2014 Fantasy Baseball: Disappointments — Left Fielders
The World Series is officially over, so now teams are entering off-season mode. Unlike past seasons, teams can begin signing free agents five calendar days after the World Series is over. By the time you read this, some teams will be ready to pounce on some of those free agents. One of the temptations for all fantasy players is to read too much into the results from the playoffs. Some players will be overvalued or undervalued depending on how they performed in the postseason. For left fielders, that might be overvaluing Alex Gordon based on his strong postseason performance.
The flip side is to look at players that disappointed in the postseason. We didn’t see many prominent left fielders that struggled in the post-season, but we did see quite a few that struggled in the regular season. The key is to determine whether it was a blip on the radar or a trend we need to pay attention to. The key in November is to keep everything in perspective. Most of us will be drafting again in March, so we have time to let cooler heads prevail.
Carlos Gonzalez— Colorado Rockies
(.238 AVG, 11 HR, 35 Runs, 38 RBI, 3 SB)
Back in 2010, CarGo hit .336 with 34 home runs and 117 RBI. Throw in his 26 stolen bases that season and you can see why CarGo was a top five overall selection in 2011 in most fantasy leagues. That is understandable. Unfortunately, he has never approached those numbers since. One reason is that he has not played in more than 135 games since that season and last year saw him play a career low 70 games. Yet, even if you double the numbers above, you still get a disappointing season. If Gonzalez is healthy then he is a threat to put up great numbers across the board. Is he ever going to be healthy?
What about 2015?
I’ve always thought that CarGo was overvalued on draft day. Yes, he has the ability to put up terrific numbers, but there comes a time when you have to stop looking at what someone is capable of doing and look at what they are. He is a player that will likely hit around .300 and will hit somewhere between 20 and 25 home runs. Add in his 20 steals a season and that is definitely a valuable fantasy prospect, but he isn’t an elite fantasy prospect at this point.
Bryce Harper— Washington Nationals
(.273 AVG, 13 HR, 41 Runs, 32 RBI, 2 SB)
Remember when there was a debate over whether Mike Trout or Bryce Harper would be the better player? Trout has led the league in WAR three years in a row and here we have Harper not quite living up to his potential. Mind you, he hasn’t been terrible when he’s gotten on the field, but he just can’t seem to capitalize on his tremendous potential. There are certainly flashes of brilliance from time to time, but they don’t translate to brilliance overall. He only played in 100 games a season ago and he hasn’t played in many more than that in his three full seasons at the big league level.
What about 2015?
I honestly don’t know. Following 2012 it seemed he was destined for stardom like his friend in Anaheim. It just hasn’t happened yet. Of course, he is still only 22 years old. You’d have to believe that he will become the stud everyone thought he would be, but you have to ask yourself when that will happen. Keeper league players will ultimately benefit from patience, but if you play in a traditional league you have to ask yourself if 2015 is the year when he puts it all together.
Shin-Soo Choo— Texas Rangers
(.242 AVG, 13 HR, 58 Runs, 40 RBI, 3 SB)
There are times when teams seem to collapse collectively. The 2014 Rangers were one of those instances. It may be an unpopular opinion, but I think Ron Washington’s resignation was the best thing that could possibly happen to the Rangers. Colin Powell once said that George Bush was born on third base and thought he hit a triple. People talked about how good Washington was as a manager when he was given more talent than what he knew what to do with. His World Series appearances exposed him as a poor strategist within games. The 2012 Boston Red Sox were a great example of how a talented roster could be run into the ground by a bad manager. The 2013 Red Sox were also a good example of how a team can turn themselves around when you rid yourself of a bad manager.
What about 2015?
Of course, there is a lot more going on here than Washington being a bad manager. Prince Fielder, Jurickson Profar, a number of catchers missed a lot of time and took a lot of the bite out of the offense. Fielder alone could give them the boost on offense that they need to get back into the playoff race. Choo was healthy for the most part, but he was vastly ineffective. There is no reason why that should continue and he might be the poster child for a turnaround in Arlington.