Michael Cuddyer To The Mets? The Fantasy Baseball Breakdown
Michael Cuddyer’s two year, 21 million dollar pact with the Mets was a surprise. Between the multi-year offer to a declining player and New York’s willingness to part with the 15th overall pick in the 2015 draft, one has to wonder if this is the first of a flurry of moves. Unfortunately, fantasy baseball owners are unable to sit with Sandy Alderson at the General Manager’s meetings and learn what other plans are in store. For now, we can only glean insight from what’s already happened.
Michael Cuddyer – In 2013-2014, the veteran corner man has triple slashed .331/.385/.543 with 30 home runs in 179 games. His age (35) and recent rash of injuries makes 120 games played a dream scenario. As expected, Cuddyer dominated at Coors Field and was a lesser player on the road. Knowing this, his Steamer projection seems a bit too friendly given the expected games played (130) and total plate appearances (562). The .262/.322/.425 triple slash line is on the mark though, meaning he’ll be an upgrade over what’s already in left field. Plus, his performance against left-handed pitchers makes him a perfect platoon partner for Lucas Duda.
Lucas Duda – Credit the Mets for giving Duda a puncher’s chance to figure left-handed pitching out in 2014. Unfortunately, the slugger didn’t adjust, slashing a paltry .180/.262/.254 against same-handed pitching. Closing in on his 29th birthday, it’s safe to classify Duda as a platoon player who’ll have less than 500 plate appearances to accumulate numbers going forward. For fantasy baseball owners in weekly leagues, it’s time to explore selling high since playing match ups isn’t an option. Michael Cuddyer will cut into his future plate appearances.
How does Michael Cuddyer Impact The Bench?
Matt Den Dekker – A strong glove and the ability to draw free passes can result in a decade long career as a bench player. Credit Den Dekker for dominating Triple-A, earning over 170 plate appearances at the MLB level. Having scouted him in Single-A, the 27 year old’s ability to slash strikeout totals and develop a more patient approach is impressive. Unfortunately, deep dynasty league owners — especially in OBP leagues — who took a late season flyer on his ability to hawk playing time will receive little for their stealthy efforts. Michael Cuddyer will play left field on days he isn’t serving as Duda’s platoon partner. At present, Den Dekker’s best path to playing time is if he’s dealt to a team like the Rays or Athletics who covet players with his skill set.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis – In 552 career plate appearances, the 27-year old outfielder has accumulated two wins above replacement. Of course gauging his value isn’t this easy considering the left-handed hitters has platoon issues against lefties, yet still strikes out 29.8% of the time against right-handed pitchers. Plus, his BABIP against righties is .348, making sustained success difficult to project. New York Mets fans may see him as the most valuable outfield piece in trade talks, but he’d probably demand less than Den Dekker.
Eric Campbell – Credit Campbell for making the most of an opportunity. His first half batting average of .340 was a revelation, but a late collapse hurt his prospects for 2015 and beyond. In 97 second half plate appearances, the right-handed hitter batted .172 and saw diminished playing time along the way. Michael Cuddyer playing first base and left field collapses any value Campbell had in deep leagues as a utility play. It’s possible he’ll begin 2015 in Triple-A and be a minor league handcuff to Cuddyer since the former 1st round pick will come up lame at some point.
Eric Young Jr. – With Young scheduled for an arbitration raise, expect the speedy utility man to be non-tendered given the number of minimum salaried bench options who slid down the depth chart a rung with the Michael Cuddyer signing. As for future fantasy value, he’s not a platoon player and it will be tough to peg days where the switch hitter is a definite play for any team. Yes, Eric Young Jr. steals bases, but his value doesn’t merit the amount of work it would take to leverage the talent he does have correctly.
Does Cuddyer have a major impact on established veterans in the Mets lineup? Not really, but it’s nice to swap left-handed and right-handed hitters throughout the lineup. A top-7 of Juan Lagares (RH), Daniel Murphy (LH), David Wright (RH), Lucas Duda (LH), Cuddyer (RH), Curtis Granderson (LH) and Travis D’Arnaud (RH) can create match up issues for opposing bullpens and create a modest benefit. For fans and fantasy baseball owners expecting Michael Cuddyer to provide impact potential, those dreams will end in disappointment.
11 Nov 2014 / Mike Newman /
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