Roman Quinn & Joey Wendle: Deep League Wire

Ahhhh, mid-September, when fantasy owners out of the running for a prize spot shift their attention to football, leaving all the hidden gems to you! It’s a wonderful time of year as sudden full-timers are free for the taking on your deep league roster. Here are two of ’em.

Roman Quinn | OF PHI | CBS 6% owned

The Phillies, with their 68-83 record were an obvious prime spot to search for newly minted starters. One of them comes in the form of Quinn, who has become their starting left fielder, and has batted second in every game since his Major League debut. The second spot in the batting order is an attractive one from a fantasy perspective, of course, as hitters in that slot garner the second most number of plate appearances in the lineup and both their runs scored and batted in marks have the potential to be above average.

Quinn entered the season as former lead prospect analyst Dan Farnsworth’s third best prospect in the Phillies organization. His best asset is his speed, in which Farnsworth slapped an 80 grade on. He stole 36 bases in the minors this year over just 346 plate appearances! He also possesses a bit of pop, so he’s no Juan Pierre where you’ll celebrate if he even hits one homer.

The biggest concern I have is that he skipped Triple-A and I’m always hesitant to be bullish immediately on hitters that make that move. Pitchers making the same transition aren’t as troublesome, but it’s seemingly a more difficult step for batters. Obviously, the 43 plate appearance sample size is tiny, but if his walk and strikeout rates are any indication (14% and 20.9%, respectively), then he hasn’t been overmatched at the plate.

He has already attempted three steals, succeeding on two of them, which is a good sign that he’s going to continue to run in the Majors. When rostering a player for a small sample of games like we’re doing now as the season comes to a close, I always want to go with a guy who has one great skill. Quinn has that with his speed, so at the very least you should get a couple of stolen bases from him each week.

Joey Wendle | 2B OAK | 3%

Wendle is another beneficiary of being on a bad team as he has been thrust into the starting second base job. Although he has hit seventh and ninth at times, the majority of his plate appearances has come from the leadoff spot. Obviously, that’s good for his counting stats. At 26, Wendle is a bit old to be considered a real prospect, but was obviously exciting enough to be ranked by Farnsworth as the Athletics’ seventh best prospect heading into the season. The feeling seemed to be that Wendle was a guy who possessed no standout skills, but was solid enough all around that his defense was what might hold him back from a starting job, rather than his offense.

His minor league record suggested a Ben Zobrist-like fantasy contributor, if you consider Zobrist’s 2013-2014 years where he just hit double digits in both homers and steals. It’s an undervalued package in fantasy circles as we like to see a big number in one category, rather than decent numbers across several categories.

Wendle’s strikeout rate had been rising as he had climbed the organizational ladder, while his walk rate need a push. So those were definitely red flags. And while he still isn’t walking with the A’s, at least he has turned around his strikeout rate trend, albeit in a small sample, of course. However, his SwStk% sits at just 5.5%, which is elite, and does validate the solid strikeout rate. Whether that continues is anyone’s guess, but like I said about Quinn above, so far Wendle looks like he belongs.

He has already attempted two steals and been successful on both and he has generally posted inflated BABIP marks over his various minor league stops. With second base eligibility, he’s probably going to contribute more than you realize. It might be boring to get just a homer and two to three steals over the rest of the season, but it’s a combination that’s more valuable than you think. And batting leadoff should provide him with the opportunities and also lead to a pretty good runs scored total.

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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Mark Davidson
7 years ago

Mike, I’m so happy you wrote about Wendle. My friend is an A’s fan and automatically projects any prospect for their 100th percentile performance and while the optimism is crazy it’s also very sweet. I was looking at Wendle and was trying to find comps for his bizarre AAA numbers in the PCL and here’s all I could find over the last 10 yrs:

Wendle (2 yr avg) .285/.323/.447, 572 PA, 11 HR, 13 SB, 4.2 BB%, 19.8 K%

Tony Abreu (age 26) .292/.335/.429, 529 PA, 10 HR, 13 SB, 5.7 BB%, 15.9 K%

Danny Richar (25 – 26) .291/.331/.426, 540 PA, 11 HR, 12 SB, 5.6 BB%, 15 K%

Tommy Manzella (age 26) .289/.339/.417, 530 PA, 9 HR, 12 SB, 6.9 BB%, 17.1 K%

Grant Green (age 24) .296/.338/.458, 524 PA, 15 HR, 13 SB, 5.9 BB%, 13.3 K%

Stefen Romero (age 24) .278/.331/.448, 411 PA, 11 HR, 8 SB, 6.8 BB%, 21.2 K%

Juan Perez (26) .291/.323/.466, 409 PA, 10 HR, 18 SB, 3.7 BB%, 18.3 K%

Hector Gomez (26) .282/.325/.483, 442 PA, 15 HR, 5 SB, 4.8 BB%, 18.1 K%

This is a disheartening list, obviously, but I’m not sure my method is all that sound especially without batted ball data. And while the sample size is small, Wendle still seems to be making good contact on balls in and out of the zone. I understand this is a deep league specific post, but do your thoughts on Wendle lean more towards .265, 10 HR, 12 SB or more towards the fates of the players on this list in the mlb…which is to say, in and out of/not successful in?

Mark Davidson
7 years ago
Reply to  Mike Podhorzer

That’s what i figured, thanks Mike!