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December 21, 2012

The Keeper Reaper

Outfielders for 12/21/12

by Paul Singman

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Norichika Aoki | Milwaukee Brewers
Shallow (30 Keepers): No
Medium (60 Keepers): No
Deep (90 Keepers): No
NL-only (60 Keepers): Yes
Super Deep (200 Keepers): Yes

In his first MLB season, the 30-year-old Aoki surprised almost everyone with 10 homers, 30 steals, and a .290 average. His end-of-year line was rated 90th overall by our PFM, turning a nice profit for those who invested a buck or late-round pick to own him. Despite being expected to fill a fourth outfielder role for Milwaukee when signed, Aoki managed to carve out 588 plate appearances for himself with his productive play. Beyond normal aging concerns for any player past 30 though, there is reason to be skeptical that Aoki can retain his top 100 status for next year.

Most suspicious is the power output of 10 home runs that he accomplished, which includes one inside-the-park home run. As Derek notes in this write-up of Aoki, all of his home runs were pulled just over the right-field fence, and looking at his Hit Tracker page confirms this observation. His 354 foot average True Home Run Distance was one of the lowest in the league, indicating he was lucky to hit as many over the fence as he did. As long as Aoki avoids getting traded to the Yankees, it is fair to assume he won’t have as many cheap-o’s sneak into the right field bleachers next year.

Home runs aside, Aoki does appear primed for another productive year. He is slated to start in right and bat leadoff for the Brewers like he finished last season doing. With his good contact and on-base ability, batting around .290 with 25 steals should be within reach. Overall though, his limited ceiling prevents him from being valued higher.

Torii Hunter | Detroit Tigers
Shallow (30 Keepers): No
Medium (60 Keepers): No
Deep (90 Keepers): No
AL-only (60 Keepers): Yes
Super Deep (200 Keepers): Yes

In his last year as an Angel, Hunter had another nice year, batting .316 with 16 home runs and nine steals. Beneath otherwise consistent surface numbers were inconsistent peripherals, most notably a .389 BABIP and declining contact rate that indicate tougher times are ahead for the now 37 year old. It’s overwhelmingly likely his meteoric BABIP will fall in line with his career norm, lowering his batting average back into the .270-to-.280 range. With an expected 15-to-20 homers and no more than 10 steals, Hunter is a player hard to get excited about.

Two things fantasy players sometimes overlook need to be taken into account though. First, Hunter is extremely durable with just one DL stint in the last seven seasons. Next, Hunter is surely to accrue fantastic run and RBI totals, likely batting second in Detroit’s potent lineup.

Batting second in the Angels’ potent lineup last year, Hunter was able to post the 71st most valuable fantasy line. With a regressed average, he should fall outside the top 90 for next year, but could still be a useful third or fourth outfielder on most teams.

Shane Victorino | Boston Red Sox
Shallow
(30 Keepers): No
Medium (60 Keepers): Fringe
Deep (90 Keepers): Yes
AL-only (60 Keepers): Yes
Super Deep (200 Keepers): Yes

After seven productive years, Victorino cashed in free-agency this offseason, signing a three year deal with the Red Sox. Last week Derek went over the impact of moving to Boston on Victorino. In summary, he may lose some power as a result of the transition, but his average and stolen base attempts are likely to benefit. While potentially increased steals for a player who swiped 40 last season sounds terrific, there are reasons for concern.

As commenter DarinRuf18 pointed out in my column last week, the switch-hitting Victorino has developed a fairly pronounced platoon split over the last few years. Last year his wOBA vs righties was a putrid .280, while against lefties it was an elite .390—a 100 point split he’s consistently shown the past three years. Despite this dichotomy, for a multitude of reasons—the first being the $40 million the Sox just paid him—Victorino is unlikely to be platooned to any extent this season, and therefore, I would simply value him by his overall numbers. Last season, by our PFM, those were still good for the 70th best line in fantasy.

With expected increases in runs and RBI batting second in the Red Sox lineup and a rebound in his batting average, it’s easy to see how Victorino will maintain top 90 status in 2013 and potentially be a top 60 player.

6 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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DarinRuf18

Interesting how high you are on Victorino...it woudl seem that you see his production simply as a result of opportunity and/or ABs at the top of a productive lineup. You really think he will hit 3rd? I guess I thought they would go Ellsbury, Pedroia, Ortiz, Napoli, Middlebrooks, Gomes, Victorino, Drew, Salty....but i guess I could see Victorino slotting in 2nd and just moving everyone down 1 spot.

i certainly agree with what you said in terms of his potential value. even if he hits .260-.270 again, the everyday ABs will almost certainly lead to 90+ runs, and when you couple that with his standard 12-15 HR and 30+ SB, he makes for a solid OF3. And I also would agree that while I did say I see him as more of a platoon bat, I think there's almost no chance he gets thrown in a platoon next year. Dont sign him for that kinda money to only play the weak-side of a platoon. then again, i have no idea why they gave him that money in the first place.

all i know is that for the last 2-3 years i've watched him sturggle a lot. i think hes actually been worse than his numbers would indicate overall. between him and jimmy rollins, if i had to watch another sorta-deep flyball to RF as they swung for HRs despite being speed-first guys....i woulda lost it.

question for someone/anyone. why isnt Brentz being discussed as a possible semi-platoon partner for both Vicotrino and Gomes?...furthermore, how many managers are gonna lineup as many righties as possible to throw against Boston? Between Gomes, Vicotrino, Middlebrooks, and potentially Cody Ross(unlikely i guess at this point)...i guess they still have ellsbury, papi, and salty though. sorry just thinking out loud now. thanks for the reference there in the article. pretty cool. great read, as always.

Dec 21, 2012 07:45 AM
rating: 0
 
DarinRuf18

sorry, i meant to say you really think he will hit 2ND, not 3rd.

Dec 21, 2012 07:45 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Paul Singman
BP staff

Thanks, I appreciate the discussion, DarinRuf. Managers like to keep their lineups stable but it wouldn't be a bad idea for Farrell to bat Victorino second vs lefties and lower in the lineup against righties. We'll see what he ends up doing.

From what I read on Brentz, he's still raw and will likely spend most, if not all, of 2013 in Triple-A. Daniel Nava and Ryan Kalish though, are expected to platoon with Gomes in left. My feeling is Victorino won't be platooned, besides just the contract, he also provides value with his defense and baserunning--two things (mostly) independent of the handedness of the pitcher on the mound.

Dec 21, 2012 15:33 PM
 
gregarakaki

Thank you for the analysis as I have all three on my current keeper league roster and all three are in consideration for the last keeper slot (yeah my roster is that crappy). I'm a little surprised that you have Victorino higher than Hunter, but it looked like a dead heat from last year.

Dec 21, 2012 09:09 AM
rating: 0
 
DarinRuf18

i dont neccessarily think that its indicative of who the better player is in real life. i think without a question, almost all GMs would prefer Hunter to Vicotrino for next year...but in terms of fantasy, even last year when VIcotrino was said to have had one of his worst seasons as a pro, and Hunter was seen as having had a resurgence of sorts, look at their stat lines

Hunter: .313, 81 runs, 16 HR, 92 RBI, 9 SB
Victorino: .255, 72 runs, 11 HR, 55 RBI, 39 SB

yes, Hunter had a better average by almost 60 points, scored 9 more runs, hit 5 more HR, and had 37 more RBI...but Torii also had a .389 BABIP, which was 82 points higher than his career average. his BB% went down by just about 3%, while his K% went up by about 3% as well...his ISO was only .139, which is 51 points lower than his career average. overall, he had his lowest walk rate since 2007, the highest strikeout rate of his entire career, and his lowest ISO in over 10 years. his FB% dipped dramatically from a career average of 34.4% down to 25.4%...yes, he was hitting a lot more line drives, but also a lot more ground balls as well...furthermore, his contact rate was his lowest in 8 years, and his O-Swing% was nearly 10% points higher than his career average, indicating that he was chasing a lot of pitches out of the zone.

All in all, when your contact rate goes down a good bit, along with your walk rate, and ISO....coupled with a sharp increase in strikeout rates, groundball %, and BABIP, its usually an indicator that A.) he got pretty darn lucky, and B.) he's likely to regress next year. not to mention the fact, hes already 37 years old, meaning there's an even higher risk of injury. Victorino was not good last year at all, yet his 30 more SB than Hunter more than makes up for 5 fewer HR, a couple less runs scored, and the difference in RBIs.

thats just my attempt to justify why they might have victorino ahead of Hunter. i also think that given the plethora of potential OF and DH on the Tigers, Hunter will prolly get a day off almost once a week. thats complete conjecture though. no proof to back that up. hope that helps. and just for the record, id keep Aoki lol

Dec 21, 2012 10:39 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Paul Singman
BP staff

DarinRuf gave a good detailed explanation, but just to summarize a bit: Hunter's edge over Victorino came from homers and average, and for 2013 that edge is likely to shrink considerably. Victorino should smoke Hunter in steals again though, what essentially puts him above Hunter in my mind.

Dec 21, 2012 15:38 PM
 
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Premium Article On the Beat: Jays Read... (12/20)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Rel... (12/19)
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Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Sta... (12/21)
Next Article >>
Prospect Profile: Josh... (12/21)

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