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March 20, 2012 posted by Dave Shovein

2012 Fantasy Baseball: Shin-Soo Choo vs. Shane Victorino

2012 Fantasy Baseball: Shin-Soo Choo vs. Shane Victorino
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Preseason: Shin-Soo Choo vs. Shane Victorino

Here again, we look at two outfielders who are valued very similarly heading into draft day. Choo’s current ADP in NFBC leagues is 68th while Victorino checks in at 74th. Which of these players would you like to have in your outfield?

The case for Shin-Soo Choo:

Heading into 2011, Choo was becoming one of the brightest young stars in the league. Coming off of consecutive 20/20 seasons with a .300 average, he was slated to take a big step forward in his age-28 season.

However, injuries and a DUI arrest turned his season into a train wreck. On the surface, the skills look to be intact. His walk rate (10.1%) and strikeout rate (21.8%) approximated his career norms and he still managed to hit 8 home runs and swipe 12 bags in only 85 games.

His .259 average can be partially explained by a drop in his BABIP (.317 vs. career .353). Choo’s hit rates remained in line with his career averages, yet his HR/FB ratio (10.4% vs 13.4% career) regressed while his infield fly ball rate (6.5% vs 4.9%) peaked. With a little luck normalization in 2012, Choo’s average should rebound.

According to reports, he seems fully recovered from his injuries and re-dedicated to the game of baseball. Too much stock can’t be placed in spring stats, but his .300/.405/.567 is very encouraging.

Assuming full health and remaining in the coveted 3rd slot in the lineup, Choo should be expected to put up a line of .290 AVG / 80 R / 20 HR / 85 RBI / 20 SB.

This makes Choo an extremely valuable player to add as a foundation piece to your team in the 6th round.

The case for Shane Victorino:

Victorino is more of a late-bloomer, who didn’t get his shot at an everyday role until age 26. In his 5 seasons holding down the CF job in Philadelphia, Victorino has averaged .281 AVG / 92 R / 14 HR / 59 RBI / 30 SB.

In 2011, Victorino managed to improve both his walk and strikeout rates, signifying that he’s improving as a hitter. He also posted a career low GB/FB ratio (1.01) due to a career high FB% (41.9%). If this increase is sustained or improved upon, it could lead to 20+ HR.

Another encouraging note, is that the Flyin’ Hawaiian improved his SB% for the 3rd straight season, finishing 19/22 (86.4%) in 2011. If he can maintain and carryover this efficiency, there could be more upside in the stolen base department.

Victorino offers more speed than Choo at the expense of some power and possibly average. He should be projected at .280 AVG / 90 R / 17 HR / 70 RBI / 28 SB

Entering his age-31 season, Victorino also faces the challenge of dealing with a lineup devoid of the ailing Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Should Victorino settle into the 3rd slot in the lineup, this would afford an increase in his RBI chances and overall production.

These players project very similarly, though they derive their value in slightly different ways. Going off the board at the end of the 5th or beginning of the 6th round, which of these players would you rather own in 2012?

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