Today’s deep league waiver wire might bring back memories of seasons yonder. Don’t rush over to the calendar, we haven’t time traveled back to the past. The two men in this week’s recommendations are the short-term beneficiaries of injuries to the incumbents. Often times, this is what a deep leaguer needs to do — follow injury situations closely and just play the carousel rotating in hitters getting full-time at-bats to fill a weak spot on your roster. Admittedly, I won both these players through FAAB in AL Tout Wars this week.
Kevin Kouzmanoff | 3B TEX | 3% Owned
Remember him?! The one-time Padres third sacker who looked to have a promising future as a power hitter is now part of his seventh organization since 2006. Amazingly, he’s already 32 years old, which makes me feel old. Kouzmanoff was recalled after Adrian Beltre suffered a strained quad, which is going to keep him out of action for a couple of weeks. But since Beltre is already 35, you never know how long such an injury is going to linger, giving Kouzmanoff potentially more at-bats than expected.
There’s not a whole lot of performance to analyze here. What it comes down to is this — he has made pretty good contact for a hitter with above average power, and, he possesses that above average power. Better yet, he calls one of the best hitter’s parks in baseball home and he’s been hitting fifth in the lineup. Yesterday, he even hit his first home run in the Majors since 2011.
Ryan Roberts | 2B BOS | 1% Owned
Roberts burst onto the scene back in 2011 with the Diamondbacks showing power and speed, while making above average contact and showing good plate patience. Then he fell off the face of the Earth. With Will Middlebrooks on the DL after straining his calf, Roberts is one of the primary beneficiaries.
Perhaps more interesting is that Dustin Pedroia is dealing with a wrist issue. Even when Middlebrooks does return, the possibility that Pedroia has to miss some time in the future could keep Roberts up and contributing longer than expected. He only has to fend off Jonathan Herrera for utility role at-bats even if the entire infield is healthy, so the opportunity is there if Roberts hits. He has literally played at least one inning all over the field, except for center field, so he has real versatility.
Roberts is hitting in an excellent lineup and still has some power and speed. He’s been a fly ball hitter throughout his career, which has hurt his BABIP, but led to more power. He’s even more valuable in OBP leagues given his healthy walk rate that sits at a career mark near 10%.
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.