Two AL Outfielders That Don’t Dazzle, But Could Help

Alejandro De Aza, Red Sox
After flirting with a 20-20 season in 2013 — coming three home runs short of the feat — Alejandro De Aza has seemingly taken a step back. The left-handed hitting outfielder has a pedestrian .260/.316/436 line this year, however opposing southpaws have picked on him this season, more than any other in recent years. In 38 plate appearances versus southpaws this year, De Aza has posted a 7 wRC+. Small sample size will of course play havoc with stats, but man, that is rough. Still, he is more than adequate in most formats when facing right-handers.

Thanks to the quick and easy custom player leaderboard, I broke down De Aza’s splits from 2012 through this season. I chose 2012 as the starting point as that is the season he was really pressed into service at the big league level. Sure, he had big league plate appearances as early as 2007, however I didn’t want numbers from eight years ago muddying the numbers of his recent work.

vs LHP .231 .298 .352 .290 77
vs RHP .274 .335 .420 .330 106

As the title of this piece suggest, De Aza isn’t setting the world on fire, but he remains a solid hitter when holding the platoon advantage. With the Red Sox unloading Shane Victorino, it seems likely for De Aza to get regular playing time, even with Rusney Castillo now in the mix. Presuming Mookie Betts gets placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list after he jumped over the wall attempting to make a catch in yesterday’s game, that would open up playing time for both Castillo and De Aza. For a budget pick in DFS against right-handers, De Aza is a solid if uninspiring option. Those of you in deeper traditional fantasy leagues, one can find De Aza available in over 80 percent of CBS formats and over 90 percent of Yahoo! or ESPN leagues.

Mark Canha, A’s
I’ve hyped up Mark Canha before, praising his power and on-base skills in the minors, and while he hasn’t panned out as hoped just yet, now he could have more playing time on his hands. Without Ben Zobrist around to sap time away from him in the outfield, I could see Canha collecting 130 or plate appearances from this point forward. So far the right-handed hitting Canha has hit same-handed pitching markedly better than lefties, though a .193 BABIP against southpaws hasn’t helped. I’m willing to chalk this up to a bit of the ‘ol SSS. For his career in the minors he’s shown an ability to hit both lefties and righties as Canha owns an .876 OPS when holding the platoon advantage and an .838 when he doesn’t. In the big leagues his .301 BABIP (not a number outrageously high by any means) against right-handers has translated to a 132 wRC+ and while his talent is almost certainly in between what his splits indicate, I like enough of what I’m seeing from Canha to buy him in my deep leagues.

Canha has hit at least 25 percent better than his peers at every level in the minors outside of a 21 plate appearance stint in Rookie-Ball back in 2010. His solid track record of power — Canha cracked 20 home runs in Triple-A last year — and plenty of playing time for the remainder of the season make him a bit of a post-hype sleeper. If you’re looking for outfield help and none of the recently moved platoon-type bats to the Angels do anything for you, take a flier on Canha.

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Tuscan Chicken
Tuscan Chicken

David, how would you stack these guys up against Colabello and Piscotty?

Thanks in advance.