Ray Guilfoyle takes a closer look at Rockies outfielder/first baseman Michael Cuddyer, and thinks he can outperform his draft round in 2013.
Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer had some hype thrust upon him after the Rockies signed him to a three year deal in the 2011 offseason. Some fantasy writers were projecting a 30 home run season from him with the move out of the pitcher friendly Target Field to the hitter's haven that is Coors Field. I honestly never bought that projection as he had just one 30 home run season in his career, but he could have approached a 25 home run season had he not missed most of August and September due to injury.
Last season, Cuddyer hit .260-.317-.489 with 16 HRs, 53 runs, 58 RBI and 8 stolen bases in 358 at bats. So, that works out to about 27 home runs in 600 at bats, assuming he can stay healthy for 600 at bats. Moving to Coors Field resulted in an increase in strikeouts for Cuddyer, from 16.3% to just under 20%, while his walk rate remained in the low 8% range. He was slightly unlucky, as his BABIP was just .287, but when he did make contact, a good majority of his hits went for extra bases.
Cuddyer missed most of August and all of September, but still managed 48 extra base hits in a little over four months of action. Along with the 16 home runs, he hit 30 doubles and two triples, hitting in the rarified air on Colorado. The 48 extra base hits were three less than he had in 170 more at bats in Minnesota in 2011, so it's safe to say that he liked hitting at Coors Field. I mean, he REALLY liked hitting at Coors. Of his 52 hits at home last season, 28 of them went for extra bases. Yes, he had more extra base hits than singles (24), in his 194 at bats at home. For the season, 48 of his 93 hits went for extra bases as well.
Heading into 2013 fantasy drafts, I think Cuddyer will be undervalued in draft rooms, as his overall stats were down last year when compared to 2011, but he was on pace for a pretty good year at the plate. Over at Mock Draft Central (MDC), his ADP is 195.60, so he is a late round pick in most drafts.
Don't let his low ADP and late season injury affect your opinion of him on draft day. He can easily outperform his draft round if he can stay healthy, and staying healthy means more at bats in Coors Field. I am buying Cuddyer in 2013.