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Saturday, June 4, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: EDUARDO NUNEZ OF MINNESOTA TWINS

With the New York Yankees on a nightly basis putting forth some of the worst offensive numbers in all of baseball, an argument could certainly be made that a certain outfielder the team gave up on prior 2014 could have helped more than a little.  Originally tabbed as the heir apparent to Yankee shortstop icon Derek Jeter, Eduardo Nunez flashed some live hitting and running skills that seemed to suggest he would be up to the task of such a monumental undertaking.  Unfortunately for Nunez and now the Yanks, his fielding was so downright hideous that the team had no choice but to part ways with him via a winter trade with the Minnesota Twins that had no ripple effect in fantasy baseball.  Even during his first two seasons in Minnesota, Nunez was a semi-regular who didn't really do much of anything significant to gain interest.

Flash forward to present day and right there in the thick of the AL batting title race is none other than Eduardo Nunez who carried a terrific .328 mark into Saturday's games.  Even more impressive, Nunez has supplied some major power/speed juice in the form of 6 home runs and 9 steals in just 185 at-bats.  At the age of 28, Nunez is serving as your classic late bloomer.  Now the question is how likely is Nunez to keep this up and where does he go from here.

As we always do with cases such as this, the advanced numbers tell more of the story.  The .328 average is way out in outlier territory for Nunez who previous high in that category was a solid .292.  Nunez has never batted .300 though and his very lucky .364 BABIP has helped get him to where he currently stands.  With Nunez looking at a regression with his BABIP, the average should fall more in the .280 range where he is accustomed to being.  Still very solid however.

As far as the power and speed, Nunez already has passed his previous high in home runs of 5 with his current total of 6.  That means again Nunez is in outlier territory there and is likely to hit only a scant amount of homers the rest of the way.  The steals are a different story as Nunez has very good speed and now that he is playing consistently for the first time in his career, more stolen bases should follow.  20 is not out of the question here which is a terrific number for anyone at any position.

When you put it all together, Eduardo Nunez looks like a classic sell high due to his expected regression in average and his scaling back in home runs.  Unfortunately you are not likely going to find much of a market for Nunez given the lack of numbers previously so your best bet looks like holdong onto him and see how long he can continue at this level.  We won't think it will be much longer but at the very least Nunez should still score a nice amount of runs, steals a decent amount of bases, and post a usable average.  

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