Suzuki Has Value In 2010… Kurt Suzuki That Is

Look at the young catchers that people are focusing on.  Matt Wieters…  Miguel Montero…  They have the potential to be two of the best in the league in 2010, but people need to expand their vision and look out west to Oakland to get the full scope of the top young talent at the position.  Kurt Suzuki is quietly blossoming into a top option (ranked sixth in our most recent rankings, which you can view by clicking here), just look at his 2009 statistics:

570 At Bats
.274 Batting Average (156 Hits)
15 Home Runs
88 RBI
74 Runs
8 Stolen Bases
.313 On Base Percentage
.421 Slugging Percentage
.284 Batting Average on Balls in Play

The average may not be that impressive, but the BABIP certainly has room for growth.  In 2008 (his rookie year) he posted a mark of .311 and the underlying numbers just didn’t really change:

  • Flyball Rate: 35.9% in ’08 vs. 36.2% in ‘09
  • Groundball Rate: 45.2% in ’08 vs. 44.4% in ‘09

There’s no reason to believe that he’s going to continue with such poor luck, meaning an improved average should certainly be in his future.

The power appears to be coming around as he grows older and stronger (he’ll be 26-years old on April 1).  He saw his power more than double from 2008 to 2009 (7 home runs in ’08), and it’s all due to an improved HR/FB rate:

  • 2008 – 4.2%
  • 2009 – 8.0%

Would I expect him to continue to blossom and turn into a 25-30 home run threat?  That would be a little bit too big of a jump to expect from anyone, especially considering the ballpark he calls home.

Seeing him come close to, or reach, the 20 home run plateau would not be all that surprising, however.  There were eight catchers who hit at least 19 home runs in ’09 (no one hit more than Joe Mauer’s 28) and only two of those had averages above .290 (Mauer and Victor Martinez).  Assuming he can take the next step forward, what Suzuki brings to the table could be something that you find in few other places.

None of that factors in his speed, which, for a catcher, is excellent.  Only two catchers had more stolen bases than Suzuki in 2009, Russell Martin and Yadier Molina.  Getting five stolen bases from a catcher is rare, so anything above that is really gravy.

I know, you look at the A’s lineup and wonder if the RBI and R will continue.  I’d expect him to hit in the middle of the lineup, however, and the team needs to both score and drive in runs.  Hitting in the middle of that lineup may not be ideal, but that doesn’t mean it won’t bring about results.  Every team has to score and someone needs to drive them in.

Let’s take a look at what I’d expect from him in 2010:

.294 (172-585), 19 HR, 80 RBI, 90 R, 10 SB, .308 BABIP, .356 OBP, .455 SLG

That is solid production across the board, especially from a catcher.  Only Mauer and V. Martinez went 80/80 in ’09.  No catcher went 10/10.  Being able to get that type of potential production across the board is something that should not be overlooked.

He’s a catcher I’d love to own in all formats.  I have him ranked as the 100th player on my draft board, though I wouldn’t necessarily suggest taking him that high.  He has an ADP of about 132, so he could be had a few rounds later.  If he’s sitting there in Round 9 or 10, I wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger, especially in two-catcher formats.

What about you?  Is Suzuki a catcher you want to own?  How highly do you think of him?

If you would like to see a free preview of the Rotoprofessor 2010 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide (available for just $5), click here.

Make sure to check out some of our 2010 projections, including:

4 comments

  1. Michael Keneski says:

    I really like Suzuki this year. I always try to mine the lower ranked guys when it comes to catcher. I dont think he will hit .290 but 10 steals with 15 home runs sounds right. Also does Jeff Clement have any value? I hear he is going to play 1B.

  2. Pat says:

    How do you think Suzuki compares to Miguel Montero this year?

  3. Rotoprofessor says:

    I have him just a notch below him, but in the same tier as both Montero & Wieters (I also have them all with the same auction value). In other words, I’d love to have either of them.

  4. Rotoprofessor says:

    Sorry Mike, meant to touch on Clement as well. I have him outside the Top 30 first baseman, but if he has catcher eligibility in your league he’s certainly worth considering if he does ultimately play 1B everyday. If that happened, he’d be a low-end option in 2-catcher formats.

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