I am writing this article in response to a request from a Twitter follower of Mike Gallagher. Here is his tweet to Mike yesterday:
I saw his tweet yesterday afternoon, and felt that it was a great idea for an aritcle, so check out my thoughts on these two third base prospects who could impact fantasy drafts in 2012 after the jump:
Mike Moustakas was called up by the Royals back on June 10th and he struggled initially, but finished with a triple slash line of .263-.309-.367 in 338 at bats. He hit 5 home runs, with 18 doubles, drove in 30 runs, scored 26 runs and even stole 2 bases, but was a far cry from the hitter we saw in the minors.
Here are his career minor league stats, along with his 2011 cup of coffee, courtesy of Baseball-Reference:
After he triple slashed .263-.354-.316 in June, he struggled mightily n July by triple slashing .160-.198-.223. So
after his first month and a half in the big leagues, Moustakas had just one home run. Not what the Royals expected, and fantasy owners were left wondering if he was called up too soon. But if you dive into his monthly splits, you can see that he started to get more comfortable in the last two months of the season. Here are his August and September splits:
Moustakas did not homer in August, but battled to a triple slash line of .283-.324-.343. Again, not what fantasy owners expected, but a step in the right direction, nonetheless. Mous finished his first season in the big leagues by hitting .352-.380-.580 with 4 HRs, 6 doubles, 12 RBI and 2 stolen bases in 88 September at bats, showing the power fantasy owners expected from him when he was called up.
Was his September a turning point, or just a hot month against watered down pitching? Well. for a power hitter, he limited his strikeouts as his 14.0% K rate indicates, and he walked 6.0% of his at bats, so he wasn't over-matched at the plate. He didn't hit for the power many expected after his call up, but I see him easily improving upon his 4.2% HR/FB rate in 2012. He also had a solid line drive rate of over 20%, so that bodes well for his BA if he can maintain hitting line drives at close to a 20% rate.
Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie was about to be called up on June 1st, but was hit in the hand in his last AAA game and missed 6 weeks. He was finally called up on August 5th and proceeded to hit like the above average hitter he is projected to be. He finished his 2011 cup of coffee by triple slashing .293-.373-.580 with 9 HRs, 8 doubles, 4 triples, 25 RBI, and 7 stolen bases in just 150 at bats, flashing power, speed and a solid batting eye at the plate.
Here are his career minor league stats, along with his 2011 big league stats, courtesy of Baseball-Reference:
Unlike Moustakas, Lawrie started off hot and cooled off in September. He hit .326-.381-.674 in August, with 6 HRs, 5 doubles, 4 triples and 18 RBI, and followed that up with a .246-.361-.443 with 3 HRs, 3 doubles and 7 RBIs in 72 at bats. Lawrie's 17% HR/FB rate may or may not be repeatable, but Lawrie still has enough power to hit 20+ HRs in 2012. He doesn't strike out a lot, as his 18.1% K rate indicates, and he walks a good deal-around 9.5% of his at bats, and did so for the majority of his minor league career, so, like Moustakas, he was not over-matched at the plate in his cup of coffee either.
For fantasy owners, Lawrie does a few things better than Moustakas. That is he can hit for a higher batting average, and he has the speed to steal 30 bases. He also hits for power, so he can do it all at the plate and on the base paths. On the other hand, Moustakas has more power than Lawrie, and may drive in more runs in 2012. But for me, I will take the 20 HR - 20 SB hitter every day of the week and twice on Sunday (I know, its a used line, but it's true).
I can see Lawrie putting together a 20-20 season with around 80 RBI and a .280 batting average in 2012. For Moustakas, I think he can approach 25 HRs with 75-80 RBI, but he may be more prone to slumps than Lawrie, so his batting average may suffer as a result.
What do Fake Teams readers think?