Burning Fantasy Baseball Questions: Oakland Athletics
How does one handicap Oakland's cramped outfield?
It's rather simple, really.
In his first year against top-level competition, Yoenis Cespedes proved that he not only belongs but is already closing in on rotisserie stardom. (And having his personal chefs prepare a lovely roasted crow, topped with a luscious demi-glaze, for certain detractors. Ahem.) A greater test awaits the 27-year-old in Year 2, to be sure; there is still room, as his sub-75 percent contact rate suggests, for a precipitous drop-off from his rookie-season pace because of his overt, aggressive style. But his organized, chaotic control of the strike zone has so far kept him in position to punish opposing pitchers' blunders ... as well as some of their successes. Power? Plus-plus. Speed? Plus. Batting average? TBD, but so far, so good.
Josh Reddick, 26 in February, hit home runs at a torrid pace prior to the All-Star break, particularly in May (10), and ended up with 32 of them by season's end. His propensity for lengthy slumps (like, say, for more than a month to close out the campaign) became apparent in the second half, however. His average may be heavily dependent on his home run total, which is very likely to recede by several bombs. Paying for his 2012 marks is reckless.
The A's "bought low" on Chris B. Young, who, like Coco Crisp, has a pricey club option for 2014. There's a good chance that at least one of them will be on the trade block this summer. The switch-hitting Crisp should be good for another strong pace in the SB category.
Young will open the season as a "benchwarmer," but the buying opportunity for him is ripe. Although the tradeoff in run environments from Chase Field to O.co Coliseum is a minus, Oakland's emphasis on taking pitches (they led the league in P/PA after tying for fourth in 2011) will be a positive for his destabilizing plate discipline. Young, 29, should play when left-handed DH Seth Smith sits, and Crisp has played in more than 120 games only once in his past five seasons. Oakland frequently looks for opportunities to flip houses, and Young, with 25-25 ability, may have looked to them like a fixer-upper.
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570. Follow @NicholasMinnix
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