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August 18, 2010

Fantasy Beat

Hot Spots: Outfield

by Rob McQuown

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Value Picks 2010 PECOTA Games '10 Scoresheet
Rick Ankiel ATL 156 4 21 18 1 .237 .314 .388 .266 .324 .492 0 40 0 +30 –90 2.12
Peter Bourjos LAA 46 0 4 2 2 .122 .200 .171 .256 .307 .401 0 12 0 –16 +40 2.10
Lorenzo Cain MIL 38 0 5 3 1 .364 .421 .455 .227 .288 .350 1 9 1 –16 +40 2.10
Coco Crisp OAK 205 4 32 25 18 .277 .342 .441 .274 .352 .415 0 45 0 –4 +10 2.17
Shelley Duncan CLE 165 6 15 22 0 .240 .327 .418 .247 .332 .467 26 0 8 –18 +39 2.07
Jon Jay STL 179 3 31 16 1 .356 .406 .525 .267 .319 .386 5 15 34 +24 –71 2.10
David Murphy TEX 322 8 38 42 9 .275 .343 .426 .282 .349 .477 50 3 42 +33 –96 2.08
Felix Pie BAL 164 4 19 15 3 .281 .304 .444 .284 .345 .471 39 1 0 +24 –79 2.15
Subscribe to Heater: Avg for Left Field .274 .342 .440   vRH = OPS v RH
Heater Magazine Avg for Center Field .269 .338 .424   vLH = OPS v LH
  Avg for Right Field .275 .348 .449   Rng = Range
  Avg for All Outfield .273 .343 .438  

Jose Guillen is Surging – Why? As anyone who's played fantasy realizes, a huge part of winning is not only knowing how much players are going to produce, but also how highly valued they might be by others. I own Jose Guillen on my ill-fated FP911 Expert League team. Here's the latest writeup, for people in need of a laugh – “I wasn't prepared, so I drafted Gerald Laird”... that rhyme more-or-less summarizes my season, though I did avoid picking up Mariners Milton Bradley, Chone Figgins, Ian Snell, et al - not that anyone could have predicted their declines in 2010. But, honestly, I hadn't paid much attention to Guillen as a potential Value Pick. So, I was surprised to see that he's still owned in about 50% of leagues, even in the shallower formats available. Sure, before 2010, his Weighted-means PECOTA came out at a useful .285/.333/.464 rate, despite playing in KC. And he's theoretically moving to the easier league. But consider his rate stats by year:

2006: .216/.276/.398

2007: .290/.353/.460

2008: .264/.300/.438

2009: .242/.314/.367

2010: .257/.315/.438 (age 34 season)


This is a rate of production on par with Guillen's 40th-percentile expectations, per PECOTA. He and Burrell weren't crazy pickups for the Giants, who are trying to chase down the Padres. Both Petco and AT&T Park are about neutral when it comes to right-handed home run factor, as opposed to making it difficult for (most) lefties to hit homers. But this Giants have better options against most right-handed starters, and Guillen can expect to see a lot of bench time as Bruce Bochy searches high and low for every matchup advantage down the stretch.

Staying thematic, and answering a reader request from last week (thanks for the comments, everyone – always appreciated), Ryan Raburn is also a tempting player to stay away from in mixed leagues. He's 29 this year, and has hit .261/.322/.444 in 909 career plate appearances. He has some skills, namely hitting for power and bashing lefties (against whom he's hit .257/.336/.491 and amassing almost half of his career PA facing them). He plays multiple positions, starting at second base, left field, and right field in August already, and backs up Austin Jackson in center field, as well. For fantasy teams which need flexibility and pop, he isn't awful, but not good enough to start in most mixed-league formats. And his weighted-means PECOTA projection of .274/.349/.500 was probably stolen from Ryan Ludwick somehow, because that's simply not the player Raburn is.

Scratch Him Off: Last week, the advice was to “keep the faith” with Peter Bourjos, but an 0-for-14 week and more bench time make it appear that only martyrs would have enough faith to stick with Peter through his trials. In the “real world” of fantasy ball, it's time to go fishing again... speaking of which, Bourjos' eventual successor, Mike Trout, isn't sinking at high-A ball, with a .287/.365/.426 batting line so far. It's the California League, but keep in mind that he just turned nineteen 11 days ago.

Similarly to Bourjos, Shelley Duncan went hitless on the week (0-for-13), and with Brantley's signs of life and Hafner's return, his playing time will dry up considerably. Another center fielder, Coco Crisp, graduates this week after hitting .320 with 3 steals. No surprise there.

Matching Up: John Jay and Felix Pie had “meh” weeks, hitting .250 and .240, respectively, with little else to show. Both have limitations, but the higher on-base percentages and almost 100% playing time should keep them ahead of the guys like Guillen and Raburn, though with guys like these, going week-to-week looking for favorable matchups might net the biggest gains. Pulling the teams up on www.rotolympus.com, I see that Pie gets 3 games at Chicago and 3 at Los Angeles next week, while Jay gets 7 at the Pirates and Nats. The Tigers have 7 games, with 4 at Toronto, so Raburn should be okay next week, with three lefties in the Toronto rotation. Certainly, with so little of the season remaining, playing the “churn and burn” strategy makes sense for a much higher percentage of players.

Bubble Boys: With a tip of the cap to Marc Normandin's mad fantasy skillz, Boston's new centerfielder Ryan Kalish and San Diego's recent MVP-caliber “free resource” are available in most leagues, and few have any idea of how good these guys are. Chris Denorfia hit .286/.356/.558 over the past 30 days, and has 6 steals in just 191 AB. He gets most of his playing time against lefty pitchers, despite whaling on righties (.281/.352/.471 over 273 PA for his career, better in 2010). He's exactly the sort of player who could be used in daily-move leagues against bad pitchers and/or in good hitter's parks. Oddly, he's also hit (much) better at home this season, defying both expected platoon splits, but that shouldn't lead owners to favor him in home games. For example, the Padres are facing Casey Coleman at Wrigley today... if Denorfia is slated to start, that's like landing on “Free Parking”, and the soft underbelly of the Cubs bullpen is likely to be a windfall to offensive stats after AAA mediocrity Coleman is KO'd early.

Ryan Kalish had the third-best Davenport Translation among players with 150+ AB (.254 Tav – DT's are notoriously rough on AA players), and his DT was .278/.338/.451 (.277 Tav) in AAA for his 144 AB there. As with Lorenzo Cain, he's a great athlete who was formerly hyped and is having a great season, yet isn't being considered as a strong option due to minor league stats below expectations in previous years. At 22 years old, he's probably not to be expected to be a big mixed-league factor immediately, though he was 25-3 in stolen base attempts in just 343 PA in the minors this year.

Travis Snider has mentioned at the break, and it's hard to stomach picking up a guy who is coming off a .095/.095/.095 week, continuing a disappointing season. But he's so powerful that there's always the chance that he'll break out of his slump with something crazy, such as a 5-homer week. Certainly not for the faint of heart – or the team in need of batting average.

What's New? Um, nothing? It's impossible to fully endorse any of the low-ownership players this week as “Value Picks” going forward. David Murphy has been added, though he's already surpassed the usual threshold of ownership percentage. He's a great play as long as Nelson Cruz is hurt, then he resumes his prior status as a good 4th outfielder.

Rob McQuown is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Rob's other articles. You can contact Rob by clicking here

Related Content:  Ryan Raburn,  Shelley Duncan

7 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links


Thanks for the Rayburn comments. I need an outfielder with Brad Hawpe dropping off the map and Josh Willingham about to be out for the year. So, I'm thinking of getting Rayburn, Denorfia, Kalish, Brantley, Cain, Mark Kotsay, Trevor Crowe, Conor Jackson or Mitch Moreland

Aug 18, 2010 07:16 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

This is a good example of where going through upcoming schedules would be helpful. Without digging deeper, it seems like Cain and Moreland would be the two guys I'd think about first. I'll try to look into them further later tonight.

Aug 18, 2010 09:43 AM
BP staff member Michael Street
BP staff

Lorenzo Cain and Dickerson seem to be splitting time about equally these days in Milwaukee.

Carlos Gomez will be ready to return from the DL this week, but they're talking about using one of his options to hold him down in the minors, possibly until Sept. callups. Cain got his first start against an ace (Adam Wainwright) this week and did well. Both say a lot about how much Macha values him, but he's still looking at about a 50-60% timeshare in CF, if that affects your decision-making.

Like Rob, I'd only put Moreland at or above him among the guys on your list, and Moreland should pick up more time with Cruz hitting the DL. MM will bring you power, while Cain will bring speed, which may also affect which guy you choose.

Aug 19, 2010 20:46 PM

Why's Tyler Colvin getting benched so frequently?

Aug 19, 2010 10:37 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

The only information which has been provided is that Lou wants him to stop swinging at so many bad pitches, but the more likely answer is that the Cubs are making a last-ditch effort to showcase Fukudome and Nady before the final trade deadline. It might make sense to cut him until a trade of Fukudome (Cubs are probably dreaming), if you think you can re-claim him. I'm working on depth chart updates for Heater tonight, and it's frustrating to try to anticipate his PT, honestly. The Lee trade can't hurt, reducing the chance that Nady will play the outfield.

Aug 19, 2010 20:28 PM

Thanks Rob and Michael, yes worried about PT with Lorenzo Cain and Michael Brantley HAD looked good until he injured himself last night. So I am leaning towards Moreland, marginally over Rayburn(full PT) and Kalish (increased PT with Cameron and Ellsbury done).
Thanks again, keep up the great work.

On the Cubs, I had been looking there as well with Lee traded but the hitting there leaves a lot to be desired. Has Rudy Jaramillo lost some of his mystic/reputation?

Aug 20, 2010 08:07 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

He gets bashed a lot by the Chicago media, but I don't know how fairly. The problem has been clutch hitting, really... The Cubs have hit .258/.322/.408 as a team (compared to league average of .257/.325/.401), in spite of the two guys they were really counting on (Lee and Ramirez) going into the tank. It's sort of hard to blame the collapses of two established veterans on the hitting coach, and guys like Byrd, Colvin, and Castro have all out-hit expectations, while Soto and Soriano (the 2009 albatrosses) have rebounded well. Still, the run scoring is down a ton due to some epic failures in clutch situations.

In fact, combining the "clutch" failures of the pitchers in the 7th and 8th innings with those of the hitters, at one point, the Cubs were 15 games under .500 despite having a better AVG/OBP/SLG by their hitters than that allowed by their pitchers... it's been a very distressing season.

Aug 20, 2010 09:48 AM
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