2014 Fantasy BaseballFantasy Baseball

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Rotters and Sleepers — Right Field

denorfia land
Source: Denis Poroy/Getty Images North America

It may seem silly to look at rotters and sleepers now that the season has started, but everyone can upgrade their bench at any time. What we have seen so far (with the exception of the center fielders) are players that teams use in platoon roles. The smaller market teams (like the Padres) are wising up to the fact that they can carry an extra outfielder or two on their bench and rotate them into the lineup in favorable situations.

Last season, carrying the extra outfielder ended up benefitting the Padres when Cameron Maybin went down. Chris Denorfia stepped in and played well. Now, he is eligible across the board even though he began his career as a platoon partner for Will Venable. He would always get an occasional start in left and center field. That was enough to get him 300 to 400 at bats a season. Bud Black is smart enough to make sure his opportunities are situations where he will be successful. While his overall numbers are not impressive, if he is on your bench and subbing for another quality outfielder it can help you.

AVG

HR

Runs

RBI

SB

2011

.277

5

38

19

11

2012

.293

8

56

36

13

2013

.279

10

67

47

11

It is hard to look at numbers like the ones above and be impressed. The important thing is understanding what you are looking at. Think of it like putting together a puzzle. In the left field section we looked at Matt Joyce. Matt Joyce is a very good baseball player 75-80 percent of the time. What do you do during the other 20 percent? Chris Denorfia could be a nice option. Let’s pretend you get use of half of the numbers from last season for Denorfia. If you happen to get the numbers against lefties then you have yourself a pretty darn good player.

                                                AVG            HR          Runs        RBI          SB

Matt Joyce                           .246             16              54           40              6

Chris Denorfia                    .284              9              30           26               4

Total                                      .265            25              84           66             10

Those numbers may not blow your skirt up, but you have to consider that both of these guys went undrafted. Imagine the amount of talent in the infield or on the mound you could get by punting the outfield until after late in the draft. We haven’t even looked at the plate discipline numbers or batted ball statistics. We could see some improvement.

SO%

BB%

Oswing

Contact

BABIP

2011

14.4

8.2

24.6

82.0

.314

2012

13.6

7.1

26.9

81.0

.323

2013

16.2

8.1

26.9

80.7

.319

The Padres added Seth Smith in the offseason. He is another candidate for the kind of rotational platoon that some teams like to employ. Also, Maybin is coming back healthy after a nearly lost season and Carlos Quentin is starting the season healthy. That’s good news for the Padres and bad news for Chris Denorfia fans. However, it might work out well in terms of getting more quality performance. His Oswing rate went up and the contact rate went down slightly with more playing time. If he gets a higher percentage of playing time against lefties then we might see those numbers go up.

LD%

GB%

FB%

HR/FB

ISO

2011

16.5

58.8

24.7

7.9

.104

2012

18.2

60.3

21.5

12.5

.158

2013

20.7

55.5

23.8

10.8

.116

This is a case of the chicken or the egg. Is Denorfia a groundball hitter who happens to fit his home ballpark (Petco Park) or has he patterned his game after his home ballpark? I guess we will never know, but if you want someone that can play occasionally and give you some good numbers you could do a whole lot worse than Chris Denorfia.

Nate Schierholtz is a whole different ballgame. He used to be the platoon sort, but he blossomed in full-time duty with the Cubs. He jumped from six home runs to 21 home runs in one season.The question is whether 2014 will see another such jump or if he has seen the best that he is going to see in his career? A waiver claim is a very cheap way to find out.

AVG

HR

Runs

RBI

SB

2011

.278

9

42

41

7

2012

.257

6

20

21

3

2013

.251

21

56

68

6

Like with Denorfia, we see that the effectiveness of the performance goes down as the playing time goes up. Schierholtz is one of those flawed players that looks that much more flawed when you expose him to all competition. Theo Epstein is rebuilding the Cubs, so there aren’t a lot of options, but that could change at some point this year when more prospects are ready to help out. Until that day comes, he will give you some power on your bench.

SO%

BB%

Oswing

Contact

BABIP

2011

16.9

5.8

39.1

83.5

.315

2012

17.1

8.6

35.2

81.1

.292

2013

18.1

5.8

35.3

79.7

.270

When you see contact rates and walk rates drop you become concerned. Since we know he played more often last season than in seasons past, we can surmise that the numbers dropped because of the added exposure. We could guess that the numbers might continue to drop with more exposure. His BABIP may go back up and so his numbers might end up looking better temporarily, but he probably has reached his ceiling as a player.

LD%

GB%

FB%

HR/FB

ISO

2011

22.1

40.2

37.7

8.7

.152

2012

19.7

46.0

34.3

8.8

.149

2013

20.3

39.7

40.0

14.2

.219

Nate Schierholtz never had a home run per fly ball rate nearly as high as he did last season. That could be interpreted two ways. Either it was a once in a lifetime season and he will not produce home run numbers like that again, or his home ballparks were holding him down before. Considering that we are looking at a potential waiver claim, it is probably just as safe to assume that he will continue to have more power in Wrigley Field than he had at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

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