Quick Hit: Jorge Cantu

2008 Statistics:
628 At Bats
.277 Batting Average (174 Hits)
29 Home Runs
95 RBI
92 Runs
6 Stolen Bases
.327 On Base Percentage
.481 Slugging Percentage
.297 Batting Average on Balls in Play

Thoughts:
Talk about a renaissance.  Once thought to be one-hit wonder, Cantu came back in full force.  It was his first useful fantasy season since 2005, when he hit .286 with 28 HR and 117 RBI for the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Since then he struggled with the Rays, ending up back at Triple-A, before an unspectacular stint with the Reds.  Then, he landed back in Florida and everything suddenly just clicked again.

His FB% was significantly increased, even from his 2005 campaign.  Last season he hit the ball in the air 44.8%, compared to 36.8% in ’05.  In fact, 2008 was the first time in his career where his ratio was over 38.4%.  Believable?  I think not, and a regression is likely in order.

His average could rebound, however, as the BABIP was a bit on the lower side.  It placed him 108th in the league, so needless to say a little bit more luck could be in his future.  Of course, his strikeout rate was the best of his career, so an increase could offset any improved luck.

2009 Projection:
.277 (162-585), 20 HR, 85 RBI, 71 R, 4 SB, .310 BABIP, .325 OBP, .441 SLG

Conclusion:
With Hanley Ramirez likely moving down in the line-up, that means Cantu is likely to hit fifth, at best.  That will mean fewer chances for runs scored, leading to a significant drop from last season.  Additionally, with his decreased power, a lower RBI total is likely in his future as well.

The Marlins chose to keep him over Mike Jacobs, though that may have been the wrong decision.  While Cantu has the potential to contribute, there seems to be little chance in my mind that he even comes close to the numbers he produced last season.  He’s shown the ability to produce, and then disappear in the past.  They say lightning doesn’t strike twice, but in this case, they may be wrong.

What do you think?  Am I being too harsh?

4 comments

  1. Desi says:

    With these uninspiring conservative projections, at 1B/3B would you rather roster a higher upside bat like Konerko, Kotchman, Kouzmanoff, A. LaRoche, a Blalock while he’s not hurt, or perhaps the reliabilty of a Mora? I don’t necessarily disagree, but this profile only illicits a collective yawn.

  2. Keith says:

    I think Cantu is vastly overrated. Not only is he solid in 3 1/2 categories (runs home runs, rbis and 1/2 ba, I love him because he’s eligible at both corner spots.

    Player A: 86/.303/21/99
    Player B: 92/.277/29/95

    B is Cantu, A is Atkins. Now no one will confuse Cantu for A-Rod but I got him in the 15th round. Cantu is solid and at the 5 spot his rbis will increase. I think he’ll turn in a line around 88/.275/25/100/8. Who wouldn’t want that on their team?

  3. Ryan says:

    Where you’re getting him I’d say those numbers aren’t bad. I like his 1b/3b versatility.

  4. Rotoprofessor says:

    Desi, I would definitely rather have Konerko and LaRoche over Cantu, and yeah, Kouzmanoff and Blalock as well. I know what Cantu did last season, but I’m just not a believer in his ability to match them.

    I know the comparison to Atkins, but at least Atkins has done it multiple times. Last time we saw Cantu put up numbers like this, he completely disappeared for years after it. In the last rounds of your draft, there really is no risk, but there are other guys who I see with dramatically more upside.

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