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Eric Lauer | SP SD | CBS 5% Owned
Lauer was recalled from the minors last night to make his Major League debut. If he pitches well, the opportunity is there for him to stick in the Padres rotation all season. Obviously, the question is whether he will actually make the most of his chance. He isn’t exactly a top prospect — we ranked him just 26th in the organization heading into the season and didn’t slap a grade higher than a 55 on any of his pitches. But, as happens often, the stats suggest the potential for more than his scouting grades do.
With the exception of his time in Double-A last season, Lauer has always posted strong strikeout rates, always backed by double digit SwStk% marks. That also came along with excellent control, with walk rates never exceeding the 8.3% mark he posted during his short time at Triple-A this year.
Of course, wins could be difficult to rack up, as the Padres rank just 24th in wOBA, with a sub-.300 mark. But pitching half his games in a pitcher friendly park will help his ERA and perhaps allow him to eke out some low run total victories.
Leury Garcia | OF CHW | 2% Owned
Avisail Garcia hitting the DL opens up more playing time for Garcia. Though his plate discipline could use some work, he does possess that fantasy worthy combination of power and speed. Though he has yet to homer this year, he does own a nearly 10% career HR/FB rate. More importantly, he has swiped 33 bases over his career. In fact, he’s recorded essentially a full season’s worth of plate appearances over parts of six seasons now, so we could simply look at those counting stats to imagine what he might be capable of.
In his career, would you have guessed that Garcia has homered 11 times to go with those 33 steals?! That was basically Delino Deshields’ 2018 projection! Of course, that power/speed mix comes with a catch — a terrible batting average. That’s because he strikes out far too much for his below average power and has only managed a league average BABIP. There’s nothing that indicates the strikeouts are going to improve much, but the BABIP outlook looks brighter.
He hits a ton of ground balls, which is exactly what he should be doing, and has yet to pop-up. Actually, since his 2013 debut when he ran a high IFFB%, he has only popped up three times! That’s something that would make Joey Votto smile. So he does seemingly have some BABIP upside, which could push his average into palatable territory, perhaps .250 or so. That’s what the RoS projections are forecasting, but they all assume an improved strikeout rate, well below his career average. Don’t bank on that, but do bank on steals and a homer here and there.
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.