Since it’s Christmas Day, is there a better player to look at than Matt Holliday? Okay, okay, okay. Put the hook away, please. We’ll just make this about the numbers from here on out. On that note, let’s look at some numbers for Holliday.
The guy is just a money performer. Throughout Holliday’s entire career, anyone drafting him expecting those kinds of numbers have literally never been disappointed. He may not be the potentially dominant fantasy player that he was during the Colorado years, but Holliday is still one of the most reliable fantasy players in the game. So, does that change in 2014?
What do we fear?
The big fear with Matt Holliday for fantasy owners is that you may have to be without him for about a month’s worth of time during the season. While he put up good numbers in 2013, he did so in only 141 games. In 2011, Holliday suited up only 124 times.
When you see a guy who will be 34 in January, plays a position that requires a lot of running around, who’s missed that much time over the last three seasons, it’s easy to get a little gun-shy when drafting him.
Fortunately for Holliday, the only real fear revolves around games played. A few years ago, we might have thrown in a declining stolen base rate but at this point, it’s pretty well known that he won’t be stealing any bases. If you draft Holliday, you’re drafting for the bat.
Unfortunately, the injuries are a pretty big deal. Holliday isn’t exactly a guy that you’re going to be drafting at the end of a snake draft or for $1 in auctions. He’s going to come with a pretty hefty price tag and with it, some risk.
Now, even in the injury-riddled seasons, he’s managed to put up generally productive numbers. The big issue comes when you factor his age and start to question whether or not it’s about to get a lot worse. The threat of an injury is an inherited concern for any player but for a guy like Holliday, the risk needs to be fully evaluated by the person thinking about drafting him.
What do we Like?
Everything else. Well, I guess we wish he stole more bases, but plenty of the game’s top fantasy guys don’t contribute anything in steals.
Holliday consistently has an OBP around .380 or better and in the St. Louis Cardinals lineup, that’s going to equal a lot of runs scored. MLB Depth Charts has him hitting behind Allen Craig, Matt Adams, and Yadier Molina (in that order), and those guys are all big time line drive/RBI guys.
Between hits, walks, and HBP, Holliday got on base 234 times in 2013, and that doesn’t even factor in things like reaching on an error or fielder’s choice. If he’s anywhere near that mark in 2014 with the Cards lineup, it’s hard to not project him at 85 or more runs.
As of right now, MLB Depth Charts has him hitting behind Matt Carpenter and Peter Bourjos. I actually like those two, but even if they (namely Bourjos) struggle, you also have the likes of Jhonny Peralta, Kolten Wong, and Jon Jay to put into the No. 2 spot of the order. That’s plenty of good OBP guys for Holliday to drive in his usual 85-100.
So, Holliday’s a good hitter and is surrounded by guys in the lineup that will maximize his numbers. What is there to not like? Busch Stadium isn’t a great park for hitters, but it’s not a terrible place to hit either. The lineup is so steady, which is why they’re one of the best run scoring teams in the league despite hitting so few homers.
What we think about 2014
Matt Holliday: Early 2014 Projections
You do need to plan on about 15-25 missed games throughout the year. But he’s been such a bankable player for so long that we need to see something significant before we project anything out of this range.