April 18, 2012; Anaheim, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics center fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) hits a three run home run in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
A look at the Oakland Athletics' hitters, from a fantasy baseball manager's perspective.
The Athletics hitters don't offer much in the way of useful Fantasy impact. As a team, they rank in the bottom five in Runs, Average (dead last) and RBI. However, that isn't a reason to throw up an embargo on all A's players. Shrewdly consider the following players if you are worried about your team. After all, as my boy T.S Eliot said, anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity.
Josh Reddick - The cat is out of the bag on this guy. Going off at 30/13/26/5/.271, Reddick has been a nice addition to teams that grabbed him off the waiver wire. His jump in production is attributable to one thing: the enormous jump in HR rate. While the rest of his numbers are in line with his career averages, or even below, 19.4% of all his fly balls are landing over the fence. We haven't seen much of Reddick, as this is his first full season, so it's hard to say if this is normal or not.
If this rate is sustainable, he has made himself into quite a player, worthy of #2/3 OF status in standard leagues. His BABIP is running around .273, which seems low to me, although without much to compare it to. I suspect Reddick at least has a decent chance to improve upon his average going forward. He's a decent hold option if you own him, and if not, at least worth putting out feelers for. His numbers suggest he isn't in for too large a regression, with maybe trading some power for average going forward. Don't pay through the nose, but if an owner feels like he's a house of cards ready to collapse, pounce.
Yoenis Cespedes - Cespedes is an excellent source of late round power, and should be back soon from injury. If he was dropped during his convalescence and you need power but can stomach the average, grab him yesterday. He hit 5 homers, had 21 RBI and a sneaky 4 steals in his initial 28 major league games. There will be ups and downs to come for sure, and likely some rust in the short term, but his power plays.
Jemile Weeks - Coming in to the season, he looked like a potential late round steal. He is legitimately in the conversation for fastest player in baseball, and had 40 steal potential coming off the board after round 15. While he hasn't disappointed in that regard, with 10 steals already, he has betrayed a fatal flaw - the guy cannot get on base. He has more than doubled his walk rate, to a healthy 9.4%, which is a great sign. However, his BABIP is .234, abysmal foranyone, but especially for a speed guy like Weeks.
The question is why, but the answer is not readily apparent. His GB%, LD% and FB% are all similar to last year, when his BABIP was .350, fueling an OBP of .340, providing plenty of steal opportunities. He appears to simply be hitting them where they are, not where they ain't. That means Weeks is a guy I'm keeping my eye on. He has probably been dropped in most leagues, and while I won't rush to add him, I will monitor him closely. If he starts getting on base, he becomes a necessary add for any team needing steals.
After these three guys, the A's hitters becomes sort of a bleak wasteland. Kurt Suzuki, Kila Ka'aihue, Seth Smith and Coco Crisp have yet to produce much, but even if they do start hitting like themselves, there are likely betting options for your team anyway. Jonny Gomes seems to get hot once a year, so file him away in the back of your mind. Michael Taylor may finally get a chance this year, and he's certainly been traded around like he has talent. Watch for him to get comfortable later this summer.
Leave no stone unturned my friends. Show your opponents "fear in a handful of dust," even if that means owning some Athletics.