Maybe I’m a little superstitious. Maybe I’m just like my father — 2 bold. Whatever the case is, last year I kicked off the fantasy baseball sleeper series with Eric Hosmer after he absolutely ripped my heart out of my chest like he was Mola Ram and I was Short Round in the Temple of Doom. This year, I’m taking on the same tactic. I’m starting the fantasy baseball sleeper series with a guy that rained on my parade, then pushed aside my umbrella and whispered in my ear that it’s not raining, but I’m standing under a Port-A-John that has no floor. P to the erhaps, I’m just being a fool with Mike Moustakas. A lamb being led to the slaughter. But if I were a lamb being led to the slaughter by Moustakas, I’d end up shawarma, which is tasty. I can’t get past one big number from him last year — and, brucely, he only had one big number — 16.1%. That number sticks out to me. I’ll loop back to that number. Come with me, and you’ll see a world of pure imagination, where we imagine Moustakas not defecating on our teams. So, what can we expect from Mike Moustakas for 2014 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
He will never be confused with a SAGNOF’er. He doesn’t have much speed at all. Picks ‘em up and puts them down. Maybe he’ll get 4-6 steals in a very good year. You don’t come to him for speed. There’s no reason to even talk about his speed except…Again, with emphasis…EXCEPT his lack of speed means he has to make solid contact to get on base. His BABIP last year was .257 and in the first half when he hit for a .215 average he had a .228 BABIP. His line drive rate was pretty bleh in the first half at 16.4%. His 2nd half BABIP, average and line drive rate respectively were .302, .259 and 22.6%. All numbers that you can live with, if they were over the course of the season. His homers per fly balls in the first half was 5.7%. That’s nearly half of his rate from 2012 and in that year he only hit 20 homers. He ended 2013 with a 6.9% HR/FB, which is comparable to such guys as Jon Jay and Brandon Crawford. That’s silly. He shouldn’t be in their company. Moustakas was struggling, making adjustments, unable to find his groove, went to Jamaica, had an affair with Taye Diggs, found his groove and looked much better in the 2nd half. Okay, back to that 16.1% number. That’s his strikeout rate. Only one guy hit for a lower average than Moustakas with a strikeout rate that good (Darwin Barney, who is a slap hitter with no speed — a bad combo). Usually if a guy hits .233 like Moustakas did, he strikes out at least 20% of the time and likely 25+% of the time. Moustakas isn’t a .230 hitter. He isn’t a 12 homer hitter. So, what is he? He’s still only 25 years old and has plenty of time to break out in a big way, or at least in a way that would make him well worth drafting late as a sleeper. For 2014, I’ll give him the line of 71/20/76/.251/3 with room for upside. Or I’m shawarma.