5×5 Targets: Wilmer Flores And Michael Choice
On Wednesday, I appeared on SiriusXM’s fantasy baseball channel to talk prospects. Unlike other podcasts and interviews, I have absolutely no idea which players will be discussed beforehand. Flying blind in a live chat where I have 90-minutes to look things up and draw upon first hand knowledge and information from contacts is hard. The radio spots are MUCH harder.
About an hour before the spot, I begin scouring FanGraphs leader boards and player news in an attempt to guide the conversation to certain topics. Plus, I’m receiving questions galore in chats about the next prospect to be promoted, so I started digging.
The name I came up with? Oakland Athletic Michael Choice.
As of this morning, choice has posted a .294/.403/.503 triple slash line as a 23-year old in the Pacific Coast League. In 2012, the right-handed hitter was expected to bombard the Texas League and make a push to the bigs. However, a slow start led to his stock dropping. So much so that I released him in the Ottoneu Experts League.
Then, the bat came alive. In the midst of a hot streak which brought his triple slash line back to respectability, Choice fractured his hand and missed the rest of the season. He became a forgotten man.
This season, the Athletics outfield has been a MASH unit. Chris Young and Josh Reddick are currently on the disabled list. Coco Crisp just returned. Yoenis Cespedes has missed time too. Even Seth Smith — who never hit the actual disabled list — has dealt with tonsillitis.
Right now, Oakland sits 7.5 games out of first place and will have to jump seven teams to earn a wild card spot. Obviously, this will be a difficult task. In July, will the Athletics look to move Brandon Moss, Smith and attempt to pawn Young off to anybody who’ll have him? I think so. Plus, Reddick has been horrid.
Just in time for your league’s championship push, the Athletics might have a combination of Crisp in center, with Cespedes, Choice and Reddick occupying the other two outfield spots and designated hitter. Think far enough ahead and you’ll never fall behind.
In Las Vegas, Wilmer Flores isn’t hitting well in an environment where everybody is supposed to. With a .265/.317/.429 triple slash line, he’s doing little to separate himself as a top prospect. However, he’s listed as a 2B/3B in Ottoneu Leagues which affords him sweet, sweet middle infield eligibility. Plus, Ike Davis has been so god awful, he may earn first base eligibility too!
Additionally, he doesn’t walk, or strikeout much. This means Flores will put balls in play and have an opportunity to add counting stats in the home run and runs batted in categories much like Nolan Arenado.
In 2009-2010, I was in attendance for 200-300 Flores plate appearances and saw a player with the hit tool of a .300 hitter with 20-home runs annually. At present, his walk rate in the 7-8% range has me thinking he’s more of a .270-.285 guy, but that’s still solid. In leagues where one isn’t dinged for on base percentage, Flores would be a fun player to speculate on.
Plus, Flores has mashed lefties to the tune of .333/.370/.625 in 52 plate appearances. If he was called up tomorrow, I’d be comfortable spot starting him in my 2B or M-INF spot against left-handed pitchers. With my being cuckoo for splits this season, he fits into my strategy almost too well.
As for the splits strategy, it has worked with some tweaks. When players are in the midst of hot streaks like my Jean Segura and Manny Machado, I am playing them regardless of what the splits say. Playing splits has proved valuable when players as simply plugging along. For example, Danny Espinosa has been a big disappointment, but my spot starting him against lefties has still worked reasonably well.
This morning, I surpassed 100-points in the Ottoneu Experts League for the first time this season. Knock on wood, but I’ve now been above 90-points for a couple of weeks and believe it’s my point floor barring a collapse.
With the second place team at 85-points, another owner will have to add a considerable amount of talent to make a strong push. The one category I’m struggling with (wins) is the only category which is dependent almost entirely on luck.
My dropping Heath Bell was a mistake I’ll regret for awhile. After doing it because of injuries to my outfield, I told you to grab him. I hope you did!
25 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
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