Carlos Lee is a Fantasy Horse

One of the most undervalued fantasy players year-in and year-out is Carlos Lee. Last year, Lee was on pace for one of his best seasons ever before a finger injury ended his season in early August. At the time, Lee was in the midst of a prolonged hot streak. In his final 243 plate appearances of the year, he had a .366/.432/.648 line with 16 HR and 54 RBIs in 216 at-bats.

On first glance, it looks like Lee has declined two straight years, with falling numbers in HR, R and SB. Because of this, the Marcel and Oliver projections are not kind to Lee. Fantasy players perhaps have similar notions, as Lee has an ADP of 27 according to the latest information from Mock Draft Central. That makes him the ninth-rated outfielder.

Earlier, I extolled the virtues of Mark Teixeira and noted how he had averaged a .298-35-120-100 fantasy line over the past four years. Well, Lee has a .294-32-112-85 line in that same time frame but also has averaged 12 SB per year. If Teixeira is properly valued at 13, does it not seem a little low for Lee to be at 27?

Throughout his career, Lee has been very durable. Last year’s finger injury was a freak accident and reports have him representing Panama in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Lee has seen no drop off in his hitting skills. He still does a good job with his plate discipline and his batted ball profile with a 21.2 percent line drive rate and a 43.6 percent fly ball rate last year stacks up nicely with his career numbers. Any fantasy player who gets Lee in the third round this year should be extremely happy.



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Clayton
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Clayton

Outfield is deeper than first base, so that explains in part why Teixeira is going a whole 14 spots ahead of Lee. He will likely better Lee in HR, R, RBI, and possibly average, differences I’m sure will be of more impact than Lee’s advantage in steals. Sure, he averaged 12 for his career but only stole 4 last year. Teixeira managed to steal 2. Holy cow!

Who cares what Lee did over his last 216 ABs last year? I can find a 216 AB sample from any player that looks ridiculously gaudy. That information is irrelevant. Hey, did you know that Lastings Milledge hit .318 with 7 HR and 11 SB in his last 198 ABs last year? Too bad the season ended, because Milledge probably would’ve hit .318 with 21 HR and 33 SB in 600 AB if the season had started in August instead of April. I think people are undervaluing Lastings Milledge since a 20/30 player with a .300+ average should be going in the second round, at least!

Among the players going ahead of Lee, especially those in the outfield, who do you propose he be drafted ahead of?