New Everyday Players — Sep 27, 2022

With a week and a half left, playing time is king. With all the recent promotions and new hitters joining starting lineups, it’s easy to miss one or multiple new faces. So let’s get back to reviewing new everyday players as we finish out the 2022 season.

Livan Soto | SS LAA

Soto failed to make the latest Angels top prospect list, but the Angels’ rash of injuries has opened up a starting job seven of the last eight games. Soto has limited power, as his professional high HR/FB rate is just 7.1% that came with a .142 ISO. So clearly if you need power from your middle infielder, he’s not your man, even if he’ll earn playing time the rest of the way.

Instead, pick him up if you need stolen bases. He swiped 18 during his time at Double-A this year and 14 at High-A last year. This year, his walk rate jumped back into double digits after dipping just below at High-A last year. That gives him a nice boost in OBP leagues versus batting average leagues.

There are two concerns here — he’s a lefty and might get benched against a southpaw, though he has started in two of three games against them, plus he skipped Triple-A, and hadn’t posted a wOBA above .300 since 2018 until he did it this year. So he hasn’t exactly proven himself offensively in the minors, and yet has been rewarded by jumping straight to the Majors. It’s odd to see, but his long-term potential doesn’t matter much right now as long as he’s playing and might chip in a steal or two.

Conner Capel | OF OAK

Cape was claimed off waivers after being DFA’d by the Cardinals a couple of weeks ago. The 25-year-old lefty hasn’t made a top prospect list in several years, but posted a .346 wOBA at Triple-A last year and a .354 mark this season. Like Soto, power isn’t a big part of Capel’s game, but his power is definitely more apparent than Soto’s. He has also typically posted FB% marks above the league average, so if he could boost his HR/FB rate, his home run total would quickly earn him positive value in the category.

Also like Soto, he’s a better pickup if you need steals. He stole 21 bases during his time at Triple-A this year, though that actually represented a professional high for him. He had only swiped six bases last year, so I’m curious to see how much he runs in the Majors.

Finally, also like Soto, Capel has pushed his walk rate up into the low teens. That should give him significantly more value in OBP leagues, though anything could happen during the tiny sample the rest of the season makes up.

Jordan Diaz | 2B OAK

The Athletics merry-go-round has been rotating all year and Diaz is yet another who finds himself with a starting job now. The 22 year-old was the team’s 16th ranked prospect and has started six of seven games since his recall.

Unlike the previous names on the list, Diaz does have power. His HR/FB rate surged to 19% at Double-A, before rising even higher upon his promotion to Triple-A, where he posted a 23.5% mark. Interestingly, his ISO remained in line with his 2021 mark at High-A, so his overall power output didn’t improve, even with the increased HR/FB rate. The problem here is he has posted a GB% above 50% over the majority of his career, which has resulted in a low FB%. So even with the strong HR/FB rate, he only managed to hit 19 homers during his time in the minors this year. Since he doesn’t have any speed, he needs to up that FB% to deliver decent fantasy value.

Though I would hope for a higher FB%, he does possess another skill I like to see — a low strikeout rate. You don’t often see power paired with a low strikeout rate, so more balls in play could help offset the low FB%. The low strikeout rate has also made his batting average look pretty good, especially this season when he posted a high BABIP. He owns an interesting combination of skills, and if you need power in your deep league, is definitely worth adding for the rest of the season.

Jason Vosler | 3B SF

Up several times earlier in the season, Vosler is back and has started four of five games since his recall. As a lefty, he is likely to be part of the strong side of a strict platoon at third base with Evan Longoria.

Vosler has consistently posted double digit HR/FB rates and ISO marks above .200 on several occasions. Unlike Diaz above, he has made the most of his power by typically posting FB% marks above 40% and twice has even posted marks above 50%. While that’s likely to hurt his BABIP, it’s real good for his home run power.

He hasn’t had any real issues making contact and his SwStk% has typically remained in the low double digit range. It means that despite his advanced age and limited MLB experience, he should be able to transition well and not be considered a quadruple-A hitter. He’s another option if you need power from your corner guy.

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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2 months ago

Thoughts on Will Brennan? Looks like he’s getting a shot with Cleveland the last week or so.