Alberto Callaspo: Super Lucky? Or Next Generation of Infielder?

Jordan GillisContributor IMay 6, 2009

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 12: Alberto Callaspo #13 of the Kansas City Royals makes a hit against the New York Yankees on April 12, 2009 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)

Middle infielders are generally a thin position in fantasy baseball, however each year seems to uncover one or two new guys who makes a tear in the Major Leagues. Could Kansas City’s second baseman Alberto Callaspo be that man?

Through 25 games, Callaspo has slash stats of .379/.439/.598. Through the first month that batting average leads all second basemen, when you throw in his best of all second basemen 13 doubles and add a dash of two home runs he has shown that there is some decent pop in his bat as well.

In traditional 5x5 leagues Callaspo definitely doesn’t hurt you right now, high batting averages, a couple home runs definitely sweeten the deal. However his 11 RBI, 16 runs, and zero stolen bases aren’t screaming super free agent pick up.

In point based and wOBA based leagues, Callaspo is showing quite a bit more value to him. Chase Utley is leading the two baggers with a .498 wOBA, but Callaspo is currently tied with Texas juggernaut Ian Kinsler at .439.

In most leagues he has been a top-five second baseman or better through April, and according to ESPN he is owned in about 10 percent of the leagues, and in Yahoo he is owned by a slightly higher 22 percent of the leagues.

So what gives? In Yahoo he qualifies for SS defensively, which increases his versatility and makes him a very viable bench option. Do people not believe the hype, or do they just overlook him because he plays in Kansas City?

Pouring through FanGraphs.Com’s collection of projections, and major/minor league stats we can take a deeper look into Callaspo’s situation. Most projections had Callaspo as a part time player, likely a role as a utility hitter.

They pegged him with batting averages ranging from .273-.284. They throw in a few home runs and show some power, but none of the projections give much reason for even a flyer on Callaspo before the season began.

Now that he has blown projections out of the water what can you look for? Well last year in 234 plate appearances he hit .305 with 8 doubles and 3 triples. Last year he walked 19 times and struck out 14, and this year that trend continues as he has walked 10 times against the 5 strikeouts.

So he features a good eye, ability to make solid contact, this year has shown some power, there is some serious potential here to be had.

The only issue here is that Callaspo is using a large quantity of luck with a BABIP of .388 to get on base. While that will likely regress towards the mean, his .327 BABIP last year  shows that he may be just really lucky, or might have some ability to beat the average.

He doesn’t strike out, he walks when he can, and he seems to be able to pick out great pitches to hit. I wouldn’t expect him to threaten .400, but in deeper leagues, or especially AL-only leagues he should get some serious consideration for a free agent flyer.

His average will come down, but with some regular playing time, he has shown ability to out do the average and that shouldn’t be overlooked.