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Omar Infante

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Omar Infante

Postby Cornbread Maxwell » Fri Feb 11, 2005 12:14 pm

Recently you guys have heard me crow about how good Infante is, and Im sure you guys are pretty wary about taking the word of a Homer like myself. Personally, I put much more into the advice of a homer when he's talking about his team. I may not always agree with them, but at the same time, if I know someone follows the Brewers pretty heavily and watches a number of their games every yr Im giong to be more inclined to listen to him over the national press when it comes to MIL players and things of that nature.

So, after going on about how Infante will pick up his BA and continue to get better at the plate - better OBP and even more power... Here's what the Tigers Corresponent on ESPN had to say recently. He dedicated his entire column to Omar this past week...

Brian Abbot - ESPN Tigers Correspondent wrote:Infante good enough for mixed leagues
FEB. 5 -- OMAR INFANTE will go undrafted in most mixed leagues, but by midseason he'll be one of those sleepers helping the owners who were smart enough to either make room for him on the bench or keep a close enough eye on him they could pounce before anyone else. Even based just on last year's numbers, Infante deserves consideration. Among qualifying middle infielders (a minimum of 502 plate appearances), he ranked 13th in the major leagues with a .449 slugging percentage. Among all middle infielders, he also ranked 15th with 16 home runs and 22nd with 13 stolen bases. With 30 middle infielders on active rosters in 10-team leagues, those numbers are pretty good.
Eating his Wheaties
Some will look at the numbers and question whether or not the home-run surge was a fluke or not. Infante entered 2004 with 11 career home runs in 1,875 professional at bats, and he never had posted a slugging percentage higher than .369 at any stop consisting of more than 100 at bats. Infante, though, is an example of why scouting still matters. Having just turned 23 years old in December, he was underdeveloped physically throughout his first five seasons in the Tigers organization, and his ability to drive the ball once he filled out was projected long ago by nearly everyone who saw him play. As he continues to mature, it is not unrealistic to expect him to reach 20 home runs with regularity.

Ratios raise concerns
The biggest concerns with Infante are the mediocre K/BB ratios and high AB/BB ratios he has posted throughout his professional career. His career minor league K/BB ratio was 1.71, which is not bad, but it's not as low as you'd like it to be for a strong hitting prospect. The vast majority of productive hitters at the major league level also had AB/BB ratios lower than 10.00 by the time they graduated from Triple-A, but Infante's ratios have been 12.28, 11.74 and 13.2 at Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A respectively. In Detroit last season, he posted a 2.8 K/BB ratio and a 12.57 AB/BB ratio. He's young enough yet that a breakthrough here is not out of the question, so these will be key ratios to watch in 2005.

Better at Comerica Park
Comerica Park appears to be anything but an obstacle for Infante. He batted .272/.327/.455 there last season with seven home runs, compared to .258/.309/.444 on the road with nine home runs. If anything, the ballpark with such a bad rap seems to be a nonfactor. I'd say it even was a benefit to his 27 doubles and nine triples in 2004, but 17 of those doubles and four of those triples came on the road. Anyway, the numbers don't support any argument that Comerica Park will hurt Infante offensively.

Learning to run
Infante's never been a guy who projects to steal a boatload of bases, but he is fast enough to beat most throws, and once he develops some more experience at the art he probably could double last season's total of 13. Manager Alan Trammell likes to run to a fault, but fantasy owners don't mind that since most fantasy leagues don't score stolen-base success rates; they just add up the steals. For this season, 15-20 is a reasonable expectation for Infante.

Expect modest improvement on 2004
At 23, Infante's best years are well ahead of him, but if he can improve on what he did in 2004 even just slightly, he will establish himself as a must-play option at a middle-infield spot, even in mixed leagues. And since he'll come dirt cheap on draft day or likely will be available on the free agent list shortly thereafter, it's tough to go wrong with him.

The point is Im not dillusional. :-b

He finished in the top 15 fantasy SSs last yr, and he is getting better. We are always looking for sleepers in the last couple rds of our drafts - how about a 2B/SS eligible player who can reasonably hit 20 hrs, steal 15+ bases and bat over .275? These estimates are not that optimistic - if you want an optimistic estimate add 3-5 HRs and SBs each and put him at .310.
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Postby Amazinz » Fri Feb 11, 2005 12:21 pm

I believe he is 2B/3B/SS eligible for Yahoo. He only had 2 GS at 3B last year but 10 GP and that should do the trick. ;-D

I don't think your dillusional. :-D
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Postby AKhomebrewer » Fri Feb 11, 2005 12:32 pm

I'm in a league that doesn't use a MIF spot, so I always like targeting one bench guy that qualifies at both 2b and ss that can be plugged in at either position in the event of days off or injury.

I just happen to have Infante as a prime target to fall deep enough in my draft and yet provide starter-quality numbers in that spot. And for those who bypass 2b or ss runs altogether in the first half of the draft, he has nice value potential as a late-grab starter.
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Postby logan » Fri Feb 11, 2005 12:36 pm

i took him in the 19th round with the 11th pick in the VKFF league. hes a backup for me behind figgins at this point so the sky is the limit from my point of view. but i like hearing good things about him thats for sure.

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Postby Ballwreckers » Fri Feb 11, 2005 12:39 pm

SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I need some good sleepers in my drafts..I want to keep him on the DL(Down low that is!)

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Postby crapshooter » Fri Feb 11, 2005 4:32 pm

I picked him up last year and definitley plan on keeping him this year. He helped me finish in the money last season.
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Postby LBJackal » Fri Feb 11, 2005 4:53 pm

He had a good May and June, but after that it was back to normal (horrible BB/K and OBA). I still think you're crazy!

But time will tell.

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Re: Omar Infante

Postby DieHardCubbie » Fri Feb 11, 2005 5:09 pm

Cornbread Maxwell wrote:The point is Im not dillusional. :-b

If you think posting this one article is going to cause me to think that you are not delusional...well, that's just delusional thinking... :-b

Great read Cornbread.... ;-D

I think Omar is one that is slipping in the drafts and should bring great late round value...I am definately looking to snagg him.... B-)
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Postby RynMan » Fri Feb 11, 2005 5:23 pm

Any player is worth having, as long as you get them at the right price. I'd draft Infante, just very late in the draft.
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Postby mcqfesijiba » Fri Feb 11, 2005 7:09 pm

He's not slipping by me. So far 2 leagues I've drafted, and 2 leagues I have Infante in. It never hurts to have a backup who can play 2B, SS, and 3B, have a little bit of upside and play for your favorite team. Yeah, I'm one of the probably 5 Tiger fans on this board, although it ironically used to be a strategy of mine to NOT draft Tigers.

These were both rather deep leagues so far, but I'll be giving Infante a look as my utility guy in some of the more normal sized leagues as well when the end of the drafts near.
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