Biggest Surprises: 2B, SS, OF (ottoneu lwts)

Continuing last week’s theme of looking at the biggest surprises thus far in ottoneu lwts leagues (and, really, fantasy as a whole), we look today at second basemen, shortstops, and outfielders.

Second Base

Howard Kendrick, LAA
Avg. Cost: $5.14
Performed As: $31
Value: +$26
Allen Craig, STL
Avg. Cost: $1.44
Performed As: $25
Value: +$24
Ryan Roberts, ARI
Avg. Cost: $1.59
Performed As: $25
Value: +$24

My pick: Howard Kendrick

I don’t really like any of these guys on my team (I almost took Rickie Weeks from the Others list below instead, but that would be cheating!).  But Kendrick is the one with the longest track record of success, and a rebound year this season wasn’t all that surprising given his struggles last year (.317 wOBA) and how solid he’d been previously.  His BABIP is a tad high this season (.367), but this is also a career .341 BABIP hitter, so he has a high baseline.  He’s also walking at almost double his career rate (though it’s still a modest 7.5%).  The big change in Kendrick this year, however, is his power.  It may be due to a different approach.  He’s swinging at more balls in the zone, and even though his contact rates are down a bit (and his strikeout rate is up), more aggressive swings could be leading to the power spike behind his value this year.  That, and a bit of luck, as I’m not even close to being ready to believe his 23% HR/FB ratio.  He’s not going to wOBA .379 over the rest of the season.  ZiPS has his rest of season projected wOBA at .337, and that seems pretty reasonable.

Others: Rickie Weeks (+20), Michael Young (+$17), Daniel Murphy (+$17), Placido Polanco (+$16), Adam Kennedy (+$15)

Shortstop

Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE
Avg. Cost: $4.50
Performed As: $48
Value: +$43
Jhonny Peralta, DET
Avg. Cost: $2.78
Performed As: $34
Value: +$31
Jose Reyes, NYM
Avg. Cost: $25.32
Performed As: $51
Value: +$25

My Pick: Asdrubal Cabrera

I owned Cabrera last year and was excited to have him on draft day, but it didn’t go well.  Between the slow start and the broken arm, things just never came together.  But this year, he’s been brilliant.  And the most interesting thing is that he’s done it not via the on-base skills, which is what I drafted him for last year.  Instead, he’s discovered power.  Reports are that he’s showing a power swing in games this year that previously had only been shown in batting practice, and obviously has done so to great effect.  Like Kendrick, I don’t think he’ll hit homers at the same rate over the rest of the season as he has over the first two+ months.  But this is a guy who hit 42 doubles just two years ago, and his HR/FB% (16%), while high, isn’t as absurd as Kendrick’s.  I wish I’d gotten him this year, that’s for sure…

Others: Yunel Escobar (+$18), Erick Aybar (+$15), Wilson Betemit* (+$15), Danny Espinosa (+$15)

* Yes, for some reason, Betemit has SS eligibility in ottoneu.  I have him as a reserve SS/MI/3B.

Outfield

Lance Berkman, STL
Avg. Cost: $4.57
Performed As: $49
Value: +$44
Carlos Quentin, CHW
Avg. Cost: $7.04
Performed As: $42
Value: +$35
Matt Kemp, LAD
Avg. Cost: $29.64
Performed As: $59
Value: +$30

My Pick: Carlos Quentin

Fun fact: My now-five year old daughter’s first baseball game was Quentin’s major league debut, a game in which he hit his first home run.  So while I admit that I have a soft spot for him, I also think that what the 28-year old has done so far is sustainable.  Part of it is that he’s done it before: his .408 wOBA this year wouldn’t even be a career high (.414 wOBA in 2008).  And part of it is that a major reason for his lower performance over the past few years may be injury.  He has missed a lot of time over the last two years (240 games played total from 2009-2010), and it’s possible that the injuries negatively affected his play–if nothing else, by throwing off his timing upon returning.  There is nothing really alarming about his indicator stats: walk rates, strikeout rates, HR/FB rates, BABIP, etc, are all close to career norms.  He may well just be healthy for the first time in a while, and is clobbering the ball.  Hopefully he can stay that way!

Others: Curtis Granderson (+$28), Mitch Moreland (+$25), Carlos Beltran (+$23), Seth Smith (+$22), Laynce Nix (+$19), Reed Johnson (+$16), Jay Bruce (+$16).



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Justin is a lifelong Reds fan, and first played fantasy baseball on Prodigy with a 2400 baud modem. His favorite Excel function is the vlookup(). You can find him on twitter @jinazreds, even though he no longer lives in AZ.


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DonChrysler
Member
DonChrysler

How did Matt Joyce not rate as one of the biggest OF values? I got him for $3 in my league and he’s been a stud.

shaolin730
Member
shaolin730

I disagree. As well as Laynce Nix & Seth Smith being listed under the “other” category. Joyce, Nix & Smith all have not proven they can hit lefties on a consistent basis. Sure, Joyce has faired a little better of late, but personally I draw that up to at least half luck.

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