When At First You Don’t Succeed… Sign With Florida

If you want a secret source of power for your NL-only 2009 fantasy teams look no further than Dallas McPherson. The former top third base prospect with the Los Angels Angels, whose career was beset by injuries, rejuvenated his career in 2008 by blasting 42 home runs for Triple-A Albuquerque. His ISO was a Ryan Howard-like at .344. His 2008 triple-slash numbers were .275/.380/.618.

McPherson, who profiles as a MLB first baseman, will be 28 in 2009 and in his prime. Florida has an opening at first base – unless they shift Dan Uggla over from second base or decide to go with rookie Gaby Sanchez. If McPherson comes into spring training in 2008-form, he should have every opportunity to do his best poor-man’s Howard impression (or worst-case scenario… Russell Branyan), which will include a low batting average, a ton of strikeouts… but also a healthy number of walks and power, power, and more power. Including his 11 September 2008 at-bats, McPherson has a career MLB line of .245/.298/.458 in 371 at-bats.

This kind of left-handed power does not grow on trees. At Triple-A in 2008, McPherson launched his 42 homers in 448 at-bats, while also posting rates of 14.5 BB% and 37.5 K%. An encouraging sign from this past season is that McPherson stole 14 bases – in 20 attempts – which suggests his back injuries truly are a thing of the past. The former second round draft pick still struggles against left-handed pitching and hit just .231/.320/.537 against southpaws in Triple-A. He also hits much better when he is ahead in the count (.400), than he does when he’s in the hole (.136)… suggesting his approach could still use a little work (grip-and-rip doesn’t work well with two strikes).

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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects, depth charts and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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