Brennan Boesch Player Projection No. 141

Key Stats: Brennan Boesch is going to be 27 years old and has just completed his 2nd “full” year of big league play.  He gave us a solid .283/.341/.458 slash line in 2011 good enough for him to be deserving of a roster spot in 10 team leagues. He increased his power last season hitting two more HR’s in 40 less AB’s over the previous season while also striking out less. We love young players that can increase their power, average, OBP, and SLG in their 2nd seasons while cutting down on the strikeouts. Lucky for us, Boesch fits that profile.

Skeptics Say: He hasn’t done well in the 2nd half. Last year that might have been a result of a lower total of at-bats (he did not play in September) and playing through pain. Even if he did put together a decent second half, Boesch would never fall into the elite category as a hitter in any category. ZiPS projects him to regress in his batting average this season, but I can’t see it. He was making better contact last season, hitting a higher percentage of line drives and raised his BABIP. That being said, they do project him to be the 3rd most effective hitter on the Tigers behind Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez with a 106 OPS+. 

Peer Comparison: Take a look at this:

Player A: 95 runs, 20 home runs, 68 RBI, 6 SB, .283 AVG
Player B: 81 runs, 23 home runs, 85 RBI, 2 SB, .260 AVG

Player B is the 142nd player in our countdown, Nick Swisher. Player A is Boesch…well sort of. 

Boesch didn’t have an at-bat after August 24th because of a torn ligament in his thumb. Kevin Youkilis had a similar injury in 2010 and the injury did not linger into this season. That being said, it’s reasonable to expect a full season of at-bats from Boesch in 2012. The line that he was on pace for if he could have had 30 more games (he missed 32 because of the injury) in 2011 was what is listed for Player A. Swisher blew him out in only one category and Boesch blew out swisher in one category. Boesch takes two out of three of the remaining categories (runs and steals). Thus, Boesch should be picked over Swisher.

Team Outlook: Keep your fingers crossed that Detroit keeps him in the 3rd spot ahead of Miguel Cabrera. According to fangraphs in 186 AB’s in that situation he was .339/.379/.575 with 43 runs. Jason Catania predicts he could have a big year if that lineup order continues.

What They’re Saying: CBS Sportsline – #48 in top 80 Outfielders;  Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com – #58 in Top 70 Outfielders and #208 in the Top 250 Players; RotoChamp – #262 in the Top 300

Projection: I have high hopes for Boesch going into 2012, he is ranked considerably higher in our list than any of the other referenced sites above. I stated before he showed improvement in all the right categories and I’m expecting that to continue.

.281 AVG, 21 HR, 78 RBI, 72 R, 5 Steals, .333 OBP,  .806 OPS in 500 AB’s.