MLB Stock Watch: Week of May 5, 2014
ROTOscouting knows fantasy managers don’t have time to scour depth charts, so this series brings the fantasy diamonds to an owners’ doorstep.This week’s MLB stock watch features a pair of toolsy outfielders buried on prospect lists and a Rays’ pitcher whose value is warming along with the weather. In each case there is reason to invest based on talent, opportunity, and organizational precedent.
Steven Souza, OF – AAA, Syracuse (Washington Nationals)
Currently on the bench in Washington, Steven Souza is a prospect with power and speed most have never heard of. Selected in the 3rd round of the 2007 amateur draft, Souza raked last year at Double-A Harrisburg slashing .300/.396/.557 with 15 home runs, 23 doubles, and 20 stolen bases in 323 plate appearances. He has a career .344 OBP in the minors and a 5:8 K/BB ratio in Triple-A before his promotion. Playing time in the Nationals’ outfield is abundant right now with Bryce Harper on the DL, Nate McLouth punishing
the ballNationals’ fans with a .098/.288/.195 line and Denard Span‘s .279 OBP in the lead off spot. Only a half game out of the NL East lead, Souza’s skill set would help in Washington. Fantasy owners need to make room for him, too. Chances are he’s still on the waiver wire in most leagues and legitimate 15/15 production from outfielders is a rare find at this price.
Enny Romero, P – AAA, Durham (Tampa Bay Rays)
The Rays starters currently have the 5th worst ERA in the majors (4.55, 3.77 FIP) and sit in the bottom third of the league in GB/FB (1.21) and SwStk (8.5%) rates. Other than Cesar Ramos (2.91 ERA) the Rays don’t have a starter with an ERA under 4.44. David Price is giving up homers at a prolific rate (15.7% HR/FB), sophomore Chris Archer (4.85 ERA) has underwhelmed and injuries have taken their toll on the rest of the staff (Jeremy Hellickson, Alex Cobb, and Matt Moore). With the Rays holding their rotation together with
band aids and chicken wireErik Bedard (5.52 ERA, 10:10 K/BB), Ramos (4.30 FIP), and Jake Odorizzi (4.55 BB/9), Enny Romero deserves consideration in Triple-A.
The Rays’ are notoriously slow in promoting their top talent but the lefty would be an upgrade. Chris Blessing thinks his fastball/curveball combination is ready for the bigs but his changeup and command are still lacking. Romero has a 4.50 ERA (3.81 FIP), but his strikeout per inning rate is the highest its been since 2011. Plus, his walk rate has declined three years in a row (3.66 BB/9 in 2014). Even when Cobb and Hellickson return Romero is in line for an opportunity. Acquire Romero before call up rumors surface. Rays’ pitching prospects are MLB stock watch favorites and his price tag is at a low point.
Domingo Santana, OF – AAA, Oklahoma City (Houston Astros)
It is difficult to find an offensive category in which the Astros’ outfield is excelling. Currently last in WAR (-2.2), batting average (.195), slugging percentage (.302), and wOBA (.257). They are also the second worst in K-rate, and on-base percentage. The Astros acquired Domingo Santana as the PTBNL in the Hunter Pence deal from the Phillies in 2011. Jeff Reese liked his tools in 2013 and a .245 ISO, 10% walk rate, and 12 stolen bases in double-A attest to his strengths.
Unfortunately, significant swing-and-miss has always been a concern. After 127 plate appearances in Triple-A in 2014 his strikeout rate is nearly 30%, with a walk rate at its lowest level since 2011. The power and speed has disappeared (.171 ISO and zero stolen bases) as well. An inflated .421 BABIP is buoying a .299/.354/.470 slash line and masking his power/speed outage. With the Houston outfield struggling to produce, Santana should be on speed dial despite the flaws in his game. But after George Springer‘s struggles as a speed/power/strikeout player, Houston will keep Santana down.
Even though his MLB stock watch is down Santana a player to monitor closely. Alex Presley is out of options and could be DFA’d anytime. Santana is only 21 years old and is a cheap source of power. In the near future, The Astros will insert him into the lineup with a long leash given other outfield options. Point to his inflated BABIP and continued strikeout concerns and strike while his value is down. Santana is a nice throw in as part of a larger trade or a dynasty league flier to stash on the farm. Remember. tools like Santana’s are rare.
MLB Stock Watch Final Thoughts
While others zig ROTOscouting zags . When injuries and poor performance occur MLB stock watch takes note. Fantasy “experts” want to hype George Springer…let them. Smart fantasy owners look at the name behind the name, the opening act instead of the main attraction. Steven Souza and Domingo Santana are buried in the prospect rankings and Enny Romero is forgotten amongst Chris Archer and Alex Cobb. These players will vault a fantasy team into contention for a discounted rate.
5 May 2014 / Joseph Pytleski /
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