2013 Fantasy BaseballFantasy BaseballFront Office

Has Anyone Noticed Michael Cuddyer?

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Last night Michael Cuddyer launched two home runs.  The multi-homer game gave him 13 on the season to go along with his six steals.  It also gave the Rockies’ right-fielder a 23 game hitting streak.  Cuddyer is hitting .344 with a .396 OBP, and a .595 SLG.  To put it simply, he is having a monster season.  And I think it’s time we all start taking notice.

[am4show have=’p3;p4;p7;’ guest_error=’Front Office’ ]Michael Cuddyer is not a flashy fantasy player.  In fantasy baseball, he was a lot more interesting when he had multiple position eligibility.  Last season he only played 108 games, but still delivered 16 homers and had a modest .260 batting average.  When you include the eight steals, it made him a useable fantasy player.  Many of us probably forgot the productive seasons he provided us in 2009, 2010, and 2011.  Cuddyer is no slouch.  He is useful and underappreciated.

To give this some context, on average, Cuddyer was the 206th player off the board in most fantasy leagues this season.  According to Yahoo’s ADP listing, Nick Markakis was around the 157th player taken in drafts.  So, essentially they were four rounds apart in most drafts.  I don’t see the reasoning.  Besides the batting average, which really isn’t that far apart, what makes Markakis four rounds better than Cuddyer?  The right hander has more power, has shown more speed in recent years, and plays in Coors Field.  I don’t see the justification.  Is it age?  Maybe owners see Cuddyer as an injury risk?  I just don’t get it.

If you were curious about Cuddyer’s batted ball and swing profile, here it is:

Season

Team

GB/FB

LD%

GB%

FB%

IFFB%

HR/FB

2011 Twins

1.44

17.8 %

48.5 %

33.6 %

10.9 %

13.6 %

2012 Rockies

1.57

20.4 %

48.6 %

31.0 %

8.0 %

18.2 %

2013 Rockies

1.30

20.8 %

44.8 %

34.4 %

3.2 %

20.6 %

Total – – –

1.34

18.8 %

46.6 %

34.6 %

10.7 %

13.1 %

 

Season Team O-Swing%

Z-Swing%

Swing% O-Contact% Z-Contact%

Contact%

Zone%

2011 Twins

32.3 %

58.4 %

45.4 %

67.2 %

90.9 %

82.5 %

50.3 %

2012 Rockies

36.4 %

59.1 %

48.1 %

63.4 %

87.5 %

78.6 %

51.4 %

2013 Rockies

31.8 %

64.6 %

47.4 %

62.7 %

85.6 %

77.6 %

47.6 %

Total – – –

33.0 %

59.0 %

46.0 %

65.5 %

89.5 %

81.0 %

50.1 %

 

It isn’t a surprise to see the decline in contact rate for a player entering his mid-30s.  But, Cuddyer’s K% is actually less than it was last season, and his walk rate is about 7.7%, while last season it was 8.1%.  Everything else is pretty consistent.  It is also nice to see the lower IFFB%.  There is no doubt his BABIP (.385) will come back down to his norm.  But we aren’t here to pretend that Cuddyer is a completely different player at age 34.  If he continues to rake like this for the full season, we can investigate it then.  But let’s just assume he is the same old Michael.  You know you are getting a solid contributor to your fantasy team.  Consistent, even (when healthy).  It may be meat and potatoes, but that can still fill your tummy (admittedly, it isn’t gourmet).

Yes, it is very doubtful that Cuddyer will keep this up.  And yes, you won’t be able to sell him high.  But you can reap the benefits.  You can sit back with satisfaction, knowing you obtained a player at a low cost, and that player will provide 20+ homers, 10+ steals, with a solid average and nice counting stats for your team.  Think of it this way, Shin-Soo Choo was drafted around pick 90.  He currently is hitting .269 with 11 homers and eight steals.  We expect(ed) Choo to be the more valuable fantasy player of the two.  But you likely drafted Michael Cuddyer after pick 180.  So yeah, enjoy the ride.

 

 

Thanks to Fangraphs.com for the data.

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