New Everyday Players — Jul 6, 2022

Let’s run through one final set of new everyday players. This group includes a bunch of interesting names and top prospects.

Riley Greene | OF DET

Green was ranked as the Tigers second best prospect and fifth overall. It’s highly doubtful that he’s still sitting in your free agent pool, unless you’re in a super shallow league. So if you did pick him up, what can we potential expect from him? His calling card is his power. In 2021, he broke out with HR/FB rates in the mid-20% range and ISO marks in the low-to-mid .200 range. Both are good, but not elite. Unfortunately, outside a small sample 41% FB% in 2019 at Single-A, he has struggled to post a 30% fly ball rate. That means his home run potential is going to be capped because he simply doesn’t hit as many fly balls as you would hope for from a power hitter.

He’s not just a power bat though, as he owns some speed as well. Also in 2021 split between Double-A and Triple-A, he stole 16 bases. So combined from the two levels, he hit 24 home runs and swiped 16 bases. We drool over those power/speed threats.

He’s shown pretty good plate discipline, walking at double digit clips, and even though his strikeout rate has been a touch high, he hasn’t swung and missed at an alarming rate. He has also consistently posted massive BABIP marks, thanks to a high LD%, typically sub-30% FB% marks, and low pop-up rates. That could offset any effects from a high strikeout rate. Overall, he has the potential to be a positive contributor across the board, but not standing out in any particular category. His projections call for flirting with a 20/10 season over a full year, while batting around .260. That’s pretty darn good, even if it doesn’t make a big dent in any particular category, the contributions all add up to solid value, even in shallow leagues.

Alex Kirilloff | OF MIN

He’s back! After a slow start got him demoted to Triple-A, he’s back up again and starting for the Twins. The former top Twins prospect and 16th best overall flashed massive power during his short time back at Triple-A this season, as his HR/FB rate surged to 31.3% and ISO to .282. He had only recorded six plate appearances at the level previously, so this is a really good sign. Perhaps he just needed that upper minors experience before being ready to make an impact at the MLB level.

Aside from the power, he showed elite plate discipline this year. His walk rate doubled to 14%, the first time his walk rate was over 8.5%. He also boosted his power without sacrificing contact, as his strikeout rate and SwStk% remained stable. A relatively low FB% might hold him back from being a top home run guy, though it should help him maintain a strong BABIP like he has in the minors.

Kirilloff doesn’t come with the same stolen base potential as Greene, but I think he’ll be better in the home run and batting average department, at least this year. That said, I think Greene has more fantasy upside because of the speed. Kirilloff still deserves a roster spot in the majority of leagues, though might be close to replacement level in shallower mixed formats.

Skye Bolt | OAK OF

Gosh I love Bolt. It’s not even just the amazing name that begs for him to become a superstar. The late-blooming outfielder is getting another chance with the Athletics, who are seemingly throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. Bolt’s home run power bloomed last year at Triple-A, as his HR/FB rate shot up to 28.1%, and then he hit another three homers in just 43 at-bats at the level this year, good for a 30% HR/FB rate. He had always shown power, but it’s possible he’s experience a true power breakout that began at age 27.

To go with the power, he also owns some speed and could be good for double digit steals over a full season. His plate discipline has always been strong, as he’s posted double digit walk rate at nearly every minor league stop. He has also posted high single digit to low double digit SwStk% marks throughout his career, despite mid-20% strikeout rates, which are likely due to his patience and penchant for striking out looking. That’s just a guess though.

His BABIP marks spiked in 2019, and have remained elevated ever since, providing hope that he would post a mark significantly above his current projections. Sure, he’s already 28, but given his minor league track record, it would make sense for the Athletics to give him an extended look to see if they have anything here. The upside is a power/speed combo that makes him worth gambling on in deeper leagues.

Sam Haggerty | OF SEA

The Mariners have dealt with a plethora of injuries, especially in their outfield, not to mention the surprising demotion of Jarred Kelenic. That has resulted in Haggerty being up and down with the team. He’s now back and has started five of seven games since his recall. As the team gets healthier, it’s possible he’s squeezed again. However, I like his late-bloominess the same way I like Bolt’s.

Haggerty’s power has spiked this year at Triple-A, as his HR/FB rate jumped to 15.4%, a professional high, while his ISO surged to .217, also a career best. That would put him on around a 20 homer pace over a full season. On its own, that’s nothing exciting. But Haggerty was never known for his power, it’s actually a bonus. Instead, it’s the steals that had made him intriguing in fantasy. Those haven’t gone away despite the increased power, as he swiped 15 bases in about a quarter of a season in the minors. So he was only like a 20 homer and 55 stolen base pace at Triple-A!

He has also shown excellent plate discipline, walking at a double digit clip, while not swinging and missing too often. Overall, he looks like a stealth power/speed contributor for as long as he continues earning starts.

Darick Hall | 1B PHI

The Phillies lost Bryce Harper to injury and recalled Darick Hall to replace him at DH. Not only did he replace Harper on the lineup card, he also replaced him in the batting order. Shockingly, Hall has batted cleanup in each one of his starts. That’s baffling for a rookie, but hey, fantasy owners might as well take advantage.

The 26-year-old failed to even get mentioned in the team’s top prospect article, so I’m sure he never dreamed of being Harper’s replacement and starting his MLB career as the team’s fourth-place hitter. Over his 315 Triple-A PAs, he posted a career best HR/FB rate of 23.5%, to go along with an excellent .280 ISO. He has been pretty consistent in the power department throughout his minor league career, but never displayed elite marks. He has posted high enough fly ball rates to make that high HR/FB rate count, so that’s a good sign for his home run potential.

He also doesn’t strike out too often and has kept his walk rate around 10% since 2019. Unfortunately, he has seriously struggled posting even a league average BABIP. In fact, he hasn’t posted a mark above .300 since 2017 at Single-. The problem is not enough line drives and too many pop-ups. As a left-handed batter, it’s also likely he grounds out into the shift often.

Given his likely batting average struggles, and his merely good, but not great power, I’ll pass on him outside deep leagues. It’s hard to believe he remains the team’s cleanup hitter, so he may not be a big help in runs scored or RBI either if he gets dropped in the order.

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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1 month ago

Haggerty has been benefiting from the Mariners’ post-brawl suspensions – he filled in for Dylan Moore in the OF when Crawford was out and Moore had to move to SS, now Moore is back in the OF but there’s still a spot for Haggerty with Winker out. Once the suspensions are over Haggerty should be back on the bench.