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Week 7 Fantasy Baseball Rest-of-Season Projections: Cespedes, Lawrie, Morrow

Yoenis Cespedes

Breakout seasons are never what they seem. It’s often hard to tell exactly how a season falls into the context of a player’s career until years later. At the same time, breakouts are rare and it’s pretty safe to assume that a player is overachieving and expect to be right 80% of the time. If you’re a poker player, those are amazing odds. Let’s take a look at some players trying to build on their “breakout season” and what we can realistically expect from them in 2013.

Yoenis Cespedes

May 13, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics center fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) hits a solo home run off of Texas Rangers starting pitcher Justin Grimm (51, not pictured) during the third inning at O.co Coliseum. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Yoenis Cespedes: .204/.270/.435, 7 HR, 19 RBI, 18 R, 0 SB
Cespedes had a brilliant rookie campaign in 2012, putting up a .292/.356/.505 line with 23 HR, 82 RBI, 70 R, and 16 SB in 129 games. Slowed by an early season wrist injury this year, he is batting just .204, but even that number is deceptive. Cespedes has less games played than most thanks to the injury and is in a 3-for-30 slump over his last eight games which has dropped his average from a passable .244.

Eight games is a mere 1/20th of the season so I wouldn’t worry too much, but don’t expect steals. After stealing 16 out of 20 opportunities last season, Cespedes has yet to swipe a single bag and has been caught three times. He remains on pace to put up close to 30 home runs and 80 RBI; now could be a great time to buy low on a guy who finished 10th in MVP voting in his rookie season.

See SJN’s Fantasy Baseball Projected Stats

Fearless Projection: .282, 27 HR, 86 RBI, 70 R, 10 SB

Brett Lawrie: .204/.272/.369, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 9 R

A former 40th top prospect, Lawrie strikes me as a perfect example of a guy too inconsistent to be a reliable fantasy player. See Mike Moustakas also. In 2011, before being called up to the minors, Lawrie hit a healthy 18 home runs in just 73 games. After being called up, he hit another nine homers in just 43 games. I can see where the optimism comes from.

Now take 2011 out of the equation. In 2009, Lawrie had 13 home runs in 118 games. In 2010, he had just eight home runs in 135 games. In 2012, Lawrie spent a full season in the Majors but put up just 11 home runs in 125 games. Whatever Lawrie did in 2011 has not been the norm for him in the minors or the bigs.

He also had steals potential. In 2010, Lawrie stole 30 bases. He has not had a season with more than 13 steals since, putting up 13 last season and being caught stealing in his only attempt this year. I think last season’s 11 home run, 48 RBI, 73 R, 13 SB, .273 BA is closer to the reality than his 2011 season.

Fearless Projection: .270, 17 HR, 65 RBI, 65 R, 10 SB

Brandon Morrow: 1-2, 4.69 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 34 K/17 BB

Morrow had a breakout (half) season in 2012 as he went 10-7 with a 2.96 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 108 K/41 BB. Was it really a breakout though? He simply got hurt before a second half which may have balanced out his season. This season, Morrow’s 4.69 ERA and 1.46 WHIP look a lot closer to the Morrow we know and I’d be willing to bet that he’s going to stay that way.

Coming into last season, Morrow had put up a 4.58 ERA and 1.37 WHIP over his previous three seasons. Even taking last season into account, Morrow has a career 4.23 ERA and 1.31 WHIP as a starter. He’s just never been good at limiting baserunners or runs. His numbers should come down a bit, his 9.4 H/9 is higher than his usual 8.1-8.5 but they won’t come down much. His career 9.5 K/9 rate is deceptive too, over his last two seasons he has put up a 7.7 K/9. Time to lower those expectations.

Fearless Projection: 11-11, 4.38 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 140 K (assuming 160 IP)

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