During the week, Paul Swydan covered the marquee move of Dan Uggla in his Top 5 Targets, but there are a few more guys who filled out a change of address form at their local post office this off season. These guys are definitely more low budget, but perhaps, in their new digs, they’ll be able to provide you with some worthwhile fantasy totals. Sometimes, all a guy needs is a little change of scenery.
Baseball’s 12 Steps: Switching from Coors to Minute Maid
Maybe it’s just me, but each year there’s always an inkling of hope that Clint Barmes will return to that 2005 pre-broken collarbone form that dazzled fantasy owners who picked him up back then. I still haven’t forgiven Todd Helton and wince every time some one even mentions deer meat. Since then, it had been rough going for him, at best. But 2008 saw a marked improvement in his hitting approach and while the power wasn’t as prevalent, the .290/.322/.468 line was promising. 2009 saw the power return, but the slash line suffered. Then last season, after a slow start, it appeared that Barmes was putting it all together. There was strong improvement in May and he really started to take off in June. Sadly though, he then received word that his father was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer that had seeped into his bones and by August, he was on the bereavement list to be with his grieving family. It was incredibly tragic.
But 2011 brings on a new year for Barmes who has tended to his family and is now in Astros camp, excited about the change, excited about moving back to shortstop and looking forward to a fresh start. He seems incredibly focused and has worked extensively on his hitting approach this past winter. “One of the adjustments I feel like I made this off season is driving the ball to the big part of the field, which is going to help with my strikeouts, but not lose any power as well.” Barmes’ statistical history should scare off enough fantasy owners to allow you to grab him late or for low budget dollars and I’m sensing a strong comeback.
From One End of a Rivalry to the Other
A free-swinging, journeyman utility infielder and Bay Area cult hero, Juan Uribe leaves the World Series champion Giants to take a starting 2B gig with the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. But while there’s all sorts of drama involved in the real baseball world here, fantasy owners should see very little change. Even as a utility guy, Uribe always seemed to find his way into the lineup on a fairly regular basis, so the numbers expectations should be about the same — low average with 20 HR pop. Every few years or so, he’ll surprise his owners with a .280-ish average, however, I just don’t see this being one of them. I actually see Bill James’ projection of .253-20-73 as being right on the money. Uribe’s biggest asset in fantasy is found in his position eligibility as he qualifies at 2B, 3B and SS in most leagues. Daily leaguers love that kind of flexibility. So if you can sacrifice some AVG/OBP, he should make for a decent late round pick up.
Last Stop on the O-Dog Tour?
Usually it’s Palm Springs that marks the retirement community in Southern California, but for Orlando Hudson, it appears that San Diego is the next best thing. After four years with the Blue Jays and three with the Diamondbacks, O-Dog finds himself on his third team in three years after signing a somewhat surprising 2 yr, $11.5M contract with the Padres. With each new team comes a little bit less production these days as Hudson’s totals have taken a direct path south lately. His wOBA has steadily been dropping since 2007, and last season’s .320 mark was his lowest since his final year in Toronto. He’s certainly not a power hitter, so the move to Petco is a non-issue — he’s there the shoot the gaps and play defense. It’s not much for fantasy, but as a late round, cheap pick up, he could provide you with some moderate middle infield depth.