Juan Minaya & Boog Powell: Deep League Wire

It’s time to speculate and to latch on to a new starter that could provide a boost to your counting stats.

Juan Minaya | RP CHW | CBS 5% Owned

Boy has the White Sox closer rule been in flux this season. It all started when we heard that veteran stopper David Robertson was traded to the Yankees, and we all assumed that Tommy Kahnle would take over the gig in Chicago. Nope, Kahnle himself was involved in the same trade and was shipped off to New York as well. So then we figured Anthony Swarzak, another White Sox reliever enjoying a dominant season, would be the ninth inning man. Nope! That’s because Tyler Clippard was involved in the trade and was immediately named the front-runner to close out games, though Swarzak did save a game before he himself was sent to Milwaukee. Lastly, Clippard, who spent less than a month with his new team, was acquired by the Astros, his third team in the span of a month. So who the heck is left in the White Sox bullpen to garner saves?!

This time, manager Rick Renteria has kept his mouth shut. That’s probably because he’s still trying to figure out how his collection of weak relievers is even going to get him from starting pitcher to the ninth inning while keeping the lead. So we have no idea who’s going to close, which means it’s perfect time to speculate. And although it seems like most are also guessing that Minaya is going to become that man, my own research led me to that same conclusion independent of others.

The current Sox relief staff is atrocious. Weak skills and high ERAs or weak skills and mediocre ERAs. Minaya, on the other hand, is the only pitcher that has actually posted strong skills, but it has come along with an inflated ERA like everyone else. After spending many years in the minors, he’s suddenly posting the highest strikeout rate of his professional career. It’s driven by a trio of pitches all generating SwStk% marks around the league average, which doesn’t sound too exciting, but his strikeout rate has actually been fueled by a sky high Foul Strike rate. That’s unsustainable, so the hope is that some of those fouls become swings and misses, otherwise that strikeout rate is heading for a dive.

Like many a pitcher, he’s been hurt by the long ball, which is why his ERA sits at 4.61, far above his 3.26 SIERA. And since he’s an extreme fly ball pitcher, a high HR/FB rate has killed him. Minaya is not going to have a strong run at closer if given the opportunity, as he’s not without serious risk. But there are no standout options and sadly for the Sox, he appears to be the best of a weak lot. If you’re desperate for saves, this is the man to speculate on.

Boog Powell | OF OAK | 1% Owned

Often times in deep leagues, you just want plate appearances. And this is exactly what Boog Powell will give you. After a test drive of Jaycob Brugman in center field, the always rebuilding Athletics have decided to check out their shiny new toy, who they just acquired for breakout first baseman Yonder Alonso. Powell appeared second from the bottom on the “Prospects to Note” section of the top Mariners prospects, which suggests there’s not a whole lot of starting outfielder potential here. But that doesn’t matter to you, since you only care about the next month and a half.

He makes excellent contact and has always sported strong walk rates, so he’s got the plate discipline down, which is an excellent start. Unfortunately, his power is limited and he doesn’t hit enough fly balls to even care about the fact that he doubled his HR/FB rate at Triple-A this season. Only once over a reasonable sample size did his fly ball rate jump above 30% in the minors.

The good news is that he has generally posted inflated BABIP marks, so coupled with the potential to make solid contact, means he should post a respectable batting average. He also possesses some speed, as he swiped 11 bases at Triple-A, equating to about 26 over a full season. That could mean a full season pace of five homers and 20 steals, to go along with a batting average that won’t hurt you, which is more than usable in deep leagues.

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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baltic wolfmember
6 years ago

Granite or Powell in a 10 team AL-only league? I won’t be returning after this season but I can pass on your recommendations to the new co-owner. Walks and OPS added to the usual five categories.

baltic wolfmember
6 years ago
Reply to  Mike Podhorzer

I should’ve been more clear. Since the new owner is looking to the future—and not about winning right now—which one do you prefer long term?

baltic wolfmember
6 years ago
Reply to  Mike Podhorzer

Okay, thanks for the reply. I told him I thought he should consider a small bid for Granite (a good steals guy) if he moves Segura, which he’s been trying to do with two rejected trade proposals.