Key Stats: Nate McLouth just missed back to back 20/20 seasons by one stolen base last year, and could have had it if he played in a few more games. He missed time in April (oblique) and August (hamstring). Altogether he missed 33 games, but if he could have hung in for a 162 game season, the pace he was on would have gotten him these numbers for a final tally:
23 HR 22 SB 100R 82 RBI
Skeptics Say: McLouth’s first half OPS was .832 and his second half OPS fell to .723. It’s the second year in a row his OPS has come down more than 100 points in the second half of a season. Even his speed faded in the second half last season as he was successful in just 62% of his steals compared with 92% before the break. In McLouth’s defense some of that might have been caused by injury.
He saw an overall decrease in batting average last year as well. Part of the reason was a small decline in his BABIP, but that was driven by the fact that he wasn’t hitting as many line drives.
Peer Comparison: The outfield position can seem so deep at times that a 20/20 season is really just the norm in a ten team league. Consider the numbers of these great players and the fact that none of them got to 20/20. The value of a player who can give you this balance like McLouth can is certainly increased when you consider how these guys will all be taken ahead of him in 2010.
Grady Sizemore – 17 HR, 12 SB injuries happen
Carl Crawford – 15 HR, 60 SB will win you steals, but doesn’t offer great balance
Matt Holliday – 24 HR, 14 SB seems like a lot of money to pay when you look at just these stats
Carlos Beltran – 10 HR, 11 SB along the Sizemore category, but why not grab a McLouth just in case
Ichiro Suzuki – 11 HR, 26 SB doesn’t it seem like there should be more steals there?
Nick Markakis – 18 HR, 6 SB how much better is Markakis than McLouth?
All of these players could be taken in the top 40 picks of fantasy drafts in 2010. Although the guy that takes Markakis is either an Orioles fan or that guy everyone feels bad for. All of the players had their issues and could have them again.
Lineup Outlook: The Braves still haven’t done anything about getting a bat. Chipper Jones is a nice piece, but I’d compare to Todd Helton at this point. He can’t be trusted to stay healthy and even when he’s in the lineup he’s no longer as threatening as he was even just two or three seasons ago. Jason Heyward was the top prospect in the Southern League a year ago could be that guy in 2011, but it isn’t fair to think a rookie can be a middle of the order superstar now. With Javier Vazquez or Derek Lowe on the block, they have the chips to net a pretty good player.
What They’re Saying: CBS Sportsline: #36 Outfielder; ESPN.com: #102 Overall; Yahoo: #29 Outfielder and #93 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP: #84 Overall; Couch Managers ADP: #102 Overall; FB 365: #37 Overall
Projection: McLouth is still in what should be the prime of his career at age 28 and will not drift far from what he’s done the last two seasons.
94R 22 HR 70 RBI 22 SB .264 AVG .805 OPS
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