Fantasy Baseball Today

The Kevin Kiermaier effect

By Al Melchior | Data Analyst

Kevin Kiermaier could have a Fantasy impact, but it's of the indirect sort. (USATSI)
Kevin Kiermaier could have a Fantasy impact, but it's of the indirect sort. (USATSI)

Wil Myers' wrist will be in a cast for more than a month, so he is likely to be out of action for at least two months. That stinks.

Though Myers' sophomore season had yet to pick up steam, his loss is still a blow to his Fantasy owners, but there's a bright side for some other owners. The Rays have been getting solid defense from Desmond Jennings and Matt Joyce, and though Myers had been the weak link defensively in their outfield, the team has held opponents to an .087 BABIP on flyballs.

That solid rate, which is right around the major league average and median, could be on the verge of improving, as at least some of Myers' starts are likely to go to defensive whiz Kevin Kiermaier. The Rays' pitching staff has allowed more flyballs than any team aside from the Twins, so this is not an insignificant development.

Kiermaier's presence in right field should especially help lefty David Price, who has been victimized by a .333 BABIP. Granted, his bad luck has come on grounders, as opponents have hit .315 against him when putting the ball on the grass (or FieldTurf). However, Price could see improvement in his already-low .068 flyball BABIP to go along with better luck on grounders. If you can find a Price owner who is put off by his 4.27 ERA, you have a superb buy-low opportunity. You could even live with his current 1.16 WHIP, but that, too, could be on the verge of getting much lower.

Fellow southpaw Erik Bedard could also benefit from the enhanced right field defense, given his 41.6 percent flyball rate. Bedard doesn't throw as hard as he used to and pitches to contact -- and worse yet, he allows too many extra-base hits and walks -- but good defense could bolster his value. He's actually been decent since the beginning of May, posting a 3.69 ERA, and with a rangier right fielder behind him, he could reduce the 1.33 WHIP he has compiled over those six starts. Bedard is owned in only 7 percent of the leagues on CBSSports.com, but he is worth a speculative pickup in AL-only leagues and some deeper mixed leagues.

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