Monday, February 1, 2010

CBS' Fantasy Outlook is not kind to Hunter Pence

CBS' Scott White breaks down the Astros' 2010 Fantasy Outlook, and as you can imagine, it's not pretty. Some highlights:

Breakout Pick: Bud Norris
But the 25-year-old right-hander showed enough improvement over 10 starts last year to at least enter the discussion in mixed leagues. He rebounded from a rocky start to post a 1.57 ERA and 1.17 WHIP over four September starts, recording 24 strikeouts in 23 innings. His shaky command might prevent him from making a real impact in Fantasy, which is why he'll go undrafted in most leagues, but his strikeout potential makes him worth watching right out of the gate. If he picks up where he left off last September, you'll want to pick him up off the waiver wire.

Bust Pick: Hunter Pence
As one of the few Astros hitters with upside, Pence seems like an odd choice as a bust candidate. But perception is nine-tenths of the law in Fantasy, and the perception on Pence gives him more credit than he deserves. Yes, he made his first All-Star team last year, and yes, he slightly improved his batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. But some publications give the impression he made miles and miles of progress last year, and that's simply not true. In fact, he actually regressed in the second half, walking less, striking out more and posting a mediocre .792 OPS. His 27 years of age is the only indication he's on the verge of a breakthrough, and that's not reason enough to pass on players like Carlos Quentin, Jason Kubel and Johnny Damon for him.

Keep in mind, White also has Gil de la Vara as a "best of the rest," and he was returned to the Royals last March.