Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dustin Ackley vs. Jason Kipnis

So who would you rather have this year...Dustin Ackley or Jason Kipnis?

In keeper leagues, this is almost definitely a moot point. In most leagues, Ackley and Kipnis will be held over from $10 last year, and are solid keeps. Maybe you can trade for one of them, but these are the kind of players that owners hold on to for dear life in freeze leagues in the hopes that they either become players they can build around or players they can dump.

In one-and-done leagues, though, these are the kind of guys that make our stomachs turn and cause us to lose sleep. The projections like Kipnis better.

2012 Bill James Projections:
Dustin Ackley: 11 HR, 60 RBI, 14 SB, 82 R, .270 BA, $15
Jason Kipnis: 18 HR,69 RBI, 18 SB, 88 R, .272 BA, $23

In a start-over league, I'd be comfortable with a $15 bid limit on Ackley.

But I wouldn't dream of bidding $23 on Kipnis. Only three American League second basemen earned more than that in 2011: Robinson Cano, Ian Kinsler, and Dustin Pedroia. While I think Kipnis could eventually become a low-to-mid $20s earner, it's dangerous to simply extrapolate his 150 plate appearances last year and assume Kipnis is immediately going to morph into a 20/20 player. His BB/AB rate was poor, and his G/F rate makes me think that Kipnis is more likely to fit the profile of a 10-15 HR least in the short-term. This isn't to say that I don't like Kipnis...I like him quite a bit. However, I don't see him immediately becoming a superstar, and 2012 could be a consolidation season.

Ackley might have the higher ceiling of the two...from a real life perspective. It wouldn't surprise me to see Ackley eventually be a consistent .300 hitter; I'm just not sure where the power will eventually track. Despite his poor September, I see Ackley as more likely to maintain or improve in 2012 than Kipnis.

My bid limits for Kipnis and Ackley are close. I do have Kipnis ahead of Ackley but only by the most narrow of margins. If you play in a draft format, I do agree with the conventional wisdom that Ackley is slightly overrated and probably shouldn't be slotting ahead of Kipnis. If you're playing for 2012 only, I lean Kipnis.

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