Is Alfonso Soriano a 2nd Round Draft Pick?

Mar 18, 2009

Written by Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor

There was a time when Alfonso Soriano was one of the most vaunted players in all of baseball, a consistent threat to post a 40/40 season.  His past two seasons have seen a decline in his production, in part due to injuries (he played in 135 and 109 games), calling into question just how valuable he still is.

According to Mock Draft Central he currently has an ADP of 24.12, the eighth outfielder coming off the board.  Is that a valid draft position?  Should he still be selected among a drafts first two rounds?

Let’s first take a look at his numbers from last season:

453 At Bats
.280 Batting Average (127 Hits)
29 Home Runs
75 RBI
76 Runs
19 Stolen Bases
.344 On Base Percentage
.532 Slugging Percentage
.305 Batting Average on Balls in Play

We first have to discuss the injuries.  Last season marked the second consecutive year he missed time with a leg injury (quadriceps and calf, respectively).  He also suffered a broken finger last season, but that I would classify more in the fluky category.  The consistent leg injuries have got to be a concern at this point, because it plays a huge role in his potential value.

The advantage he used to give you in both power and speed helped to make him one of the best in the league.  He’s had three seasons of 40+ SBs and another two with over 30.  The past two seasons has seen him post a pair of 19 SB years, however.

Considering that he is hitting atop the Cubs line-up, meaning he does not have the RBI potential that most power hitters possess, the loss of excessive SB puts a major dent in his value.  If he is healthy and plays a full season then I easily could see him returning to the land of 25 SB, but at 33-years old it is hard for me to imagine him eclipsing that mark.

Yes, I know that he was on a better pace then that last season, but he was not in 2007.  Throw in the risk of him potentially going down once again, and it all adds up.

We all know that he has power, which is something that has never been called into question.  He has had at least 28 HR a season every year since 2002, including four years of over 30, and another one over 40.  While it was thought that the move from RFK to Wrigley Field would only enhance his power numbers, that has not been the case.

His FB% has actually been below his 2006 pace since signing with the Cubs, though he has been right around his career average:

  • 2004 – 47.3%
  • 2005 – 47.1%
  • 2006 – 51.4%
  • 2007 – 46.3%
  • 2008 – 48.0%

Think he was out to prove his value in that 2006 season and in turn cash in on a lucrative free agent contract?  It certainly is not very far-fetched and the numbers don’t lie.  He is more of a mid-30’s guy, as opposed to the player who exploded for 46.

He’s a career .282 hitter and has only once reached the .300 mark (in 2002).  He’s never shown the ability to be an elite hitter, thanks mostly to below average plate discipline.  He’s struck out 21.7% of the time over his career, and has been even worse the past three seasons:

  • 2006 – 24.7%
  • 2007 – 22.5%
  • 2008 – 22.7%

Couple that with a 5.7% career walk rate and you get the idea.  Don’t look for things to suddenly change.  You know exactly what you are going to get.

Yes, he should have the ability to score runs hitting atop the Cubs line-up.  He’ll have some very talented hitters looking to drive him in, including Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee.  In 2007 he crossed the plate 97 times, despite the injuries, so a healthy Soriano could easily exceed the 100 mark.  Realistically, I’d bank on him at least surpassing 90 this season.

With all that said, let’s see what I’d project for him this season:

.282 (158-560), 33 HR, 81 RBI, 95 R, 22 SB, .314 BABIP, .328 OBP, .530 SLG

Those would be extremely impressive numbers, but are they second round impressive?  While he has the potential to significantly exceed these numbers, at this point there is too much risk of the injury.  He also does not bring the RBI potential of a slugger, nor the excessive SB potential of a speedster.  That makes him a “tweener”.

To me, the loss of speed is the reason why I’m not going to select him.  Carlos Beltran is going right around the same spot (21.29 ADP), and while he doesn’t have extreme SB potential either, he at least brings 100 RBI potential.  What about Carlos Lee, with an ADP of 25.72?  He too does not bring speed, but he has more RBI and a higher average.

There are just other options available I’d rather take, meaning that I would pass on Soriano in the second round.  If he’s there in the third, then yeah, but not before.  What about you?  Is Soriano a player you want in the second round?  Why or why not?

Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.

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5 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. LestersLegends
    March 18th, 2009 at 10:31 am #

    I’d rather have a less risky guy like Lee or Beltran and make up the SBs elsewhere.

  2. 3rdStoneFromTheSun
    March 18th, 2009 at 1:28 pm #

    Phonsie is breaking down

    but, when healthy, the guy puts up numbers

  3. LestersLegends
    March 18th, 2009 at 1:31 pm #

    Hence the dilemma.

  4. tom
    April 30th, 2009 at 9:28 am #

    I’m glad you’re not the GM

  5. LestersLegends
    April 30th, 2009 at 9:36 am #

    This is a fantasy baseball article so I don’t even understand your statement. Did he say the Cubs should cut Soriano? No. He is wondering if it was worth taking Soriano in the second round. He is starting off great, but he remains an injury risk.

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