I was trying to come up with some catchy way to introduce the definition of a “deep league thought”, but they all ended up in potty humor. Then I reached out to my BFF at Razzball, the Big Magoo, and that ended with him hanging up on me. So I decided to tell you what it’s not, so there is no confusion. It’s not for leagues of 12 teams or less. Of course, this doesn’t include those 12-teamers with 20 bench spots or whatever ridiculous “custom” roster settings the commish decides to use. Seriously though, the 12-team NFBC leagues with 7 bench slots would qualify as borderline deep leagues. The players I will be profiling can be had after pick 250, but most likely 300 and will be either risky young upside plays or boring veterans that may be overlooked on draft day. In years past my good buddy Sky, the DFS guy, would write these up, but since he is on a Brewbatical (yes, he’s taking time away from life to get in touch with his inner hops and barley child), I will be your host. He actually sent me his plaid “host” blazer, but it turned into fat guy in a little coat and now that vintage gem is getting donated to a Chuck Woolery Newlywed Game quilt…
Last season, Aaron Altherr came up on August 18th and in his first four games hit two dongs. Damn, it feels good to write the word dong again. He finished the season with a 25/5/22/6/.241 line and has positioned himself to bat 5th this year behind Ryan Howard. The Phils are on one of the most ambitious of rebuilds and Altherr will get every opportunity to make a name for himself. Let’s dig into Altherr’s numbers so you can decide for yourself… His K-rate (25.5) was higher than league average, but when coupled with an above average walk rate rate (9.9), you get a league average K/BB of 0.39. Being that he has some speed (6-of-8 steals), that walk rate becomes kinda sexy. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Phillies give him the green light this year since they have nothing to lose. His ISO was an insanely high .248 which puts him in really good company. There were only 27 players with a minimum of 150 ABs to have an ISO above .240, and before you go look, yes, I know that list includes platoon bats like Ryan Rayburn, the Smoak monster, the Big Fragu, and JBJ. But Altherr isn’t a platooner, he’s an everydayer looking like some kind of strong bean. Now, do I expect him to repeat that ISO again? Hells no, but I also don’t expect it to drop down to league average (.150). His MLB and MiLB batted ball profiles show an above average line drive and ground ball rate, which should be reassuring to the doubters. But, its the flyball rate at the major league level that gives me caution with the long ball. In the minors this year he was a little over 12% lower, so we need to keep those expectations in check.
Does the hitter fit the park? Whenever I look at a deep league hitter, I always look at the ballpark to gain an edge. It would be too simplistic to just call Philly a hitters park and leave it at that. We know it’s always a top-10 home run park, but did you know it’s the 4th best park (2013-2014) for right handed HR% and was tops in XBHs? Altherr pulls all his homers… literally, not one went anywhere near rightfield last year between the minors and the majors. Bottom line, there is enough in the numbers to buy him on draft day in deeper leagues. He’s got upside, everyday playing time, and as I looked over his numbers trying to find some warts, all I found was a guy that was decent in some areas and promising in others. His batting average won’t be great, but his counting stats will keep him relevant in deep leagues and is a hot streak away from being 12-team worthy. Grey had him as his 80th outfielder and if you read his blurb, doesn’t like him very much. He projected a line of 57/14/63/.251/12, which feels a little light on speed and I think 70+ RBI’s is not out of the question.
I’m taking him in my deep leagues and 12-team NFBC leagues… are you?