Photo courtesy of Keith Allison.
We put out a request for a request from our readers and as usual, they responded. This particular request had a strong Midwestern theme to it.
"A little Milwaukee vs. Chicago banter…Carlos Gomez vs Alex Rios (and throw in Alfonso Soriano if you have spare time for the North side of Chicago)."
After writing twice about Bay Area guys this week, I don’t mind breaking out of my comfort zone and asking this simple question. For the season’s final four months, who will have the best fantasy value? Carlos Gomez? Alex Rios? Or Alfonso Soriano?
Well, let’s start by looking at their numbers thus far. Keep in mind, these stats are through play on Sunday, June 2.
If over the final four months these guys replicate their first two, let’s see what those numbers will look like at season’s end.
Thus far, Gomez has obviously been the most valuable. But with this much time left, that may be more of a detriment when trying to figure out who will be the best from this point on. Is that the case here? Let’s see.
- Whose pace is most likely to drop off?
This is pretty clearly Gomez. Not only are his numbers the best, but the paces of both Rios and Soriano are not particularly overwhelming given their recent history. Rios had pretty similar seasons in both 2010 and 2012, while Soriano is well behind his power pace from 2012. As a matter of fact, he hasn’t failed to hit 20 home runs in a season since 2001, when he hit 18.
Gomez on the other hand has only topped 100 games in a season three times. Take a look at what he did in those seasons.
|2008 (153 games)||149/577||79||7||59||33||25||.258/.296/.360|
|2009 (137 games)||72/315||51||3||28||14||22||.229/.287/.337|
|2012 (137 games)||108/415||72||19||51||37||20||.260/.305/.463|
So, I’m seeing a guy who can definitely maintain, or even improve upon his steals pace. But the rest of the numbers seem a little unsustainable.
First of all, entering 2013, Gomez averaged only 26 walks against 114 strikeouts per 162 games. Right now, he’s looking at about 30 walks and 138 strikeouts. So, since he’s on a similar pace in that area, I certainly am having a hard time believing that a guy who’s never hit above .260 in a single season will all of a sudden be a .300 hitter, let alone .325. If he hits .300 for the year at 591 at bats, you’re looking at around a .290 average for the rest of the year. Again, that seems doable when you consider what he’s done thus far, but nothing in his pre-2013 history suggests that Gomez will do that.
Here’s the biggest issue that I have with Gomez. For the sake of this argument, let’s say that this is what his numbers look like at the end of the year.
That would be by far the best year of his career. At the beginning of the year, if you were offered those numbers for Gomez, just about any fantasy owner of his would have taken them in a heartbeat. Coming into the year, his previous Major League career highs were His previous career highs were 79 runs, 19 homers, 59 RBI, 37 steals, and a .260 average.
But here’s the problem. If you were offered that, the final numbers are all that matter. It doesn’t matter how they’re achieved. But let’s say that you’re being offered a trade for Go-Go right now. Let’s also say that he’d have the same final numbers as above. Look at what you’ll get from Gomez for the rest of the year.
That’s a pretty big drop.
This isn’t to say that you should ignore any trade offers for Gomez. Just look at the numbers above and realize that a pretty big drop in production would still amount to a career year. Consider that when entertaining any offers.
- Whose pace is most likely to improve?
This would be Soriano. Ironically, he’s exactly the opposite of Gomez. I fully expect that Gomez’s stolen base pace will at least stay the same, but could possibly improve. It’s the rest of his numbers that I think will drop. In the case of Soriano, I don’t expect him to approach 18 steals (he had 22 combined between 2009 and 2012), but his power numbers will be better.
Say what you will about Soriano, but he’s been a good run producer throughout his time with the Cubs. His 162 game average from 2007 to 2012 in HR and RBI: 34 and 97.
If Soriano stays on the field (not a small if), his power numbers will improve.
Now, his average will probably be about the same as it is now, if not worse. His .262 average in 2012 was his best since 2008, and I don’t think Soriano is the type of guy who really cares about how often he gets on base. He definitely swings to hit home runs and never walks. So, the power numbers will likely go up, which none of the other two guys can say. That gives him the nod here, even if his average and steals don’t look to get much better.
- Who do I like more for the rest of the season?
I’m going to go ahead and skip the question about who is most likely to hold his pace for the rest of the year. You guys can probably figure out that Rios is the answer there. I will say that he’s on a similar pace to what he did in both 2010 and 2012, so it’s more than just process of elimination. Rios has been a bit inconsistent at times throughout his career, but he’s generally one of the more unrecognized all-stat contributors in fantasy baseball.
But I would like to show you what I think you can expect from these guys for the rest of the year if they stay on their current at-bat paces.
*Numbers in parenthesis reflect the speculated finish of the season totals.
|Gomez||100/394 (164/591)||49 (80)||13 (23)||45 (72)||24 (35)||.254 (.277)|
|Rios||115/410 (173/615)||53 (83)||14 (24)||59 (87)||17 (25)||.280 (.281)|
|Soriano||101/392 (153/588)||46 (70)||19 (25)||61 (84)||4 (6)||.258 (.260)|
Unless you really need the extra steals from Gomez or the extra homers from Soriano, the edge here has to go to Rios.
I admit that I can sometimes be a little too hesitant when it comes to guys like Gomez, who are really emerging, but this isn’t exactly like Mike Trout or Bryce Harper in 2012. Gomez had nearly 700 games played before 2013, and is 27 years old. There’s enough of a body of work to look at and say that things will likely fall off.
With Soriano, I do think that his power numbers will improve, but I do wonder if he’ll be on the field for the rest of the year. The 2012 season was the first time he topped 150 games played since 2006. Soriano is now 37, the Cubs aren’t really going anywhere, and they have young outfielders in their organization. I worry about him getting hurt, and I wonder how quick the Cubs would be to bring him back to action if he does get hurt.
Again, I know that Rios has had some down years, but he’s had a lot of really productive ones, as well. There isn’t one category that you’d look at and say is a liability for him. Additionally, unlike Gomez and most relevantly Soriano, Rios has the added advantage of the DH. If he gets banged and can’t field as well, it doesn’t have to cost him as many games as the others.
Rios clearly has the best track record of the three, and his start doesn’t really have any unsustainable numbers in it. So of the three, he’s pretty clearly the guy who I’d give the most up for.
If you’re debating between Soriano and Gomez, it really depends on what you need help in the most. But I will say that of the two, I trust that Gomez will be on the field a lot more over the final two-thirds of the season.