Who is really the best baseball team in the majors? I honestly don't know but I try to figure that out by using basic and advanced statistics. I live for talking about baseball, it's my biggest drive in my life and I will jump on the opportunity to talk baseball with anyone, even with people who I don't really like. For me, Baseball is a piece of art that sits in my mind all day, ready to be painted on at any point of the day.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Curtis Granderson's Fantasy Value

By Simon Stracher

Yes, I know that a post has already been written about Curtis Granderson, but he is my favorite player and I just had to write about his fantasy value for this upcoming season. So without further ado, I present to you Curtis Granderson's Fantasy Value

Thirteen months and fifteen days to this day Curtis Granderson, former all-star and member of the 20-20-20-20 club (twenty stolen bases, home-runs, doubles, and triples), was traded from the Detroit Tigers to the New York Yankees.

It was a three-team deal between the Yankees, Tigers, and Diamondbacks. In the trade, the Diamondbacks obtained Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy, while the Tigers picked up Max Scherzer, Daniel Schlereth, Phil Coke and highly touted outfield prospect Austin Jackson.

Prior to this trade Granderson's batting average with the Tigers was .272 and he had an average of twenty-three home-runs a season. But in 2009 he hit .249, with thirty home-runs. The next season with the Yankees, Granderson hit .247 with twenty-four home-runs, but was injured for a portion of the season and only had 466 at-bats. Fantasy owners were peeved that Granderson, a player with a power, speed, and batting average combo, "had declined" to a .245 hitter.

The question that has been haunting potential fantasy owners is: "Why should I pick Curtis Granderson if he can't hit for a decent average?"

In 2009 and 2010 he hit .249 and .247, respectively. But from 2006-2008 his average was .281, which brings the question: what has happened to Curtis? If you take a deep look at his stats, you should be able to see why.

The answer is BABIP (Batting average on balls in play). This statistic measures the number of plate appearances ending with a batted ball in play (excluding home-runs and sacrifices) for which the batter is credited with a hit. A normal BABIP is around .300, but can change based on many factors, such as speed, and ground ball rate. In 2009 and 2010, Granderson had BABIPs of .275 and .277, which was also below his career average BABIP of .314.

Usually when a player’s BABIP is below .300, it is attributed to possible hits being hit in the wrong place or “bad luck.” It is normal for players to go through unlucky stretches of 1-2 years. You also have to consider that Granderson's GB% actually went down, which would mean his batting average should be higher than his early days in Detroit. His LD% stayed the same, and his FB% went up, which means his average should be even higher. So in this case, Granderson should really be much closer to .300 hitter than .240 hitter. All of these stats indicate that Granderson went through an extremely unlucky stretch, and should rebound in 2011. I would suggest attempting to obtain him in your draft, as he could be a potential “sleeper”. Most owners will see the .249 and .247 average in the '09 and '10 years and be scared off, but that is the result of an unlucky BABIP. Try to nab him in the 6th or 7th round in a 10-team league. And if you have to, get him in the 4th or 5th round. If an owner makes an intimation that he will draft him any higher, then make sure you get him before he does. Barring injury, I guarantee he will be worth it. It is not uncommon for players to go through unlucky stretches for 3-4 years, and even though it is unlikely, it could happen with Granderson. If he gets unlucky again next year, I am going to freak out like this guy.

My projection for Granderson 2011 campaign is: twenty-five to thirty home-runs, twenty-eight to thirty stolen bases, and most importantly, a .285 to .295 batting average. I would not be surprised if Granderson has a breakout year and hits over .300 with thirty-five home-runs. But if you want to have a good shot of winning your fantasy baseball league this year, you should most definitely try to acquire my “sleeper” pick of the year, Curtis Granderson

Sources: www.fangraphs.com, www.espn.com

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