Whether your focus is on fantasy baseball or baseball, you’re going to hear something like this an awful lot: It’s a long season. It’s not a sprint. Don’t react too strongly to what happens in April.
If you’re an A’s fan, you’ve seen a few of the top players struggle or get injured in the season’s first month. Still, you can be encouraged, as despite all of that, the A’s have had a fine month and remain well within striking distance of the Rangers in the AL West. But if you’re a fantasy player and were hoping on some big production from Josh Reddick, you’re probably sitting a little uneasy right now.
Why? Well, take a look at his numbers (through Tuesday, April 23).
Ironically, the five steals is well above anything he’s ever done before, as his career high is 11, which came in 2012. But aside from those steals, that’s a pretty ugly statline. It gets even worse when you look at his second half from last season.
Now, combining the second half of last year with 2013 so far:
You can dismiss 2013′s struggles as being early in the season. But when you add that with the second half of 2012, you’re looking at 90 games, which is not a terribly small sample size. It doesn’t stop there. Remember, even in a strong first half of 2012, Reddick’s slash stats were.268/.348/.532. Heck, even in the minors, Reddick’s slash stats were .278/.332/.500. At this point of his career, his offensive skills revolve largely around power. So, when he’s struggling, the slash stats are really ugly.
Unfortunately, it gets a little worse as now, the A’s have added yet another outfielder in Casper Wells.
So, not even counting Brandon Moss, the Oakland outfield currently has Reddick, Chris Young, Seth Smith, Coco Crisp, and Casper Wells vying for three spots in the batting order — four counting the designated hitter. When Yoenis Cespedes returns, that will be six guys vying for four spots, and Cespedes will be in the order every day when he’s healthy.
Now, this isn’t to say that Reddick will fall into a straight platoon situation. He’s arguably the best right fielder in the game and Oakland is a team that relies a lot on it’s pitching and defense. But with that many outfielders on the roster, the A’s had no reason to acquire Casper Wells. It’s not like Cespedes’ injury is long term as according to Jane Lee of MLB.com, he could be back as early as this weekend. Granted, he’s been a little injury prone in his career so Wells could be an insurance policy, but I can’t think that the A’s would have acquired him unless they were planning on getting him some at-bats.
Many of those at-bats will come at the expense of Reddick. While Reddick may be the best right field glove in the game, Wells is not a slouch in that department. Obviously if Reddick loses at-bats, his counted stats will go down.
Again, I’m not predicting a straight platoon, but this will hurt his at-bats. Reddick’s already been dropped in the Oakland order, which will hurt pretty much all stats. If I was an owner of Reddick, I’d give him until Cespedes returns to the lineup at the latest. If he hasn’t turned it around in that time, look for another outfielder, as the numbers won’t be getting any better.