by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Playing in Coors Field often helps to boost a player’s value, whether it’s a perceived increase or an actual one. When it comes to D.J. LeMahieu, which side of the fence do things fall? Is he actually a fantasy asset, or do people just want to believe that he is due to his home ballpark?
Obviously he hit .348 last season, which deserves some credit. He hit the ball hard (26.6% line drive rate) and does have some speed, so seeing an elevated BABIP shouldn’t come as a surprise. A .388 mark, though? That’s a tough one to buy into, and things get extremely interesting when you look at his home/road split (AVG // BABIP):
- Home – .391 // .420
- Road – .303 // .351
Often when we think of the benefits of playing in Coors Field it’s the power that comes to mind, but LeMahieu takes advantage of the expansive outfield. He peppers it with line drives, leading to doubles (25), triples (7) and an elevated average. That should continue, but can it at quite this level? Keep in mind, in 2015 he hit .321 at home and in 2014 the mark was .316. In fact for his career he’s a .334 hitter at Coors Field and a .263 away from it.
Then you have the ability to make consistent contact, which also is likely to regress. The owner of a career 6.2% SwStr%, he improved to 4.1% last season. He’s going to continue at one of the better rates in the league, but this type of number is hard to bank on him replicating.
He’s going to continue to be a strong hitter, there’s no doubt about that, and he’s going to be a better one at Coors Field, but there’s little chance that he maintains last season’s mark. Could he hit .300? Absolutely, but is that enough?
Remember last season’s 11 HR was a career high and while he’s stolen as many as 23 bases in a season, he’s not likely to reach that mark again (11 in 18 attempts in ’16). He’s also going to slot into the second spot of the batting order, where his runs/RBI upside is capped.
He’s not an “empty” average, as some are, but he’s also not a great one. There’s value in .300/10/10, but it’s more as a middle infielder as opposed to a starting second baseman. While some will reach for him given the impressive average, don’t make that mistake.
Source – Fangraphs
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Make sure to check out our other Early 2017 Rankings:
|Starting Pitcher||#1-20 |02/27/17|