I Probably Won’t Own In 2014… Yasiel Puig Edition (Including 2014 Projection)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Puig clearly took baseball by storm in 2013, causing quite a stir from fantasy owners. It certainly makes sense, when you hit .319 with 19 HR and 11 SB in just 382 AB. That said, I’m entering my drafts not expecting to come away with him in a single one. It’s not that I don’t think he’s going to be good, I just don’t think I have the man crush that many others have come down with.

First of all, as it stands right now the Dodgers are going to try and fit four outfielders into three spots. While that isn’t a major concern, given health issues and one of the options being Andre Ethier, it still could mean a few more days off than he’d generally get.

As far as the performance goes, there are an awful lot of red flags hanging out there. The two most notable ones, though, are in his average and power.

Average
His .319 mark came courtesy of:

  • 22.5% strikeout rate
  • 19.1% line drive rate
  • .383 BABIP

Everything about that trio tells us the average just isn’t realistic. First, the strikeouts which were consistent in the first (22.4%) and second (22.5%) halves. In 229 AB in the minors he owned a 16.8% mark, including 17.4% at Double-A, so it’s not an unreasonable expectation.

Of the 24 players who qualified for the batting title and hit over .300, none of them posted a strikeout rate above 22% (and only two were above 20%). In fact Marlon Byrd was the first person on the board with that high of a strikeout rate (he was at 24.9%) and he finished 35th with a .291 mark.  In other words, unless he can improve his strikeouts .290 has almost already been taken off the table.

Then, you throw in an obviously lucky BABIP and there is serious concern. Even if he didn’t see such a dramatic split in line drive rate we’d be concerned:

  • First Half – 23.9%
  • Second Half – 15.9%

Now throw in that his minor league line drive rate was 14.4% and the issue is clouded even more. It would look like the second half could be closer to the truth, though that remains to be seen. The fact is it would more surprising to see him push .320 once again than to see him struggle to a mark in the .260 range.

Power
He didn’t show much of a propensity for fly balls in 2013, posting a 30.7% fly ball rate. Instead he benefited from a 21.8% HR/FB rate.  If he had qualified, that would’ve tied him for sixth in the league with Giancarlo Stanton. That alone should make us skeptical. Then you once again throw in his split:

  • First Half – 28.6%
  • Second Half – 18.6%

If that second half number is closer to reality, given the ballpark and lack of fly balls, he profiles more as a 20-24 HR hitter than someone who could push 30.

2014 Projection:
.278 (153-550), 24 HR, 80 RBI, 90 R, 18 SB, .321 BABIP, .358 OBP, .484 SLG

Conclusion:
While it seems like I am against Puig, it’s not the case. At the end of the day I’m still projecting him as a five category contributor. However, that projection puts him more in the late third (and that could even be a stretch) vs. early fourth round, where I just don’t expect him to still be available.

There are just way too many risks and too much of a bust factor in the underlying statistics for me to roll the dice with an earlier pick. Maybe it’ll work out for whoever selects him in the second or early third, but I can promise you unless something changes it won’t be me.

Sources – Fangraphs, Minor League Central

*** Make sure to pre-order Rotoprofessor’s 2014 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide and be entered to win an autographed David Price mini bat!  The guide comes complete with projections of over 575 players, expended rankings, sleepers, Top 50 prospects and so much more (including constant updates up until opening day).  For just $6 you will get everything you need to dominate your fantasy league!  For more information and to place your order, click here. ***

Make sure to check out all of our 2014 rankings:

 

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8 Responses to I Probably Won’t Own In 2014… Yasiel Puig Edition (Including 2014 Projection)

  1. Capoeira says:

    If you going to take a gamble, why not Puig?

    He did it in Cuba, he did it in the minors, he did it as a rookie.

    He is really young and just getting started

    • jmax says:

      Did you even read this article? Gamble?!?! What smart fantasy participant gambles early in the draft?
      Hell, the fact that they haven’t moved an OF’er to clear PT for Puig should tell you something

      • G says:

        What’s the earliest you would draft CarGo? Or Tulo? Some one is going to gamble on guys like these in the early rounds. It may not be you, but it may be someone smart. There’s not THAT many totally safe picks, even at the top.

        Also, the Dodgers can afford to keep an expensive backup considering their seeming unlimited funds and the fact that 2/3 of their starting outfield gets hurt every year. Not necessarily a statement about Puig, though the situation could hurt a little as the Prof’ says.

      • Capoeira says:

        What a joke, you actually think any of the other OF starts over him? Lol

        I dont know how you guys think he will be a second rounder when on MDC he’s going 70th in actual mock drafts.

        He’s a good gamble from pick 30 on out

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I’m not against gambling on Puig, but not in the second round if that’s the investment that’s needed. If he falls, I’d select him but I just don’t foresee that happening.

  2. J says:

    I too am skeptical of Puig which is why I traded him for Kipnis and a draft pick.
    There is no doubt he is a very talented player, but I agree with the professor on this one. He is a good player but he is not worth the 2nd round pick it would take to get him.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Love that trade, btw. I actually prefer Kipnis on his own, so getting a draft pick as well for Puig is a great move.

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