Chris Parmelee & James Jones: Deep League Wire

This week’s edition highlights two hitters who have just been freshly recalled from the minors. They could return there by the time you read this sentence or remain on the big league roster for some time! That’s the joy of picking from scraps in deep leagues.

Chris Parmelee | 1B/OF BAL | 1% Owned

It’s pretty safe to say that after Parmelee’s two-homer effort last night, he shall not be returning to the minors as you read this. In the span of a week, the Orioles added to their already vast collection of outfielders by calling up not just Nolan Reimold, but Parmelee as well. As an aside, what the heck is going on over in Baltimore? Is there some good reason they are currently carrying Delmon Young, Travis Snider, Steve Pearce, David Lough, Nolan Reimold and Parmelee on the roster at the same time?!?! That’s six players who could play the outfield, yet there are only two slots open there with Adam Jones as the every day center fielder! Are they trying to set a record? This frustrated Steve Pearce owner wants to know what I’m supposed to do with him in AL Tout Wars!

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming. Parmelee was a one-time Twins prospect who posted mediocre numbers during most of his minor league career before enjoying a breakout at Triple-A in 2012. He had always posted strong walk rates and complemented those with respectable strikeout rates, but the power was rather unexciting. That changed in 2012 when he ISO’d .307, launching 17 homers in 228 at-bats. Unfortunately, that power display has yet to translate to the Majors and he’s been up and down since.

Now with a new lease on life after signing a minor league contract with the Orioles this offseason, he’s getting another chance. He was back to his pre-2012 ways at Triple-A, with solid strikeout and walk rates, but limited power, which is still useful in real baseball, but not so much in fantasy. That said, he’s a lefty who now plays in a home park that sported the third highest LHH HR park factor last year. Given the wealth of outfielders the Orioles currently possess, Chris Davis entrenchment at first base, and Jimmy Paredes refusing to suffer through an extended slump, who knows how long Parmelee will last for. But with no standout corner outfield options at the moment, the opportunity is there for Parmelee to grab substantial playing time…if he hits.

James Jones | OF SEA | 2% Owned

Unlike Parmelee above, there isn’t a whole lot of opportunity for Jones. The acquisition of Mark Trumbo has moved Nelson Cruz to right field most games, pushing Seth Smith to left, while Austin Jackson remains the primary center fielder. But when you’re browsing through the hitters with limited playing time opportunities, your only goal should be to collect counting stats. Pursue any hitter with just one dimension that he’s good at. And that’s exactly what Jones is. Though he has hit as many as 14 homers in a season before, his power has dwindled and his ISO sat just below .100 at Triple-A upon his promotion.

What Jones’ one dimension is then is his speed. He hasn’t posted gaudy stolen base totals in any one minor league season, but he has consistently been a speed threat. He stole 27 bases in just 328 plate appearances with the Mariners last year and was amazingly caught just once. And in the minors this year, he swiped 15 bases in 19 tries. Forget about his batting average and lack of power. Over a small sample, the average is going to fluctuate wildly. You just want a specialist and Jones is at your service. Since many deep league lineups employ part-time players, you want to make sure you’re getting either solid power, solid speed or both from those players in the time they do make it onto the field. An empty batting average isn’t all that helpful given how few at-bats they come in.

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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baltic wolfmember
7 years ago

Don’t worry about Pearce. He’s one of Showalter’s favorite players, primarily because of his versatility. He’ll get his ABs, provided of course he brings that average up. Need somebody to play 1B if Davis is facing a lefty? Pearce will play and do a better job defensively. Need somebody in LF when Snider sits against LHPs? Pearce will be there. Looking to protect Reimold against another injury? Sit him–like last night despite his hitting well recently–and Pearce will be a candidate to take his spot in the OF. Should Flaherty hit a terrible slump anytime soon, Pearce will play 2B. And Pearce even took reps at 3B during spring training just in case something happens to Machado again or if Buck feels like giving Manny a day off during the season. He’s the super utility guy who would probably pitch in the late innings of a blowout if Buck asked him to.

As for the other OFs, my guess is that Delmon Young is the most likely to be DFA. He can’t field, he can’t hit for power and he’s not much of a baserunner. Last year he had been DHing against lefties. But with Joseph frequently spelling Wieters behind the plate, it will be Wieters and Paredes doing most of the DH work.
Buck likes to move his bench pieces all over the place and it appears that since Reimold and Pearce will be his preferred RHBs, Young is the odd man out.