Casey Kotchman: Bad Fantasy 1B

Casey Kotchman has been a nice surprise for the Rays this season by generating 2.4 WAR. The Rays have gotten little production from the 1B in recent years. Even with his breakout/comeback this season, he should get little consideration when creating a roster next season.

A few large warts bring down his fantasy value. First he is slow. He has only stolen 10 bases since 2004 while getting caught 9 times.

Second and more important, he has no power for a 1B. On average, he hits half as many HR/PA (1.7%) than the average 1B (3.4%). The lack of home run power can be seen by the low number of RBIs (45) and Runs (41) he has created for a player with 509 PA. He has never exhibited much power (1.7% HR/PA is his career average), so I don’t expect much out of him in the future. His power is acceptable for most positions, but not at 1B where he is below average.

Casey is able to put up a decent average, if the BABIP fairies are looking down on him. First of all, his AVG this season is a career high of 0.311 and supported by a 0.338 BABIP. Looking at his career and season batted ball profiles, they are similar:

2011 vs Career
LD%: 19 % vs 18%
GB%: 55% vs 54%
FB%: 26% vs 28%

He is getting a few more line drives and ground balls which lead to more hits. Using these values, here are his 2011 and Career BABIPs and xBABIPs:

2011: 0.338
Career: 0.280

2011: 0.327
Career: 0.306

Using the formula AVG = BABIP – 2*K% and a career K% of 10%, his AVG should project to be near 0.285. Not good enough for a weak hitter.

He does get some additional value in OBP leagues. He has an OK walk rate of 8% which will help his OBP.

Kasey can’t hit for power, run for steals or have a good AVG. That is not good for a player at a premium production position in fantasy baseball. I see no reason to keep him in any league. His only real value is as an injury replacement for one of the many 1B better than him.

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Jeff writes for FanGraphs, The Hardball Times and Royals Review, as well as his own website, Baseball Heat Maps with his brother Darrell. In tandem with Bill Petti, he won the 2013 SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

5 Responses to “Casey Kotchman: Bad Fantasy 1B”

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  1. cs3 says:

    On average, he hits half as many HR/PA (1.7) than the average 1B (3.4).

    im not sure what “HR/PA” is supposed to refer to, but i hope its not “homeruns per plate appearance”.

    that would be pretty terrific for being only half as good as the average 1B.
    and pretty terrifying for opposing pitchers!

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    • Michael Procton says:

      He produced the wrong stat for what he called it. The listed stat was the HR percentage, which is calculated by dividing total HRs by PAs.

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  2. Chris says:

    I’m with cs3 here…

    I’ll take 1000 HRs from my 1B any day.

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  3. Bob Flake says:

    Except don’t let the real world intrude on all your stats. Kotchman hit two home runs in the last week and stole a base. So???

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  4. Matty Brown says:

    “So?” is exactly the right answer to his performance in a singular week.

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