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Reviewing Pod’s Picks: Outfield

Posted By Mike Podhorzer On November 18, 2013 @ 8:15 am In Outfielders | 5 Comments

We have arrived at outfield week and that means another day of reviewing my Pod’s Picks at the position. With so many busts, it shall be interesting to see how my rankings stacked up. With so many players being ranked at the position, it allows for much more disagreement, unlike some of the other positions where sometimes my choices below were just two or three ranks different, which isn’t all that meaningful.

Bullish

Justin Ruggiano

My Preseason Rank: 37 | Preseason Consensus: 57 | Actual Rank: 69

Woops! We’re all well aware that I whiffed on my favorite preseason offensive sleeper. Although the power and speed were there, his BABIP plummeted from .401 (which was obviously unsustainable to begin with) to just .260, which killed his batting average. The Marlins weak offense also hampered his runs scored and runs batted in totals. So I’m going to blame it on bad luck and factors outside Ruggiano’s control for this miss, because I want to feel better about myself.

Carl Crawford

My Preseason Rank: 26 | Preseason Consensus: 44 | Actual Rank: 64

Failed to reach 500 plate appearances for the second straight season, which made it impossible for Crawford reach my counting stat projections. Even when on the field, his power was at its worst since 2003 and his stolen base output continues its freefall. At age 32, I think it’s time to admit the speed is not returning!

Shane Victorino

My Preseason Rank: 19 | Preseason Consensus: 31 | Actual Rank: 26

Almost smack dab in the middle of my ranking and the consensus (which you must remember includes my ranking). Despite recording his lowest plate appearance total since 2007, Victorino once again flashed his solid combination of power and speed. While some were concerned about his declining batting average, he ended up proving that was just a fluke as his BABIP rebounded back to pre-2010 levels.

Coco Crisp

My Preseason Rank: 35 | Preseason Consensus: 46 | Actual Rank: 18

Yes, I knew that Crisp would double his 2012 homer output and set a new career high in the category. Despite stealing just 21 bases, the fewest he has swiped since 2009, he did enough everywhere else to outperform everyone’s expectations. But at 35 next year, the speed might not return and you can’t count on the power spike being repeated.

Alex Rios

My Preseason Rank: 11 | Preseason Consensus: 21 | Actual Rank: 7

Rios has been up and down throughout his career so whenever he’s coming off a good year, fantasy owners are hesitant to believe in a repeat. Apparently, I was one of the few that did expect a strong follow-up. Although his home run total and batting averaged slid off their 2012 career highs, Rios offset those declines by nearly doubling his stolen base output. That was certainly unexpected at his age, but it should ensure that fantasy owners put a little more faith in him next season.

Bearish

Melky Cabrera

My Preseason Rank: 41 | Preseason Consensus: 28 | Actual Rank: 113

What a disaster. The Melk man only recorded 372 plate appearances due to injury so that was obviously a big reason why he was ranked outside the top 100 outfielders. But even when he was on the field, he did little offensively. His power went poof and his speed disappeared. He may never again be on a fantasy owner’s radar.

Dexter Fowler

My Preseason Rank: 75 | Preseason Consensus: 62 | Actual Rank: 56

For the fifth straight year, Fowler failed to reach 500 at-bats. But, he nearly maintained the HR/FB rate spike he experienced in 2012, which helped boost his value beyond what I expected. Furthermore, he suddenly decided to put those long legs to use, attempting the most steals since his rookie 2009 campaign. Oddly, his triples total was less than a third of what it was in 2012 and the first time it didn’t reach double digits. I wonder if some of his previous triples got an extra push from the wind and went over the fence and/or he has actually lost some speed.

Carlos Beltran

My Preseason Rank: 48 | Preseason Consensus: 36 | Actual Rank: 20

Beltran predictably saw all his counting stats decline from his surprise 2012 season, but his batting average rebounded, which was enough to keep him as the 20th most valuable outfielder. Heading into his age 37 season and with his speed now officially gone, a complete breakdown could come at any time.

Starling Marte

My Preseason Rank: 49 | Preseason Consensus: 38 | Actual Rank: 25

My first comment in the initial write-up was that “this surprises me as in my drafts/auctions, he has been either fairly valued or undervalued”. In fact, I even drafted him in my LABR league, so I didn’t think I was so much more pessimistic than everyone else. Marte rode an inflated BABIP and posted counting stats pretty much in like with typical expectations. But, his speed seemed like a pleasant surprise, at least to me, as I had him projected for just 24 steals, which appears to be the primary reason why he outperformed my ranking.


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