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AJ Pollock 2016 5x5 projection

What will the king of 2016 fantasy breakouts do next?

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

After calling Pollock's breakout in 2015, what should we expect from him this year?  Well, frankly, we should expect less.  The beauty of Pollock's breakout is that everything was trending in the right direction with his peripherals, and his lack of games played allowed him to sink into the shadows.  He promptly took what he was doing in a smaller sample and stretched it out over 157 games, while continuing to improve his plate discipline, this season becoming more aggressive in the strike zone, forcing pitchers to throw in the zone to him less frequently.

With that said, here is his outlook for 5x5 standard formats

Runs

This was Pollock's bread and butter last year, and it looks like he should be pouring it on in this category again.  His 111 will be tough to repeat, but it looks like 80 runs is his floor.  With that said, I have him projected for 93 R, and if someone else in the Diamondback lineup breaks out he could be dropping another 100 R season.

Home Run

While I thought Pollock was going to hit more homers in 2015, 20 was not something I thought was going to happen.  His average home run and fly ball distance was 292 ft, placing him in the Jorge Soler, Robinson Cano, Luis Valbuena group.  Cano and Valbuena both hit more homers, but also put more balls in the air.  So while home flies would not be a good baseball more for Pollock, if he happened to put more balls in the air, a higher total is possible.  If we are going to be realistic, Pollock is more likely to make many many millions by hitting as many line drives and ground balls as possible and legging out singles and as many doubles as possible, but if he's going to keep hitting the ball this hard, another 15 homers should be a reasonable number to expect.

RBI

A leadoff hitter shouldn't be counted on to pile up RBI's and 76 was a high total for someone in his spot.  Luckily Pollock is in a hitter's park, in a lineup filled with good hitters, and RBI's should be more available to him than other leadoff hitters.  Also if he drives himself in 15 times a year, he's hitting more homers than almost every leadoff hitter in baseball.  My projection is 73 steaks this season.

Stolen Bases

Pollock has serious wheels and stealing 30 bases is only a matter of opportunity, not talent.  The Diamondbacks are also very big on having players utilize all of their talents, so Pollock will be running again.  According to Fangraphs, Pollock had the 6th best base running score, and the 7th best speed score, so he's not doing it with technique, although he has that too.  I have him pegged for 33 steals in 2016.

Average

Kids, if you want to hit for the super high average take the Pollock route, aka have a very high contact rate, hit the ball hard, hit a good number of line drives and grounders, spray the ball to all fields, and run hard out of the box.  Pollock rode that strategy to a .315 average, his second consecutive .300+ season.  In 2016, I expect more of the same and have him projected for a .302 average.  I'm not sure why my projections have him at a lower average than the past two years, but I am pretty confident he can match my computers expectations in that category.

Conclusion

Pollock is very very good for fantasy baseball.  I have him as the #33 ranked player in 5x5 scoring formats.  I wouldn't reach for a speed first player, but Pollock is definitely worth being a cornerstone piece since he contributes moderately in homers and RBIs.  He's not a true 5 category beast, but he holds his own in homers and RBI and more than makes up for those two stats in the other three, draft him with confidence.