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A-Jax on the mend
On Sunday, the Detroit Tigers placed outfielder Andy Dirks on the 15-day disabled list. The left fielder had been dealing with Achilles' tendonitis for a few days and made no notable progress in his time off. He's eligible to return on June 14.
The Tigers called up Matt Young, 29, to replace Dirks on the roster. The left-handed hitter had a .259/.431/.354 slash line and 12 stolen bases at Triple-A Toledo. He's expected to serve as a reserve and has virtually no roto value.
Dirks hit .328 with four home runs prior to his deactivation. Although he's been maintaining a low swinging-strike rate and a high contact rate, his strikeout rate rose noticeably in May. It'll be interesting to see if this down period disrupts the good thing he had going.
What makes the transaction worthy of a little more attention is the effect it'll have on Quintin Berry's staying power. The left-handed hitter has batted .333 with six steals and 11 runs scored in 57 plate appearances since he was called up to fill in for Austin Jackson (left abdominal strain) - both in center and the leadoff position.
Jackson doesn't have a timetable for his return, although he's getting close. When Detroit's center fielder returns, however, Berry, one of the few bright spots for Motown's offense recently, seems like a good candidate to remain in the outfield mix. In the immediate future, the Tigers will probably employ utility man Don Kelly in left field.
In AL leagues, Berry was dice roll of a pickup and has paid handsomely. Even folks in deep mixed leagues have given him a shot. The move could deliver for a little longer than expected, since it's unclear how long Dirks' ailment will sideline him.
The only caveat is that Berry is probably headed for a downturn in the near future. The 27-year-old is a .267 hitter lifetime in the minors, and his strikeout rates in the high teens and low 20s may attest to the reason. His contact rate in the bigs this year has been less than 80 percent, and his strikeout rate approaches 30 percent.
He's demonstrated his willingness to take a walk throughout his career, so he may continue to rack up stolen base opportunities. The odds of those chances coming via hits are going down, however. Those in mixed leagues should be ready to jump when the signs that he's heading south begin to show.
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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