I think the quote below is an interesting one:
“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.”
I don’t want to steer this fantasy baseball post into pop psychology territory, but I think you can replace a couple words in the quote above – which is speaking to the human tendency toward unrealistic expectations – and we can frame up both Lorenzo Cain and Domonic Brown. Try this:
“When you stop expecting prospects to be perfect, you can draft them for who they are.”
- Clave Jones
First, most prospects bust. Hitting, throwing, and catching a baseball is hard. Actually, catching a baseball is pretty easy because you ave a glove and all, but hitting and throwing a baseball is really hard. So most young players flop and we shouldn’t depend on them to carry our fantasy baseball teams.
Now that we have that out of they way, a second thing happens. Whenever we see a range of numbers, we almost always have an eye toward the most optimistic one. If I told you that a guy could hit between 15 and 22 homers and steal 18-24 bases, it’s highly likely that the only thing you could see there was a guaranteed 20/20 player. Unrealistic expectations.
Why did you have to get hurt in 2012, Lo-Cain, wrecking last year’s trendy sleeper status? (We call him Lo-Cain because that’s what his coach from West Virginia called him as he batted .307 with 34 steals).
Could you indulge me for a second as we spitball further nicknames for Lorenzo Cain?
- Lorenzo “The Painkiller” Cain, in honor of Lidocaine, the dentist’s choice.
- Lorenzo “Please don’t call me Herman” Cain.
- Herman Cain.
- Lorenzo “Murderous Farmer” Cain, marking the first Genesis 4 reference on this website.
- Chester (I’m not sure why).
- Lorenzo “Raisin’” Cain!
We’ll move on like that never happened and discuss Cain’s skill set. He’s a 6’2″, 200 lb, righty, who’s a good athlete. He’s lean and strong, but his bat can play a little punchless.
Between injuries, trades, and an uneven path through the minors, it’s difficult the read the tea leaves of Cain’s true talent because his inconsistent past makes it seem like they’ve been through a Slap Chop. He hit 16 home runs in 549 Triple A plate appearances in 2011, but that was after only 3 the year before in Double A. He’s flashed speed, but his A Ball high of 34 won’t hold in the Majors. His 21 in Double A and 16 in Triple A paint a more reasonable picture of his stolen base success.
He’ll K about every fifth time he steps to the plate, which means he’s giving away too many easy outs, and he’ll also take a walk at a paltry 7% clip. But at every stop he’s hit for average, so there’s that.
Assuming he stays healthy, here’s our Crackerjack projection, which is worth at least a $1 flyer at the back of a draft:
We just can’t quit you Dom Brown. After three seasons of you being the mayor of Flopsville, PA, you go on a tear in Spring Training, guaranteeing you more at bats, and we are right back to being googly-eyed about you.
Brown is a tall and lean 6’5″, 215 pound lefty. At one time scouts were comparing him to a young Dave Winfield, but that’s when the wheels fell off. He began to be described as “maddening” because he wasn’t reaching his potential. His tantalizing talent didn’t transfer into the box score.
He’d shows flashes, get bumped up a level in the minors, only to stink it up against the tougher competition. Once he had 15 homers in Double A with a .284 ISO, which earned him a cup of coffee in the Majors where he hit a pathetic .210.
Yet he does keep the strikeouts down and the walks up, which always leaves hope that he’ll catch up to the speed of the game at the highest levels. In fact, this Spring he has 6 home runs and is hitting .397 in only 63 at bats. The rocket ship named Unrealistic Expectations crashed land, only to be set soaring again.
His 2013 Projections:
Who’d you rather?
Here we have two prospects who suffered from unrealistic expectations, Brown ridiculously so. The luster faded from Lorenzo Cain due to injuries and uneven play, while people simply looked at Domonic Brown and knew in their guy that he simply should be doing more than he was. Don’t count on either being a 20/20 guy we hoped they’d be, but both are interesting as a 5th fantasy outfielder. Both should give just enough in the counting stats department, deliver an average that won’t kill you, plus chip in double digit steals.
I’m giving the nod to Brown. (See there, I just can’t quite him.) His hot Spring Training, plus the weakness of the Philadelphia outfield should give him at bats. Spend a buck and ride him while he’s hot, hoping he returns a nice return on your investment. If he disappoints again, Cain gives you a decent fall back option.
Just don’t expect too much out of either of them.