Homeless Heroes

Photo Credit: meddygarnet

Think your neighbor who was fired from his job and had his house foreclosed on is in bad shape? Well some baseball players making as little as $414,000.00 don’t even have a home… on a major league starting lineup. That’s right. Think about that before you get all “Wah, times are tough for me in this economy.” Fortunately, there may be hope for some of these unfortunate souls.

Below is a list of players who don’t quite have an everyday role carved out, but who could very well develop into “Homeless Heroes.” Let’s hope life gets a little easier for these suffering individuals. More after the jump:

Homeless Hero: Russ Canzler, Tampa Bay
Eligible Positions in Yahoo!: 3B
Possible Starting Position on Current Team: 1B
Reason He’s Interesting: There’s really no one better suited for 1B duties in TB if the team doesn’t bring in a free agent. Canzler had a productive season in AAA last year, hitting .314 and posting a .215 ISO. Canzler has also posted high walk rates in the pros, a trait that is sure to rub manager Joe Maddon the right way (pause). Plus, the Rays have a long history of turning virtual unknowns into viable fantasy assets (Carlos Pena, Ben Zobrist, etc.).

Homeless Hero: Jared Goedert, Cleveland Indians
Eligible Positions in Yahoo!: 2B
Possible Starting Position on Current Team: 1B
Reason He’s Interesting: Matt LaPorta looks like a bust and is really the only thing standing in Goedert’s path to everyday ABs. While Goedert is 27 and was never much of a big-time prospect, he’s shown impressive power over the last two years. In 2010, he posted good numbers in AA (.325 BA and .215 ISO) and AAA (.261 BA and .267 ISO). He continued to show good pop in AAA last year by registering a .222 ISO in 322 PAs. While he may not be much of a fantasy first baseman, his second base eligibility could make him a sneaky breakout candidate in 2012.

Homeless Hero: Matt Downs, Houston Astros
Eligible Positions in Yahoo!: 1B, 2B, and 3B
Possible Starting Position on Current Team: 3B
Reason He’s Interesting: Downs did an admirable job filling in around the infield last year, posting a .241 ISO in 222 PAs. While the power looks somewhat flukey given his inconsistent track record in the minors, only three of his 10 HRs were of the “just enough” variety according to HitTrackerOnline.com. Downs was very aggressive at the plate last year, swinging at 51.1 percent of the pitches he saw and he put most of the balls he hit into the air (35.9 GB%). He’s turning 28 in March and will begin the season on the bench, but with the Astros in rebuilding mode, it would make sense for them to see what they have in Downs in case one of their starters struggles. The most likely Astro to get overtaken by Downs? Jimmy Paredes at third.

Homeless Hero: Eric Young Jr., Colorado Rockies
Eligible Positions in Yahoo!: OF
Possible Starting Position on Current Team: 2B
Reason He’s Interesting: Young’s elite speed has been well-documented, but whenever he’s been given a chance to secure a starting role, he’s always come up shorter than a footstool. Many fantasy owners have given up on him, but there is a chance he will finally earn regular playing time in 2012. Second base is currently open and while teammates Chris Nelson and Jonathan Herrera are considered the frontrunners for the position, neither of them are that talented. While Young has failed to capitalize on previous opportunities, he did show good plate patience in 2011 (11.4 BB% and 16.6 K%) and has the ability to be a difference-maker in the SB category.

Homeless Hero: Trevor Plouffe, Minnesota Twins
Eligible Positions in Yahoo!: 2B and SS
Possible Starting Position on Current Team: 1B, OF, or DH
Reason He’s Interesting: Plouffe’s awful glove has forced the Twins to no longer consider him a viable middle-infielder, but his bat is good enough to play everyday. His power started to blossom in 2010, when he posted a .187 ISO in AAA. He followed that up with a .319 ISO in AAA last year, though he failed to produce consistently at the major league level after getting called up. Fortunately, the Twins have injury concerns at catcher (Joe Mauer) and first base (Justin Morneau) and that could open up playing time for Plouffe. If Mauer gets hurt, Ryan Doumit could move behind the plate and open up the DH spot for Plouffe. If Morneau misses any time, Doumit can cover first while Plouffe handles DH duties. Plouffe’s issues with strikeouts might make him a BA drag, but with SS eligibility, his power potential could make him a very useful fantasy weapon.


About Starbonell

Starbonell is the co-founder of Sons of Roto and one of the most insightful and colorful fantasy analysts in the game. Mixing intelligent and well-researched advice with an entertaining style of writing that is easy to digest, Starbonell is the king of info-tainment.