Shed Long & Luis Rengifo: Deep League Wire

Last week was seemingly historic for the number of prospects we opened our FAAB wallets for, but that doesn’t mean there’s no one left to fill your deep league roster holes. Another day means more injuries, and these two could benefit.

Shed Long | 2B SEA | CBS 3% Owned

Dee Gordon tried to play through it, but ultimately landed on the IL yesterday thanks to a wrist injury after being plunked nearly two weeks ago. Long, who was recalled immediately after Gordon’s injury, was sent back down when Gordon returned to the lineup, but is back up now that Gordon is out.

Long headed into the season as the team’s sixth best prospect, boasting a nice mix of power and speed. In the minors, he has been willing to take a walk, hasn’t struck out too much, and has kept his pop-ups to a minimum. The last piece has led to some inflated BABIP marks, which the projection systems seem to be ignoring. Though generally low line drive rates are a bit of a concern.

In every stint since 2015, except for his Double-A stop in 2017, Long has posted a double digit HR/FB rate, peaking at 20.3% back at High-A. That suggests some pretty good home run power potential, though I would be nervous that his fly ball rate fails to exceed 30%, capping his homer potential. Aside from the power, he also possesses above average speed and has swiped as many as 21 bases in a season.

With both Gordon and Ryon Healy placed on the IL, Long has a nice opportunity to display that blend of power and speed, and given his ability to play multiple positions, a good run could keep him in the Majors even after Gordon, and eventually Kyle Seager, return.

Luis Rengifo | 2B LAA | 2% Owned

On Monday, Andrelton Simmons sprained his ankle and could be out a while, hurting the Angels both offensively and defensively. Like Long, Rengifo was up recently, but demoted, and now is back, looking to take on an expanded role. His prospect status heading into the season was similar to Long as well, ranking seventh in the Angels system. The difference though is his power, which is far inferior, but he makes up for it in fantasy leagues with a greater willingness to run.

In 2018, Rengifo posted strong walk and strikeout rates, but both those regressed at Triple-A this season. Still, he hasn’t posted a SwStk% in double digits since Single-A in 2017, which is a good sign of his ability to make contact. His BABIP marks have bounced around, as has his line drive rates. But he has popped-up even less often than Long, posting excellent rates throughout his minor league career. That should really help his BABIP and combined with his better contact ability, should allow him to post a better average than Long.

Heading into 2019, his home run power was dormant, as he never posted a HR/FB rate above 8.9%. But that all changed during his time at Triple-A this season, as he exploded for a 17.2% mark, nearly double his previous career best at any minor league stop. What’s interesting is that this has coincided with the jump in strikeout rate mentioned earlier, so I wonder if he has consciously decided to try tapping into his power to accelerate his path to the big leagues. His wOBA didn’t improve any, but hey, he’s in the Majors!

So it’s possible he now has power, but we now aren’t totally sure about the speed. He stole 41 bases last season and 34 the season before, but was just three for six on attempts at Triple-A. The sample was small, of course, but he was definitely stealing more often at the lower levels. That said, he, like Long, has displayed the potential for offering both power and speed at various times, and that’s what deep league owners crave. Right now, his only real playing time risk is from Zack Cozart, who has seemingly lost a starting job.

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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3 years ago

You must defeat Shed Long to stand a chance.