Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ask the Hurler: Wassup with Napoli?

Reader Anonymous asks:

Got any projections for Napoli? How would you rank him in an OBP league?

Mike Bock responds:

Napoli's four home runs (which might be leading your team's waiver-wire pool) sure look tempting, particularly from a catcher. The problem is those stats ain't retroactive. The question is: how does he look going forward?

Napoli is splitting time with Jeff Mathis, who has already vultured 17 at-bats through April 14th. This situation is aggravating for Napoli owners, would-be Napoli owners, and Angels fans. It is absolutely impossible to project the stats for a player when you don't know if he'll get 250 at-bats or 400. Even worse, it doesn't appear that Napoli catches for pitchers X, Y, and Z, and Mathis for A and B; this means you have to get up and check the friggin' lineup every day.

Napoli has always had pop -- 15 HR in 268 at-bats in '06 and 10 HR in 219 at-bats in '07 indicate that this isn't a fluke. His OBP isn't dreadful for a catcher, hovering in the 350ish range. If not for the playing time, he's a top-10 catcher for his projected home run total, alone.

Unless you have the bench room to carry two catchers, and unless your league allows daily transactions, his lack of playing time will eat you alive. Whatever benefit you get from OBP and home runs (his batting average and stolen bases are a wash compared to other catchers) is going to be offset by his atrocious runs and rbi totals, and his OBP impact will be minimalized due to the low number of at-bats.

If the Angels ever commit to him as a starter, Napoli will be added in every league, in every format, immediately.

No comments: