We all want to have Sofia Vergara on our arm but it’s not like anyone would feel bad if they were accompanied by Amy Adams. Let me draw a similar fantasy baseball comparison. Of course we would prefer to have Alex Rios on our fantasy squad over David DeJesus, but it’s not like DeJesus is useless, despite how he is being viewed according to current ADP charts (his ADP is barely under 400 and behind guys like Seth Smith and Fred Lewis for goodness sakes). Let’s take a look at the Athletics outfielder and see how he should be valued in 2011.
When he injured his thumb last year, DeJesus was hitting a career best .318. Is he a .300 hitter? Not really. Last season his BABIP mark was a career best .355, more than .030 points above his career mark, despite the fact that his GB/FB ratio (1.45) and line drive rate (20.9 percent) were both only a tenth off his career marks (1.44 and 21.0). However, DeJesus did bat .307 in 2008 and owns a career average of .289 that includes six of the last seven years with at least a .281 mark. He isn’t going to challenge for the AL batting crown, but the downside is pretty much non-existent.
If you’ve ever played fantasy baseball or know anything about the game, you know know that DeJesus offers nothing in the homer category. His career best is 13 homers, in his last healthy season of 2009, and the only other time he was in double-digits was 2008 when he went deep 12 times. Kansas City isn’t a great park for homers, but it’s not like the Coliseum in Oakland is much better, so look for his ceiling to be double-digits – and barely.
DeJesus also isn’t a big run producer having never posted more than 73 RBI in a season. Still, in his last two complete seasons – 2008 and 2009 – he managed to knock in 73 and 71 runs. The lack of RBI is more a function of his spot in the batting order, often leadoff, than it is any deficiency he has as a hitter (with RISP in his career he has hit .312 with a .394 OBP and a .821 OPS, better numbers than his overall career marks of .289, .360 and .787). Conversely, DeJesus has scored a fair amount of runs, and from 2006-09 he averaged 82 runs a season.
A negative trend with DeJesus is that he has pretty much been a disaster on the base paths the past few years. DeJesus stole 21 bases in 2007-08, but the last two years he has only seven thefts in 235 games. That’s pretty darn awful. He’s also been caught stealing a rather remarkable 12 times the last two campaigns, and a ratio that bad might have his new employers in Oakland giving him the red light on occasion.
So you might be thinking to yourself – why did Ray just waste my time making me read this review of a guy with little upside in any category? It’s about value people.
Is DeJesus a starter in mixed leagues with three outfielders? Ah, hell no.
Is DeJesus a starter in mixed leagues with five outfielders? Possibly, but only barely.
Is DeJesus a starter in AL-only leagues with three outfielders? You bet your rear he is.
It’s all about putting players in position to succeed, just like what major league managers try to do on the field every day.
Let’s assume the following.
(1) DeJesus will be healthy – i.e. his thumb is fully healed.
(2) He will spend most of the year hitting first, second or third in the Athletics’ lineup.
If we assume that, it’s worth taking a look at what an “average” DeJesus season of 150 games would produce, given his career levels of production:
.289 with 10 homers, 67 RBI, 86 runs and eight steals.
Those are rather meager numbers, and the reason that DeJesus isn’t anything other than a bench option in mixed leagues. But in AL-only leagues, a line such as that has a lot of value. Why do I say that? Quick, tell me how many AL outfielders produced a 5×5 line of .289-10-67-86-8 last year? The answer is TWO. Not 22 but two – Carl Crawford and Josh Hamilton. Remember how I said that DeJesus had value if he was put in the proper context?
Speaking of context, where is Amy Adams, I need a date to accompany me to the ice cream shop. I still want Sophia to hit up the dance club with me on Saturday night.
By Ray Flowers