Ryan Raburn caught fire towards the end of the season, hitting .340 with 13 HR, 38 RBI and 37 R over the final two months of the season. Obviously, he’s not going to maintain those types of numbers, especially when you look at the peripherals that led to them:
- .381 BABIP
- 20.0% HR/FB
Those two numbers alone will hang over him. We all know that the BABIP is unrealistic. As for the HR/FB, there were only seven players to post a HR/FB rate of at least 20% in 2010, none of which were middle infielders. In fact, Dan Uggla led all middle infielders with a 17.4% mark.
Having established the fact that Raburn will not perform up to the level he set in August and September, that doesn’t mean that he is not going to have value. First of all, a lot of his value is going to be dependent on your league format. Look at the number of games he played by position in 2010:
- First Base – 1
- Second Base – 18
- Third Base – 2
- Outfield – 100
So, if your league requires 20 games for eligibility, Raburn is not going to be eligible at 2B. If your format requires less than that, his value increases exponentially.
Now, what exactly can we expect from Raburn in 2011? It appears that he will open the season as the Tigers’ starting left fielder, barring any other free agent activity. If he does have every day at bats, Raburn is certainly going to have value in all formats.
In limited at bats over the best two seasons he has continued to show good power. He has 632 AB between 2009 & 2010, hitting 31 HR with 107 RBI and 98 R. That’s a full season of statistics and they are impressive.
While his power really soared over the final two months in ‘10, overall his HR/FB was just 12.2%. They say baseball is a game of averages, and that’s why we don’t put too much stock into small sample sizes. You are never as good as your highest high, or as bad as your lowest low. What Raburn has shown over the past two seasons is that when given the opportunity, he has the ability to show plenty of power. Let’s not forget, in 2009 he posted a HR/FB rate of 17.0%.
I’m not about to say that in a full season he is going to hit 30 HR, but it would appear that with 500-550 AB, he easily could hit 20-25 HR.
He has also shown the ability to hit for a good average as a career .274 hitter (with averages of .291 and .280 the past two seasons). Couple that type of number with some power and the ability to both score and drive in runs in a high-powered offense, and it isn’t going to matter what position he’s playing.
Obviously, he’d have significantly more value as a 2B, but even as an outfielder, a .280 hitter with 25 HR and the potential to go 85/85 is going to be worth owning.
He’s not going to be an early round selection. In fact, you very well may be able to get him in the later rounds, drafting him as a bench option. The thing is, this is the type of player that can help you win fantasy championships. There is going to be very little risk, but quite a bit of potential reward. In other words, he’s a player to target in all formats.
What are your thoughts of Raburn? Is he a player you are going to target on draft day? Why or why not?
Make sure to check out some of our 2011 projections: