January 18, 2013
The Keeper Reaper
Outfielders for 1/18/13
As a fantasy asset, it’s quite clear where Revere will help your team and where he won’t. The young, speedy centerfielder can provide runs, hits, and steals in bunches but won’t offer much in the way of RBIs or homers. In fact, in just over 1,000 major league trips to the plate, Revere has yet to hit a single home run, though he did once come oh-so-close to the inside-the-park variety.
This extreme deficiency in two stat categories puts a cap on his potential value but doesn’t mean he can’t be a valuable player to own. After spending the first month of 2012 in the minors, Revere began to receive regular at-bats in mid-May and was able to hit .294 with 40 steals and 70 runs in 125 games. That line was ranked 117th by our PFM, so it’s easy to see how, when extrapolating those numbers over a full season, he can approach top-90 status. But extrapolation rarely works that simply, and it’s hard to argue for a player whose peak value extends not much higher.
On squads with top hitters like Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre, Revere’s stolen base contributions would likely be maximized, and I can see reaching for him just after the 100 pick mark. Otherwise, it is likely best to take one of the more all-around outfielders available like a Norichika Aoki or Coco Crisp.
Playing in his first full MLB season at age 28, De Aza capitalized on the opportunity in 2012, batting .281 with nine home runs and 26 steals. His final line was ranked 115th best, rewarding the White Sox and fantasy owners alike. Heading into 2013, he is the clear everyday center fielder and leadoff man in the South Side.
While that all sounds rosy, I wouldn’t rush to invest in De Aza for next year. He’s had the skills to compete in the majors for many years, but injuries held back his development for several seasons. It’s nice that he has been able to remain relatively healthy the past two seasons, but I would still classify him as a moderate-to-high injury risk. De Aza also did well to take advantage of manager Robin Ventura’s aggressive tendencies on the basepaths last year, but perhaps he should ease up a bit considering that his 26 stolen base successes came with 12 failures—just a 68 percent success rate.
Overall, I feel we’re looking at a .270-.280 outfielder capable of 10 homers and 20-25 steals. Outfielders of this sort are fairly dime-a-dozen and not worth reaching for in drafts when many comparable players will likely still be on the board. If he falls to you after pick 200, I have no problem pulling the trigger on him there. With outfielders from this tier, though, it’s usually best to wait for whoever slips through the cracks rather than go out of your way to reach for any particular one.
When Cain was traded from the Brewers to the Royals as part of the return package for Zack Greinke he was seen as a potentially-elite speedster, which naturally got the attention of fantasy players. Then in 2011, at Triple-A as a 25 year-old, he developed his power stroke and amassed 16 homers, which is when he really got the attention of fantasy players. Optimism was abound regarding Cain heading into 2012, the year in which he was suppose to become an MLB regular… until a groin injury struck the first week of the season followed by a hip strain while he was rehabbing.
It wasn’t until after the All-Star break that Cain got back into action, but for fantasy owners who had him stashed on the DL all season, he proved worth the wait. He managed to get into 60 games and left his mark on the fantasy world, swatting seven homers and stealing 10 bases in as many tries. Heading into 2013, Cain remains a largely unproven and intriguing player.
If he stays healthy, Cain seems capable of batting .275 with 15 homers and 30 steals—a slight upgrade to De Aza for comparison. It’s important to note, however, that assuming health is a fairly big “if” with Cain. Heath concerns and his relatively unproven abilities should temper our expectations, but there is some upside here to excuse reaching slightly to get him.