Matt Olson & Nick Delmonico: Deep League Wire

If you’re fishing in the bottom of the ocean, or even the middle layer, you might uncover these hidden gems…

Matt Olson | OF OAK | CBS 5% Owned

Though it came a bit later than expected, the Athletics finally did trade Yonder Alonso amid a breakout season, seemingly opening the door for Matt Olson to assume a full-time role as the team’s starting first baseman. Well, at least on the strong side of a platoon, as Olson bats left-handed. The team’s 19th ranked prospect heading into the season, this is what fantasy owners are hoping for…

…Olson’s plus power and patience are likely to yield big-league production off the bench or in a platoon role.

That plus power had barely materialized at the higher levels heading into this year, as he posted HR/FB rates in the low teens at Double-A and Triple-A in 2015 and 2016, with sub-.200 ISO marks. But Olson has enjoyed a power spike this year, as his HR/FB rate has surged to 21.9% at Triple-A and ISO to .298. And since he has also hit fly balls at a rate above 40% at every single level, he can take full advantage of that home run power. Getting back to the scouting quote about his patience, his walk rate is another point in his favor. He has never posted a mark below 12.9% at any level! That gives him a nice boost in value in OBP leagues.

As one might expect, strikeouts could potentially be an issue. While his strikeout rate has remained in the respectable low-to-mid 20% range throughout his minor league career, it ballooned to 36.7% with the A’s during his 51 at-bats earlier in the season when he was recalled. Exacerbating the problem is that he has posted a minor league BABIP above .300 just once in any stint. Strikeouts + a weak BABIP = major batting average downside. Again, that’s not as big an issue in OBP leagues, but the lack of hits will affect his runs scored and runs batted in totals.

The A’s have no reason not to give him a long look, which might even mean testing him out against lefties early on. He’s got the job and clearly has the power, so he’s more than worth a shot in deeper leagues.

Nick Delmonico | 1B/3B CHW | 2% Owned

Like the Athletics, the White Sox have sold off parts in the last couple of weeks and Delmonico has been one of the beneficiaries. With experience at both the infield and outfield corners and Matt Davidson now on the disabled list, there are multiple paths to full-time at-bats over the near-term. Delmonico is already 25 and didn’t even make the team’s top prospect list heading into the season, though he did manage to rank 92nd on the KATOH top 100 prospects list.

Solely by the stats, he looks like your typical up-and-downer, meaning he doesn’t do anything super well, and is a bit old, but could provide acceptable offensive production when the opportunity arises. He dramatically cut his strikeout rate at Triple-A from last year to this year, while marginally upping his walk rate, and he got his HR/FB rate back into the mid-teens, after it slipped into the high single digits during his first taste of Triple-A action last year. Like Olson, though, he has typically been not much of a BABIP guy. Minor league pop-up rates are sketchy to take at face value, but with marks generally over 20%, it’s possible he has a pop-up problem.

Simply for the current opportunity and the good home ballpark, Delmonico deserves consideration for a bit of power and maybe even a steal or two.

We hoped you liked reading Matt Olson & Nick Delmonico: Deep League Wire by Mike Podhorzer!

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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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