New Everyday Players — Aug 16, 2022

You thought I was done reviewing the new everyday players? You were wrong. Please say hello to the latest crop of new regulars.

Joey Meneses | 1B/OF WAS

With the worst record in baseball, the Nationals are in full rebuild mode. I’m not sure why a 30-year-old non-prospect in Meneses comes into play, but their trading activity at the deadline has opened up an opportunity for him to make his MLB debut. He has now started the majority of games since his recall, rotating between first base and the outfield.

Meneses has posted a HR/FB rate in the mid-to-high teens every stop since 2017, while his ISO has sat around .200 or higher at each stop since 2018. That’s decent, but remember it’s come as he was in his mid-to-late 20s and playing at Double-A and Triple-A. He has also played at Triple-A for three years, so it’s hard to take his performance at face value.

His walk and strikeout rates have remained pretty stable, so it appears that he’s not growing as a hitter any longer. After that power spike in 2018, it appears he has become what he’ll be and plateau at this level.

It’s pretty clear that his five home runs so far have people rushing to pick him up, but he’s nothing more than NL-Only league material. Owners love chasing hot streaks from the past, just like buying stocks (and crypto!) high and then ultimately selling low. Maaaaaaaaaybe if he finds himself playing every single day, he’s worth a look in a deep mixed league, but certainly no shallower.

Ildemaro Vargas | SS WAS

Man, the Nationals have vaulted another 30+ year-old journeyman into a starting role, as he has started five straight games between shortstop and third base. I’m not sure what the upside is here of seeing Vargas play every day. I guess they have no other better options?

Vargas has played parts of seasons going back to 2017, but still hasn’t record a full season’s worth of PAs over his career. He doesn’t strike out often, which is supported by a mid-single digit SwStk%, but he also rarely walks. His high GB% is what you want to see from a hitter with just average power, but all those grounders haven’t actually helped him, as he is sitting with a career BABIP of just .258.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t steal many bases to offset the middling power or the low batting average. While the playing time is currently there, it’s hard to believe he’ll hold a starting job for much longer. Even if he does, the fantasy upside is limited with his lack of both power and speed and inability to post even a league average BABIP.

Tucupita Marcano | 2B/OF PIT

After getting an opportunity earlier in the season and then getting demoted to Triple-A, Marcano is back up with the Pirates and has started five straight games, mostly in left field. The 22-year-old isn’t exactly a top prospect, having ranked just 58th on the team, but does own some skills worthy of fantasy owners’ attention.

First, he has walked at a double digit clip nearly everywhere he’s played. That even goes back to his professional debut in Rookie league in 2017 when he was walking at a mid-teen rate. That’s impressive patience for such a youngster. He has also generally kept his strikeout rate in the mid-teens, with a SwStk% in the high single digits to just into double digits. That’s quite impressive discipline.

He hasn’t shown much power and his scouting grades don’t suggest any more is coming. But often times I see hitters with great plate discipline either figure out how to hit for more power while maintaining their discipline or alter their approach to give up some discipline for more power. That’s probably more of a long-term outlook though, so we shouldn’t expect Marcano to suddenly hit for power this season.

While he has 60 grade speed, and is tied for 72nd in Sprint Speed, he hasn’t been a big basestealer, or a very good one throughout his career. In 2019 at Single-A, he stole 15 bases, but was also caught 16 times! It’s rare I see that many successful attempts with more caughts than successes. He also went just one for five at Triple-A this year.

Overall, I don’t expect him to be much of a counting stat producer, especially on the Pirates offense. But he does get a value boost in OBP leagues and would make sense as a stopgap in deep mixed or NL-Only leagues that uses that format.

Wynton Bernard | OF COL

Trying to figure out what the Rockies are doing is like trying to figure out why we yawn. You can spent countless hours doing the research, but will never find a definitive answer. The 31-year-old Bernard finally made his MLB debut after toiling in the minors since 2012! While I am not sure he will prove to be an everyday player, or remain one for long, he has started two of three games in center field since his recall. So it’s clear the Rockies intend to play him and not just let him sit on the bench.

Perhaps this is a reward for his thrilling breakout at Triple-A this season. Though this is the sixth year he’s played at the level, it’s the first time he has posted a double digit HR/FB rate there and just the second time he has done so at any level. Furthermore, his ISO jumped above .200 for the first time. All this power pushed his wOBA to an impressive .403. He’s been pretty good before, but really not since 2016 at Double-A.

Aside from the power spike, he cut down on his strikeout rate, backed by a single digit SwStk% and posted a career best LD%. Oh, and he steals bases too. He actually hit 17 homers and swiped 26 bases at Triple-A before his recall, for a 27 homer and 41 steal pace over 600 PAs. I’m getting excited just typing that, especially considering he calls Coors Field home.

Who knows what to expect from him in the Majors, but he seems like a worthy speculation, especially during a long Rockies homestand.

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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alan fogelmember
5 months ago

Love the humor dispersed between the advice. Makes my morning enjoyable! Thanks!