Today’s edition of the deep league waiver wire is for those with a truly barren free agent pool scrambling for an injury replacement. Even better, both have dual position eligibility, which is extremely helpful when you’re faced with so few pickup options.
Juan Francisco | 1B/3B TOR | CBS 2% Owned
He’s baaaaack! Now on his fourth team in four years, the large-sized Francisco gets to show off his mammoth power in Toronto, filling in for Adam Lind who is out with a back injury. There has been limited updates on Lind’s situation, but a back injury is never something to take lightly. They tend to linger and could sap offensive production. As a result, we really don’t know how long Lind may be out for, meaning that Francisco could enjoy an extended stay in the Blue Jays lineup.
Although he’s only garnered 102 plate appearances against southpaws, the left-handed swinging Francisco has been so laughably bad against them with a .197 wOBA that he’ll most certainly only face righties. That’s fine, us deep leaguers don’t have to be greedy and need completely full-time at-bats from our free agent pool! We know that Francisco swings and misses on a very frequent basis. He’s not going to help in batting average. But over a small sample, we should be least concerned with batting average potential given how much luck is involved in balls in play falling for hits.
What we care about is power. The Rogers Centre is a pretty good park for left-handed home run hitters, sporting a 103 HR park factor in 2013. It increased overall runs scored as well by 4% last year. Francisco owns a hefty career HR/FB rate of 21.1% and his 306 foot average fly ball and home run distance last season ranked 10th among all batters. Adding a man that possesses this much power from free agency when many other teams are trotting out fourth outfielders and utility infielders could allow you to keep pace while your injured players heal.
Andrew Romine | SS/3B DET | 1% Owned
After the season-ending injury to presumed starting shortstop Jose Iglesias, the Tigers were left with a predicament. They made the decision not to go after Stephen Drew or trade for anyone of note. Instead, the thought was that Romine would be the starter, but then the Tigers went out and acquired 85-year-old Alex Gonzalez. He ended up getting the majority of the starts, posted a putrid, but not unsurprising, .452 OPS, which led to his release a couple of days ago.
Now it appears that Romine is back as the starting shortstop on most days, only having to fend off Danny Worth. Unlike Francisco who has to contend with Lind’s eventual return, Romine could conceivably be the starter all season long. It’s rare you find a true starter on a deep league wire. Of course, Romine’s offensive skill set, or lack thereof, is the reason why he may very well still be available.
His only real asset is his speed, and amazingly, he stole a whopping 62 bases back in 2008 in Single-A. He’ll probably be okay in batting average, so with the promise of double digit steals (and he already has 3, so he’s clearly willing to run), he could do a decent Erick Aybar impression.
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.