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Sleepers & Busts: Former Twins Center Fielders

Welcome back to another year of Fantasy Baseball here at RotoAuthority everyone. Over the next couple of months, I'll be taking a weekly look at players whose average draft position (ADP) in mock drafts either isn't doing them justice, or merits that fantasy managers pump the brakes and taper their enthusiasm.

Being a "sleeper" doesn't necessarily mean that someone is a hidden first-round talent, nor does being labeled a "bust" mean that player won't be a perfectly useful, ownable player for the duration of the season. Rather, it means there's a large discrepancy between that player's current perceived value (ADP) and where his actual talent level lies.

That said, here's a look at a trio of former Twins center fielders whose ADPs don't really line up with their abilities...

Torii Hunter, DET, ADP 101

In terms of WAR, Hunter enjoyed his best season ever in 2012. Obviously that's not a fantasy stat, but it adds to the allure of his perceived value, as does his career-best .313 batting average. Hunter scored more runs than he has since 2008 and posted his highest RBI total since 2007 despite appearing in just 140 games. His triple-slash line of .313/.365/.451 looks appealing, as do his 16 home runs and nine stolen bases in a slightly shortened season.

Three numbers that don't look as appealing? .389, 6.5% and 22.8%. Those are Hunter's batting average on balls in play, walk rate and strikeout rate.

Hunter's BABIP is the seventh-highest mark any qualified hitter has posted since 2007. Of the five pre-2012 cases, hitters averaged a 42-point drop in their batting average the following season. The discrepancy between those players' BABIP-inflated batting averages and their career batting averages marks is, on average, 34 points (yikes, that was too many "averages" for one sentence).

Combined with his worst walk rate since 2002 and the worst whiff rate of his lengthy Major League career, it seems almost impossible for Hunter to repeat his average.

Finally, take a look at Hunter's home run chart over at Hit Tracker, and add the Comerica Park overlay. As you can see, his power to center and right-center will be tested by his new home park.

Hunter is a good hitter and should be drafted in most formats come Draft Day, but he's currently going ahead of several outfielders I'd prefer to him, including Carlos Beltran, Nelson Cruz, Mike Morse and Nick Swisher. Final Ruling: Bust

Ben Revere, PHI, ADP 125

Revere is a true speed demon, having swiped 74 bags in 254 career games. He was 40-for-49 (81.6%) in 124 games last season, which translates to 52 steals over the course of a 162-game season. Last year, he ran more often than in 2011 and upped his success rate as well.

Revere now moves to Philadelphia thanks to an offseason trade, and if he continues to improve his base-stealing skills, it's not inconceivable to think he could steal 55-60 bags if he stays healthy.

Revere should be useful in terms of batting average as well, given his blazing speed. Revere can bunt for hits at a high rate (36.4% success), and he finished second in the Majors with 32 infield hits despite having 35 fewer plate appearances than leader Norichika Aoki.

That's about the extent of Revere's fantasy value, however. If he ends up batting near the top of the lineup he should score a respectable amount of runs, but his lack of plate discipline (5.4% career walk rate) limits his OBP and run-scoring potential.

Revere may have the least power of any regular player in baseball, so another goose egg in the home run department is certainly possible (though he could sneak one over the fence at Citizen's Bank Park). That lack of power obviously limits his RBI potential as well.

Revere is a preferable option to fellow speedster Michael Bourn (ADP 61), but he's going ahead of burners like Shane Victorino, Carl Crawford, Cameron Maybin, Juan Pierre and Brett Gardner -- each of whom could steal 40+ bags with better supporting numbers at a cheaper price. Final Ruling: Bust.

Denard Span, WAS, ADP 233

"Span I Am," as a friend of mine affectionately coined him, was traded to the Nationals this winter and will take an average walk rate and above-average speed to the top of a lineup that features Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche, Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth behind him.

Health has been an issue for Span, but he proved in 2012 that he's over the concussion he suffered in 2011, which was the biggest threat among his previous injuries. His career .357 OBP is a bit misleading, as he no longer walks at the inflated rate he did in his first two seasons. However he's been right around league average for he past three years, and should be able to manage something in the .345 range.

Over the past three seasons he's gone 49-for-60 (81.6%) in stolen base attempts. A full season in the National League should see Span's total rise to the 25-30 range. That will pair nicely with an average in the .280-.290 range, and the host of strong hitters behind him could lead to 100+ runs.

Span doesn't pack much punch, having belted just nine homers since 2010, but he also has been playing his games in one of baseball's most vicious parks on left-handed power. Looking at Park Factors by handedness, you can see that Span will move from a brutal spot for left-handed power to a neutral lefty power park. That could mean 6-10 home runs, as he showed in his first two seasons when he played at the Metrodome rather than Target Field.

Span is being drafted in the 20th round of 12-team leagues, after the likes of Drew Stubbs, Michael Brantley, Carlos Gomez, Dayan Viciedo, Adam Eaton and Wil Myers. Final Ruling: Sleeper.



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