Phoenix, AZ, USA: San Diego Padres second baseman Alexi Amarista hits an RBI single in the fourth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
Everyone's talking about just how good Ernesto Frieri has been for the Angels since the Padres dealt him there, but for some reason, no one seems to notice just how productive what San Diego received in return has been. Alexi Amarista has logged 98 plate appearances in 37 games with the Padres, and owns a .290/.320/.527 line in that time, despite the pitcher-friendly home environment.
Amarista has spent time at second base, left field, shortstop, third base, and center field in 2012. That's some serious utility usage, and, if he keeps on hitting, it's likely he'll continue to be slotted in the lineup whenever the Padres have a chance to give someone a day off. His positioning might be irregular, but if he's going to produce at the plate without embarrassing himself in the field, then his playing time is going to remain regular.
If that's happening, then he's someone you should care about. The power isn't likely to stick forever -- Amarista slugged .439 in the minors over six years, with a .127 Isolated Power -- but it doesn't have to, either, if he's going to have this kind of positional versatility and regular playing time.
He hasn't attempted many steals in the majors this year, as he's just 1-for-3, but he stole 120 bases in the minors. If you're in a league with net stolen bases, then the oft-caught Amarista isn't going to do much for you, but if your league just counts steals with no penalty for caught stealings, then a steal is a steal, regardless of how often he gets nabbed attempting them.
Amarista isn't going to be an Allen Craig type utility player, but if he can hit some singles and doubles with the occasional steal in regular playing time, then he's an intriguing option for deep leagues, NL-only specifically. He's owned in just eight percent of standard mixed leagues, and that's probably for the best, but if he's still available in a non-standard format where his versatility can be utilized, then keep an eye on him.