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Red Sox freeze out fantasy profits for Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli
By Tim Heaney
I'm seeing Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band for the first time Tuesday night. (Excited interjection here.)
One of my favorites from them, which I hope will be played, is "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out."
(Obligatory creative transition into Tuesday Winter Meetings notes.)
Get it? Freeze-out? Winter? OK, OK, moving on.
It's cold in Boston, too, where I first "saw" the E Street Band. I was outside of Fenway Park's Green Monster listening with a boatload of people back in the early aughts.
The Red Sox tried to bring some joy back to their roster by inking two in-demand commodities this week.
So much for rebuilding.
After ditching Carl Crawford's behemoth deal, they acquire speed from an even more advanced age. Thirty-three-year-old Shane Victorino will need continued volume to maximize his value in the SB column (39 last year), and at least he was stellar at picking his spots with an 86.7 success rate.
He's made his living off his above-average batting eye and, more emphatically, crushing lefties in the last few years. Some warning signs: He swung at more outside-the-zone stuff last year, and the gulf in his splits widened: .229/.296/.333 versus the more common handedness and .323/.388/.518 against the more unique arm angle.
Expect a homer total somewhere between his 2011 (17) and 2012 (11). Since he's a switch-hitter, Fenway has less of a direct impact on his pop. He'll enjoy the Monstah whenever he's hitting in his minority batter's box, but he's not much of an oppo-field guy anymore, so that effect is dropped a bit when he's across the dish.
How much longer can you count on his plate discipline and aging wheels to carry his play? He'll remain a nice middle-rounds mixed get for the runs potential depending on where he hits in the lineup, considering this offense should still field a capable lot. But with his BA failing to take advantage in recent years of how he's controlled the strike zone, any fall-off in his most helpful indicators points to a dangerous result if you overspend, which many single-universe players will do.
Speaking of outbidding yourself: Amazing how Mike Napoli continues to make bank off what was essentially one gaudy half-season.
Our fantasy tip touched on how drafters should view the "backstop". At least his fantasy eligibility there aids what he'll give you considering he'll spend most of his days scooping infield throws. It will, of course, significantly jack up his draft price. Where does he fall in comparison to other more secure receivers? (Wait, is there such a thing?)
You'll probably have to adjust on the fly to see where his power falls in your room's pay scale. At the right cost, he may be worth your investment. Chasing him, on the other hand, could be quite expensive (wallet-crushing, most likely, in single-universe games), which would be a horrific way to throw off your flexibility for the rest of your squad. Don't expect a discount in most environments.
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