2013 Fantasy BaseballFantasy BaseballFront Office

Looking Back at the 2013 Draft: AL Centerfielders

The calendar is rapidly approaching the point where most people will stop looking back at 2012 and will start focusing entirely on what is going on in 2013. Some experts look at the six week mark as the key time to start taking stock in what is going on now. Others look to the eight week mark before they start doing that. Either way, the owned rates more accurately reflect what is going on this season (or they should) and not what happened last season. Still, we see the occasional pecularity and those are the situations we will highlight.

What makes them peculiar is the fact that the player’s fantasty situation reflects neither what happened in 2012 nor what is happening this season. These situations are becoming increasingly rare as the season wears on. Hot hitters are being snatched up by now, and struggling hitters are getting dangerously close to the drop dead date. Within the next week we will see a number of players dropped from a high percentage of leagues due to owners that just can’t afford to wait anymore. Pay to attention to those as you can benefit from one or two.

[am4show have=’p4;p7;p3;’ guest_error=’Front Office’ ]

Owned

TAV

BR

RC

Adam Jones

99

.297

21.5

103

Jacoby Ellsbury

98

.244

-6.6

35

Austin Jackson

94

.307

25.1

94

Desmond Jennings

92

.264

-1.5

65

Michael Bourn

91

.272

3.0

90

Curtis Granderson

91

.285

12.9

95

Coco Crisp

83

.273

3.7

65

Alejandro De Aza

67

.278

3.6

77

Lorenzo Cain

54

.267

-0.2

30

Michael Saunders

30

.279

4.9

68

Colby Rasmus

18

.241

-11.2

64

Chris Young

13

.261

-1.3

44

Peter Bourjos

8

.235

-6.5

16

Franklin Gutierrez

7

.272

0.9

18

Leonys Martin

5

.186

-3.0

4

Justin Maxwell

4

.268

2.9

43

Aaron Hicks

2

—-

—-

—-

Anthony Gose

1

.226

-6.0

18

Jarrod Dyson

1

.242

-7.6

34

Craig Gentry

1

.272

1.7

34

Median

—-

.268

0.9

44

Unlike the last several times, we will highlight those players that are sticking out like a sore thumb. In doing so, we can exploit some inefficiencies in the draft and waiver wire process. To begin, we’ll take a look at a couple of guys in the top ten that are overplayed in their leagues. Perhaps, we can decipher a pattern in how and why they are being played too much.

Desmond Jennings– Tampa Bay Rays

I’m still trying to make heads or tails of this one. Last year he was below the median in two major categories and pretty close to the median for left fielders in terms of runs created. If you take him among the entire outfield population, he came in somewhere near or below median in every category. Yet, he was fairly highly drafted and is still owned by 92 percent of players in mixed leagues. I know what you are going to say, you’ll say he has the potential to do more. Remember what we have said about potential.

This year he is sporting the .237/.305/.412 slash line with four home runs and five stolen bases. Sure, that makes him somewhat attractive as a fantasy player, but he should not be considered elite and with his owned rate at 92 percent, fantasy players are saying he is among the top ten fantasy centerfielders in baseball. Based on what he has done to this point in his career, that’s nuts. Essentially, this puts him clearly on par with guys like Cameron Maybin. They are similar in that they have tantalizing power and speed. However, we should be worried more about consistency and production than the highlight reels.

Colby Rasmus– Toronto Blue Jays

Okay, I’m cheating a little. Technically, he stands in 11th in the AL in percentage owned. Sue me. I have to admit, I bought into the Colby Rasmus magic. I bought in sometime in 2011 when he was with the St. Louis Cardinals. I even bought into the idea that he would blossom outside of St. Louis because of the running feud he had with Tony LaRussa. I’ve always believed that LaRussa was often mystified by his own “genius.” In this case, he turned out to be right.

Rasmus has worn out his welcome with random precision and some might say he has blown on the steel breeze. You see bits of brilliance with tremendous power and tantalizing speed. These are sprinkled in between longer periods where he seems incapable of stealing first base. Like Jennings, his 2012 and 2013 numbers both say the same thing. There is reason to hope for Jennings to improve, but the egg timer says Rasmus is running out of time. Anthony Gose is waiting patiently in AAA to get his opportunity and you have to think the Blue Jays won’t make him wait long.

Peter Bourjos– Los Angeles Angels

The 2012 numbers suggest he is right where he should be, but he was jerked around in 2012 because there just weren’t many places for him to play. When you have a collection of talent that includes Mike Trout, Torii Hunter, and Mark Trumbo, it can be hard to find spots for the remaining guys. You had Vernon Wells and his bazillion gazillion contract and Bourjos. Merit hopefully wins and it did sometimes, but you look at the personification of the U.S. Mint and you had to put him on the field sometime.

Now, Wells is comfortably in New York and Hunter is comfortably in Detroit. Josh Hamilton is in play, but he really shouldn’t play center field. Mike Trout can play center field, but he can play in either right or left field as well. Bourjos has a .313/.370/.458 slash line, but what’s more important is that he is closing in on 100 plate appearances already (only 195 in 2012). Even if he wasn’t producing he would be worthy of a top 10 AL pick or top 20 ML pick. He is currently on the DL with a hamstring injury, but that shouldn’t derail him too long.

Justin Maxwell– Houston Astros

Maxwell is another player on the injury train, but reports are that he is ready to start swinging the bat again. He broke his hand almost two weeks ago, so he should be ready to go in another couple of weeks. People avoided him on draft day because he is another in a long line of high strikeout guys. He struck out 114 times in 352 plate appearances in 2012. That translates to roughly 200 in a full season. He is one of a few Astros that seem to be pressuring that mark this season.

Fantasy baseball doesn’t care how many times you strike out. It’s what you do in other plate appearances that matter. Last season, he would have hit nearly 30 home runs and stolen nearly 15 bases in a full season. He likely won’t get there this year, but he deserves better than to be ranked 16th in AL only drafts for centerfielders. Any everyday guy deserves better than that and one that could hit 20+ home runs and steal nearly that many bases should be higher than that.

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