Kyle Blanks & Wilmer Flores: Deep League Wire

Today’s waiver wire features a recent tradee and a middle infield speculation. As usual, these recommendations are geared to mono leaguers.

Kyle Blanks | 1B/OF OAK | CBS 2% Owned

The recent Athletics acquisition of the hulking Kyle Blanks likely flew under the radar for the majority of fantasy owners. But AL-Only league owners’ ears certainly perked. Blanks was the big FAAB pickup this week, at least in the Tout Wars league, costing his new team about 17% of his owner’s budget at the time. Unfortunately, while the Padres jettisoned Blanks because there was simply nowhere for him to play, the Athletics playing time situation isn’t that much more favorable. Though he has experience in the outfield, he’s really no one’s idea of a real outfielder, which essentially makes him a first baseman and designated hitter. But with Daric Barton gone, Brandon Moss is the starter at first and the team still clearly wants to give DH at-bats to both John Jaso and Alberto Callaspo.

That means that Blanks will be relegated to platoon status against lefties. But then again, Moss has come to the plate 29 times versus southpaws this year and has actually posted a .418 wOBA. Of course, that comes with a .500 BABIP, but he’s hitting for power and his results thus far could mean he continues to face most lefties. That means that Blanks’ potential at-bats is truly up in the air, but the upside is there to face lefties and eventually take a chunk of DH at-bats versus righties.

Blanks has seemingly been up and down forever, yet he has recorded just 808 plate appearances over parts of six seasons, including this one. His game is power, obviously, and he has posted a .173 ISO. That probably would be higher if he hadn’t battled so many injuries in the past. He strikes out a lot, but is willing to take a walk, so he’s more valuable in an OBP league. Given his current playing time outlook, he’s unlikely to provide a big jolt in the short-term, but he’s worth speculating on given his upside.

Wilmer Flores | 3B NYM | 7% Owned

Speaking of speculating, how much longer do the Mets stick with Ruben Tejada? By UZR/150, he’s perfectly average defensively, so if he offers no offense to speak of, what’s keeping him in the lineup? Tejada had always offset his complete lack of power with a solid contact rate, but that’s gone downhill and for the second straight season, his wOBA hilariously sits in the .230 range.

Flores hasn’t played a whole lot since being recalled from Triple-A, but he’s started at shortstop a couple of times and the hope is that he soon wrangles the job away from Tejada. Although he currently qualifies at third base in most leagues, yesterday was his fourth game at shortstop, meaning he’s on his way to qualifying there as well.

He possesses respectable power and makes good contact, but has little speed. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have enough power to be an attractive third base option or enough speed to be appealing at shortstop. This is precisely why even a full-time job would limit his value to deep mixed or NL-Only leagues. The biggest question is whether he could field the shortstop position acceptably enough to not completely offset his offensive contributions.

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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Coach Buttermaker
Coach Buttermaker

Realistically, how many PA’s do you see Blanks getting each week?