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Monday, January 11, 2016

2016 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT BUST: MIKE MOUSTAKAS 3B KANSAS CITY ROYALS

The 2015 season in fantasy baseball was uncanny in the sudden explosion of top-tier production from the previously sketchy third base position.  With MVP Josh Donaldson being joined by overnight stars Nolan Arenado, Manny Machado, and Kris Bryant, third base suddenly was stocked with some immense talent.  In addition to those four dominant campaigns, there also was a nice breakthrough campaign put forth by Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas who just a season earlier hit a pathetic .212 and seemed like a major bust both for the team and for his fantasy baseball owners.  Having dealt with horrific strikeout rates and a pure pull approach at the dish, Moustakas looked like a different player right from the jump in 2015 as he shortened his swing, aimed at all fields, and saw his batting average jump 72 point to a very solid .284.  In addition, Moustakas reached a career-high in home runs and RBI with 22 and 82 respectively.  So at the age of 27 and now just beginning his prime, many will go back to the well on Moustakas in 2016 in thinking the guy is safe as an investment for this season in fantasy baseball.  We are here to tell you that Moustakas is anything but trustworthy and in fact represents himself as a sizable draft bust candidate.  Let's dig in and find out.

As we already mentioned, Moustakas made some tremendous gains in his batting average last season, reaching the .284 mark from the disgusting .212 number he put up the year prior.  Some of that gain was due to the fact Moustakas lowered his K rate for the fourth season in a row to a very solid 12.4 percent.  That surely will help the batting average but his walk rate remained quite shaky at 7.0 percent last season.  Even more disturbing though was a career-high BABIP of .294 for Moustakas last season that also went a long way toward improving his average.  While the .294 BABIP is pretty much in neutral territory in terms of luck, for Moustakas this is a bit of a red flag number as he had been at .274 or worse the three seasons prior.  This means Moustakas is likely to see both the average and BABIP slide for 2016, likely pushing the former number to around the more shaky .265-.270 range which makes his statistical outlook a lot less attractive. 

In addition to the average sliding, don't assume Moustakas will add much more in the way of power this season.  His home run and fly ball rates are solid but not anywhere near the heights of the top tier guys we mentioned earlier.  Combine that with zero speed and light runs scored totals despite a decent scoring Royals lineup and Moustakas is looking more dicey the long we talk about him.

When we look toward the approaching fantasy baseball season, Mike Moustakas looks like a guy you want to try and do better on when it comes to your starting third baseman.  We would prefer similarly priced guys in his tier such as Justin Turner, Evan Longoria, or Maikel Franco over Moustakas.  While we are not saying Moustakas will be a bum, his 2015 numbers look to be unrepeatable. 

2016 PROJECTION:  .273 20 HR 84 RBI 77 R 1 SB 

 


 
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