Fantasy Fallout: Can Nelson Cruz Match His ’14 Success In Seattle?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

When thinking about Nelson Cruz and his move to Seattle the easy thought would be that he’s going to see a significant regression in his power. For one he’s leaving the cozy confines of Camden Yards and we all saw what happened to Robinson Cano a year ago…

After hitting .271 with 40 HR in his lone season as an Oriole he very well may regress. However, the ballpark may simply not be the answer as to why.  Just look at his home/road split from 2014:

  • Home – 15 HR
  • Road – 25 HR

On he he road last season he posted a 23.1% HR/FB, a mark well above his career 17.3%.

Of course, home/road isn’t the only noteworthy split. Just look at what he did in the first/second halves:

  • 1st Half – .287, 28 HR
  • 2nd Half – .249, 12 HR

Much like with his home/road split, his second half seems a lot closer to the truth (his HR/FB split was 23.9% and 15.2%). While there is clearly power in his bat (21.3% HR/FB in 2013), his new home ballpark and an overall regression is going to play a major role.

Injuries have also been a concern for Cruz throughout his career. However, if he can stay on the field reaching 30+ HR is not an unrealistic expectation, even in Seattle. That’s more than enough to keep him squarely on fantasy radars but it’s a definite step backwards.

With a .268 career average, his overall mark has to be deemed realistic. Of course, how he got there may be frustrating but at the end of the day it’s a solid number.

Joining a lineup that includes Cano and Kyle Seager, even with a drop in power he should reach 90 RBI. Again, like with the HR, it’s a far cry from what he did last season 108) but more than enough to keep him relevant.

At the end of the day we would’ve expected a regression from Cruz regardless of where he signed, though the move to Seattle may make the fall off a little bit steeper. Is he going to be a viable outfielder? Absolutely, but don’t pay for last season’s success. There’s just little chance of him getting there once again.

Source – Fangraphs

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