New Everyday Players — Sep 28, 2022

Let’s review another four hitters with recent everyday jobs.

Will Brennan | OF CLE

Brennan failed to make the latest Guardians top prospect list, which went as deep as 48 players. That’s essentially means that the 24-year-old was as non-prospect as it gets! And yet, since his recall a week ago, he’s started in four of five games, with his only benching coming against a left-handed starter. As a left-handed hitter, he’ll likely settle into the strong side of a platoon role.

Brennan possesses an interesting skill set. He has never reached a double digit HR/FB rate, but has posted slightly higher ISO marks than you might expect, reaching as high as .193 at Double-A this year. So perhaps he has more power than we think, but that power has taken the form of doubles so far. If you’re in need of a final week power push, Brennan is definitely not your pickup.

What he might contribute in is steals. He swiped 20 during his time in the minors this year after stealing 15 last year. He has also been quite successful, swiping his 20 in just 23 attempts this season.

Aside from his speed, he has shown pretty good plate discipline. Typically walking at a rate in the high single digits to low double digits, he has also cut down on his strikeout rate, which was only in the mid-teens at its highest. Combine a low strikeout rate with an above average BABIP, and you get a rare hitter who might actually contribute in both batting average and OBP. That gives him more opportunities to steal bases as well. I wouldn’t expect him to stand out in any particular counting stat or category, but might do enough across the board to be more valuable than he appears.

Jordan Groshans | 3B MIA

Groshans was the fourth ranked prospect for the Blue Jays heading into the season, but was shipped to the Marlins at the beginning of August for two relievers and a player to be named later (was he named yet? I’m not sure). His scouting profile shows consistently mediocre skills across the board, with all marks between 40 and 50. That might be good enough to remain a Major Leaguer, though without looking at the stats, doesn’t sound like a hitter that should excite fantasy owners.

Just once has Groshans posted a HR/FB rate in double digits, and that came back at Single-A in 2019 over just 83 at-bats. His ISO has reached only as high as .158. It seems like he has disappointing with his power and more was expected here. However, he’s still young at just 22, so it’s very possible he enjoys a power spike at some point.

Since he doesn’t steal bases either, we have to dig deeper to find his potential value to fantasy owners. Luckily, its both his plate discipline and batted ball profile that make him look interesting. He has walked at a double digit clip nearly everywhere he’s played. Furthermore, he has nearly always kept his strikeout rate in the teens, with a single digit SwStk% to support it. Lots of balls in play, plus getting on base via the walk, increases his real-life value to keep him in lineups, plus gives him more counting stat potential. With a consistently high LD% and low IFFB%, he also has the potential for an above average BABIP, though he has been rather inconsistent historically.

I don’t think he’s worth an add for the rest of the year, as his value comes mostly from his potential ratios, which are too unpredictable over a small sample. I would be interested next year in OBP leagues though, but that’s really it.

Zack Collins | C PIT

Early this month, Collins was DFA’d by the Blue Jays and then claimed two days later by the Pirates. He was then recalled about a week later and has started six of the last eight games. The only times he found himself on the bench was when a left-handed starter was on the mound. It sure looks like the left-handed hitting 27-year-old is now the team’s starting first baseman against right-handers.

Given his minor league power and high walk rate, I have always found myself picking him up in AL Tout Wars, which counts OBP instead of batting average. However, his power hasn’t yet translated to the Majors, as he stands with just a 9.9% HR/FB rate and .144 ISO, en route to a .280 wOBA. He has posted a HR/FB rate as high as 24.7% in the minors, to go along with a .265 ISO, and he’s even posted a maxEV of 109.9 MPH in the Majors, along with a 10.7% Barrel%. Those latter marks definitely pair with higher HR/FB rates and ISO marks, so it’s odd to see him with much weaker results.

He does strike out often, but with a career 13% walk rate, is significantly more valuable in OBP leagues. It’s for that reason, along with the hope for more power, that I would still be interested in OBP leagues, especially given his catcher eligibility.

Jonathan Aranda | 2B TB

Aranda was the team’s 15th ranked prospect heading into the year and was recalled at the beginning of the month. Initially, he had only started once during his first eight games with the Rays. He then started four games in a row before riding the pine again for three straight games. Since that three-game break, he had started eight straight games, before resting on Sunday. As the Rays like to do, he has started at first, second, and third bases, so his flexibility should help him stay in the lineup.

The 24-year-old hadn’t shown any power until last year. Suddenly, his HR/FB rate skyrocketed into double digits for the first time, reaching as high as 21.1% at High-A (over a small sample), before settling back down to 12.2% at Double-A. His ISO marks also climbed above .200. He did all that while continuing to show strong plate discipline, with double digit walk rates, and a sub-20% strikeout rate. He even posted a massive BABIP, supported by a high LD% and low IFFB%. That led to a batting average over .300 and OBP over .400.

After such a power breakout, all eyes were on his performance this year and whether he would sustain that power at Triple-A. Turns out, last year was no fluke. He actually increased his HR/FB rate from his Double-A mark, while posting a slightly lower ISO. His strikeout rate did increase to a professional high, with a slight dip in walk rate, but both remained in good territory. He also continued his high BABIP ways, leading to another .400 wOBA.

Aranda looks like a solid pickup with some power, potential to contribute in both batting average and OBP, and perhaps a steal or two. But with the Rays carousel of a starting lineup, it’s anyone’s guess if he’ll be starting on any particular day.

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 year ago

Catcher Edward Duran was the PTBNL in the Groshans trade.