I’m a stat junkie. Way back in the pre-internet days when I was just a little Magoo, I would run outside first thing in the morning to grab the daily paper so I could immediately check out the previous night’s box scores. There’s Tony Gwynn leading the league in batting average yet again. A slam and legs (before I even knew what that was) by that Bonds fellow. The Big Unit piled up another dozen Ks. Another high scoring game in Colorado. What’s the deal with that place anyway?

This fascination with statistics has led to the fantasy baseball obsession that I’m burdened with today. Only now, with all of the advanced statistics and metrics that are available at the click of a button, the obsession is worse than ever. Fortunately for you, all of the man hours that I’ve wasted poring over stats this offseason has allowed me to discover some interesting nuggets of information that I think are fantasy-relevant for the upcoming season, and I’d like to share some of them with you today. At least, I find them to be interesting and potentially useful for fantasy purposes, and I hope that you will too.

From here on out, I’ll be listing various statistics with little to no analysis so that you can be the judge of how relevant each statistic and/or trend is in regards to the 2016 season. This article focuses on hitters only, and the stats that will be highlighted range from the basic (home runs, stolen bases, batting average, counting stats) to the slightly more advanced (plate discipline, batted ball profile).

And now, without further ado, here are some interesting stats and trends to consider for the 2016 fantasy baseball season:

• Three players hit 30+ home runs while producing 100+ RBI in each of the past two seasons – Jose Bautista, David Ortiz, and Jose Abreu.

• Abreu has a .303 batting average across those two seasons. Bautista and Ortiz have each hit .268 over the same time period.

• Ortiz is 40 years old. Bautista is 35. Abreu turns 29 at the end of January.

Edwin Encarnacion has hit at least 34 home runs in four consecutive seasons. Ortiz is the only other player to manage at least 30 in each of the last three seasons.

• Ortiz is the only player to go 30/100 in three straight seasons. Encarnacion was 2 RBI shy (98 RBI in 2014) of being the only player to go 30/100 for four straight years.

Chris Davis led MLB in home runs in two out of the last three seasons (2013 & 2015). He also leads MLB in homers over the last four seasons with 159.

• Over those four seasons (2012-15), Davis hit 24 more home runs than the player with the 3rd highest total over that span, Nelson Cruz (135 HR). That difference is greater than the home run totals produced by Andrew McCutchen, Miguel Cabrera, Troy Tulowitzki, and Mark Trumbo, respectively, during the 2015 season.

• Speaking of Cruz, he is the only MLB player to hit at least 40 homers in each of the past two seasons (40 in 2014; 44 in 2015). Carlos Gonzalez set a career high by smashing 40 homers in 2015. They were two of just nine players to hit the 40 HR mark last season.

• Cruz and CarGo are the only two MLB players since Richie Sexson in 2003 to hit 40 homers in a season with a GB% over 45%. In fact, just two other players have managed to hit more than 34 HR in a single season since 2005 with a ground ball rate that high – Joey Votto in 2010 and Abreu in 2014.

• In 2015, Cruz was the first qualified hitter to produce a home run to fly ball ratio of at least 30% over a full season since Ryan Howard in 2008.

• Cruz has a career HR/FB of 18.8% and hadn’t exceeded 21.3% in a season prior to last year.

Bryce Harper’s 19.0% BB% last season is the 2nd highest walk rate in MLB history among single-season qualified hitters aged 22 or younger. Ted Williams posted a 24.3% BB% as a 22 year old in 1941.

• Harper’s impressive walk rate was still just the 2nd highest in MLB last season. Votto led the way with a 20.6% BB%, which is the highest rate since Jack Cust (20.7%) and Barry Bonds (27.7%) in 2007.

• Harper did manage to edge out Votto in the OBP category – .460 to .459. Those are the highest single season on-base percentages (min 300 PA) since… Votto himself in 2012 (.474 OBP).

• Votto is one of just six players (min 300 PA) to produce a BB/K ratio of greater than 1 (aka players who walked more than they struck out) in 2015 – Buster Posey, Jose Bautista, Michael Brantley, Ben Zobrist, and Nori Aoki are the others. Bautista is the only player to accomplish this feat in two consecutive seasons, as he and Victor Martinez were the only players to qualify in 2014.

Andrew McCutchen is the only MLB player to produce at least a .290 batting average with 20 homers and 10 steals in four consecutive seasons. Mike Trout, Paul Goldschmidt, and Ryan Braun are the only other players to even average those numbers on a per-season basis since 2012.

• Speaking of Trout, he has increased his HR totals for two straight seasons (27 to 36 to 41) while seeing a decline in steals for three straight years (49 to 33 to 16 to 11).

• Despite his gradual decline in stolen bases, Trout is just one of three players to hit at least .300 with 15 homers and 30 steals in a single season over the last three years – Trout (2013), A.J. Pollock (2015), and Jose Altuve (2015).

• Only seven MLB players stole at least 30 bases during the 2015 season – Dee Gordon, Billy Hamilton, Charlie Blackmon, Pollock, Altuve, Ben Revere, and Starling Marte.

• Gordon (122 SBs) and Hamilton (113 SBs) are the only two players who have stolen at least 100 bases over the past two seasons. Altuve (94 SBs) is the only other player to steal more than 80 bases over that span.

• Altuve is the only player who has stolen at least 30 bases in four consecutive seasons. Rajai Davis had a streak of six consecutive 30 steal seasons (2009-14) end last season.

• Speaking of Davis, players aged 32 and older have stolen 25+ bases in a single season just four times since 2013 – Davis (2013-14), Jimmy Rollins (2014), and Alex Rios (2013). No such players accomplished that feat in 2015.

Ryan Braun and Denard Span are entering their age 32 seasons. Jacoby Ellsbury, Jose Reyes, and Brett Gardner will all turn 33 years old during the 2016 regular season.

• 34 year old Brandon Phillips proved that a late career SB resurgence isn’t impossible, however. He stole 23 bases in 2015, which exceeded his combined SB total from 2012-14 (22 SBs). It marked the first time that he stole at least 20 bases in a single season since the 2009 campaign.

• SAGNOF extraordinaire Billy Burns stole 26 bases for the A’s last season, good for the 10th highest mark in MLB. He also produced a .294 batting average, which was 40 points above the MLB league average (.254) in that category. However, among players with a minimum of 300 PA, he posted the 3rd highest infield fly ball percentage (20.7%) as well as the highest soft hit percentage (30.5%) in all of baseball.

• Über-prospect Miguel Sano was at the other end of the quality of contact spectrum during his rookie season, with a a 43.2% hard hit percentage that was 2nd to only Giancarlo Stanton in MLB last season (min 300 PA).

• Sano’s elite hard contact rate went hand-in-hand with his .262 ISO, which was the 2nd highest among rookies (min 300 PA) to Randal Grichuk’s .272 mark, and the 14th highest ISO in MLB in 2015.

• Sano’s first MLB season was historical in other ways as well. His 15.8% BB% was the highest for a rookie (min 300 PA, naturally) since Randy Milligan in 1989.

• On the flip side, Sano’s 35.5% K% marks one of only 14 times in MLB history (dating back to Candy Nelson in 1887) that a player has struck out at least 35% of the time in a single season.

• Finally, Sano’s rookie season of extremes carried over to the BABIP category as well. His .396 BABIP was 2nd to Chris Colabello’s .411 mark (min 300 PA) in 2015, but ranks as the 20th highest mark in MLB since 1937.

• The last stat I’ll leave you with concerns the Orioles’ 24 year old second baseman Jonathan Schoop. There have been 16 players in MLB history (dating back to Pud Galvin and Silver Flint in 1883) who have produced a BB% of less than 3% and a K% of more than 20% in a season (min 300 PA). 14 of these players have “qualified” for this list just once. Only two players have accomplished this feat multiple times – Miguel Olivo (4 times – 2006-08, 2012) and Schoop (2 times – 2014-15).

  1. MB says:
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    Good stuff

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @MB: Thanks, MB!

  2. GhostTownSteve says:
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    The great Magoo.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @GhostTownSteve: Many would debate your choice of adjective, but I’ll take it!

  3. Ra'zbahl Al Ghul says:
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    Indeed. Nice work Magoo. On Schoop and Sano, what are your thoughts on them for 2016 and beyond?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Ra’zbahl Al Ghul: Thanks, RAG! I consider Schoop to be like a Gyorko with some power upside. My main concern with him is that pitchers will continue to expand the zone against him since he hasn’t shown the ability to consistently take a walk. His limited on-base skills while hitting near the bottom of the lineup will hurt his run scoring potential too. Doesn’t run either. He’s got a good shot at 20+ homers at Camden Yards regardless.

      Sano has incredible raw power and a patient approach that should help him in the long run. Even if he cuts his K-rate down into Chris Davis territory, I think he’ll struggle to hit above .250 this season though. Should be a 30+ homer player going forward, barring injury. I’m somewhat bearish in a redraft format.

      • How'd you know says:
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        @Big Magoo: what are your thoughts on his value in an obp league? Great write-up by the way. Excellent stuff.

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @How’d you know: Thanks! Are you referring to Sano? He definitely gets a big boost in an OBP format. A 15.8% BB% is impressive for any player, let alone a rookie. His OBP should be solid even if his average lags a bit, and he has immense power. Solid target in that format.

    • GhostTownSteve says:
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      @Ra’zbahl Al Ghul:

      One wild card with Sano is the decision to play him in the OF seems a little bizonkers. I fear some impact on his offense.

  4. Lville Jim says:
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    A Jack Cust and Randy Milligan mention in a write up, didn’t see that coming. Only thing missing was a Sam Horn blurb.

  5. First Lady of the Nation says:
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    Good article, same as above on Schoop (someone can also explain how this is pronounced like the mouth wash) and Sano.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @First Lady of the Nation: Thanks! You can see my response to RAG above, but I’m bearish on Schoop in general and bearish on Sano in redraft formats. Sano is a fine player to acquire/hold in dynasty formats though. He’s going to hit a lot of homers.

  6. The great .394!
    The big hurt is smiling on down from heaven…

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Wake Up: Wake! *checks recent deaths on Wikipedia* Don’t scare me like that!

  7. CMUTimmah says:
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    Harper became a hitter last year, not just a swinger. He’s going to be a star going forward, obviously, however, I think Trout still gets the nod as the first pick due to consistency.

    Abreu gives me the feel of under-rated due to current rankings, even considering his first base eligibility. Second round darling.

    Sano gives me fits. Guy murders the ball, but barely makes contact. Rob Deer feels like an over-used comp, and I don’t feel he matches his power output. With many value grabs at 3B this year, I can’t in good conscious walk out of the draft with him as my starting 3B. High Ceiling, loooowww floor. Doesn’t exactly have an inspirational lineup around him, IMO.

    Grey’s Correa love makes me angry. I want him to give me first round value in the 2nd or third… not buy the upside with a first. But he’s right, his ceiling could vault him into the number 1 pick next year… Putting up Trout numbers at SS would be sooo tasty.

    Cutch’s consistency is nice, but that black hole he went in last season has scared me off. I think Marte might be the better OF this season in Pitts, but I hope I’m wrong because I love Cutch the player. Just not sure exactly who I love him more or less vs just yet this offseason.

    Upton on the Tigers is intriguing. If he bats ahead of Cabrera like I’m seeing all of the prognosticators line it up, a 2 hold Upton could be great, or it could be a mess. He’s been pitched around for 2 seasons now from what I’ve seen. Last year, he expanded the strike zone in the soft hitting San Diego lineup. With Cabby behind him, I see him becoming a more patient hitter, and at the same time, I don’t see him stealing bases with the frequency of the past (why run into an out with one of the best hitters of his generation at the plate?) Also, in the 2 hole, I don’t see him being a huge RBI guy. 70-80ish likely. He’d be a great #2 OF, but I don’t see the steals carrying.

    This was an awesome splash of stats though, very good read. I like the comps you threw out, so many great names of nobodies!

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @CMUTimmah: Agreed on Harper and Abreu.

      I think the risk usually outweighs the potential reward when paying a premium for 2nd year players, especially when there’s a 1st round price tag on them. Correa and Bryant could be great this season, but why take the risk when there are still players in their prime with elite track records on the board? I’d be careful with Sano and Schwarber too.

      Agreed on Cutch. His floor his starting to lower, and PNC Park has always limited his ceiling.

      I don’t think that Upton’s value changes much. If he hits 2nd, bump his runs projection up a bit. If he hits 5th, it’s business as usual. Don’t see him hitting 3-4. Call it .265/27/15 or so.

      Thanks man! The stats provided the comps though, haha. That’s the beauty of it!

      • Ra'zbahl Al Ghul says:
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        @Big Magoo: say more about Schwarber caution por favor

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @Ra’zbahl Al Ghul: .143/.213/.268 with a 44.3% K% vs LHP. Hit .207 from July 24th on. Could lose some ABs vs southpaws.

  8. GhostTownSteve says:
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    The best argument I’ve heard against Schoop is where is he going to hit? Machado and Jones and Davis are stacked in the middle. His OBP will keep him out of the 1-2 likely. He should hit above one of the CIs and above Hardy. Prolly slots in behind Wieters in the 7? Means you’re maybe looking at last year’s Valbuena numbers potentially and hope for a better BA.

    That’s one narrative. Another is that this is a kid with potential…potential mind you, to make a leap. Both in his approach and in his results. Given the variability of a season, who knows where he could end up hitting. I think if you’re towards the back of the draft and you’re feeling power light this is probably one of the last places you could shop for a 30 HR season. The talent is there.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @GhostTownSteve: It’s looking like Schoop will hit 7th to start the season. I definitely don’t see him near the top of the lineup barring injuries. Looks like a .290 OBP player or so. The 22/70 or so HR/RBI would be nice to own, but he’s a three category drain elsewhere (barring another good luck season in batting average), and the power/run production is good but not elite.

      I could see taking a shot late in a draft on him, but I think that .230/17/60 is more likely than .265/25/75. Definitely has power upside though.

      • SwaggerJackers says:
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        @Big Magoo: I agree with you on Schoop. It’s hard to get excited about guys with terrible OBPs if they aren’t stealing 30+ bases.

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @SwaggerJackers: Agreed. The faster, less powerful version of Schoop might be Segura. Dude can’t get on base to save his life. Turns a 35 steal player into a 25 steal guy. Take a walk once in awhile!

  9. Sasquatch slugger says:
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    Awesome post as you brought out the continuing surprises in mlb. So even though my average generally sucks (players like my Sano Upton & Correa-in a dynasty) I can still be downright proud of their upside and what they bring in other categories. It was still super fun to own Sano and Correa even though I lost.
    So..my question..even though I’m sure you work on ” balancing your teams categories”, do you lean a little heavier in a certain area say … average etc.? Thanks…so much fun!

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Sasquatch slugger: Thanks, Sasquatch! Correa’s average should be fine. Upton’s neutral (assuming Justin). Sano is a concern there, but I don’t think he’ll be a huge drain. I wouldn’t be worried about average based on that trio.

      Yeah, I’m definitely a balanced drafter. I like to draft five category and power hitters early. Who doesn’t? Those players are tough to find later on. Keep an eye on average early on too, because the power hitters that are available into the mid-late rounds can be average drains, and you don’t want to roster too many empty average players. That’s why I like players like Abreu quite a bit. Provides elite HR/RBI production without sacrificing average.

  10. J-FOH says:
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    Good to see in print all the conversations I ignored on the phone…now I can catch up. Either way it was a good fun read

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @J-FOH: Thanks man. Maybe one day I can catch up on all of your dynasty talk.

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Big Magoo: my dynasty talk mimics the show dynasty….I’m Joan Collins!

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @J-FOH: I can see you sipping on a Tom Collins

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Big Magoo: I hate Gin, can we settle on a Kettel Collins and call it a day?

            • Big Magoo

              Big Magoo says:
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              @J-FOH: The pine needley taste of gin suits your prickly persona

              • J-FOH says:
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                @Big Magoo: I got your prickly persona right here *grabs crotch*

  11. Malicious Phenom says:
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    Good stuff Mr Magoo, love me some stats and trends..Keep em coming!

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Malicious Phenom: Thanks, MP! There’ll be a similar post featuring pitchers coming out over the next few weeks.

      • Malicious Phenom says:
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        @Big Magoo: Looking forward to it!

  12. Vegans says:
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    Good stuff, Magoo! Always an interesting read…

    You know, the ’41 season you mentioned was truly epic in terms of grand events. Teddy Ballgame hit over .400, Joe D hit in 56 straight, Stan the Man played in his first MLB game, both pennant winners had 100+ wins.

    And Charles Nelson Reilly was 10, Mr. FOH.

    • J-FOH says:
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      @Vegans: so then that means you were 21 that year?

      • Vegans says:
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        @J-FOH: No… I was dating a 21 year old that year. She liked older guys.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Vegans: Thanks, Vegans! Love the ’41 knowledge. It was definitely a special year for baseball.

  13. Sport says:
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    Mr. Magoo! So glad to see your post. I really enjoy your work, and with you and Grey’s help last year I was able to build really solid pitching staffs on my teams without spending too early.

    Who will be the Starting Pitcher targets for 4th and 5th round this year!?!? Strasburg?

    Can’t wait to read your pitcher post but I am glad I read this on hitters. I was premature to have Sano in my top 24! And I may end up with Abreu on a lot teams this year, especially if I go balanced/speed in the first.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Sport: Thanks, Sport! Stay tuned for pitchers, haha. Strasburg is definitely a solid option in that range. Tons of upside. I still like Carrasco too even though you’ll have to pay more for him this year.

      Love Abreu. He’d be a great get in the 2nd round. Sano will hit for power, and he’s a great option in an OBP format. Still like him in dynasty formats. Just might have a shaky batting average barring good luck or a drastic improvement in K-rate.

  14. hondo says:
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    My Dad didn’t call me Little McGoo,but it the first part was the same.It was a simpler time when the Friday newspaper publishing of the guitar chords to a “Hit of the Week” was anticipated with as much relish as the upcoming drafts.Anyway,good read.Keep ’em coming and thanks!

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @hondo: Thanks, hondo! High speed internet is great and all, but I kind of miss opening up the morning paper and studying the box scores. Good times.

  15. the great knoche says:
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    Solid Stats

    Burns one made decision for me to let him go at $10…I think.

    Can Cargo repeat his performance if he stays in Colorado most of year?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @the great knoche: Thanks, knoche! Burns could be a decent value at $10. It just depends on your format and budget. And how badly you need speed.

      I think that CarGo gets traded at some point. Could be pre-season or at the deadline. Tough to say. One of the Colorado outfielders is likely to be moved after the Parra signing, and I think that CarGo is the most likely candidate. I’d try to move him while his value is fairly high in a dynasty/keeper, and be a bit cautious of him in a redraft.

  16. Mobin Can't Hack It says:
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    how the F does somebody go from 49 to 11 steals while still being young anyway.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Mobin Can’t Hack It: The Angels don’t want him to increase his injury risk by running frequently. Same deal with Harper.

  17. Ralph Lifshitz

    Ralph Lifshitz says:
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    How much of a drop do you expect from Cruz in terms of power production? Not only has his FB% dropped and his GB% spiked, his soft% jumped 4% in 2014 and increased again slightly last season. When does he fall off the table and go from 30-35+ homer guy to a 20-25 homer guy?

    I was going to use Howard as a comp but obviously Cruz doesn’t have those split issues.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Ralph Lifshitz: Cruz is a tough player to project. He’s like Ortiz or Beltre. Just not following the usual aging curve.

      A pretty good comp for him might be Jermaine Dye. Fairly similar BB and K rates, ISO, triple slash lines in their age 32-34 seasons. Both big right-handed sluggers. Dye hit .250 with 27 homers in his age 35 season, which also happened to be his last. I don’t expect Cruz to fall off quite that rapidly, but something in the .270, 30-32 homer range sounds about right.

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Big Magoo: Jermaine retired or no one wanted to pay him? I never got that one

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @J-FOH: Yeah, he seemed to retire because no one wanted to pay him. That was the reason he gave, anyway.

  18. SheriffMcRawDawg says:
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    Magoo! Love the stuff and glad you’re back!

    asking Grey on a different thread, but do I make this deal? owner just offered: my first round pick (2nd overall) and cole hamels (4th round keeper) for his 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th round picks…

    my first pick would be giancarlo or donaldson as they’re back in the pool. not sure which exact # picks I’d be getting, but should I go for it?

    12 team roto (MI, CI, 5 OF), keep 8, here are mine for reference, w/ round:

    4 – Cole Hamels
    6 – Nelson Cruz
    10 – Dallas Keuchel
    17 – Taijuan Walker
    18 – Chris Davis
    19 – Joey Gallo
    21 – Lorenzo Cain
    25 – Jeurys Familia

    thoughts?!

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @SheriffMcRawDawg: Thanks, Sheriff! I’d be inclined to hold and draft Giancarlo there. Donaldson would be a fine get too. If you could get one of those guys and maybe flip Cruz for some draft picks or a younger/cheaper keeper, you’d be in good shape.

  19. stonepie says:
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    i think people here are overly bearish on sano. his profile isnt that much different from bryant other than speed and he’s going around pick 60 not in the top 15

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @stonepie: I think that Bryant is being overdrafted too. Bryant and Sano could be great this season, but their respective floors are lower than most people seem to think, in my opinion.

      In fantasy, could easily compare Sano to Ortiz with double the K-rate or Grichuk with higher BB and K rates. Even someone like Khris Davis. He’s being drafted much higher than all of those players.

  20. Nick says:
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    Hi Mister Magoo

    Keeper team, hardly built over the years !
    Lost the final last season cause or pitching staff
    can keep 14players

    Hitter edition: 7for sure
    1B Goldy / Encarnacion
    2B Altuve
    3B Carpenter / Sano
    OF Springer / Bautista

    Pitcher Edition: at least those 3
    SP1 Archer
    SP2 Salazar
    RP1 KJansen

    on the pre-season bubble: pick 4 others
    OF3 Khris Davis
    SS ? i have Desmond FA, or Baez,,, but 2016 already?
    RP2 Cody Allen
    SP3 TJ Walker
    C SalvadoBrazil Perez
    SP4 Quintana
    util: Will Myers / Fowler FA
    P: Shields / AWood / Heaney
    P: AJRamos / Tolleson
    Rookie in the waiting room: José Berrios

    i’d go TJWalker / Cody Allen / Khris Davis /Perez for the last 4 fantastics
    but i’ll have to work on my pitch

    Nick

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Nick: Hi Nick – the keeper suggestions depend on your format. How many teams? Roto or H2H? Limited keeper or unlimited? Any salaries or draft pick penalties attached?

      • Nick says:
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        @Big Magoo:

        10 teams H2H – 14 keepers – Y!
        25 players + 1 NA spot
        starters: 10 hitters 10 pitchers
        reversed draft vs previous season rankings , so i pick 9th, 19th,29th…

        i won in 2014, 2nd in 2015, my hitting is pretty much set except SS
        so i have to focus & upgrade SPs
        is Archer Salazar TJ + KJ & Allen a good combo to start with ?

        Nick

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @Nick: Yeah, that’s a solid start to your staff. Strikeouts and upside. Good combo.

          If you only start 1 catcher, I’d consider keeping Desmond over Perez (assuming Desmond signs soon). If you start 2 catchers, those keepers look good. Good luck!

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