2014 Fantasy BaseballFantasy Baseball

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Dumpster Diving — Centerfield, Part II

young land
Source: Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America

Last time we looked at the young centerfielders available in most leagues. Today, we will look at the more experienced centerfielders that are available. In some cases, the difference is only a year, but we have to draw the line somewhere. Last time, we saw that Michael Saunders was the best of the young group of center fielders, but we could only give a lukewarm endorsement. Maybe we will find someone better this time around.

Again, we are primarily looking for depth. Injuries seem to be more plentiful these days, so having solid players on your bench is crucial. We are looking for players with at least 100 plate appearances and are owned by 25 percent of fewer of the players on Yahoo. Admittedly, this limits the field, but we’ll see what we have to work with.

Age

PA

AVG

HR

R

RBI

SB

BB

Eric Young

29

165

.220

1

28

7

17

17

Lorenzo Cain

28

125

.325

1

11

15

6

9

Denard Span

30

207

.260

1

27

11

7

13

Eric Young began his career at the same position as his father, but shifted to the outfield and now is playing most of the time in New York. As his average would indicate, he is having issues stealing first base. Once he gets there, he is a tremendous threat to add a base and that skill makes him valuable to some fantasy players. Furthermore, the other two players (Cain and Span) also have the ability to steal bases.

Unfortunately, none of them are a power threat, so you really are either looking an elite speed threat in Young, or a couple of players capable of stealing bases and little else. However, they do have respectable batting averages and on base percentages. Naturally, the way we settle these debates is to take a look at the plate discipline and batted ball statistics. In some cases, players are underperforming because of batting ball luck, so we want to know that before we make any final determinations.

BABIP

SO%

BB%

Oswing

Contact

Eric Young

.286

21.8

10.3

28.4

79.9

Lorenzo Cain

.404

20.0

7.2

31.1

79.1

Denard Span

.285

9.7

6.3

24.7

91.7

When we look at these numbers we see what elite plate discipline looks like. Most people see high walk rates as the key to strong plate discipline. The real key is the strikeout to walk ratio. Denard Span has a strikeout rate under ten percent. That is extraordinary and his contact rate is above 90 percent. Again, that is extraordinary. He is even underperforming now based on his career BABIP (.317). So, he might end up improving on that pedestrian average.

On the other hand, Lorenzo Cain is enjoying some great batted ball luck this season, so buyers beware. His .404 BABIP is about 70 points above his career .336, so we can only expect him to go downhill at this point. Still, I’m amazed that more people haven’t picked him up at this point. We are talking about a guy that hitting ,325

Young is hitting slightly below the normal BABIP, but his walk rate is more comforting than the other players on the list. So, if you add about 20 points to the batting average and continue the walk rate you might get a useful fantasy player out of that exchange. Being at the one third pole, he would end up with 50 stolen bases. There aren’t many guys that can do that.

ISO

SecA

LD

GB

FB

HR/FB

Eric Young

.085

.319

17.0

59.0

24.0

4.2

Lorenzo Cain

.098

.211

18.9

56.7

24.4

4.5

Denard Span

.109

.214

21.9

50.3

27,8

2.1

As you can see, the choice is pretty clear. Add Eric Young and at least you will get some extra speed for the summer. If you have any luck, he will pick up some batted ball luck and raise the batting average enough to be reasonable. Otherwise, you will be adding someone that is likely to only give you league average performance.

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