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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fantasy Baseball Risers – Jamey Carroll

When the Twins signed Jamey Carroll a few days ago, they were routinely mocked by the critics. A 37 year old utility player finally landing his first everyday job, as a starting SS? In the words of the Messenger who challenged King Leonidis in 300, This is Madness! However, as a fantasy baseball player we’re not too concerned with the salaries players earn, or about the quality of their defence. We care about one thing, and that’s production.
Gone are the days of Jeter, A-Rod, Garciaparra and Miguel Tejada at shortstop. Now, the only real elite players left are Tulo, Reyes & Hanley. And Hanley looked absolutely lost last year. To give you an idea of how weak SS is, Carroll is considered an above average hitter at the position. Yes, Jamey Carroll, he of the 321 wOBA, ranked 13th of the qualifying SS’s by wOBA last year.
In standard 5X5 leagues, Carroll should be a big help in batting average. He’s hit 290 over the past two seasons in nearly 800 at bats. He’s an older player, so there comes the obvious risks of decline, but he should be able to hit around 280 or better. If Carroll leads off for the Twins, he could be looking at 75+ runs. Possibly higher, given that he’s shown good patience and should be a lock for a 360 OBP. Over the past two seasons he’s managed to steal 22 bases while being caught 4 times, so you can also expect him to swipe 10-12 bags. Don’t expect too many RBIs though, as Carroll is the definition of a slap hitting middle infielder. Carroll had a .058 ISO last year – which means the next time he hits a home run will be his first since 2009.
So what can you expect from Carroll? He’s a tough player to predict, given that he’s never played a full season. He’s had a significant number of at bats the past two seasons in LA, so if he stays healthy, he could post a 285 BA, 75+ runs, 40+ RBIs, 0 HR and 11 SB in the traditional 5X5 leagues. Shallow leagues can completely ignore Carroll, but a team in a deeper league could gamble on him and end up with a decent SS who contributes in 3 categories. And since he’s played a lot of time at both 2B and SS, he can fill in for either position. Carroll’s versatility is a small advantage that might make him more worthwhile on draft day.

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