By R.J Anderson //
Biggest Surprise & 2011 Keeper Alert: Joey Votto
Votto has consistently been underrated. He hit .322/.414/.567 last season, yet nobody seemed to notice (he finished 22nd in Most Valuable Player voting). The Reds’ surge to the playoffs this season (combined with an even more impressive .324/.424/.600 line. Votto increased his homer output to 37, runs scored to 106 to RBI to 113, while stealing an eye-opening 16 bases. He was the best first baseman in the National League by both real life and fantasy standards and is an auto-keep for next season.
Biggest Bust: Orlando Cabrera
It’s hard to point to a 35-year-old’s decline as a bust, but Cabrera continued to slip toward a permanent state of unrosterability. His experience managed to trick Dusty Baker into hitting him leadoff for far too long, and then number-two for too long, even though his .303 on-base percentage screamed for a demotion. The Reds and Cabrera hold a mutual option for 2011. There’s a chance he returns, but he could end up backing up Paul Janish or someone else in 2011. Avoid.
2011 Regression Alert: Jonny Gomes
Not because he overplayed his means, but because he provides a perfect example of what regression to the mean looks like. In the first half, Gomes hit .277/.330/.471 with 11 home runs in 278 at-bats. He overplayed himself then with a .330 batting average on balls in play. In the second half his BABIP dropped to .294 (essentially his career average) and Gomes saw his line drop to .251/.324/.383. Gomes’ home run rate actually nosedived in 2010, and his awful defense makes him a long shot for an everyday job next year. Look elsewhere.