Key Stats: The year before Alfonso Soriano inked an eight year deal, he hit 46 home runs and stole 41 bases for the Washington Nationals. He played in 159 games that season. The home run rates remain solid, but the concern is coming with the stolen bases that Soriano attempts.
2006: 1 HR every 14.1 at bats and 1 stolen base attempt every 2.7 walks or singles
2007: 1 HR every 17.5 at bats and 1 stolen base attempt every 4.8 walks or singles
2008: 1 HR every 15.6 at bats and 1 stolen base attempt every 5.2 walks or singles
With spring comes optimism and Soriano claims that he is ready to steal 30 bases easily this season.
Skeptics Say: Don’t believe everything that is said in the spring. Last summer Lebron James and Kobe Bryant were laughing over the calf injury Soriano suffered making a jump-catch. The players in the NBA jump much higher on every play and manage to play through it. At the age of 32 he may feel great now, but the season is very long. If Soriano’s muscle can break down on that kind of play, what about when he needs his body to accelerate going from first to third on a single or trying to get a jump to steal one of those 30 bags?
Peer Comparison: If he is healthy, he is a better fantasy play than Grady Sizemore. Sizemore has moved to the top outfielder taken this year by pretty much everyone because he set career highs in home runs, RBI, and stolen bases. If Soriano was given the at bats that Sizemore had at the rate he was hitting, here’s what the two stat lines would have looked like.
Soriano: 106R 40 HR 109 RBI 27 SB .280 AVG
Sizemore: 101R 33 HR 90 RBI 38 SB .268 AVG
In addition, Soriano is focused on raising the steals total. With that in mind there is a possibility that a healthy Alfonso Soriano is better than Sizemore in every category.
Lineup Outlook: As the link above indicates, Soriano will continue to be to lead off for the Cubs offense. Only the Rangers scored more runs than the Cubs last season, so if Soriano is as healthy as he appears to be this spring he will score 120 runs.
What They’re Saying: MLB.com: #7 Outfielder and #19 Overall; CBS Sportsline: #6 Outfielder and #36 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP: #23 Overall; Fox Sports: #6 Outfielder; ESPN: #4 Outfielder; Yahoo: #5 Outfielder and #15 Overall
Projection: Ultimately Soriano can’t stay healthy in every game, but finishing with around 146 games played is realistic.
107R 32 HR 74 RBI 30 SB .273 AVG .870 OPS
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