Bullish or Bearish: Mallex Smith
Being the most notable name in the off-season trade between the Mariners and Braves last year doesn’t mean much more than being the skinny kid at fat camp. We haven’t seen or heard much from the other principles in that deal, or the subsequent deal that sent Mallex Smith packing for Tampa Bay before the season even started. But we have seen Mallex Smith hitting atop the Tampa line up and that is worth talking about.
Smith loves to steal
Having ripped 88 bags in the minors in 2014, Smith has that next level speed that shows modern pitchers what it was like in the days of Rickey Henderson. With 9 steals in only 88 plate appearances in 2017, Mallex is averaging a steal every other game. What really makes Smith stand above guys like Billy Hamilton is his elite ability to get on base. With a BABIP of .433, his .346 batting average is certain to regress, and probably well under .300. With a walk rate of 11.4%, however, you can trust Smith to get on base regardless of how he’s hitting; translation: high DFS floor (cash games) and massive DFS ceiling (tournaments).
Mallex Smith offers good value
His strikeout rate is a little high for an ideal burner at 19.3%, but that’s still less than league average and part of that correlates to his excellent plate discipline (fewer bad pitches swung at also correlates to more called strikes). Either way, with that kind of speed coming from a left-handed batter, his early career BABIP of .342 may be realistic. That would have him settle in at a .270 to .280 batting average at his peak. Couple that with a 10%+ walk rate and 70+ SB potential and you’ve got an excellent leadoff hitter who may be a legitimate $4,000 player (Fan Duel pricing).
Being priced at $2,900 on Fan Duel shows that the DFS market hasn’t acknowledged the daily upside or respectable floor of Mallex Smith. It certainly doesn’t reflect the fact that over the last two weeks, since seeing nearly regular play time in the Tampa lineup, Smith has a .452 OBP with 1 HR, 6 SBs, and 13 runs. I’d argue that he’s a $3,500 player so below that is value in cash games. As far as tournaments, you may want to aim a little more boom/bust with your guys than $3,500, but at or below $3,100 makes Smith an excellent tournament play. Just know that the Rays are hitting him lower in the lineup against left-handed pitchers, so make sure he’s squaring up against a righty before investing.
I am BULLISH on Mallex Smith.
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