Baseball HQ: A recipe for batters' non-roster invitee success

by on February 19, 2013 @ 10:15:33 PDT


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Failed prospects

Some folks considered Jason Pridie (OF, BAL) to be a deep sleeper last season, but he only got a handful of ABs with Phillies. Yet Pridie showed some potential for more across 208 at bats with the Mets in 2011, demonstrating above average PX and Spd. Pridie has had ct% issues and inconsistent bb% in the high minors, but he's delivered double digit HRs and solid SB totals as well. Baltimore has stability in CF and RF, but competition in camp will determine the starter in LF and Pridie's power/speed combo could open some eyes. Baltimore has a lot of veterans vying for just a few open roster spots, so Pridie is a longshot. But he's got fantasy upside if he earns a job.

We're bending the rules by including 27-year-old Nick Evans (1B/OF, LA), but considering that LA is his third organization in the last year and a half, it feels right. There was a time when Evans looked to be a part of the Mets' future, having enjoyed some success in the big leagues in parts of four straight seasons before being cut loose in 2011. Evans has a weak Eye and has struggled to make contact, but he has nice PX that gives him some decent HR upside. LA has lots of star power in that lineup, but depth and injuries have been an issue. So if Evans slugs his way into a bench role, he may get a chance to make an impact this season.

For a few years, it seemed Kila Ka'aihue (1B, ARI) was the 1B of the future in Kansas City. While Ka'aihue never broke through in his abbreviated MLB stints, he did show the bb% and PX that made him an extremely successful hitter in the upper minors. Ka'aihue hasn't hit well in the big leagues yet, though he actually handles LHP better than RHP. It will likely take a huge performance in March and possibly some unfortunate results for others to open up a roster spot for Ka'aihue, but if he get an opportunity in the desert he has the power and patience to generate fantasy value.

Just for fun

While mostly unremarkable as an MLB starting pitcher, Micah Owings (1B/P, WAS) has always been exciting at the plate. Owings is threatening to become the rarest of commodities: the utility hitter/pitcher. Owings has said he envisions himself pitching out of the bullpen and making the occasional start, while also providing a power bat off the bench. In 205 big league ABs, Owings has a .812 OPS while flashing huge PX and above average Spd as well. He has major ct% issues and a dire bb%, but a lot of that can be attributed to a raw, unrefined approach that saw him swinging out of his shoes in his few ABs a week. The odds of someone like Owings becoming even an average major league hitter at this stage are not good, but Washington is giving him a chance so it will be interesting to watch. Should he make the team and provide fantasy value as both a pitcher and a batter, he could offer unique value to owners while becoming a total nightmare for fantasy scoring engines.

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