New Everyday Players — Sep 8, 2022

Today we’ll finish our regular review of new everyday players as I get to the bottom of the list of teams. It’s an interesting group this time.

Alan Trejo | SS COL

Recalled from Triple-A when rosters expanded at the beginning of the month, Trejo actually didn’t start his first three games up. But since, he’s started four straight at shortstop after Jose Iglesias hit the IL. The 26-year-old wasn’t ranked as a top Rockies prospect, but I’m always interested in any of their hitters who ends up with regular at-bats.

He has posted double digit HR/FB rates nearly everywhere he’s played, with the exception of High-A back in 2018. Better yet, his HR/FB rate spiked to a professional best at Triple-A this year, while his ISO sat in the mid-.200s, the second straight season it was above .200. Of course, the Rockies’ Triple-A park is hitter friendly as well, so these numbers are most certainly inflated. But that’s not as important given the offense-inflating characteristics of Coors Field. He’ll simply be swapping one hitter friendly park for another. So clearly he has power and he’s been a fly ball hitter as well to make the most of that power.

The biggest flaw here is an absolute inability to work a base on balls. His professional high walk rate sits at just 6.3% and it was at just 3.4% at Triple-A this year. The low walk rate kills his OBP potential, though it has also reduced his strikeout rate. His SwStk% has bounced around the 14% mark which typically matches with a higher strikeout rate than what he’s posted, but his impatience likely means all his swinging eventually results in a ball in play.

The only reason to care here is because he’s on the Rockies, and the team is currently playing a long homestand. For as long as he’s starting, I’d ride him at home for the possibility of some big scoring affairs that he could be part of.

Spencer Torkelson | 1B DET

He’s baaaaaaaaack! You remember him, right? The former fourth overall prospect got off to a weak start to his Major League career, eventually leading to his demotion in mid-July. Despite only posting an unimpressive .334 wOBA at Triple-A since, the Tigers recalled him for another chance this year.

Torkelson’s stat history is interesting. First off, he has loads of power potential, as his 55/70 Game Power and 70/70 Raw Power attests. But he also earned a 50/60 Hit grade, meaning he wasn’t expected to just be an empty power hitter. What’s interesting to me is his weak BABIP marks. During his High-A debut in 2021, he did BABIP .363, but he hasn’t managed a mark above .300 since.

He has been an extreme fly ball hitter most of the time, but has hit line drives and hasn’t hit an inordinate rate of pop-ups. So I’m not entirely sure what’s behind the low BABIP or if it’s mostly the high FB%. That potentially low BABIP might cause him to struggle in batting average, which really hurts his value in those formats. However, he’s been a walk machine in the minors, so his low BABIP doesn’t hurt his value for the Tigers nearly as much. He also gains a significant boost in OBP leagues.

From his short minor league history, he seems like a good overall hitter, but I would stop short of calling him a future fantasy star, at least in batting average leagues. I think he could be one as he seemingly only has that one BABIP flaw, but it’s not something that typically improves overnight. Perhaps good fortune could help, but I’m not one to bet on good luck. I’d still take a stab here for the rest of the year, though it’s baffling that he hasn’t even started every day since his recall. Why on Earth would a last place Tigers team not start their top prospect every day, instead giving those starts to Harold Castro?! It’s decisions like these that make many people think they could manage a baseball team better than the current manager.

Ryan Kreidler | 3B DET

The 10th ranked Tigers prospect, Kreidler has started five straight after his roster expansion recall. The 24-year-old has been slapped with lots of 50 scouting grades, making me think he’s expected to do a lot of things decently, but is without a standout skill. Those types are often undervalued, so let’s see if this might be the case here.

Kreidler has posted double digit HR/FB rates during his last three minor league stints, two of which came at Triple-A. His ISO was above average, hovering around the .200 mark, so he has above average power, but not standout power, which is precisely what his power grades suggest. He has also taken advantage of his power by hitting fly balls at a 40%+ clip.

Like Torkelson, Kreidler has been a walk machine in the minors, with rates over 14% during his two Triple-A stints. However, he has struck out more often than the top prospect, which makes his low Triple-A BABIP more concerning.

What Torkelson doesn’t have that Kreidler does, is speed. The latter actually swiped 15 bases this year in less than half a season and stole 15 last year as well. He was only caught stealing once this year, so he was quite successful, making it more likely he runs with the Tigers.

Given both some speed and power, I think he makes for a decent speculation in OBP leagues, where he gets a big value boost.

Ronald Guzmán | 1B NYY

I used to be a fan of Guzmán, but the Rangers gave up on him and the Yankees signed him in March. Now with Anthony Rizzo hitting the IL, it is now Guzmán making the latest start at first base. The lefty would seem to be a great fit for Yankee Stadium though it’s anyone’s guess how much playing time he’ll actually receive, especially once Rizzo returns.

This season at Triple-A, he continued hitting as he usually has, posting a mid-teen HR/FB rate, but also a professional best .206 ISO. What’s been perplexing here is that he looks like he should be hitting for far more power than he has and perhaps he has disappointed by not growing his power as hoped. Maybe an extended run with the Yankees and the typical Yankee magic will do wonders.

With an above average walk rate, but a high strikeout rate, he’s also looking like another member of the OBP league boost club. If I needed power, I would certainly speculate here in OBP leagues.

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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4 months ago

Ronald Guzmán | 1B NYY. I think you mean.