Continuing the series that examines lucky and unlucky hitters and pitchers from last season, as well as looking at the potential impact on the fantasy baseball landscape it 2012, we arrive at our third stop: the unlucky hitters.
But for today, let’s dive into the hitters who were unlucky last year.
After a season that left many a fantasy owners up in arms over his performance, he has started to catch the labels of “injury prone,” “overhyped,” and “bust.” Let’s take a step back here.
The kid is 22 years old, 6’5″, and 240 pounds. Last season was only his second full one in the MLB. Sure, he battled a couple of shoulder injuries, but it is far too early to be considered injury prone.
Second, his .227 BA from last season leaves many owners with doubts. This will easily be corrected in 2012, as Heyward battled through one of the unluckiest BABIP in the league last season. Have patience with the youngster, look for signs of continued growth, and expect a BA bounce back, along with 20 HRs and 10 SBs.
To the chagrin of White Sox fans everywhere, the automatic 40 HR machine came to a screeching halt last season. Many have left him for dead, but I say: he’s not dunn just yet. An anemic career low of a 10% HR/FB% will rebound to his normal 20+%. Followed by a BABIP correction, and you are again looking at a .250 hitter who should hit 25+ bombs.
Oh how fickle fantasy owners are when it comes to Alex Rios. They love him at first sight (see 2007, 2008), then hate him for a year (2009). The love-fest renews (2010), and then they remember all the reasons they used to hate him in 2011. Unfortunately, Rios just happens to have some of the luckiest and unluckiest seasons in alternating years.
If trends tell us anything, what should we look for in 2012? Yes, a rebound. Perhaps this will be the year when Rios can simply play regular baseball–without a heavy dose of luck influencing his skill set in either direction. If so, look for something along the lines of .275-80-18-80-22.
What has the perennial All-Star and 35 HR hitter undervalued this season? Simply his poor batting average from a year ago (.248). Teixeira has been on an unlucky two-year run in BABIP, and I expect a full rebound this year. Look for a final stat line somewhere close to his numbers from 2009.
Nagging shoulder and back injuries sapped a chunk of his power and speed in 2011. When that is added to a career low in BABIP (by more than 60 points), the end result is fantasy owners vowing never to draft him again. Use this to your advantage. A fully-healthy season from Han-Ram, with a luck rebound, will have fantasy owners anointing him as the No. 1-rated fantasy player heading into 2013.
It’s amazing to me that Longoria made this list despite hammering 31 HR in a mere 481 ABs last season. It’s his .244 BA that will have fantasy owners worried headed into 2012, but you will know better.
The batting average was driven by an extremely unlucky .240 BABIP, so expect a full rebound in 2012. This season might be the cheapest you can get Longoria for the next 5-10 years. I’m talking about a .295 hitter who can smash 45 HRs and steal 10 bases with ease. Draft accordingly.