Make them notice: Andy Dirks

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Let’s see what you can do, Andy (US Presswire)

Yesterday I was perusing a few fantasy baseball articles, and this one with AL OF rankings by RotoGraph’s David Wiers caught my attention.

Looking through the tiers I realized that Austin Jackson was nowhere to be found. You know, the Tigers outfielder with the insane BABIP. Scrolling down, I saw the commenters were quick to point this out, and he was quickly added to tier three. Crisis averted.

I started perusing again. I was looking in particular for where another Tigers outfielder, Andy Dirks was located. Tier five? Nope. Six? Nada. Surely he would be in tier seven I thought, but once again, negative. Rajai Davis and his non-existent production was in tier seven so my concern grew.

I arrived at the last and final stop, tier eight. Here’s what I saw:

Tier Eight
Jacoby Ellsbury
Brennan Boesch
Delmon Young
Ryan Raburn
Carl Crawford
Alex Rios
Lorenzo Cain

I spy two injured stars, another injured player who was never very good, a washed-up White Sock, and then three other Tigers hitters. No Andy Dirks.

I quickly checked the comments and not even one person was puzzled by Dirks’ lack of inclusion. This was intentional. For comedy’s sake, here are the slash lines of those Tigers hitters:

Raburn: .127/.192/.169 in 79 PA
Young: .221/.291/.299 in 86 PA with a derogatory slur thrown in
Boesch: .209/.229/.330 in 118 PA and a recent demotion from the second to eighth spot in the lineup

And who was promoted to that coveted second spot in the Tigers lineup in front of Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera over the weekend? You guessed it, Andy Dirks.

In comparison, here’s Dirks’ current slash line: .333/.358/.608 in 53 PA. Refreshing, isn’t it?

I don’t expect Dirks to keep up that gaudy pace, but let’s take a look at his past numbers to get a sense of what to expect from him going forward.

+------+------+----+-----+----+----+-----+----+------+-------+-------+-------+ | Year | Team | G | PA | HR | R | RBI | SB | AVG | BABIP | BB% | K% | +------+------+----+-----+----+----+-----+----+------+-------+-------+-------+ | 2009 | A+ | 27 | 117 | 0 | 11 | 18 | 10 | .330 | .370 | 11.10 | 9.40 | | 2009 | AA | 98 | 408 | 6 | 46 | 44 | 11 | .255 | .287 | 8.80 | 15.00 | | 2010 | AA | 98 | 434 | 11 | 64 | 46 | 19 | .278 | .300 | 8.10 | 13.60 | | 2010 | AAA | 22 | 93 | 4 | 14 | 17 | 3 | .375 | .397 | 3.20 | 12.90 | | 2011 | AAA | 41 | 172 | 7 | 30 | 24 | 12 | .325 | .355 | 7.00 | 16.30 | | 2011 | MAJ | 78 | 235 | 7 | 34 | 28 | 5 | .251 | .273 | 4.70 | 15.30 | | 2012 | MAJ | 16 | 53 | 2 | 9 | 7 | 0 | .333 | .333 | 1.90 | 7.50 | +------+------+----+-----+----+----+-----+----+------+-------+-------+-------+

The first thing that jumps out is the low strikeout percentage Dirks has maintained throughout his professional career. This should allow him to hit for at least a .280 average as long as he continues to make solid contact and post BABIPs around .300 or above. A .300 average isn’t out of the question either.

Dirks has never displayed great power or speed, but you can see he provides a bit of both. A final line with 15 homers and 15 steals seems reasonable based on what he’s produced in the past.

Finally, what puts it all together are the run and RBI opportunities Dirks will receive batting second for the Tigers on a everyday basis. Runs and RBIs are neglected stats in fantasy baseball because they can be tough to predict and batting lineups are fickle. Still, we shouldn’t ignore the increased run producing opportunities Dirks will receive over similarly skilled players who might be batting eighth or in less potent lineups.

Putting it all together I see Dirks as a sneakily valuable player, similar to what Melky Cabrera was on the Royals last year. He most likely won’t put up as bountiful a line as Melky did, but when he currently isn’t even listed as a top 40 outfielder in the AL, I see a player that is clearly undervalued.

Even in 12-team mixed leagues, Dirks is someone I would add as a fourth or fifth outfielder.

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Comments

  1. Hunter said...

    I picked up Dirks in one of my leagues on Monday because he was hitting 2nd with the Tigers…thought it was weird no one had written about him yet.  Thanks for confirming my opinion.

    In my other league, I think I’m about to drop Presley for him.

    Only concern: do you think Dirks is in danger of being platooned?

  2. Paul Singman said...

    It’s a concern, but between playing left field and DHing, I think it’s reasonable to assume he’ll be playing essentially every day. Granted it’s a small sample, but I quickly checked his splits and he’s actually hit lefties better than righties in his MLB career so far, so there’ no grounds for sitting him with a lefty on the mound.

    He should be universally owned, I think.

  3. Paul Singman said...

    Yea, I think Dirks outperforms them ROS. With OBP and SLG it makes it a tougher call but I wouldn’t be afraid to run with Dirks.

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