Zack Collins and Aaron Bummer: Deep League Wire

Welcome to an all White Sox edition of the deep league waiver wire!

Zack Collins | C CHW | CBS 9% Owned

Replacing the injured Welington Castillo on the White Sox active roster, Collins was recalled yesterday, though he wasn’t in the starting lineup against a southpaw. Collins was ranked as the team’s 11th best prospect heading into the season, with an insane 70 raw power grade.

Given the combination of his minor league offensive performance and expectations that he’s unlikely to stick behind the plate, he appears to be the ideal non-catching catcher-eligible hitter for fantasy leaguers to take advantage of. While he might catch a game occasionally, the assumption is that he’ll ultimately wind up as a first baseman and DH. That’s sweet, because right now, he still has that catcher eligibility.

So about that offensive performance — this is three true outcomes at its best. Incredibly, he’s never posted a walk rate below 17.5% at any minor league stop. It’s true, his walk rate has generally been in the high teens, and he even debuted in High-A by posting a crazy 21.6% mark! That’s simply not the kind of plate patience you come across very often.

Of course, to go along with the high walk rates are rising strikeout rates. He posted a 32% mark during his time at Triple-A this season, and had been in the mid-to-high 20% range during his previous seasons. The good news is that the high strikeout rate hasn’t been driven by a sky-high SwStk%. It’s highly likely that it’s due to the extraordinary patience he has shown at the plate, that has resulted in deep counts, and probably lots of called strike threes. That means that he may find a better balance between patience and striking out, which could increase his batting average potential.

Last comes the power. Before this season, he had posted HR/FB rates in the mid-teens, with ISO marks in the high .100 to low .200 range. This year his ISO remained stable, but his HR/FB rate surged above 20% at Triple-A. Combine that with fly ball rates consistently above 40%, and you have the recipe for strong home run outputs.

Because of the potential for strikeouts and a low batting average, he’s still not a great option in shallower leagues, even if he managed to find regular playing time at the expense of Yonder Alonso. But in OBP leagues, man does his value skyrocket. He’s a no-brainer pickup in those formats.

Aaron Bummer | RP CHW | 3% Owned

You hate spending 10% of your FAAB every time a new closer pops up, right? The better strategy is to speculate on the new closer before he actually becomes the closer and only spend 1% of your budget each time. Recently, when White Sox closer Alex Colome needed a night off, Bummer was the man for the job. In the pre-season, we couldn’t be sure whether it would be Colome or Kelvin Herrera closing games. Colome won the job, but Herrera can’t even be considered next in line anymore thanks to a bloated 6.58 ERA and weak skills.

Most of the rest of the bullpen is just as disastrous, meaning that Bummer, despite being a lefty, is really the only logical option that could possibly hold the job if/when Colome is traded.

Bummer is a two-pitch guy, relying solely on his 96 MPH sinker and cutter. The combo does’t result in a whole lot of whiffs, but so far this year, it has resulted in a whole lot of foul strikes. That’s how he has managed such a solid strikeout rate with just a pedestrian SwStk% mark.

But the story here is really not about the solid enough strikeout rate and improved control. Instead, it’s the extreme ground ball rate, making me think of Zack Britton. He ranks third in baseball in GB% among pitchers with at least 20 innings pitched (368 in total). That’s pretty impressive. And while he hasn’t induced a pop-up yet, he has only allowed line drives at a 12% clip. Both are likely to move toward the league average, but the ground ball rate is unlikely a fluke.

You typically expect your closer to blow away the opposing hitters in the ninth and rack up the strikeouts. Bummer doesn’t do it that way, but gets grounder after grounder and a strikeout here and there. That’s plenty good enough and all we really care about is whether he could get his three outs and hold the White Sox win. I think Bummer could if he gets that chance.

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.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
3 years ago

Collins sounds like Mickey Tettleton as a hitter. Bummer evokes Britton, or maybe Sam Dyson or Scott Alexander.

3 years ago
Reply to  wobatus

Scratch that I guess, Dyson being a righty, and Alexander’s control is off and Ks down.