Framber Valdez & Adam Haseley: Deep League Wire

It’s another exciting edition of the deep league waiver wire!

Framber Valdez | P HOU | CBS 4% Owned

Surprise, surprise, a rookie starting pitcher that drew hefty FAAB bids after a strong first start failed to finish more than four innings over his next four outings and returned to Triple-A. I’m talking about Corbin Martin, the Astros’ third best prospect heading into the season, and one that earned a rotation spot a bit sooner than expected.

So who’s going to take Martin’s rotation slot? It’s not Joshua James or Forrest Whitley, who would have been the favorites to take over for a demoted or injured starter at this point in the season. Instead, it’s Valdez, who was the team’s 22nd top prospect heading into the season. Valdez jumped between the rotation and bullpen last year during his debut in which he threw 37 innings. His strikeout rate was about average (though that did come with a weak SwStk% mark), but there are two skills that stand out.

First, let’s discuss the good. Valdez is a ground ball machine. In his small sample debut, he coaxed a grounder 70% of the time. That’s the elitest of the elite. You don’t get much higher than that. Over any sort of reasonable sample through the minors, he had never posted a GB% below 55.5%. This year, he’s just below at 53.3%, but that still qualifies him as a strong ground ball guy. This is important in an age of inflated HR/FB rates.

Now, let’s discuss the bad. Valdez’s control is…poor, to say the least. In his debut, he walked 15.6% of the batters he faced and only threw threw strikes 56.1% of the time (63.7% league average). He also reached a 3-0 count 10.4% of the time, versus a league average of just 4.5%. When you start that poorly, it’s only up from there, right?! Yes, and Valdez has certainly improved. But his control remains an issue. His strike rate has risen to a far more acceptable 62.3%, however his 3-0 count rate is still a ghastly 8.1%. The combination of tons of 3-0 counts and a below average strike rate has kept his walk rate in double digits.

Right now, he’s clearly not a finished product. He also only throws two pitches, unless you include his four-seamer and sinker two separate ones. His only non-fastball has been a curve. At least a curve will allow him to handle opposite-handed batters, but I would expect he will need another pitch to succeed in the rotation long-term.

For now, any starting pitcher on one of the best teams in baseball, who has some intriguing seeds to work with is worth speculating on in deep leagues.

Adam Haseley | OF PHI | 7% Owned

Geez, so much for the profitable Andrew McCutchen draft day buy. With a torn ACL knocking him out for the season, the Phillies are now scrambling for a center fielder, especially with Odubel Herrera’s status up in the air. For the moment, they have turned to their fifth overall prospect. Unfortunately, this is a kid who has just 27 plate appearances at Triple-A to his name, so it’s anyone’s guess whether he’s actually ready to hit at the Major League level.

He has posted solid strikeout rates throughout his minor league career, striking out no more than 17.7% of the time over any reasonable sample size. He also learned to take a walk at Double-A as his walk rate jumped into double digits for the first time during both his stints there. Coupled with the increase in walk rate was a power surge. His HR/FB rate spiked into the high teens, which is a nice sign as all his skills improved at the same time, suggesting a real breakthrough.

He does possess some speed, though that has only resulted in 18 steals over his entire minor league career. That said, a full season pace of 5-10 does add a couple of bucks to his potential value and shouldn’t be completely ignored.

As a lefty, it’s likely he’ll find himself on the strong side of a platoon, rather than playing every day. The other risk is that the Phillies are in the playoff hunt and just traded for Jay Bruce. They are in win-now mode and I would be surprised if they didn’t make a move for a center fielder, which would probably push Haseley back to Triple-A. Nick Williams has experience at the position, but he hasn’t been very good defensively there. Then again, the Phillies don’t seem to value defense whatsoever, so who knows what they decide to do.





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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scotman144
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scotman144

Whitley is on the milb IL with shoulder fatigue not to mention the 12.21 ERA / 2.05 WHIP combo : while I don’t doubt he’s just a string of better outings away at some point he needs to get healthy first and then start getting outs in bunches before he’s getting a taste of MLB action.

HappyFunBall
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HappyFunBall

James isn’t exactly distinguishing himself either. In the bullpen alongside Valdez, JJ has been even more wild than Valdez, and homer prone to boot. If/when Valdez doesn’t cut the mustard I wouldn’t be surprised to see James given a shot, but it is reasonable to me that Framber is getting the first chance.