Rotters and Sleepers: Left Fielders
Of the three outfield positions, left field could be the strongest when you count Mike Trout relocating to left field this season. Ryan Braun and Trout could be the consensus top two picks in most drafts even if experts don’t necessarily agree on the order. Beyond that, you have heavyweights like Matt Holliday and Josh Willingham.
Many consider Carlos Gonzalez one of those heavy hitters, but we’ll get to him in a minute. Some folks won’t pick one of those top guys because they won’t have access to Trout or Braun and will want to punt outfield for the prized infield slots. In that case, many of them will want to look at some of these guys as a possible late round selection.
Carlos Gonzalez– Colorado Rockies
- 2012: +16.6
- 2011: +21.9
- 2010: +42.7
- 2009: +8.9
- 2008: -11.7
Of course, CarGo is not a sleeper. He seems to be going between the second and third round in most drafts. This is simply a good excuse for me to point out how foolish it is for you to pick him in the second or third round. When we identify sleepers we are looking for players that had out of context bad seasons in 2012.
In the case, of CarGo, too many players are picking him high based on 2010 when that was just one season. Sure, there are some Coors Field benefits we aren’t accounting for here, but we are still talking about a +20 run a year player offensively. Those are more common in the outfield than you might think. Grade: Rotter
Carl Crawford– Los Angeles Dodgers
- 2012: +1.7
- 2011: -7.4
- 2010: +36.9
- 2009: +21.0
- 2008: -0.4
Someone tell me why the Red Sox gave Crawford a seven year contract for any significant sum of money? I guess they can take solace in the fact that they have a couple of good young arms that they were able to steal from the Dodgers. A contract based on one very good season is a stupid contract. Now, the Dodgers are on the hook.
The good news is that Crawford’s track record does not support the negative output we saw in 2011 either. The likely production is somewhere in between. I suppose we could look at something in the neighborhood of ten runs over average. That’s not bad, but not worth a high pick. Grade: Sleeper
Brett Gardner– New York Yankees
- 2012: +1.3
- 2011: +4.2
- 2010: +18.3
- 2009: +2.8
- 2008: -5.8
All is fair in love and WAR. One of the problems with compilation statistics is that they don’t necessarily value individual numbers that can help your team. Gardner can steal bases and get on base with good proficiency. What he can’t do is hit for any power. That tends to zap his overall value when we are looking at the total player.
There aren’t too many players that can steal 40 or more bases and get on base at a 35 percent clip or better. So, if you wait until later in the draft you can get yourself a cheap speed threat. He was injured most of last season, so some fantasy players may forget about him. Grade: Sleeper
Delmon Young– Philadelphia Phillies
- 2012: -9.3
- 2011: -5.3
- 2010: +14.7
- 2009: -5.8
- 2008: +2.6
The Phillies are paying Young less than a million bucks to be their right fielder. So, if he can produce anything above replacement level performance they might just come out ahead. Expecting much else would be a huge mistake on their part and yours. Of course, the Phillies will also have to contend with his butcher like defensive skills.
For you, you can only hope he magically rediscovers the skills that led him to be a solid run producer in 2010. I suppose if you want to take a flyer on that then be my guess, but when you look at someone that has been average or worse in every other season it has to make you take pause: Grade: Rotter
Jason Bay– Seattle Mariners
- 2012: -11.5
- 2011: +1.0
- 2010: +6.7
- 2009: +33.7
- 2008: +35.1
Bay was so bad that he was bought out of his contract with the Mets with a couple of seasons left to go. Now, he is fighting for a job in Seattle. I suppose the remnants are there for him to rediscover the 2008 and 2009 magic. The Mariners would be ecstatic if he were able to rediscover that magic. Heck, they’d be happy to see him return to average.
As for you, Bay dips into the crowd of guys that should make it all the way through your draft. Unless you are drafting a 40 man roster, there is no reason to pick him even in an AL only league. However, the month of April will tell the tale whether he will be a regular player in Seattle or not. Grade: Rotter
Vernon Wells– Los Angeles Angels
- 2012: -0.3
- 2011: -11.4
- 2010: +20.7
- 2009: -7.7
- 2008: +12.6
Vernon Wells is coming into the 2013 as the fourth outfielder in Los Angeles, I suppose you could argue that he is a pretty good fourth outfielder until you look at the price tag. It’s a lot like paying thirty dollars for Salisbury steak. It’s not bad, but when you pay premium prices you expect a premium meal.
There have been rumors on and off that the Angels would trade Wells and pick up a large part of the tab. The problem is that he really isn’t even a regular outfielder on a team out of the playoff hunt. So, it looks like they are stuck with him until the contract runs out.