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Fantasy Baseball Advice: Digging Deeper into Hitters - Chavez, Grandal, Profar, Gordon and more


3B - Eric Chavez – When I pulled up Chavez’s 2013 numbers, I thought the cursor may have accidentally been set to 2004 when he posted a career best wOBA of .384. But no, here we are in 2013 and after going an impressive 9 for 16 over his last 5 games, the 35 year-old 3B is batting .330/.388/.564 through 104 PAs and has a wOBA of .404. There are a number of question marks with Chavez: (1) He’s an injury risk not having topped 350 PAs since 2007 (he had 313 in 113 games last year for the Yankees), (2) he’s riding a lucky .361 BABIP despite a 45% GB rate and (3) playing time is not a guarantee for the surprisingly deep, 1st place D’backs. That said, he’s always had solid power when healthy as evidenced by his career .208 ISO, and he’s terrorized RHP as of late. If you can slot him in daily or play in a weekly deep league and see a favorable slate in AL parks or vs. several right-handed starters, I would not hesitate to ride the hot streak for the time being.

C - Yasmani Grandal – Currently serving a 50 game suspension and about to start a 10 game minor league assignment, this is a recommendation not on what he’s done so far but on what he should do starting soon. After coming over from the Reds in the Mat Latos deal, the rookie backstop posted an impressive .297/.394/.469 triple slash in 226 PAs before his 2012 season ended due to injury. Grandal hit at every stop in the minors and should get plenty of playing time over Nick Hundley who is hitting .050/.093/.075 and striking out in about 30% of his at bats since the start of May. Grandal is definitely worth a stash for managers in deep or two-catcher leagues.

OF - Eric Young, Jr – Back and forth between AAA and the big leagues several times since 2009, it’s always something with Young who has yet to stick around consistently. Speed and getting on base have been his strengths during his time in the minors, and that’s translated somewhat with the big league club - SB attempt every 12 PAs and a career MLB SB success rate of 80% heading into 2012. Unfortunately, he’s struggled this year going only 5 for 9 on the basepaths.  Perhaps he’s pressing as evidenced by his swing metrics which show him expanding the zone which unfortunately has him striking out more and walking less which aren’t good things for a non-power, lead-off hitter. That said, he showed the ability to take walks plenty in the minors, and it appears the Rockies realize he has the potential to be a menace for opposing teams. It looks like they are going to give him a chance to stick as evidenced by his consistent playing time as of late so Young is a nice deep league play particularly on weeks when Colorado is at home and for owners in need of runs and speed; it wouldn’t surprise me to see 30 SBs from him over the rest of the season.

Speaking of another NL West player you own for speed, Dee Gordon is currently in an ugly 0 for 13 slump with 0 steals in his past 5 games which has seen his triple slash drop to .191/.296/.298. Fortunately, he’s still walking 11% of the time and has seen some bad luck as evidenced by his .235 BABIP which you expect to be higher for someone with his speed. If choosing between these two, I’d take the 24% owned Gordon over Young based on upside (40 SBs) and positional scarcity although neither is likely to be a full time staple in your lineup until they turn things around at the plate.

Utility (but future 2B eligible) - Jurickson Profar – In what was probably the biggest news of the day, Buster Onley reported Jurickson Profar was being brought up to replace the injured Ian Kinsler. If you’re reading this article, it probably means you’re in some type of deeper league and have heard of this future stud, but if not, just note he’s a consensus top 5 ranked prospect (if not number 1) by just about everyone in the industry. In the off chance he’s available on your keeper league waiver wire (yes, pause reading and go check), he’s an immediate pick-up. If you’re in a deeper or mono league and are holding on to a low-upside replacement level player, I would probably make the move. In a 10 or 12 redraft team mixer, take stock of your leaguemates and determine if you’ll have a shot at him later, and at a minimum, put him on your watch list. As of 10 PM EST Sunday, he’d been added in over 31,000 Yahoo! leagues in the past 24 hours, and his league ownership has risen to above 35%.

So with that context, here’s a brief update of what he’s done in 2013. These aren’t mindblowing numbers (especially in the PCL) although a .278/.370/.438 line with 4 HR and 6 for 7 on SB attempts in 166 PA at AAA while he demonstrating solid plate discipline (0.88 BB/K) is not bad for a 20 year-old. Let’s also keep in mind “The Trout and Harper Show” from 2012 was the exception rather than the norm. Again, league setup dictates your move on Profar, but stay alert on this young Ranger who probably has a higher ceiling than at least a couple players on your current roster.

For owners looking to stay current on pitchers to target, remember to check out our Ultimate Waiver Wire Watch List (updated daily) where you can find great updates and feedback on pitchers and position players from the staff here at RotoBaller.com.

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