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2014 Fantasy Baseball Risk/Reward: Coco Crisp

Ezra Shaw- Getty Images

 

It’s rare to see a player set his career-high in home runs at age 33 in this post-steroid era, but that’s just what Oakland Athletics outfielder Coco Crisp did in 2013 with 22 long balls. He also had the third-highest RBI total of his career (66) with 21 stolen bases and 93 runs scored, so fantasy baseball owners that had him on a roster were surely glad they did.

Crisp has agreed to a two-year, $22.75 million deal to remain in Oakland, but can he produce at the same level he did last season in 2014?

Injuries are a constant concern with Crisp, but 2013 was the third straight season he had over 500 plate appearances after averaging just 317 plate appearances from 2008-2010. The power outburst helped cancel out the fact he failed to top 30 stolen bases last season for the first time since 2009, when he played just 49 games and had 13 steals, and at age 34 the decline in that category may continue as he runs less (26 attempts in 2013).

Fantasy owners might expect that hitting a lot more fly balls led to Crisp doubling his 2012 home run total last year, but his fly ball rate only increased slightly (39.6 percent; 35.6 percent in 2012) along with a home run/fly ball rate that increased roughly the same amount (12.4 percent, 8.0 percent in 2012). Those batted ball stats indicate another 20-home run season could come this year if Crisp can stay in the lineup, but it’s hard to expect it when looking at his career body of work.

Crisp won’t help fantasy owners much in batting average, with a .272 career mark and a BABIP of less than .300 in each of the last three seasons to cap his upside in that category. If he can stay healthy I think Crisp can still be a solid multi-category contributor this year, with double-digit home runs, 50-60 RBI and 15-20 stolen bases along with 80 runs scored, but his upside is limited and based on 2013′s numbers he may be drafted way too early in a lot of drafts.

Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24 or connect with him on Google +