Fantasy Baseball 2014: What to Make of Hunter Pence
Without question, few players provided more value for fantasy baseball owners in 2013 than Hunter Pence of the San Francisco Giants. Last year you could have acquired Pence’s services for a 14th round pick and if you did, you were rewarded with 91 runs, 99 RBI, 27 home runs, 22 steals and a .283 average. Pence was the 132nd player drafted in 2013, but he finished the year as the seventh ranked overall player and he was the fourth ranked outfielder.
Pence has produced pretty consistently at the plate throughout his career, so what was it that set his 2013 season apart from the rest of his career? The answer is simple: speed. The 22 bases that Pence stole last season were a career-high and even more impressive, he set a career-high in stolen base percentage at 88 percent.
At the plate, Pence has hit between 22-27 home runs for six years in a row; his ISO has been between .172-.200 every season over that stretch And, wOBA (weighted on base average) has never been lower than .323 (league average last season was .314). Pence has been as consistent as it gets at the plate over the last handful of seasons and if he can bring that consistency over to the base-paths, he could very easily find himself finishing 2014 among the top-15 fantasy players once again.
I have Pence projected to score 87 runs, knock in 100 RBI, mash 27 home runs, swipe 15 bases and hit .285. I have him ranked as my number eight outfielder heading into 2014 (ahead of guys like Jay Bruce, Bryce Harper and Yasiel Puig) and I have him ranked as my 14th overall batter (ahead of Joey Votto, Robinson Cano and Edwin Encarnacion). I believe Pence is worthy of a second round draft pick in 2014 and I’d be willing to bet that you’ll be able to acquire him later than that.