Renato Nunez & Austin Dean: Deep League Wire

Welcome to the full-timers still owned in less than 10% of CBS leagues edition of the deep league waiver wire. With some exceptions, I expect every regular hitter to be owned in more than 10% of leagues. Here are two that should be.

Renato Nunez | 3B BAL | CBS 9% Owned

When I wrote my AL Tout Wars recap, I noted that I selected Rio Ruiz during the reserve round to fill in at third base until Miguel Sano was activated from the IL. I shared some optimism that Ruiz might actually win the third base job over Nunez. I was right, as he did.

But Nunez didn’t actually lose a job, just the chance to play third base every day. Instead, Mark Trumbo’s injury has opened up the DH spot and Nunez has filled it nearly every game, while batting in the middle of the order. Nunez has displayed some excellent power in the minors, posting ISO marks above .200 on multiple occasions and a career best 21.8% HR/FB rate at Triple-A in 2017. That power hasn’t exactly translated to the Majors just yet, but his minor league marks offer some hope that a power spike could occur at any time.

There is some serious downside, of course. His walk and strikeout rates are poor, but a much improved SwStk% to better than league average, suggests a better strikeout rate ahead. However, his batted ball profile in no way supports an inflated .375 BABIP so be prepared for his batting average to potentially engage in freefall. Buy for the potential homers and RBI and hope he doesn’t kill you in average.

Austin Dean | OF MIA | 4% Owned

I figured Dean would open the season as a starting outfielder, but instead he opened the season as a starting outfielder…in the minors. Now, he gets his chance as he was recalled last Friday, yet is still owned in just 4% of leagues. Sure, the Marlins stink and Dean wasn’t exactly a top Marlins prospect. But, he’s worthy of your attention given his minor league numbers.

At Triple-A in 2018, he posted a SwStk% of just 5.1%, while striking out only 13.7% of the time. That’s pretty impressive, but when it comes with a low double digit HR/FB rate as well, it becomes noteworthy. He also posted a .360 BABIP thanks to a high line drive rate, though his historical BABIP marks have been a mixed bag. He has stolen as many as 18 bases in the minors, but that was back at Low-A in 2015, and he hasn’t swiped more than three since.

There’s no telling how long Dean’s leash will be, but the team doesn’t have any respectable alternatives at the moment. Of course, he can’t wOBA .200 over the next couple of weeks and expect to keep his job, but the projections are forecasting a mark around .310, which is acceptable enough.

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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