Sunday, February 10, 2013
Will Stanton disappoint in fantasy?
By Jason Catania
Giancarlo Stanton is one of baseball's top sluggers and a fantasy darling. But should he be?
Before you freak out over us even daring to raise that question, let's talk it out. We know Stanton, 23, will hit his homers; he already has 93 career bombs in his first three seasons -- and he's done that despite missing almost a quarter of 2012 with a knee injury and not debuting until early June back in his rookie year of 2010. Put another way, his 31 home runs per season average could be much closer to 40 if he'd actually played a fuller slate of games in years one through three.
We also know that Stanton's batting average has climbed from .259 to .262 to a fantasy-friendly .290 last year. But is that level attainable in 2013? Given Stanton's career-high .344 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) -- an indication he was perhaps a bit lucky -- and 28.5% strikeout rate -- which would have ranked eighth-worst in baseball had he qualified -- it's not hard to envision a scenario in which Stanton's average falls back into the .250 range. That would make him a negative in that category, instead of a positive.
Then there's the concern over RBIs. Stanton's best-ever tally there is 87 in 2011, and there's a very real possibility that he could fail to best that number, even if he were to play 150 games for the second time like he did in 2011. Why? Well, the Marlins' roster-cleanse means newcomers Juan Pierre and Placido Polanco are being considered for the top two spots ahead of Stanton in 2013. That's not a death knell -- both players are capable an OBP in the .330-.340 range -- but it's not as if that pair instills boatloads of confidence in owners who are targeting Stanton.
It's even more difficult to project good things in the runs scored category. Stanton has yet to crack the 80-run barrier, and with no proven run-producer (aside from himself) in the lineup, it's not as if he's all of a sudden going to be more than average for fantasy purposes.
Look, we're not saying Stanton is going to be a fantasy disappointment -- just that you can't necessarily count on any one category being well-above average beside home runs. All the excitement and hype surrounding Stanton is very real, but fantasy owners shouldn't be blinded by it.