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Wednesday, February 03, 2010
The Fantastically Average Oakland A’s OutfieldPosted by Tommy Rancel at 6:00am
I'm not quite sure of the fantasy impact this group may have overall, but excuse me for being smitten with the current outfield group of the Oakland Athletics. With the off-season additions of Coco Crisp and the newly signed Gabe Gross, the A's are all making a conservative effort to make sure a fly ball does not hit the ground at Coliseum.
As offensive players, all four rank eerily similar overall. Going down the list the career wOBA leaderboard is: Rajai Davis .330, Gross and Crisp at .325, and Ryan Sweeney at .322. None of them flash much power with Gross having shown the most pop from the bat.
In 2009, Davis had an above average .354 wOBA fueled by a .360 OBP. Buyer beware, his .366 BABIP and average walk totals suggest that is likely to regress. What likely won't regress is his speed; Davis is fast. According to speed score, he is like Carl Crawford/Michael Bourn fast. We all know fast doesn't necessarily lead to steals, but in Davis' case it does. He was just one of seven players to steal 40 or more bags in 2009 and did so with a 77% success rate.
Crisp has the most experience of the group and also has the more attractive career slash line of .277/.331/.407. That said, he is far from an offensive machine. I wouldn't put to much stock in his .228 batting average of 2009 since he did have a torn labrum in his shoulder and his BABIP was just .247. Although he is creeping up in age, Crisp will give you 20+ steals should he get enough playing time.
Ryan Sweeney opened eyes in 2009 with his 4.1 WAR season. Take a completely average bat (wOBA .330 in 2009) and add +20 defense and that's how you become a 4 WAR player. An above average defender in center field, Sweeney is likely to become one of the better defensive corner outfielders in the game. However, his bat, as mentioned above, is completely average and his speed is nowhere near Davis or even Crisp for that matter. In 282 games at the major league level he has just 22 stolen base attempts.
Satchel covered Gross's value yesterday. Oh-so-average Gabe is the ideal fourth member of the Oakland quartet. Sightly more powerful than his new teammates, Gross is a .240 hitter who takes his walks; not very sexy to a fantasy player. He is adequate enough defensively in center field to fill in, but is a +10 defender in the corners. Should Oakland have an injury in the outfield, Gross can easily be inserted in the lineup, and with some defensive shuffling, the team wouldn't miss a beat.
Of course this average offense plus very good defense sounds good in terms of real world value, but none of the above is really music to the fantasy crowd's ears. Because of his stolen base ability, Rajai Davis is clearly the best option of the group. If you trust Coco Crisp to remain heathly over the course of the season, he can give you some value as he'll rack-up some decent plate appearances and swipe a few bases. Sweeney is the most average of the group, and Gross is basically an older Sweeney on the bench.
I wouldn't pay this group much fantasy attention in terms of drafting, however, their impact on defense to a team that has Ben Sheets, Mike Wuertz, Dallas Braden, Vince Mazzaro and Andrew Bailey (all career FB% around 40%) may prove to have a different kind of fantasy value.
Tommy Rancel is the Editor-In-Chief of DRaysBay as well as a contributor at Beyond the Box Score
I would expect Michael Taylor to break into this group at some point this season, too.
Posted 02/03 at 05:46 PM
Tommy Rancel said...
An OF of Sweeney, Davis, Taylor is even better.
Posted 02/03 at 09:24 PM
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