Revisited: The Search for Narco (2011)

Prior to the season each year, I come out with a list of potential sleeper candidates that are hidden beyond your normal “sleepers”. I dub these players to be “narcos”. While it would be nice to ignore some of the duds on the list, it’s only fair to everyone that we come back and check in on how those predictions panned out. This is a list that is compiled by looking at the average fantasy points per AB for players and finding the gems who are producing at an elite level but haven’t been given many AB’s yet. So it’s an arbitrary list that we poke at with sticks to see which names are most narco-worthy. Let’s see how that stick poking turned out from last year:

The Studs: Mike Morse, Mike Stanton, Matt Joyce

These three fine gentlemen all ended up giving owners above-average fantasy production on the year. Between the three of them, they went from averaging 280 AB in 2010 to 500 AB in 2011. So, their managers gave them the green light and a vote of confidence that allowed them to flourish. While Joyce and Stanton were quite young and their boost in AB’s wasn’t shocking, Morse was 29 years old but finally came into fantasy stardom out of the blue. Why the sudden trust from his manager at that late age? I’m not sure but it resulted in a huge fantasy boon for those who hopped on the Morse train early on.

The Mehs: Mitch Moreland, Logan Morrison, Ryan Raburn

Raburn was one of the sleepers that was agreed upon on a national level but he never quite found fantasy success as we had hoped. Moreland and Morrison found a relatively good amount of AB’s but just weren’t productive enough to propel you to fantasy stardom. For this group of characters, they averaged 438 AB’s among the three of them in 2011. As you can see, the studs get the opportunities for AB’s and that is part of why they have great years (or they are getting more AB’s because of their great years; chicken or egg scenario here).

The Oh-God-What-Have-I-Dones: Jed Lowrie, Tyler Colvin, Dan Johnson

You might give Lowrie a pass for the injuries he had to fight through but he didn’t produce well regardless. He gave us glimmers of hope which only prompted us to put him in our lineup and watch him fail. Meanwhile, Colvin never got much a shot with the Cubs and Dan Johnson spent more of the year in the minors than producing any fantasy value. All in all, what you have is a mess of players that were at least easily droppable in fantasy leagues.

So, there you have it: a hodgepodge of good, bad and fugly players. The fact that none of these players (with the exception of Stanton and maybe Raburn) had high price tags in your drafts meant that there was little risk to go with the potential for high reward here. The biggest predictor for who will make the jump into stardom from this list each year is the number of AB’s that they get the next year. Of course, that’s something controlled by managers which we have no way of accurately predicting. In the next post, we’ll get a chance to see who is on the list of 2012 narcos. Stay tuned, fantasy statheads.

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