Fantasy

2010 Projections: Bless You, Shin-Soo Choo

SEATTLE - JULY 18:  Shin-Soo Choo #17 of the Cleveland Indians bats against the Seattle Mariners on July 18, 2008 at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Nick KappelAnalyst IIIMarch 6, 2010

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: FANTASY BASEBALL INSIDERS

Shin-Soo Choo became fantasy relevant in the second half of 2008, when the Indians’ right fielder hit 11 HRs and plated 48 teammates with a ridiculous .343/.424/.614 line in 210 at-bats.

The former Seattle farmhand proved himself over an entire season last year, as Choo scored 87 runs, hit 20 HRs, collected 86 RBI, stole 21 bases, and posted a .300/.394/.489 line. Comparatively in 2009, super-stud phenom Justin Upton scored 84 runs, blasted 26 bombs, knocked in 86, swiped 20 bases, and hit .300/.366/.532.

While Choo doesn’t have the same upside as Upton, his well-rounded game makes him a valuable fantasy commodity. In fact, Choo was one of only four players to hit 20 HRs, steal 20 bases, and hit .300 last year—Hanley Ramirez, Ryan Braun, and the aforementioned Upton were the other three.

Looking forward to 2010, there’s little reason to believe the 27-year-old Choo cannot maintain his top-60 value. While his 2009 BABIP of .370 raises a red flag, his career mark of .367 and his unusually high BABIP throughout the minors suggests a batting average in the .290 range is attainable.

If Choo can maintain his career HR/FB rate of 13.6 percent, (12.7 in 2009) Cleveland’s No. 3 hitter is likely to hit 23 HRs (according to Derek Carty’s fun with batting average calculator). Given a healthy Grady Sizemore batting leadoff, and a bounce back performance from No. 5 hitter Jhonny Peralta, Choo may even push the century mark in runs and RBI.

Given his history of efficient base running ability, (78 percent in the minors, 21-for-23 last year) there’s even reason to believe 20 steals is within reason again in 2010.

If everything falls into place this year, Choo’s well-rounded game makes him a likely candidate for the elite 100/20/100/20/.300 club.

While his South Korean military commitment may put his 2011 season in doubt, he’s free to play ball for now.

FBI Forecast: 600 at-bats, 90 runs, 23 HRs, 100 RBI, 20 steals, .295 batting average

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