the potential to help your team end your season in glorious fashion.
Brandon Nimmo | OF NYM | CBS 5% Owned
Welp, that didn’t take long for the Mets outfield to feature completely new faces. Well, almost. You see, Jose Reyes isn’t exactly a new face, but in left field he surely is! With the incumbents either traded or injured, top prospect Nimmo is now getting his shot. With the team going nowhere, he should remain a starter the rest of the season, at least against right-handed pitching.
Nimmo was ranked the ninth best prospect in the Mets system heading into the season with Eric Longenhagen essentially calling him a player with a basket of averageness. That’s not so exciting, but with his strong on base ability (he posted a 16.7% walk rate at Triple-A this year!), he’s an interesting fit atop the lineup. He doesn’t possess much speed though, so it would be nontraditional for sure, but smart. That walk rate gives him significantly more value in OBP leagues.
He probably strikes out too much for a guy who doesn’t have a whole lot of power, as his ISO never even reached .200 over a reasonable sample of minor league at-bats, while his HR/FB rate hit a career high of just 11.7% at Triple-A last year. He’s not going to be a savior, obviously, but as a strong side platoon bat who should be getting slotted at the top of the order more often, he should score a decent amount of runs and hit the occasional homer.
Blake Parker | RP LAA | 12% Owned
I cheated. Normally, Parker wouldn’t be eligible for this column given his ownership rate exceeds 10%. But 12% is ridiculously low and I had to highlight his name. The Angels closer situation has been rather hilarious these past couple of weeks, as it almost seems like Mike Scioscia is purposely toying with us poor fantasy leaguers. Every time a pitcher earns a save and we think he is now the favorite, the guy pitches in the sixth inning the next game, and a new reliever records the save. It’s been maddening, but funny to follow.
The latest reliever on the closer carousel is Parker, who has actually earned the team’s last two saves. That’s an event that has happened recently with one guy recording two saves in a row (if I remember correctly), but then that was it and he was back pitching in the sixth through eighth innings again. But Parker has been an elite reliever this year and as absurd as it has been to see his usage, perhaps Scioscia has finally warmed up to him? I totally respect not saving your best reliever for a save situation, but a) Scioscia has been around for too long that he’s definitely not the type of guy to follow such new age thinking and b) Parker has often pitched in like the fifth and sixth innings, which without a crystal ball, usually aren’t thought of as the most crucial moments of a game.
With an increased usage of his splitter that led to a dominant spring training, Parker has been a completely new pitcher this year. His SwStk%, which has always been in the low teens, has surged to 14.1%, driving his strikeout rate above 30% for the first time. This along with solid control and a ground ball tilt, en route to a 2.63 SIERA. Clearly, this is a guy who if given the opportunity, would get the job done and hold the closer role. Having recorded the team’s last two saves, he’s easily the man to bet on moving forward and his ownership rate should rise rather quickly.
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.