Greg Garcia & Jake Smolinski: Deep League Wire

Let’s go fishing!

Greg Garcia | SS/3B STL | CBS 1% Owned

Jhonny Peralta, who missed the first two months of the season after undergoing thumb surgery in March, has landed back on the DL with, you guessed it…continued pain in his surgically-repaired thumb. Ouch. That’s not cool. Who knows how long he’ll be out. Perhaps he just needs some extended rest and he’ll be back when first eligible. In the meantime, Greg Garcia figures to pick up the slack at third base, though Jedd Gyrorko is likely to earn some time there as well, as he started in last night’s game.

It’s a small sample size, but Garcia has been excellent defensively at the hot corner, whereas Gyorko was terrible there the last time he played, all the way back in 2013. He has actually been a positive so far according to UZR/150 in his second attempt at the spot, but that’s over an even smaller sample than Garcia. Defense might end up deciding who starts.

Offensively, Garcia doesn’t exactly bring a corner infield bat to the spot. Of course, that’s mostly because Garcia is really a middle infielder who can also play third. He possessed limited power, with the projections forecasted sub-.100 ISO marks the rest of the way and his current 85.5 mph Exit Velocity is toward the bottom of the leaderboard. But he has done several things well — namely, walking as often as he has struck out, the former resulting in a fantastic rate, while the latter mark being better than average, posting a strong LD%, and avoiding the popup. In fact, in his short Major League career, out of his 48 balls in play, none of them have been the pop-up variety.

That kind of batted ball distribution is how he has managed a career BABIP of .320, despite not hitting the ball very hard or being very fast. His batted ball direction breakdown also looks good, as he has sprayed the ball all over the field. He has shown speed in the minors, swiping as many as 16 bases in 2014, but that hasn’t yet translated. Bottom line is that he’s set for some additional playing time in the wake of the Peralta injury and he’s a classic “won’t hurt you” type of acquisition.

Jake Smolinski | OF OAK | 1% Owned

Unless you’re a hardcore A’s fan, you probably don’t pay a whole lot of attention to Oakland these days. So it might come as a surprise to learn that Smolinski has essentially become an every day player, earning the majority of his starts in center field recently.

Smolinski is already 27, so he’s hardly a prospect, and is also with his fourth organization since 2008, yet has only accumulated 385 plate appearances in the Majors. He hits fly balls, pulls the ball often, and pushing his fly balls over the wall at a league average clip. That equals respectable power, to go along with a touch of speed (he stole six bases in just 159 Triple-A plate appearances this year).

But the most exciting part of Smolinski’s profile this season with the A’s has been his strikeout rate. He has struck out just 10 times in 101 plate appearances and is sporting a nifty 5.1% SwStk%. He has never shown this type of contact ability in the minors, so it’s doubtful he can sustain this. He still has a major popup problem and has been rather allergic to the line drive, which is why his career BABIP stands at .289. Those issues may be one of the reasons he has toiled in the minors for so long.

Playing time is no guarantee with the outfield currently healthy, but Coco Crisp is old and stinky and could land on the DL at any point, and if the whispers of Danny Valencia’s DFAing come to fruition, Smolinski’s PT becomes that much more secure. For now though, he’s playing often, showing some power, and making excellent contact. Go get ’em.

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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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Mike, what’re your thoughts on Mike Zunino? He got recalled again today. Based on his AAA numbers this year it looks like he’s returned to his old ways