Friday, April 15, 2011

Pauly's Pickup of the Week: Nick Hundley

posted by Pauly
OK I may be a tiny bit biased about this one, but here's my case.

Back on draft day, I put Hundley up for auction as my second nominee at my 10-team NL-only auction. I put him up for a dollar, since I only bid $1 for catchers, just to see what would happen. Would it become a nightmare when low-ranked guys like Hundley actually went for more than a dollar? Well, it wouldn't, because I put up Hundley and all I heard were crickets.

So, I landed him for a buck, but I wasn't that worried. Hundley was tearing the cover off the ball in spring training, he is the magic age of 27, and he has three good years under his belt with a steadily progressing OPS.

Catcher, as a fantasy position, is the closest thing to a barren wasteland of contributors as you can get, and most people are just trying to find a guy that wont hurt them, as opposed to helping them. With a guy like Hundley, you can likely have your cake and eat it too -- at least the way he is raking right now.

Needless to say, Hundley has already earned his dollar this season, batting .361 and slugging .639 through his first 11 games. Let's compare that to the 12 catchers who were picked before him (excluding the big-money guys, who, outside of McCann, Hundley is outperforming anyway).

Hundley: .361 avg 2 HR 1.081 OPS

  1. Geovany Soto: .220 avg 1 HR .646 OPS
  2. Miguel Montero: .444 avg 2 HR 1.262 OPS
  3. Mike Napoli: .333 avg 3 HR 1.312 OPS
  4. Matt Wieters: .212 avg 1 HR .661 OPS
  5. Yadier Molina: .189 avg 0 HR .539 OPS
  6. Carlos Ruiz: .351 avg 2 HR .982 OPS
  7. Kurt Suzuki: .186 avg 1 HR .581 OPS
  8. Jorge Posada: .189 avg 5 HR .825 OPS
  9. J.P. Arencibia: .323 avg 2 HR 1.110 OPS
  10. Chris Iannetta: .207 1 HR .866 OPS
  11. Russell Martin: .289 3 HR .904 OPS
  12. John Buck: .217 1 HR .641 OPS

As you can see, of everybody who spent more than you on draft day for a catcher (forget the dudes who banked on McCann, Mauer, Posey, Martinez and Santana -- that's a discussion of craziness for another article), only those who drafted Miguel Montero, J.P. Arencibia and Mike Napoli are feeling as good as Hundley owners right now -- and those owners undoubtedly spent much more at the draft to earn those stats.

Can Hundley keep it up? Sure, a .440 BABIP isn't going to last, but Hundley has already been moved up into the heart of the San Diego lineup (he hit fifth on Thursday), with the rest of the team struggling offensively. The bottom line for me is Hundley is a guy who was trending upward heading into the season, had a great spring training, and is continuing that rise to start the season.

Nick Hundley isn't Carlton Fisk, but if you own some of those guys above, it may be time to consider a change. Go pick up Hundley and pawn dead weight like Wieters or Soto to a less-savvy owner for something that can actually help you in the short- and/or long-term. The longer these high-priced catchers suck, the less time you have to cash in on their perceived value.

My pitcher pick for this week remains Alexi Ogando. Go get him!
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