Monday, January 26, 2009

Nelson Cruz 2009

Nelson Cruz is a popular pick as a sleeper in 2009, and with good reason. Based only on his major league performances over the past few years, he would appear to be a slightly overrated 'sleeper', and his outstanding 2008 performance (in his age 27 year) would look like an outlier. But his performance at AAA has been excellent for years, and has reached the 'absurdly good' level over the past two years. Combined in 2007 and 2008 at AAA Cruz has hit .345 with 52 home runs and 144 RBIs in 545 at basts. Throw in 25 stolen bases, and you've got yourself a fantasy super star. The outlier for Cruz was his performance in his first couple of tries at the major league level. Some people will point to his performance last year and say that it was simply his '27 year old breakout/spike', but the idea that players tend to have breakouts at 27 is based on a misunderstanding of the research. Hitters tend to improve fastest at much younger ages, with the improvement generally becoming more and more gradual until they level out at a 'peak' at 27 and start gradually declining. There is nothing typical about Cruz's 'peak' in stats at the major league level last year, and once we look at his minor league statistics we realize it's not even a peak, but in line with what he's been doing for several years. Cruz is going to be a particularly good deal in daily leagues like Rotohog, Snapdraft, Draftbug, and Fantasysportslive, where you can just use him at home in Texas, where his performance will likely make him one of the best bargains in baseball.


Schruender said...

If you put him exclusively in Texas, he will be really dangerous. The only thing to worry about I guess is making sure he fits in on the depth chart. Obviously Josh Hamilton's got a spot in the outfield, but there is uncertainty after that. David Murphy played really well last year and Marlon Byrd wasn't bad. Do you think it's possible that Cruz will get sent back down to begin 2009?

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