Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Ask Nash: How Much Regression do we Expect from Michael Cuddyer?

I have received a few emails about Michael Cuddyer, and understandably so. If you have your draft coming this Friday or Saturday, lucky you!  If not, then Cuddyer’s value depends on…

  1. Where you drafted him.
  2. The realistic expectations that go along with him.

Cuddyer had a phenomenal year last season from a batting average standpoint, raking in a unreal .331. Not unreal historically speaking, in fact he is probably right about average for the batting title winners. The .331 average was unreal for Michael Cuddyer as his highest average before last season was .284.

Another fact that has been well documented was his huge spike in his BABIP at at .382 clip. Cuddyer’s previous high was .328 and his current average BABIP is .312, but that doesn’t even tell the entire story, because before last season, Cuddy’s career BABIP was .301.

However there is good news coming on that front. According to the Fangraphs guide on BABIP,  the average player should be in between .290 and .310 with their BABIP. Cuddyer falls right in the meat of that at a .301 average without last year, and we keep it out as the outlier of his career.

So before last season, Cuddyer was relatively consistent. That’s not the good news yet, either. The good news is that Coors field consistently ranks higher as a hitters park, not just in traditional HRs and run production, but even in league BABIP.

So the good news is even though there’s basically no way he produces the same BABIP and average as he did in 2013, he should at very minimum land at the higher end of his career averages.

So with all of that in mind, it comes down to this question: Who is Michael Cuddyer?

Cuddyer is a solid player, especially when he gets a full season of at-bats, and he should be a tick better across the board in Coors than he was in Minnesota, even as he is getting up there in years. The one downer is that the reports out of Spring are saying Cuddy is going to bat second for the Rockies with Justin Morneau hitting fifth. The good news there is that Morneau is nowhere near a lock to stay healthy, and Cuddy would be the logical guy to protect Troy Tulowitzki.

Michael Cuddyer, 2014 Expectations

Batting Order
AB
H
R
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
Batting 2nd51514372207310.278
Batting 5th5001396820798.278

These above are fairly conservative expectations. It’s always smart to error on the conservative side for expectations to leave yourself some wiggle room.

Michael Cuddyer was ranked on average around 100 overall on most preseason lists. He is consistently being drafted as the 110th player off the board. So it seems most people have a realistic understanding that Cuddy is most likely not going to repeat as the NL batting title champ.

Cuddyer is also a guy that can hit for a little more power than 20 bombs. His highest season total being 32 — but that was in 2009. So keeping in mind reasonable expectations, I like Michael Cuddyer as a 110 spot draft pick, I’d just really like him after that.

At 110 he ends up going in Round 9. If you can land Cuddy in Round 10 or 11, then he really is a valuable pick. Just don’t reach for Cuddy thinking he may hit around .300 and rake in some RBI because he very well may get stuck in the 2 hole if Morneau can stay healthy.

For those of you who already have Michael Cuddyer and would rather trade him, I suggest you wait. With all the talk of his looming regression from last season, his trade value is rather low right now. However once the season begins — if he gets off to a hot start — then people might bite hoping he repeats his last season’s performance!

 

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Tags: 1B Colorado Rockies Michael Cuddyer MLB OF

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