New Everyday Players — Jun 28, 2022

It’s that time again, when I dive into a collection of hitters who have recently earned regular playing time. These are the guys who could quickly plug a hole, which I’m sure every one of you have at least one of right now.

Jake Meyers | OF HOU

After a respectable debut last year that saw Meyers post a .328 wOBA over 163 PAs, he figured to open the 2022 season with a starting job. Unfortunately, he underwent shoulder surgery last November, pushing his debut this year to last Friday. Despite a solid 11.8% SwStk% last year, Meyers struck out a lot. However, a .352 BABIP allowed him to overcome those strikeout issues so he didn’t kill the batting averages of his fantasy owners’ teams. Without a consistent high BABIP in the minors, it’s hard to believe he’ll come close to that mark again. The good news is he had never struck out that often previously, so both his BABIP and strikeout rate should drop, kinda offsetting each other.

His power suddenly surged at Triple-A last year and carried over to the Majors during his debut. That’s a good sign, but it’s anyone’s guess how his recovery from shoulder surgery is going to affect that. He did hit three homers over just 52 at-bats at Triple-A this year, so perhaps he’ll feel no ill effects from the surgery. He also swiped 13 bases between Triple-A and the Majors last year, so a double digit pace over a full season adds to his intrigue. There are certainly question marks here, but the potential all-around production makes him worthy of a pickup.

Jonah Bride | 2B/3B OAK

Bride wasn’t much of a prospect heading into the season, ranking just 27th on the team. But he’s now started every day since his recall, rotating between second base and third base. His minor league plate discipline numbers have been exceptional, with double digit walk rates and mid-teen strikeout rates, backed by mid-single digit SwStk% marks. The only reason his strikeout rate is even in the mid-teens seems to be due to his plate patience, as he likely strikes out looking a fair amount.

His power hasn’t always been there, but his HR/FB rate did jump in 2021, and then jumped again with his ISO at Double-A this year, but over a small sample. He has little speed, as he’s swiped just seven bases over his entire professional career. So from the looks of it, he seems to be more of a real life contributor than fantasy one. However, if you’re in an OBP league, his value gets a nice boost given his strong walk rates. I just wouldn’t expect much power, and certainly no speed. Leave him for AL-Only league owners, or deep mixed that uses OBP.

Nick Allen | 2B/SS OAK

Allen is another Athletics rookie getting his chance as the team looks toward the future. Heading into the season, he was a much better prospect than Bride, ranking eighth on the team. Based solely on his prospect grades, he’s a glove-first middle infielder whose speed could be useful for fantasy owners.

Perusing his minor league numbers, his walk rate took a nice step up this year at Triple-A, as it jumped into double digits for the first time. He has never posted a strikeout rate above 20.1%, which is a relief given his puny power output. His highest ISO at any minor league stop has been just .152, and he’s posted sub-.100 marks four different times. It’s clear that we shouldn’t be expecting much in the home run department. It’s the speed that will make fantasy owners pay attention. He stole 10 bases at Triple-A this year, for about a 30 steal pace over a full season.

Given his potential lack of offense, he’s going to really need to show some slick leather to remain in the starting lineup. Obviously, the Athletics are going to want to see what they have here, but who knows how long a leash they might give him if he’s posting the weak wOBA the projection systems are forecasting.

Orlando Arcia | SS ATL

Sheesh, remember him?! The former Brewer was at one time a pretty exciting fantasy prospect with both power and speed. Now with the Braves, he has earned near regular starts at second base with Ozzie Albies on the IL. At age 27, he shouldn’t be forgotten about. The underlying skills are still there, with league averageish strikeout and walk rates, along with batted ball distribution.

The one question is about his running game, or lack thereof. He hasn’t even attempted a steal yet this season, which would take a bite out of his potential value if we can’t count on him for stolen bases anymore. We can’t count on his .348 BABIP to be maintained given his career .288 mark, though he hasn’t popped up yet, which is certainly helping, but won’t last. Right now, his Hard% and HardHit% are easily at career highs, as is his Barrel%, but he hasn’t yet made a new career high in maxEV. So it’s hard to tell if his power has actually increased.

Since he’s been relegated to the bottom third of the lineup, with little chance of moving up without the help of an injury to someone else, I’m not interested here in shallow leagues. If he started running again, that would change my view, but without a handful of steals, he’s the very definition of replacement level.

Jonathan Davis | OF MIL

Talk about completely missing on a player. After releasing Lorenzo Cain, the Brewers have turned to Davis to man center field and he’s started there four straight games. This is the same 30-year-old who has posted a .246 wOBA over about a half season’s worth of MLB PAs, so it’s quite a surprise to see him playing every day suddenly.

While Davis hasn’t shown any power in the Majors so far, his HR/FB rate has sat in double digits at several minor league stops, while his ISO has hit the high .100 range, just missing the .200 plateau (he did that in 2015 over a small sample). So he seemingly owns more power than he’s displayed in the Majors so far. His speed is a more intriguing skill, as he’s stolen more than 20 bases several times, and was on a pace to steal over 30 bases over a full season at Triple-A this year.

The potential is there for Davis to contribute some power with some nice speed. He hasn’t struck out often in the minors and his SwStk% marks have typically remained in single digits, so I would bet given a large enough sample, he would handily outperform the projection systems’ batting average forecasts. I have no idea how long the Brewers will give him to play center field every day, especially if he hits an extended slump, but I would take a gamble here in a deeper league.

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

Davis is only playing because of the Renfroe injury, Tyrone Taylor was the original CF replacement for Cain but he’s had to move to RF. Unclear how long Renfroe will be out with the calf strain.

1 month ago
Reply to  TheBabbo

And the plot thickens: Now that Wong is back and Jace Peterson is no longer needed on the infield, he’s playing RF tonight with Taylor back in CF. So maybe Davis is headed for the short side of a platoon with Peterson?