|Will The Real Young Stars Please Stand Up?||Tweet|
|Playing the Field|
|Written by Mike Schmidt|
|Monday, 04 February 2013 14:49|
It's funny how much difference a year can make.
While it's clear many in the fantasy community underestimated the short-term fantasy potential of Trout, Goldschmidt, Cespedes and others, there were some who wilted and underperformed under the weight of great expectations this past year. Superstar-in-waiting Eric Hosmer slugged .359, or five points lower than perennial fantasy bust Justin Smoak. Desmond Jennings, whom the Tampa Bay Rays tabbed as their replacement for free agent Carl Crawford, posted an OPS of .702, which was five points lower than the one posted by Delmon Young. Brett Lawrie, a semi-legitimate 30-homer/30-steal candidate, hit one less homer (11) and drove in six less runs (48) than Brandon Inge (12 and 54, respectively) – despite seeing 205 more plate appearances than Oakland's aging third baseman.
So what are we supposed to make of the fantasy failures of Hosmer, Jennings and Lawrie? Here are three players who were widely considered to be among the best prospects in the game just a few short years ago. Hosmer ranked eighth on Baseball America's 2011 list of the top 100 prospects in baseball, while Jennings ranked 22nd and Lawrie ranked 40th. Each had tremendous success after breaking into the Majors at various points during the 2011 campaign and all were sought-after options in 2012 drafts. However, Hosmer, Jennings and Lawrie were extremely disappointing for fantasy purposes in their first full campaigns in the majors. Now one year later, let's take a look at what we can expect from this trio in 2013.
So what led to his drop in performance? Simply stated, he got unlucky and hit the ball at defenders. While a late-season shoulder injury didn't help matters, Hosmer's 2012 BABIP of .255 suggests a little more luck and an ability to overcome opposing squads' defensive shifts would be enough to help him move past his sophomore season struggles.
Also, one has to wonder if Jennings will ever be able to hit for a decent average in the Majors. Now entering his age-26 season, Jennings is a career .248 hitter in 212 games and 874 plate appearances at the big-league level. Nevertheless, he's an intriguing fantasy option given his prodigious athleticism, speed and power potential. Imagine if Jennings did put it all together at the plate in 2013, though. This is someone who could hit .270 with 15-20 homers and 40-50 steals over a full season, which would make him a borderline top-five option at the position.
So is Lawrie more Braun or Martin Prado? That depends. He'll certainly hit for more power if he can improve on last year's 50.2% ground ball rate, and he'll be able to rack up more steals if he can improve on his meager success rate from a year ago (13-of-21, roughly 62%). Realistic expectations for Lawrie's 2013 campaign are 15-20 homers and 15-20 steals with a .275 batting average. That means he's a slightly less productive version of Hanley Ramirez – without shortstop eligibility. That's if he stays healthy, and Lawrie has missed an average of 41.5 games over the course of the past two years due to injury.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 February 2013 15:01|