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January 24, 2011
Rankings Review: Right Field
This is a review of my 2010 right field rankings. This time around, not only will we use auction values for mixed leagues, but also the dollar value for AL- and NL-only leagues. These dollar values come from Graphical Player 2011, and I think these will do a good job illustrating how much I missed by on the players I missed, though, broken record style, the why is more important than the result when it comes to these rankings. All PECOTA projections, dollar values and statistics in the parentheses are from 2010.
Justin Upton (.287/.372/.518 PECOTA, .273/.356/.442 2010; $12.1 mixed/$20.3 NL): Upton's weighted mean was excellent, and his 70th and 90th percentiles were otherworldly—they didn't seem so out of reach after his fantastic, age 21, 2009 campaign. After a huge drop in his strikeout rate though, one that allowed him to produce that wonderful season, things went south on the punch out side of things again in 2010. The whisper is that his shoulder is worse than expected—hence the thoughts of dealing him this winter—but no one knows for sure.
Nick Markakis (.305/.378/.492 PECOTA, .297/.370/.436 2010; $10.9 mixed/$19.9 AL): Markakis bumped his on-base percentage back up just like PECOTA expected him to, but the power he flashed in 2007 and 2008 seems very far away at this point. 2010 featured a career-worst ISO. Without high steal totals and in the middle of the Baltimore offense, Markakis's fantasy value isn't great unless he can regain that power stroke.
Hunter Pence (.301/.362/.513 PECOTA, .282/.325/.461 2010; $23.0 mixed/$28.6 NL): Lucky for Pence, many leagues don't care about OBP, meaning he was still a valuable piece for owners that drafted him thanks to 18 steals and 25 homers.
Nelson Cruz (.272/.356/.525 PECOTA, .318/374/.576 2010; $17.9 mixed/$26.2 AL): Cruz was even better than expected, and he was expected to be pretty great. He appeared in just 108 games due to injury though, which limited the damage he could do against your opponents.
Jay Bruce (.276/.347/.520 PECOTA, .281/.353/.493 2010; $13.9 mixed/ $20.9 NL): If you're drafting before my rankings come out in February, just know that I have a mild Jay Bruce obsession these days, and that I expect his 2011 to be a monster year—it helps that the 23-year-old hit .306/.376/.575 in the second half of 2010.
Ben Zobrist (.270/.378/.483 PECOTA, .238/.346/.353 2010; $8.0): Zobrist didn’t show the power he displayed from 2008-2009, partially due to a back injury, and partially thanks to a lack of fly balls with any thump behind them. His swing was the most likely culprit, as he wasn’t generating enough loft and drive.
Andre Ethier (.283/.366/.487 PECOTA, .292/.364/.493 2010; $14.1 mixed/$21.2 NL): Ethier's line may have fit the projection spit out by PECOTA, but when the Dodgers' offense collectively did their best Alfredo Griffin impression, his R and RBI totals vanished. Without stolen bases to buoy his value, he was basically good for a decent average and some homers.
Denard Span (.295/.378/.421 PECOTA, .264/.331/.348 2010; $8.0 mixed/$17.9 AL): Span is a career .301/.380/.427 on turf, and .282/.360/.373 hitter on grass. Guess which surface his new park is covered in? He did however improve on his steals, as I thought he would, getting caught just four times rather than 10, like in 2009. Let's not get into his pick offs though, since they don't count as caught stealing anyway.
Bobby Abreu (.279/.377/.446 PECOTA, .255/.352/.435 2010; $15.8 mixed/$24.1 AL): RBI are overrated, but Abreu was always in the middle of good lineups and always a good hitter, which is why he broke the 100 RBI barrier eight of the last nine season. 2010 was a different story though, with the Angels fielding a poor offense and Abreu posting a BABIP nearly 50 points below his career rates. He was still good, and easily would have been worth the four-star designation if his BABIP had not cratered, especially since his ISO shot back up to .180 after a down power showing in 2009.
Jayson Werth (.269/.377/.487 PECOTA, .296/.388/.532 2010; $26.0 mixed/$30.5 NL): Werth was in four stars because he was one of the most balanced hitters available. He continued that trend in 2010 with his most productive offensive season ever, but a drop in his steals total kept him from moving beyond four-star value.
Ichiro Suzuki (.319/.364/.415 PECOTA, .315/.359/.394 2010; $18.3 mixed/$28.3 AL): From 2010: "PECOTA has a tough time with Ichiro normally, but I like this forecast, which is probably a first." He also rebounded from his down year in steals to swipe over 40 again, and if not for a Mariner's offense that was historically bad, he would have ended up with run totals that bumped him over $20.
Josh Hamilton (.294/.366/.532 PECOTA, .359/.411/.633 2010; $35.2 mixed/$39.2 AL): To the collective reader's credit, Hamilton got the same "if healthy" treatment that Quentin did with his bump to four stars, and that worked out pretty alright.
Carlos Quentin (.273/.378/.519 PECOTA, .243/.342/.479 2010; $10.0 mixed/$18.4 AL): Three stars was right for Quentin—I moved him to four stars later at the behest of readers, with the caveat that he only deserves it if he's healthy. He played in 131 games and produced three-star level value.
Franklin Gutierrez (.276/.338/.457 PECOTA, .245/.303/.363 2010; $4.8 mixed/$16.0 AL): Gutierrez had just hit well in Seattle despite being right-handed, so this projection didn't seem out of line for an age 27 season (at least back when I was doing the rankings). 2009 looks like a fluke campaign in a lot of ways for Gutierrez, whose 25 steals were hardly worth the effort in mixed leagues.
Brad Hawpe (.274/.378/.491 PECOTA, .245/.338/.419 2010; -$8.0 mixed/$5.1 NL): I covered Hawpe in more detail last month when he was signed by the Padres—the skinny is that injuries may have derailed his 2010 campaign more so than a legitimate drop in production.
J.D. Drew (.258/.380/.451 PECOTA, .255/.341/.452 2010; $6.6 mixed/$16.2 AL): I didn't like Drew's forecast, but it ended up being almost spot on. Drew needs to be a bit more aggressive at the plate in 2011 in order to keep pitchers honest, or else we will see a repeat.
Jason Kubel (.282/.357/.488 PECOTA, .249/.323/.427 2010; $7.7 mixed/$16.6 AL): Kubel lost even more BABIP than PECOTA expected him to, and his home park leans towards pitchers—combine the two, and you get his 2010 campaign.
Nick Swisher (.249/.376/.465 PECOTA, .288/.359/.511 2010; $20.1 mixed/$26.4 AL): This projection seemed sound, but Swisher outperformed it, and was most likely one of the better buys at first base because of it.
Michael Cuddyer (.275/.354/.462 PECOTA, .271/.336/.417 2010; $12.8 mixed/$20.5 AL): Cuddyer didn't reproduce his 2009 or his projection, which makes him less valuable than a three-star player, though the multi-position eligibility is useful and is reflected in those dollar amounts.
Jack Cust (.238/.379/.469 PECOTA, .272/.395/.438 2010; $0.0 mixed/$11.2 AL): Sometimes I think the Athletics get Cust's fantasy value mixed up with his real-life value. Not that I nailed it in 2010, either.
Ryan Ludwick (.270/.346/.479 PECOTA, .251/.325/.418 2010; $2.5 mixed/$11.3 NL): Ludwick went from Busch to Petco midseason, and while the spacious park out west was blamed for his failure to produce the rest of the way, the real culprit may have been his calf injury, which he sustained with the Cards and supposedly never got over. Since Petco is a better park for righties than Busch, this would make sense, and give hope for Ludwick's 2011.
Cody Ross (.277/.344/.502 PECOTA, .269/.322/.413 2010; $6.9 mixed/$15.6 NL): A lot of Ross's value was tied up in his R and RBI projections, and those didn't come to pass. Hitting in San Francisco after getting out of Florida didn't help things, between the park and the pitcher-oriented team.
Josh Willingham (.256/.369/.460 PECOTA, .268/.389/.459 2010; $3.5 mixed/$13.2 NL): Willingham is one of those players who is much better in real life than in fantasy, and having just 114 games under his belt didn't help him rack up enough R or RBI to help in the categories he should.
Kyle Blanks (.258/.346/.443 PECOTA, .157/.283/.324 2010; -$18.2 mixed/-$3.8 NL): Tommy John surgery ended his season early, and there is a very good chance the aches and pains that led up to the procedure caused his line to collapse.
Seth Smith (.278/.370/.469 PECOTA, .246/.314/.469 2010; -$0.3 mixed/$9.5 NL): The power was there, but Smith surprisingly didn't hit for a quality batting average, which is not a problem you see often in Colorado. His use was limited to NL-only leagues because of that and just under 400 plate appearances on the season.
Milton Bradley (.275/.395/.454 PECOTA, .205/.292/.348 2010; -$11.6 mixed/$2.6 AL): This was a poor offensive showing, even for a Mariner. His walk rates dropped, his strikeout rates climbed, and Safeco kept him down as well. His PECOTA forecast may have been a little optimistic, as were my thoughts on him, but this was worse than I imagined the downside to be.
Rick Ankiel (.255/.314/.456 PECOTA, .232/.321/.389 2010; -$11.6 mixed/$1.3 NL): Ankiel was hurt for most of the year, and didn't play that well when he made it onto the field. Chances are good you didn't waste too much on him given his rating here, but unless it was $1, it was waste.
Jeff Francoeur (.280/.326/.435 PECOTA, .240/.300/.383 2010; $0.8 mixed/$12.0 AL): Francoeur played for two teams once again, making neither of them happy with his production. 2010 was pretty much his last chance to do anything of substance before all hope was lost.
Matt Joyce (.244/.331/.447 PECOTA, .241/.360/.477 2010; -$7.8 mixed/$5.2 AL): Joyce's poor value had more to do with a lack of playing time than poor production. He played in less than half of the Rays' games, but if he's on the field more often in 2011 he will be a solid pick for then as I mentioned in last year's rankings.
Magglio Ordonez (.303/.376/.476 PECOTA, .303/.378/.474 2010; $4.4 mixed/$14.4 AL): It's a shame Ordonez hurt his ankle and missed half the year, as he was tearing it up just like PECOTA expected him to.
Ryan Church (.271/.349/.414 PECOTA, .201/.265/.352 2010; -$15.4 mixed/-$2.0 NL): Injuries and a progressively more crowded outfield in Pittsburgh helped hinder Church's 2010 from a fantasy perspective.
Melky Cabrera (.273/.341/.404 PECOTA, .255/.317/.354 2010; -$5.7 mixed/$5.9 NL): His forecast wasn't stellar and he still couldn't come close to that or his career rates, which is a bit disheartening.
Jason Heyward (.271/.345/.447 PECOTA, .277/.393/.456 2010; $13.3 mixed/$20.6 NL): Heyward was in two stars with the playing time caveat—he ended up winning the starting right field job a month later, and played himself out of this range even with an injury that sapped his power and cut into his time on the field.
Ryan Sweeney (.286/.354/.424 PECOTA, .294/.342/.383 2010; -$6.5 mixed/$6.0 AL): For the amount of playing time he had, Sweeney put up an admirable number of R and RBI, but he needs more than half a season to cut it anywhere other than AL-only.
Nate Schierholtz (.287/.330/.473 PECOTA, .242/.311/.366 2010; -$12.5 mixed/$0.7 NL): He's hit well in the minors for awhile, but he hasn't had much success in the majors. PECOTA thought that success would start in 2010, but it didn't happen.
Will Venable (.243/.312/.385 PECOTA, .245/.324/.408 2010; $6.1 mixed/$16.1 NL): The perils of being left-handed and a Padre. At least Venable swiped 29 bases over 131 games, following 15 total from 2008 through 2009.
Allen Craig (.264/.323/.440 PECOTA, .246/.298/.412; -$15.7 mixed/-$1.5 NL): Craig didn't get a lot of playing time (which was one reason he was this low to begin with) and when he did get on the field, he didn't produce, though he did flash some power.
Chris Dickerson (.251/.355/.420 PECOTA, .206/.250/.268 2010; -$19.0 mixed/-$3.9 NL): When you have negative value in an NL-only league, something has gone seriously wrong. Dickerson only picked up 106 plate appearances, and as you can see, didn't make use of them.
David Murphy (.278/.353/.461 PECOTA, .291/.358/.449 2010; $7.6 mixed/$17.8 AL): Murphy set a career-high in games during a season in which he was expected to see the field less often. Either way, two stars is fitting for him, though he was certainly more valuable in AL-only thanks to those 138 appearances.
Jeremy Hermida (.271/.356/.456 PECOTA, .216/.268/.351 2010; -$14.7 mixed/$0.0 AL): I didn't expect much out of Hermida—he is down by the bottom of the two-star guys after all—but this was a poor showing even with those standards in mind. Injuries took their toll, and he may have played away whatever remaining potential he had.
Kosuke Fukudome (.260/.383/.394 PECOTA, .263/.371/.439 2010; -$1.7 mixed/$9.3 NL): A more useful bat in real life than in fantasy, as Fukudome doesn't drive in many runners and isn't driven in often either.
Ty Wigginton (.281/.338/.487 PECOTA, .248/.312/.415 2010; $3.9 mixed/$14.1 AL): Thanks to filling in for Brian Roberts for two-thirds of the year, Wigginton got enough playing time as a utility man to help in deep leagues.
Jose Bautista ($35.2 mixed/$38.5 AL) was pretty alright. Felix Pie (-$6.7 mixed/$6.2 AL) was not, unless you were in need of an outfield in AL-only. Erik Hinske (-$4.6 mixed/$6.5 NL) was in the same boat, and unless his defense counts you were probably happy with the $1 you slapped down on him in deep NL leagues. Mark Teahen (-$10.9 mixed/$3.0 AL) was a poor offensive third baseman, so failing to reach the standards of right shouldn't be a surprise. Gerardo Parra (-$11.7 mixed/$1.5 NL) hasn't shown the power needed out of a corner outfielder yet, and Wladimir Balentien never made it to the majors in 2010. Emilio Bonifaco (-$11.4 mixed/$2.1 NL) was barely worth a roster spot, and Micah Hoffpauir (-$20.7 mixed/-$5.3 NL) definitely was not. At least Ryan Spilborghs was useful (-$3.4 mixed/$8.1 NL) in the right format.