I’d say the Oakland Athletics did pretty well for themselves last offseason, trading closer Andrew Bailey for outfielder Josh Reddick. In fact, Reddick hit twice as many homers last year (32) as Bailey had innings pitched (15.1). For those of you scoring at home, that would be a win, folks.
It was tough getting a feel for Reddick in Boston’s system as he played 12 partial seasons across different levels in his five years with the Red Sox organization, but this wasn’t the first time he’d shown more than a little pop. In 466 minor league games, Reddick hit 86 home runs, or 27.7 homers per 150 games. His strikeout and walk rates were very similar to what he did in Oakland last year (22.4% and 8.2%, respectively), and he even displayed a little speed here and there.
Perhaps we shouldn’t have been so caught off guard by Reddick’s 32 homers and 117th overall rank last year.
At a Glance
Strengths: HR, SLG
Neutral: R, RBI, SB, OPS
Weaknesses: BA, OBP
Best-case scenario: Corey Hart (MIL) but pre-surgery, of course
Likely scenario: Ike Davis (NYM), Jason Kubel (ARI), Nelson Cruz (TEX)
Worst-case scenario: Colby Rasmus (TOR)
Josh Reddick 2013 Fantasy Projection
Can Reddick follow up his breakout 2012 campaign with more of the same this year? That’ll depend on two factors: his fly ball and HR/FB rates.
Last year 49.6% of the balls Reddick put in play were flies. While he’s always been a fly ball hitter, that rate was a few percentage points higher than anything he’d done before. He also managed a higher HR/FB rate at home (14.3%) than on the road (13.6%), something that’s very surprising given Oakland’s park factor for homers to left-handed batters (72 versus 100 league average). That means it’s 28% harder for lefties to homer in Oakland than a league average park.
I’d expect a little regression in both of those areas in 2013, and that should mean Reddick will fall just short of 30 homers. The good news is his infield fly rate last year (14.4%) was much higher than anything he’d ever posted, and that will likely drop as well. Assuming that happens, Reddick will probably find it a bit easier to hit for a better average, though the decrease in homers will offset that a bit as well.
Overall with Reddick, you’re getting a borderline 30-homer player with enough speed to score 80+ runs and a favorable enough lineup slot (fifth) to tally 80+ RBI with around 10 steals. Even if the batting average isn’t that great (and it’ll probably be pretty bad), you’re still looking at a player who will knock on the door of the top 100 but is currently getting drafted 172nd overall.