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March 27, 2012 posted by Dave Shovein

2012 Fantasy Baseball: Alexis Rios vs. Nick Swisher

2012 Fantasy Baseball: Alexis Rios vs. Nick Swisher
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Preseason: Alex Rios vs. Nick Swisher

Here again we take a look at two similarly valued outfielders heading into draft day. According to the most recent ADP report, Alex Rios checks in 177 while Swisher sits at pick 170. Which of these players would you prefer to own in the 12th Round of 15-team leagues?

The case for Alex Rios

To call Rios’ 2011 season awful would be a gross understatement. His .227 / 64 R / 13 HR / 44 RBI / 11 SB fell far short of expectations across the board. Owners who invested a top draft pick expecting another 20/20 season were left devastated.

Why then, would we want to invest in a player coming off such a miserable effort? There are several reasons to expect a rebound in 2012.

Simply put, there is no way that Rios can be as bad as he was in 2011. His BABIP of .237 (career .306) indicates that he was extremely unlucky on batted balls. His average should have been closer to his career norm of .275.

His batted ball profile and approach at the plate mirror his career averages. There was a slight uptick in infield popups while his HR/FB% dropped slightly. Should these numbers correct, he should be back in the 18-20 HR territory.

One of the most encouraging signs from a fantasy perspective, is that Robin Ventura plans to hit Rios third in the lineup this year. This premium lineup slot will help to drive his counting stats.

Rios is still only 31 years old and has averaged 18 HR / 24 SB over the past 5 seasons, including last year’s debacle. For 2012, expect a line of .270 AVG / 85 R / 18 HR / 80 RBI / 22 SB.

That looks like an absolute steal to me in the 11th or 12th round.

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The case for Nick Swisher:

Swisher is as consistent a player as they come. Swisher has provided his owners with at least 20 HR for seven consecutive seasons. He’s scored 80 or more runs in each of the last six seasons. He’s also added at least 82 RBI in each of his 3 seasons as a Yankee.

His batting average has fluctuated throughout his career, moving as his luck on balls in play does. An encouraging sign is that he continued to walk at a very high rate (15%) while cutting his strikeouts to a career low (19.7%).

Continuing to hit in the vaunted Yankee lineup should provide Swish with countless opportunities to rack up runs and RBI, even hitting near the bottom of the order.

For 2012, I anticipate Swisher finishing with a line around .260 AVG / 85 R / 27 HR / 85 RBI / 3 SB. Most of those numbers can be written in ink due to his consistency and durability (over 150 games played each of the past 6 seasons)

What separates Swisher from Rios is consistency and lack of speed. While you know exactly what you are getting from Swisher, Rios is much more of a boom or bust type pick. A case can be made for either of these players depending on your team’s roster construction at that point of the draft. Personally, I prefer to gamble on Rios. Which of these players would you rather own?

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