On Wednesday night, a 6'7" behemoth by the name of Steven Moya cranked two home runs against the Seattle Mariners. I'm enamored by this kid from an aesthetic standpoint. His sheer size and swing path have 25+ HR power written all over it and he's only 24 years old.
While it's nice to praise the Tiger's front office for finding this slugger, from a fantasy standpoint, my head and heart are going in opposite directions.
My heart sees Moya on waivers in a 10 team league and picks him up, justifying the move by re-watching highlights of his three major league home runs and expecting similar results to happen on a regular basis.
My head sees Moya on waivers in a 10 team league and leaves him there, acknowledging that J.D. Martinez is only out 4-6 weeks, and the consensus seems to be that the league hasn't found the hole in his swing.
So what should you do?
As with any addition it really depends on your team's situation.
Between 2015 and 2016 at the AAA, level Moya cut his strikeout rate by about 9%. In comparison, that is nearly what Kris Bryant did from 2015 to 2016 at the major league level. The glaring difference between the two, aside from handedness, is that Moya doesn't walk... at all. Between AA and AA he hasn't maintained a walk rate above 5% for a significant period of time. Striking out at a 28% clip in his 54 plate appearances this year isn't fantastic, but we've seen success recently with high strikeout rates (Adam Duvall comes to mind). Unfortunately, I have a feeling when pitchers get a better scouting report on him as time passes, the Ks will jump above 30%.
With all that being said, he's worth an add in 12 team leagues and will probably be one of my favorite 'matchup-guys' going forward in 10 teamers. Moya will likely receive ample playing time against righties with a much smaller look versus lefties in the time that J.D. is out.
The platoon is something you'll have to deal with when rostering any power lefty prospect who isn't of the A.J. Reed caliber. Even Reed's days off will likely coincide with southpaws upon his arrival in Houston. So why not carve out a niche for Moya over the next few weeks and roll the dice? His power is legit and should have some nice RBI opportunities in that lineup.
Still keep in mind, your leash with him should be realitvely short. If he hits a rough patch in the next few weeks, he's droppable, especially with J.D. looming. (7% owned in ESPN, 10% owned in Yahoo).
More Bats to Value
Peter O'Brien - Speaking of platoons, O'Brien has mashed lefties so far in his young career, holding a .857 SLG in a small sample of 14 at bats. He has four homers in his last eight games started, and with some questions about the state of the Arizona outfield - see David Peralta and Brandon Drury - I wouldn't be shocked if his all-or-nothing bat gets a few more starts going forward. With that being said, his peripherals aren't great.
The former Yankee prospect hasn't drawn a walk in his 37 plate appearances of 2016 and has a 26% swinging strike rate. To put that in perspective, nobody in the MLB with more than 100 PAs has a swinging strike rate above 19.6%. Strictly a lefty masher at the moment, but luckily runs into a weekend series in Coors. Peanut butter and jelly in baseball terms is all-or-nothing power in Coors. I can see a desperate stream in just about any format. He is also the closest comp we have to Star Wars villain Kylo Ren. (5% owned in ESPN, 7% owned in Yahoo).
Pedro Alvarez - I mentioned him a few weeks ago as a cheap power pickup and he hasn't disappointed, popping four homers in his last seven starts. That gives him six total for the month of June, and while he has only started about 70% of Orioles games in June, his peripherals say he can probably eclipse 20 for the fourth time in his past five seasons. Another nice matchup option to roll the dice with. (9% owned in ESPN, 8% owned in Yahoo).
Michael Taylor - I understand he may have had the worst game any player will have in 2016, going 0-for-5 with 5 Ks and the game deciding error in L.A., but he's still a good player. Dusty has said he'll get starts against lefties and possesses a few dimensions to his style of play. He can swipe bags, hit for power, and should develop into some better plate discipline as time passes. I love him as a flyer in dynasty leagues and can see some value in 12 teamers. I talked highly of Jayson Werth last week, love the Nationals lineup, and expect his ownership to climb with playing time. (9% ESPN, 9% owned Yahoo).
Mitch Moreland - It's been the tale of the past two months for Mitch. In May he had a .580 OPS and his playing time suffered because of it. June has been a different story. Five homers for the month and a SLG of .576 show he is playing light years better and there's a chance now to take advantage of it. He's a nice 12 team add if you're in need of some corner help and power. Moreland is also in a great lineup for counting stats and the ball flies out to right when Arlington heats up. (13% owned ESPN, 27% owned Yahoo).
Devon Travis - Travis's ownership percentage has ticked upward since last week, especially as Toronto finds its footing in a competitive AL East. If he's still out there in your league, he's a great add. Plagued with injuries for a good amount of his young career, Travis should be a high .270s hitter for the rest of the season, especially as his peripherals ramp up to his career averages. Add to that some decent pop, a few steals, and a shot at some great counting stats around Donaldson and Encarnacion and he should have a great second half up the middle. Definitely addable in all leagues and let's hope the injury bug doesn't meander back into his season. Travis is batting .341 with two homers in his last 15 games. (29% owned ESPN, 29% owned Yahoo).
Catcher Wasteland - Your weekly update of the catcher position comes with a bit more flavor this week as we look at two options that carry a little bit more impact on the landscape. The first is Wilson Contreras, who last week I shied away from in fear of playing time problems. That script has changed slightly, as Miguel Montero seems to be a DL stint waiting to happen. Add to that the time Contreras saw last night at first base, and it seems like Joe Maddon wants to get the young stud in the lineup more than it initially seemed. His upside is just too much to pass up, and I think he's worth an add in almost all leagues where you need catcher help.
We had a Travis d'Arnaud sighting this week as he started behind the dish Tuesday after missing time with a rotator cuff injury. Putting the kid in perspective, I saw a twitter question during the week on whether to drop Yadier Molina for him in a league. While the format wasn't specified, I was a proponent of doing so because Yadi's value comes heavily from plate appearances, which have less of a bearing in Roto leagues. Ray Flowers of Fantasy Alarm was on the side that d'Arnaud is never healthy, which I agree with, but I don't see any problem with riding him for however long he is actually on the field. Chances are he'll match Yadi's HR total in a month and you'll be happy. I'll keep an eye on my claim going forward, but I would drop Yadi for him in Roto leagues. Contreras should be considered first if available.
Young Arms... and Michael Pineda
Trevor Bauer - The name generating the most buzz on the mound heading into the weekend is long time prospect Trevor Bauer. He hurled a gem two nights ago against the depleted Rays, which makes four starts in a row of good outings. While I am hesitant to say this is the new Trevor Bauer given his history, the good thing is that he is bit more consistent with his control. We also haven't seen his usual 6 earned through 3 inning blow up he tended to default back to in 2015. Definitely the hottest waiver arm heading into the weekend. Hopefully you grabbed him for his next start against the Braves. (51% owned ESPN, 63% owned Yahoo).
Blake Snell - So far in this post I've been mostly positive on every single player, but Snell is where it ends. While he's highly touted, Snellzilla still has control issues. Even in his stint back at AAA before this recall, he didn't post numbers that made me too excited to stash him, as his walks per nine was right around 4.00. Add to that the horrendous Rays lineup and the AL East? I'm not too interested in him for the time being, Maybe 2017 will bring with it more hype. (26% ESPN, 38% Yahoo).
Shelby Miller - I never thought I would speak semi-positively of Miller again but here goes nothing. His June 20th outing was the first this season where he actually looked decent. While it's tough to get excited over a matchup with the Phillies, I think he's worth a speculative add for the moment, if you have a cozy bench spot for his start in Colorado. We saw what he did in the first half last year (2.38 ERA in 113+ IP), and if he resembles that for a few starts, it might be worth a shot to try and flip him for something more consistent come your league's trade deadline. He should get the Phillies again next Wednesday, which again is a great matchup. (27% ESPN, 38% Yahoo).
Zach Davies - Take away his April starts and you have yourself a 23 year old arm who has dealt in his first look at the major leagues. His last two outings have both been gems, firing 6+ with a WHIP under 1.00 and 13 combined strikeouts, and his ownership is creeping to where it deserves to be. His peripherals show he isn't this good, but sub 4.00 ERA seems reasonable, with strikeout numbers that won't make you cringe like Jared Weaver's last start. Tonight's Nationals matchup is a big one for his value. Worth a pickup in deep leagues and a matchup play in points leagues, anything shallower there are probably better options. (52% ESPN, 48% Yahoo).
Michael Pineda - This marks the third time since I have been writing this column that Pineda makes his way into my post. Please take a look at his June statistics. He has a 3.38 ERA with 29 Ks over 24 innings and only 4 walks among his four starts. Somehow he is still under 50% owned in ESPN leagues. Maybe it's because of his win totals or his horrid April and May, but Pineda has turned the corner and I'm hoping it continues. He is right behind Bauer in terms of add-ability when looking at these five arms. (48% owned ESPN, 64% owned Yahoo).
Best of luck this weekend.
As always, I can be reached on Twitter if any questions arise @LanceBrozdow.