Napoli is coming off a career year in 2011 in which he posted new career highs in (are you kidding me?) average (.320), on-base percentage (.414), slugging percentage (.631), home runs (30), doubles (25) and runs batted in (75). His highest previous batting average in five prior big league seasons was .273. That’s his career high, not his average. His strikeout rate did decrease in 2011, so there is room for some growth in batting average, but in the end it will be a lot closer to his career average (.264) than 2011.
If you’re an optimist, you attribute his 2011 to moving from Anaheim into the launching pad the Texas Rangers call home and look for more of the same in 2012. Smart fantasy owners will look at his health in which he’s entering 2012 coming off the ankle injury he suffered in Game 6 of the World Series, the fact he’s another year older (turning 32 in a few days) and lastly will continue to hit deep in the lineup in the Rangers’ batting order. Add all those up and he’s way too much of a risk at his going redraft price this year. We’d much rather spend our early selections building up the batting average category and take a risk on a catcher with 20 home run pop later (J.P. Arencibia/John Buck/Devin Mesoraco). Much like our previous entries, Dan Uggla and Ian Kennedy, it’s not that we don’t like Napoli (he helped us all to success last season), it’s the cost. At his current cost there is no upside … only downside.