I wanted to start doing our commenter league sign-ups today, but ESPN still hasn’t opened their doors. Who’s got the keys over there? Does Karabell need someone to come shovel his driveway? So, instead of sign-ups beginning today, we’re going over a mi amor in the outfield. I already touched on Steven Souza briefly when he was first traded away from the Nats, saying, “(He) went to the Rays in the three-way Myers trade. Souza is a little cheaper than Myers and helps build up the Rays’ horn section. Souza might be the last remnants of Bowden fluffers in Washington. Get a load of this– Hmm, maybe that’s a bad turn of a phrase when talking about fluffers. Anyway, look at his last few years: 11 HRs, 25 SBs in 2011; 23 HRs, 14 SBs in 2012; 16 HRs, 30 SBs in 2013 and 18 HRs, 26 SBs last year in Triple-A. You, “Please don’t tell me the bad news, I refuse to listen!” Sorry, You. He looks like he might not hit .240 without some favorable BABIP luck. Yes, the Rays have their 2nd Desmond Jennings. Call Souza, Desmond 2 Too. This won’t be the last time you hear about Souza this offseason, and he could be an absolute steal in drafts.” And that’s me quoting me! See, I wasn’t lying. I told you I’d talk about him again. Little did you know that 40% of my talking again about him would be what I already said and 20% more would be talking about how I was saying the same thing again, then 10% is punctuation, 10% is spacing and 20% is new stuff. Razzball: 20% New Stuff Daily! Anyway, what can we expect from Steven Souza for 2015 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
He will be 26 years old in April, when he finally gets a starting job. This wasn’t his fault, he had major league competent outfielders in front of him. What the age does tell us is he’s likely coming in and ready to contribute. If he doesn’t contribute this year (not a strong possibility, but it’s there), he could be labeled a Quad-A player and find his junk in a trunk on the side of a road in Florida, while taking pictures with a strung-up alligator. (A strung-up alligator is different than a 50-year-old woman, who looks like she’s 65 from sun damage and smoking. That’s a strung-out alligator.) His strikeout rates in the minors haven’t been pretty. Kinda like your favorite strung-out alligator. Last year in 21 games in the majors, he struck out 7 times. Before you scream small sample size — the girls never complained — I know, it is. He does strikeout a lot though. Sample size or not. It took him six years to progress past High-A partly because he struck out a lot (and they couldn’t find a position for him to play). I alluded in the opening to Desmond Jennings, but only on the surface does that comparison hold up. Jennings’s problem isn’t huge Ks, it’s more weak-sista hitting. You know what weak-sista hitting is, it’s the last neo-Nazi picked in the prison yard for shankball. Watching video of Souza hitting a home run had me think of Charlie Blackmon. Not the black guy that lives down the street from you named Charlie, but rather the Rockies outfielder. Just looks like him swinging, doesn’t profile exactly the same either. Blackmon doesn’t K that much. Oddly, the guy that Souza most profiles as that’s been mentioned in this post is Wil Myers. Another name that hasn’t been mentioned, but I could see a comparison to is Carlos Gomez. Not the player Gomez has grown into, the one he was when he first came up. The guy that hit .258 in 2008 with power and speed. Unfortch, Gomez was 23 in ’08 and Souza’s way past that, so I think that’s gonna affect him long-term. In the top 60 outfielders, I gave Souza the projections of 58/12/65/.234/22 with lots of upside. He’s a guy I definitely love for the flyer, especially when he’s ranked on average around pick 236 (I have him at pick 166). Okay, so that was more like 18% new stuff.