It’s a pair of J names in this week’s deep league waiver wire recommendations. But don’t worry if you are considering adding a hitter with a first name that does not begin with the letter J. I’m sure he’s just as worthy of joining your squad as these fine lads.
Juan Francisco | MIL 3B | 9% Owned
Two days ago, the Brewers, clearly tired of trotting out the plethora of non-first basemen from their own organization to man first base, have decided to go out and acquire another non-first baseman to presumably play first base until Corey Hart returns. After a scorching April, Yuniesky Betancourt remembered who he was in May, and that type of offensive performance simply doesn’t cut it at first. Since the Brewers have been unable to find anyone else to stick at the position, it appears that Francisco will play there regularly for the time being. And given Aramis Ramirez’s knee and age, Francisco’s at-bat opportunities shouldn’t completely dry up once Hart does return. Speaking of Hart, he has yet to begin a rehab assignment, so Francisco might have a couple of weeks of starts ahead of him, at least against right-handed pitchers.
We know what Francisco is at this point with the bat. He has huge power, but strikes out a ton and therefore isn’t going to help you in batting average. The good news is that the park switch should boost his already massive power, as Miller Park significantly inflates left-handed home runs. You don’t typically find free agents in a deep league that could really help in any particular category, so Francisco’s ability to contribute positive value in home runs, and perhaps runs batted in, should make him worthy of strong consideration.
Jason Bay | SEA OF | 10% Owned
I’m slightly embarrassed. Don’t look now (okay, you could), but Bay has eight homers this year already. Who woulda thunk he’d be sitting here with a 24% HR/FB ratio after moving to a park that kills right-handed power, and especially after Bay’s recent power outage? The thought initially was that if he actually made the Mariners, a team overflowing with OF/1B/DH types during spring training, Bay would only start against lefties. Well, injuries and a mini resurgence at the plate has led to him starting against righties now and even hitting second in the batting order! Woah. The increased strikeout rate he first showed last year is still with him, but amazingly the power has come all the way back. Although his batting average is just .224, his batted ball profile looks excellent and suggests real rebound potential for his .253 BABIP.
While a jump in BABIP still won’t mean he contributes in batting average, it could signal that he won’t kill a fantasy team. Even a .250 average isn’t so bad in this day and age, and especially for deep league teams. Aside from the power, he has even chipped in three steals. A potential four category contributor! Clearly, Bay is not going to sustain a HR/FB rate as high as it currently stands. But it does tell us that his power, which has been MIA since 2009, has returned, which is the most important thing. Go pick him up and ignore what other owners might think of you.
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.