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March 19, 2014

The Darkhorses

Runs Batted In

by BP Fantasy Staff


One of the fun ways we all try to outsmart our opponents in fantasy is by searching for hidden value in players who, for one reason or another, we suspect have the ability to outpace their projections (and, relatedly, their draft cost). Our Darkhorses series features staff picks for players who could very well outpace their PECOTA projections for the year and provide the top overall production in one of the standard five-by-five categories. We’ve all picked one player currently projected by PECOTA to fall outside of the top 10 and one longer-shot player currently projected outside of the top 25. We’ll take a look at offense this week and pitching next. For the earlier editions in this series, click below:

Here are some players with the potentially lethal combination of convenient lineup geography and run production #want to lead the league in RBI this season.

OUTSIDE THE TOP 10

Carlos Beltran, OF, NYY
PECOTA projects Beltran to finish tied for 22nd in RBI this season, driving in 84 runs. It’s a fair projection for a player with nagging injuries entering his age-37 season, but it doesn't speak to Beltran's upside in a decent lineup in one of the best ballparks for hitters in baseball. Beltran has averaged 90 RBI over the past two seasons, averaging 610 PA and 28 homers during those years as well. The ability to DH on occasion should help keep Beltran in the lineup often, and Yankees Stadium should help him challenge for 30 homers again, too. If Jacoby Ellsbury stays healthy and Derek Jeter and Brett Gardner can reach base at a semi-regular clip, Beltran could challenge for 100 RBI in a perfect world. —Ben Carsley

Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, LAD
The Dodgers main “butter and egg” man (© Vin Scully), Gonzalez is poised to perch again in the clean-up spot in one of the National League’s best offensive teams. Hopefully full seasons of Puig and Hanley in front of him should create that many more opportunities for the man who finished 13th in RBI last year to drive in runs. A healthy Kemp behind him would be an additional boost if you’re so inclined to buy into lineup protection, but even without he’s been one of the best hitters in baseball at converting (ample) RBI opportunities into runs scored for several years now. He finished 18th in RBI percentage last year, and a rebound to his third-place finish of 2012, coupled with more opportunities, would give Gonzalez a fairly clear path for a run at the RBI title. —Wilson Karaman

Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, LAD
Gonzalez is a bit of a forgotten asset at first base. He doesn’t have the transcendent power anymore, he’s not the star of that Dodger team, and he’s hardly any sort of upside target at age 32. That said, he’s posted fewer than 100 RBI just once since 2007, and he had 99 that year. He had 100 on the dot last year without full seasons from Hanley Ramirez or Yasiel Puig, plus the Dodgers posted fewer than 100 runs in each of the first two months (3.5 runs per game in 53 games). While his 99-119 range of RBIs over the last seven years hasn’t pushed to lead the league, he’s been consistently strong at getting guys in and if the Dodgers do as expected with a huge season start to finish, it’s easy to envision their no. 4 hitter popping 125-plus, en route to a league RBI title. —Paul Sporer

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<< Previous Article
Overthinking It: The B... (03/18)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article The Darkhorses: Home R... (03/18)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article The Darkhorses: Runs S... (03/20)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Pic... (03/19)

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INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2014-03-28 - Fantasy Article The Darkhorses: Saves
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