August 17, 2017
The Quietly Valuable Lorenzo Cain
It should go without saying that every professional baseball player is remarkable to watch, to listen to and to read about. One simply doesn’t get to this level of the craft without being exceptional at what they do. Of course, when they constantly are compared to their peers, some major leaguers fade into the background. That especially is true from a fantasy perspective. Oftentimes, the most under-appreciated players aren’t the ones who are left on the waiver wire while performing well, but those left in the starting lineup. The most under-appreciated can be those that we just keep in our lineup without giving much thought to the production these players give to our teams throughout the season. Many fit this bill, but one that I’ve noticed is on a couple of my teams is Lorenzo Cain.
The Royals’ center fielder entered the year as something close to the definition of a solid but potentially forgotten producer. He was being selected in the middle of the eighth round of 15-team leagues at 113th overall and as a high-end OF3 at third overall. That’s where good-but-unspectacular players generally are taken. It’s also, in my eyes, how Cain has been viewed all year. I should mention that this is entirely from my viewpoint, and it’s completely possible that I am off-base on this. However, I haven’t seen much in terms of praise of Cain’s performance this year around the old interwebs, and even on this very site he was ranked as a mid-third-tier outfielder in the summer’s re-ranks. I should also mention that I am also a part of this. I haven’t had any strong Cain feelings until this very moment.
Despite the lack of fanfare, Cain has been a wildly valuable player for roto players. He vastly has outperformed his preseason ADP. He currently ranks 33rd overall on ESPN’s Player Rater between Daniel Murphy and Jonathan Schoop and he ranks ninth among outfielders (taking out Cody Bellinger and Jose Ramirez) between Mookie Betts and Justin Upton. This shocked me initially, but it’s not all that surprising after putting a little more thought into it.