Thursday, March 5, 2009

Outfield Primer: Either Ethier Rules Or I'm A Cantaloupe

Most players that get passed over in a draft are passed over for a reason. There are millions of reasons to ignore a guy.

Here are a few, off the top of my head: guys that have body parts held together with tissue paper and wood glue (Milton Bradley); guys with depth chart issues (Nick Swisher); guys who hit .209 on the year a few seasons ago (Pat Burrell); guys that might have had a .306 batting average last year but are 38 years old (Brian Giles); guys that have a ton of talent but are really young (Justin Upton); guys that strike out a lot, and so they don't work for your points league (Mark Reynolds); or even guys that have talent but have never had the full time job for a full season before (Shin-Soo Choo).

For this post, I want to concentrate on a guy who is getting ignored for no discernible reason:


Here, let's do one of those Player A, Player B, Player C things. Here are the 2008 stats of three players who played like top 90 players in the 2008 Y! game (otherwise known as a 7th rounder in 12-team mixed league drafts):

Player A: 525 at bats, 90 R, 20 HR, 77 RBI, 6 SB, .305 AVG
Player B: 526 at bats, 69 R, 24 HR, 84 RBI, 7 SB, .297 AVG
Player C: 611 at bats, 86 R, 21 HR, 99 RBI, 1 SB, .286 AVG

Player A is being drafted in the 14th round in 2009
Player B is being drafted in the 10th round in 2009
Player C is being drafted in the 6th round in 2009

Player A is Andre Ethier
Player B is Joey Votto
Player C is Garrett Atkins

My point here is not to beat up on Atkins. I kinda like him. And anyway, he's been getting enough of the overrated talk from other people who like to write about fantasy sports. And my point isn't to say that Votto is being drafted too high. I like Votto and think that he's actually being drafted too low. My point is to show how little respect Andre Either is getting in drafts.

Is there any reason to think Andre Ethier won't at least duplicate what he did last year? (Bill James thinks he will: 532 at bats, 89 R, 19 HR, 79 RBI, 5 SB, .303 AVG.) I understand why Ethier didn't get any love going into last season. For starters, the Pierre/Kemp/Jones/Either logjam in the Dodger outfield was a turnoff. In addition, I think Either was even more overlooked because of all the Matt Kemp hype.

Perhaps his solid season in 2008 is being overlooked because of all the Manny Ramirez hoopla. I don't know. But there is a lot to like going into this season: he will probably get more at bats, and he will probably bat third, one spot in front of Manny Ramirez; he has no health concerns; he's been hitting home runs in spring training, for whatever that's worth; and he's not too young, not too old (26 years old).

Look. Even depth chart nemesis Juan Pierre, who recently was given permission from the Dodgers to explore trade options, concedes that Ethier can play.

Plus, to beat his 2009 ADP, Either just needs to hit somewhere in this range: 79 R, 19 HR, 64 RBI, 4 SB .280 AVG (JD Drew's stats from last year).

While you're thinking this over, you can peruse the following list of outfielders ranked 101 - 252:


Dissenting Opinion:

  • Razzball writes that Ethier is not good for power or speed, and then calls him "Andre Neithier." Then again, he did draft Ethier to be part of his "best 2009 fantasy baseball draft."

    Want more draft strategy? Click here for 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, OF, C, SP, and RP position primers.

    Dan Butter said...

    In an homage to Back To The Future, I like to write Luke Scott! with an exclamation point.

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