Yonder Alonso and Tim Lopes: Deep League Wire

Welcome to the final edition of the deep league waiver wire before next week’s non-waiver trade deadline!

Yonder Alonso | 1B COL | CBS 4% Owned

How did you hit the jackpot after getting released from your well below .500 team? Getting picked up by the Rockies, of course! After a long-awaited breakout in 2017, Alonso maintained most of his home run spike last year, though he regressed heavily overall. A move to another hitter friendly venue in Chicago seemed like an opportunity to revisit those 2017 highs, but that didn’t happen. Instead, he hit his way off a bad team by posting a sad .253 wOBA.

I don’t think he was actually as bad as his results suggest, though, which I argued about a month ago, though that proved to be hilariously bad timing. The Rockies have officially recalled him, but obviously there’s no starting job awaiting him at first base. That’s Daniel Murphy’s domain right now. But Murphy is injury prone, and maaaaaaaaaaaybe the team decides they are okay shifting him back to second and making Ryan McMahon a utility guy, as he hasn’t been any good defensively there anyway.

Last year, Coors Field ranked fourth in left-handed home run park factor, inflating them by 18%. That was a bit better than U.S. Cellular Field, which boosted lefty homers by 12%. We also know that Coors increases line drives and reduces pop-ups, making it a great park for BABIP. Last, it reduces strikeouts. If there was ever a home park for Alonso to break out of his season long slump, this would be it. The playing time outlook is quite murky at the moment, but you don’t need to be an every day guy to accrue value in a deep league.

Tim Lopes | 2B SEA | 0% Owned

I love uncovering players that are 0% owned in CBS leagues. Lopes is the latest choice, as he has been recalled to replace the injured Dee Gordon. It’s interesting that they didn’t go back to Shed Long, but this gives deep and keeper leaguers a chance to get to know another Mariners farmhand who is guaranteed to be available, whereas Long might still be on a roster. Since Gordon’s injured his quad, this could provide Lopez with a several week audition to prove this Triple-A breakout is real.

Amazingly, there hasn’t been anything written on Lopes here since 2012! Back then, he was ranked as the team’s 15th best prospect. I guess he quickly fell off the rankings and never returned, which makes sense considering he hasn’t posted a wOBA above .336 at any minor league stop since that year.

Despite his lack of a prospect status, he actually looks quite interesting from a fantasy perspective. He makes good contact and has never struck out more than 17.6% of the time, which is very impressive. He was also in the midst of a power breakout, as his ISO has skyrocketed to .179, after failing to exceed just .119 at any stop if you exclude his debut in the Rookie League. His HR/FB rate has helped fuel the surge, as that has jumped into double digits for the first time, though just barely at 10.6%.

To go along with the blossoming power, he continues to show good speed, swiping 24 bases and stealing as many as 35 in a season. I like his batted ball profile too, as his line drive rate has spiked to an elite level, and he rarely pops up (recall from my previous research that you must cut minor league IFFB% in half to get the equivalent MLB mark). That has led to a career best .341 BABIP.

As a non-prospect, he’s definitely going to fly under the radar, so he shouldn’t cost much in FAAB, if that’s your method of acquisition. With the possibility of every day at-bats until Gordon returns, he’s worth a speculation for his speed potential, at the very least.

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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FYI, Long is out with a broken finger.