Ryan Raburn showed flashes in 2009, hitting 16 HR in just 261 AB.  Yet, in 2010 either the Tigers were unable to find a spot to give him everyday playing time or didn’t think he was capable of producing on an everyday basis.  Through July he had just 161 AB, hitting just two home runs.

Then, in August, he was given an opportunity to play on a daily basis and has exploded.  Just look at what he had done through Sunday:

119 At Bats
.319 Batting Average (38 Hits)
10 Home Runs
25 RBI
25 Runs
1 Stolen Base
.372 On Base Percentage
.630 Slugging Percentage
.346 Batting Average on Balls in Play

You can argue that the BABIP is slightly inflated, which it is.  So, maybe he’s not a .320 hitter, but is that really that big of a problem?  If we assumed he had a BABIP of .321, all else being equal, his average would be .303.

During that span he has posted a strikeout rate of 23.5%, which is similar to his full year (25.7%) and career (25.7%) marks.  In fact, last season he posted a 23.0% strikeout rate, so there is really no reason to think that he can’t replicate what he’s been showing.

What it really boils down to is the power.  Can Raburn continue to hit balls out of the park at his recent stunning rate?

September is too small of a sample size (2 HR in 15 AB), so let’s take a look at August (8 HR in 104 AB) to give us a better idea.

  • Fly ball rate – 50.6%
  • HR/FB – 20.0%

Clearly, it’s hard to buy into both rates, but you have to look at the law of averages, especially in the HR/FB department.  Overall this season his rate is at a very believable 11.7%.  He was so bad early on, playing in spurts like he was, that his August hot streak simply evened things out.

The old adage is that baseball is a game of averages, and Raburn’s streak could simply be the perfect example of that.  The HR/FB is not concerning in the least.

The fly ball rate has been high all year long, currently sitting at 49.5%.  While it is higher then his career mark, it is along the same line as last year’s 47.7%.  For his minor league career, he posted a mark of 44.2%, so there is reason to believe that it is a number that he can maintain, or at least be close to.

With that said, given his eligibility at both 2B and OF, Raburn is a player that fantasy owners should want to grab, if he is still available.  Surprisingly, he is still available in many formats:

  • CBS Sports – owned in 56% of leagues
  • ESPN – owned in 72.9% of leagues
  • Yahoo – owned in 48% of leagues

The numbers he’s posted this season are believable and, from a second baseman, he has the potential to give you plenty of power.  Over the past two seasons he’s had 541 AB, about a full season’s worth, and he has 28 HR and 93 RBI.

Clearly, he should be added for the remainder of this season and if the Tigers finally decide to give him regular playing time in 2011, he should be usable in all formats.  At this point, how could they not?

What are your thoughts on Raburn?  Is what he’s done this season believable?  Do you think he will be fantasy viable in 2011?

Make sure to check out our extremely early 2011 rankings:


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com