Sat, Mar 6, 2010
Image courtesy of: Dennis Adair
Shin-Soo Choo became fantasy relevant in the second half of 2008, when the Indians’ right fielder hit 11 HRs and plated 48 teammates with a ridiculous .343/.424/.614 line in 210 at-bats.
The former Seattle farmhand proved himself over an entire season last year, as Choo scored 87 runs, hit 20 HRs, collected 86 RBI, stole 21 bases, and posted a .300/.394/.489 line. Comparatively in 2009, super-stud phenom Justin Upton scored 84 runs, blasted 26 bombs, knocked in 86, swiped 20 bases, and hit .300/.366/.532.
While Choo doesn’t have the same upside as Upton, his well-rounded game makes him a valuable fantasy commodity. In fact, Choo was one of only four players to hit 20 HRs, steal 20 bases, and hit .300 last year – Hanley Ramirez, Ryan Braun and the aforementioned Upton were the other three.
Looking forward to 2010, there’s little reason to believe the 27-year-old Choo cannot maintain his top-60 value. While his 2009 BABIP of .370 raises a red flag, his career mark of .367 and his unusually high BABIP throughout the minors suggests a batting average in the .290 range is attainable.
If Choo can maintain his career HR/FB rateof 13.6 percent, (12.7 in 2009) Cleveland’s No. 3 hitter is likely to hit 23 HRs (according to Derek Carty’s fun with batting average calculator). Given a healthy Grady Sizemore batting lead off, and a bounce back performance from No. 5 hitter Jhonny Peralta, Choo may even push the century mark in runs and RBI.
Given his history of efficient base running ability, (78 percent in the minors, 21-for-23 last year) there’s even reason to believe 20 steals is within reason again in 2010.
If everything falls into place this year, Choo’s well-rounded game makes him a likely candidate for the elite 100/20/100/20/.300 club.
While his South Korean military commitment may put his 2011 season in doubt, he’s free to play ball for now.
FBI Forecast: 600 at-bats, 90 runs, 23 HRs, 100 RBI, 20 steals, .295 batting average