|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 11/14/1989 | Team: Phillies | Position: 2B/3B|
Profile: If you really value positional flexibility in fantasy baseball, Galvis might offer decent value beyond his raw numbers, as he might qualify at second, short, third, and outfield in some leagues. With the Phillies’ middle infield manned by the aging Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, and Cody Asche hardly a lock at third base for the 2014 Phillies, Galvis might have some opportunities to play. He will be just 24 during the 2014 season, but beyond that, there is not much upside. He never hit in the upper minors, with few walks and little power. He had a little speed, but it was not mind-blowing, and he does not have the sort of on-base skills that would make it useful anyway. The chance that he could luck into playing time means that he might have some marginal value in very deep NL-only leagues, but even that is iffy. Pass. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Freddy Galvis has little to recommend him in fantasy baseball aside from the chance that he might luck into some playing time.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 7/26/1985 | Position: 1B/3B|
Profile: Oh Mat Gamel will you ever be healthy? What a sad tale you’ve woven, with the consecutive ACL tears right when you had your chance. And now you’re on a team with a $100+ million first baseman. Grab your third base glove and get limber. (Eno Sarris)
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 3/18/1991 | Team: White Sox | Position: 2B|
Profile: Garcia is a pretty good little baseball player that can do a lot of things to help a Major League Baseball team win games, but he may not be a huge contributor in fantasy ball. Originally signed by the Rangers, the versatile player was traded to the White Sox in 2013 but he’s not likely to receive regular playing time and will be in a stiff battle to simply receive an opening day assignment in The Show. Chicago has a lot of middle infield depth but Garcia does have a few things going for him. Firstly, he’s extremely valuable and has experience playing second base, third base, shortstop and can handle all three outfield positions. Secondly, he has value on the bases with his above-average speed. At the plate, though, the switch-hitter can be overpowered and his aggressive nature works against him, as witnessed in 2013 when he was rushed to the majors and struggled with inconsistent playing time. Garcia will likely open 2014 in Triple-A but he could be one of the first players recalled in the event of an injury. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Garcia can be a useful piece in deep AL-only leagues due to his versatility and speed, but don’t expect him to have much value in mixed leagues, even if he lucks into unexpected playing time.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 6/12/1991 | Team: White Sox | Position: OF|
Profile: Garcia came to Chicago as part of the three-way Jake Peavy trade. He’s shown flashes of what he can do in the majors, but he’s done so while striking out far too often (22.5%) and rarely taking a walk (3.5%). Fortunately, there’s plenty of reasons to think his tools will let him blossom into a better player than his rates so far indicate. He projects as a strong, prototypical corner outfielder in fantasy; a guy who hits in the middle of the order and is a good source of runs and RBI. White Sox GM Rick Hahn indicated the team views Garcia as a long-term core piece for the team, but there are potential playing time issues for 2014 with Adam Eaton now on board and Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, Dayan Viciedo, Jose Abreu and Alejandro De Aza vying for playing time. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Garcia could be a strong, prototypical corner outfielder in fantasy. He could be a consistent source of power and runs batted in. He’ll need to improve his approach at the plate to do so, but there’s plenty of reasons to think his tools will let him blossom into a better player than his rates so far indicate.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 8/24/1983 | Team: Yankees | Position: OF|
Profile: It’s easy to be down on Brett Gardner. He hits a ton of infield flies and doesn’t have great power, and strikes out a bit much, so he seems doomed to an iffy batting average. Last year he was healthy all season and only stole 24 bases. Pair that with eight homers and a wonky Yankees lineup, and that’s how you get to be just barely worth a third outfielder spot in mixed leagues. And yet, he still managed to be worth double-digit dollars because steals were down across the league, and he was a non-zero in most categories. It’s hard to project him for much better next year — there’s no stat that says he was unlucky, and his batting average on balls in play was actually a career high — and yet that might be okay. At 30 years old, he’s probably good for another year or two, and he might even steal more bases next year for the heck of it. He won’t be needed for power as much, most likely, and maybe that means more attempts. Usually he’s good for 40+ attempts in a full season. There’s still some upside left, and besides batting average, there’s no real reason to hate on Brett Gardner. (Eno Sarris)
Quick Opinion: A mediocre batting average, a handful of homers, and anywhere from 20 to 40 steals. Brett Gardner has been under-rated his whole life, he’s comfortable turning that package into major league (and fantasy league) value.
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 8/18/1986 | Team: Braves | Position: C/OF|
Profile: Gattis entered 2013 as a decent, but old, backup outfield prospect who was firmly behind the Braves trio of Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, and B.J. Upton. Instead he broke camp filling the void left by Brian McCann at catcher. Gattis, also known as el oso blanco (the white bear), quickly earned a cult following with timely hits and home runs. He launched 21 home runs in 386 plate appearances last season, which helped carry otherwise tepid performance in batting average and on-base percentage. It appeared as though he would have an opportunity to serve as the Braves primary catcher to open 2014, but the acquisition of Ryan Doumit clouds that picture. If Gattis is asked to fill McCann’s shoes in the middle of the lineup, his power could result in a good RBI total. He had trouble hitting line drives last season (14.5% line drive rate), which led to a low .255 batting average on balls in play. If those rates regress toward league average, he could improve upon his .243 batting average. Just remember there’s not a lot of upside left. He’s already turning 28 this season. (Brad Johnson)
Quick Opinion: Gattis will have to win a spring training battle if he wants to be the Braves primary catcher. He swings a good power stick for the position and could be asked to bat in the middle of the Braves lineup. That’s the best case scenario, but he’ll probably end up splitting time.
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 5/1/1990 | Team: Brewers | Position: 2B|
Profile: It’s not actually clear that Scooter Gennett is a better player than Rickie Weeks — just very different. But being different might be all it takes to make him the favorite for the second base job in 2014. After all, his manager has already penciled him in there. Gennett is all about contact — both his walk and strikeout rates are well below league average — and he also shouldn’t have the same power or speed that Weeks traditionally showed. He didn’t manage a .100 isolated slugging percentage in the high minors, nor did he crack double-digits in homers in any single year. He’s never managed to steal 15 bases in a full year either. He makes enough contact that his batting average might be able to survive the regression that’s coming — a .380 batting average on balls in play is not in the cards again for him in 2014, but a better strikeout rate might be. It’s still Rickie Weeks that has the mixed league upside in the end, thanks to his power and patience. Even if Gennett takes the job, gets a little batted ball luck and manages a good batting average, he might not crack double digits in either of the counting stats that make fantasy leagues go round. (Eno Sarris)
Quick Opinion: After years of power and patience out of their second baseman, maybe the low-powered high-contact glove-first Sooter Gennett is the change Milwaukee needs at the position. it’s probably not the change fantasy leaguers want, though.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 11/29/1983 | Team: Athletics | Position: OF|
Profile: Craig Gentry is more valuable as a real-life player than a fantasy player since he plays defense well and takes walks. He doesn’t hit for power (four homers in 763 plate appearances). His average hasn’t been horrible the past three seasons, though, so he does have some fantasy value in short spurts (.271, .304, .280). Those numbers have been supported by an above-average batting average on balls in play (.340 career). I am not sure he will be able to keep up the value for a couple of reasons. First, his line drive rate has been on the decline the past few seasons (23% to 20% to 19%). More important, I don’t know if the 30-year-old will be able to keep up his speed. If he begins to slow down, his ability to turn bunts and infield grounders into hits will drop. Also, his ability to steal bases will decline. From 2011 to 2013, he stole 55 bases in 709 PA (six as a pinch runner). Keep an eye on his spring training or early-season speed and see if he is can maintain previous levels. A final aspect to take into account is playing time. The A’s love to platoon players and Gentry has a decent split: 111 weighted offense vs lefties and 81 vs righties. (Jeff Zimmerman)
Quick Opinion: Craig Gentry’s fantasy value rests in his 30-year-old legs. If he can keep the speed up, good. If not, look for his stolen bases, batted-ball driven average and fantasy value to drop.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 8/30/1983 | Position: 2B|
Profile: Chris Getz at one time had the chance to (maybe!) be kind of useful in fantasy baseball. Right now, there is no hope of producing any fantasy value. He has no power (career on-base percentage > career slugging percentage) and his hit three home runs in over 1500 plate appearances. He has hit .251 over his career and even that mediocre number dropped to .220 in 2013. While he has been able to steal a few bases, the 30-year-old will need a job first to even contribute in that one category next year. His glove is not good enough for a team to play him in spite of his horrible bat. Just stay away and find a player with some possible upside. (Jeff Zimmerman)
Quick Opinion: Chris Getz is fantasy irrelevant even if he finds a team to sign him. Maybe he can go on the Amazing Race to earn his next paycheck.
|Debut: 1995 | BirthDate: 1/8/1971 | Position: DH|
Profile: Jason Giambi’s 2014 can already been treated as a disappointment when he wasn’t appointed player-manager for some team next year, but at the same time you have to enjoy the journey that our favorite superstar-turned-cheater-turned-grizzled-monk has made. Siddhartha will be back in camp with Cleveland next year, spouting random wisdom and hitting a home run every twenty plate appearances. Of course, he’s going to strike out the other nineteen, so no need to consider him for fantasy purposes, unless you want to provide the rest of your fictional roster with veteran leadership. You could even write inspiring clubhouse speeches for him to give to his comrades. (Patrick Dubuque)
Quick Opinion: Now top ten among position players with more than 200 plate apperances in the vaunted strikeouts-per-hit category, Giambi isn’t even a lock to get 200 plate appearances even if he’ll be in camp with the Indians next year.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 7/10/1987 | Team: Royals | Position: 2B|
Profile: Johnny Giavotella has struggled to hit in the majors as his .240/.278/.335 career line in 424 plate appearances can attest. The struggles are a bit of surprise after he hit around .300/.400/.500 in the minor leagues. The big difference has been his change in plate discipline. In the majors he has walked at a 4.5% clip while it was at 10.2% in the minors. Additionally, he has struck out in 16.7% of his PA in the majors and only 11.0% of the time in the minors. While the 25-year-old may no longer be considered any kind of prospect, he has a small potential to breakout. Steamer projections currently have him near a league-average hitter (98 weighted Runs Created plus). With the addition of Omar Infante to the lineup in Kansas City, his chance to play for the Royals has probably passed. Johnny’s best chance for increased playing time would be a trade. Another team could take the chance on him and see if his minor league production could translate to the majors. (Jeff Zimmerman)
Quick Opinion: Johnny Giavotella has hit the ball well while in the minors, but he has not been able to translate that production to the majors. He is fantasy-irrelevant unless the Royals trade him to another team.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 7/18/1987 | Team: White Sox | Position: 3B|
Profile: Gillaspie finally got a chance to play, and emerged as a useful, yet underwhelming, platoon bat. The White Sox brought in Matt Davidson in the offseason, which should eventually push Gillaspie out of a starting role. If Davidson needs minor league work before beginning the year, Gillaspie would likely platoon with Jeff Keppinger until Davidson is ready. Even though Gillaspie would be on the better side of the platoon, he doesn’t do enough to warrant fantasy attention. He’s got league-average power without the contact skills or speed to make that package work in fantasy. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: Gillaspie is a low upside platoon bat at third. He’ll likely be out of a role once Matt Davidson is ready to play in the majors.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 6/20/1984 | Position: OF|
Profile: Cole Gillespie will be 30 in 2014, which is probably bad for his career because he didn’t even accrue positive WAR as a a 20-something. A quintessential tweener, Gillespie doesn’t play defense well enough to slot at center field, and his bat isn’t powerful enough for a corner outfielder. This is especially so after his isolated slugging percentage dipped to an anemic .034 last year splitting time between the Giants and Cubs. He does walk, however, and the Cubs are collecting an island of misfit toys in the outfield, so it’s possible Gillespie finds himself more playing time than one would expect next year. What he does with it will determine whether or not he hangs onto a major league gig as a fourth outfielder, or starts preparing for life after baseball. (Jack Weiland)
Quick Opinion: Not enough glove for center field, not enough bat for the corners. Gillespie was designated for assignment by the hapless Cubs last fall and may find playing time only due to the team’s lack of other options.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 12/27/1982 | Team: Athletics | Position: C/1B/3B|
Profile: Gimenez enters the 2014 season as a 31-year-old backstop with only one real discernible tool: Hitting left-handed pitchers. Despite hitting a rather pedestrian .224/.350/.305 in Triple-A, Gimenez managed to have above a .370 on-base percentage against southpaws. Over the last three seasons in the minors, he has hit an impressive .289/.429/.479 against lefties. The Rays enter the 2014 season, however, quite plump with catcher depth. Gimmer lands at least at number four heading into the season, so barring trades or severe injury spates, he’ll have minimal fantasy value. If he does somehow make the majors, his total offensive package is still somewhat lacking and the waiver wire will likely offer better material for a desperate owner. (@BradleyWoodrum)
Quick Opinion: Gimenez hits lefties well, but he’s buried in the Rays depth chart and has limited total offensive upside. Only dip into this well if you’re both desperate and sure Gimmer will be getting playing time.
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 8/31/1988 | Team: Brewers | Position: OF|
Profile: This unusually built (5’7″, 205 pound) outfielder opened the year for his third tour of duty at Triple-A Nashville, with little hope for advancing. In 83 games in the PCL, he performed up to his usual solid-but-unspectacular standards, but finally caught a break with Ryan Braun’s suspension and finished the year by logging 155 MLB plate appearances. Gindl surprisingly posted a stronger strikeout-to-walk ratio in the majors (25/20) than in Nashville (72/30), and turned in a solid .340 weighted on-base average. He was used mostly in a strict platoon role, facing lefties just 16 times. He may prove a more useful piece than most would have pegged him before 2013, but his physical limitations and lack of an outstanding tool likely relegate him to a platoon or fourth outfield role going forward. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Gindl finally was freed after nearly three years of solid Pacific Coast League performance and acquitted himself surprisingly well down the stretch; however, his success does not necessarily portend his emergence as a quality regular.
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 2/13/1988 | Team: Blue Jays | Position: 2B|
Profile: How bad was Maicer Izturis last season? So bad the Blue Jays might go with Ryan Goins as their starting second baseman in 2014. It is hard to believe, but it might happen. Goins seemed to generate some excitement with a few hard hits or something, at least according to the Blue Jays’ TV team, but let’s calm down: Goins only made it to Triple-a in 2013, when he was 25, and he hit poorly there. No surprise that he put up a miserable line (.252/.264/.345) in the majors. Has never been impressive in the high minors, and was no great shakes in A-ball, either. He is not fast, has little power, does not take walks or have impressive contact skills. What else is there to say? He might actually have value in bizarro leagues given how bad he is and the Jays apparent willingness to give him a chance. We’ll see — obviously the team is seeing something we don’t, right? RIGHT??? (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: If the Blue Jays are really going to go with Ryan Goins as their everyday second baseman in 2014, he might be one of the most valuable fantasy assets in bizarro leagues.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 9/10/1987 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: 1B|
Profile: Goldschmidt could not have had a better 2013. He stayed healthy and played in 160 games which led to fantastic counting numbers. And his rate stats spiked thanks primarily to a big improvement in plate discipline. His walk rate improved thank to a jump in intentional walks, but his strikeout rate improved because he swung less, particularly on balls outside the zone, and he made more contact. His biggest improvement came on breaking pitchers from right-handed hitters. This obviously bodes well for his future. It would be a stretch to imagine Goldy improving much on his most recent season, but there’s no obvious signs that his success was fluky or in any way subject to major regression. He may not be a top five caliber fantasy player again, but there is little reason to think he’ll fall too far below that mark. (Brett Talley)
Quick Opinion: Goldschmidt was an elite fantasy option last year and paid off big time on his draft day price. The price will be much higher this year, but there’s not much reason to think he won’t be able to come close to justifying the price. His big roto numbers were backed up by marked improvements in his plate discipline. So while he won’t be a major value this year, he is a safe, low downside early pick.
|Debut: 2003 | BirthDate: 11/22/1980 | Team: Red Sox | Position: OF|
Profile: He’s a guy you want your fantasy team to go to WAR with, right? Well, maybe not so much. A notorious lefty-masher, Gomes only posted a 115 wRC+ versus southpaws in 2013, well off his 136 career mark. While John Farrell seemed to eschew statistics during Boston’s 2013 playoff runs, Gomes figures to open next season in a platoon with Daniel Nava in left, and that’s assuming the team doesn’t go out and grab another outfield bat as spring training draws closer.Gomes is in the right park for his platoon splits, and should see a bounceback in his power starts against lefties next season, especially given similar batted ball distances to previous years but a career low HR/FB%. In fact, hemakes an excellent plug-and-play candidate in daily leagues if you can carry an extra bench guy or two. However, don’t overextend and think you’re buying a full-time outfielder in the middle rounds of drafts. (Colin Zarzycki)
Quick Opinion: While signed to be a southpaw-crushing platoon outfielder, Gomes didn’t display as marked as a versus lefty/righty split in years past. He may have earned manager John Farrell’s trust in the playoffs, but he’s likely to open 2014 in a platoon with Daniel Nava or Jackie Bradley. While he’s a nice option in daily leagues, he’s only worth grabbing in late rounds of standard drafts thanks to his projected “no start”s against righties.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 7/19/1987 | Team: Indians | Position: C|
Profile: Between the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Anderson Varejao and the Indians’ Yan Gomes, Cleveland sports is being taken over by Brazilian fan favorites. Gomes was not given a lot of attention outside the front office before the 2013 season, coming to Cleveland along with Mike Aviles for Esmil Rogers. Many saw him as ticketed for a year in Triple-A, as the Indians had an all-star caliber catcher in Carlos Santana and a serviceable backup in Lou Marson. But Gomes crushed minor league pitching and when he got a chance to hit in Cleveland, he didn’t slow up. His .359 weighted on-base average was sixth among Catchers with 250+ plate appearances. He clubbed 11 homers in just over half a season’s worth of playing time. He hit .294 with a .345 on-base percentage and a .481 slugging percentage. And he played fantastic defense to boot. Now the Indians have named him their starting catcher, and while he’ll often be spelled behind Santana (now a first baseman / designated hitter most of the time, but possibly also a third baseman), Gomes is an intriguing fantasy buy. His 2013 is unlikely to be repeated. But his .342 batting average on balls in play is not as out of line as you might expect — both his minor league numbers and his expected BABIP suggest he should be a bit above average here — and a .265/.325/.450 season with 15-20 home runs isn’t hard to imagine. And behind the plate, that’ll play. (Chad Young)
Quick Opinion: Displacing a 26-year-old with an all-star caliber bat is no easy task, but Yan Gomes managed just that last year, and now will get a chance to play a full season as the Indians starting catcher. Don’t expect a repeat of his 2013 line, but there is no reason to think he can’t put up solid fantasy numbers for a catcher this year.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 12/4/1985 | Team: Brewers | Position: OF|
Profile: Gomez gave fantasy owners only the third season with at least 20 homers and 40 stolen bases since the turn of the decade (Mike Trout and Matt Kemp did it too). His 24 long balls and .222 isolated slugging percentage proved his power surge in 2012 was legitimate, and the power should continue as long as he commits to keeping the baseball off the ground more often. It was his second-consecutive season of a ground-ball rate at 40% and both seasons were career highs in terms of power production. That doesn’t project to change in 2014. And everyone knows Gomez is still going to run a ton. The real question becomes the counting stats and the batting average. Gomez could get a chance to accrue more runs batting atop the Brewers’ lineup since Norichika Aoki was traded to Kansas City. His batting average, however, should be poised to decline. His .344 batting average on balls in play is by far a career high, and he continues to struggle to make consistent contact. In fact, his contact percentage fell from 75.9% in 2012 to 74.1% in 2013. Once that batting average declines, he’s not a contributor in all five rotisserie categories and his value correspondingly dips. Still, he’s only 28 and likely a top-20 outfielder in 2014 and a rare elite source of power and stolen bases. (JP Breen)
Quick Opinion: The batting average and balls in play and batting average will likely regress a bit in 2014, but the power/speed combination is special. He’s easily a top-20 outfielder, and if his batting average somehow doesn’t fall below .275, he’s even more than that.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 3/14/1989 | Team: Astros | Position: SS|
Profile: Though he opened the season as the Astros’ starting shortstop, he earned just 222 plate appearances due to his ineffectiveness. Not only did he fail to bring any offense whatsoever, but UZR suggests he was also a weak defender. He makes respectable contact and has a bit of speed, but that’s about the only positives you can say about his skills at the plate and on the bases. Now buried behind Jonathan Villar, and eventually top prospect Carlos Correa, Gonzalez really has no future in Houston. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: Poor offense and defense motivated the Astros to replace Gonzalez as the team’s starting shortstop and he’s unlikely to ever get that job back. With better players on the club and in the pipeline, there isn’t much of a future as any more than a utility infielder with limited fantasy upside.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 10/17/1985 | Team: Rockies | Position: OF|
Profile: CarGo posted his fourth consecutive 20-20 season in 2013 and over that span, he’s seen his batting average drop below .300 only once — .295 in 2011. What’s even more impressive is that during his last three seasons, he posted these types of numbers, while failing to play in more than 135 games due to a variety of injuries, including a sprained finger which cost him the final two months of the season last year. A more aggressive approach at the plate in 2013 helped him end a recent power decline but he did see a spike in his strikeout rate, though it didn’t seem to have an adverse effect any of his other numbers — his average and stolen base total remained the same. Moving forward, he’ll look to continue his assault on NL pitching and, still in his prime at age-28, should produce yet another first-round worthy season. There is a bit of concern as to how his work at the plate will be affected by his decision not to have surgery on his injured finger, but those concerns should be assuaged with a healthy spring training. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: After four consecutive 20-20 seasons, there is little argument against CarGo being a top-10 fantasy pick in 2014. Last season, he took a more aggressive approach at the plate to help stop a recent power slide, and while he saw a spike in his strikeout rate, there were no adverse effects on the rest of his numbers. Spring training will prove his health, his consistent numbers have proven his value.
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 5/8/1982 | Team: Dodgers | Position: 1B|
Profile: When Adrian Gonzalez came to the Dodgers in 2012’s massive Nick Punto trade, the concern was that the Dodgers would be getting a good first baseman, yet one less than the superstar he’d once been. That turns out to have been accurate, since his .293/.342/.461 line (and .346 weighted on-base average) was completely identical to what he’d done in 2012. He did add a few extra homers. That’s a disappointment if you’re comparing him to 2007-11 era Gonzalez, but less so if you note that only six other first basemen had 20 homers and 100 runs driven in. If this is what Gonzalez is now, then he’s a quality second-tier first baseman, even if the name suggests something more. (Mike Petriello)
Quick Opinion: The days of elite superstar Gonzalez are gone, but he’s settled comfortably into being an above-average, productive first baseman, one well worth drafting after the Vottos and Cabreras of the world are taken.
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 12/3/1990 | Position: C|
Profile: Though Gonzalez plays a position the White Sox are looking to upgrade, he’s no higher than fourth on the team’s depth chart at that spot. If the top three options fail, which is totally possible, Gonzalez wouldn’t be able to handle the full-time load. (Chris Cwik)
|Debut: 1998 | BirthDate: 2/15/1977 | Position: 1B/3B|
Profile: Alex Gonzalez compiled a pathetic .194 weighted on-base average in 2013. The 37-year-old shortstop will even be fortunate to field minor-league offers this offseason. As such, I was shocked to discover his wOBA only ranked third-worst in Major League Baseball last year amongst hitters with at least 100 plate appearances. Congrats, Casper Wells and Luis Cruz! (JP Breen)
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 4/22/1988 | Team: Dodgers | Position: SS|
Profile: Thanks to Hanley Ramirez’ continued injury woes, the Dodgers gave Gordon another shot to prove he could be a big league performer, and… oh, that did not go well. In 669 career plate appearances, or basically a full season, Gordon’s line is a punchless .256/.301/.312. No amount of speed is going to make that okay, especially when it’s an even lousier .229/.289/.285 over the last two seasons. Worse, Gordon’s defense at shortstop is so awful that it’s also not helping him make a case to stay in the lineup, and the team has started trying him out at second and in the outfield in a last-ditch attempt to reclaim some value. It’s nice that his walk rate increased in a small sample, and Gordon’s speed will always be appealing, but this is the definition of a one-tool player who can’t take advantage of it due to a lack of all other tools. (Mike Petriello)
Quick Opinion: The potential for Gordon to be fantasy-eligible at multiple positions makes him slightly more appealing, but his bat is so weak that he’s more likely to be in the minors than the bigs, making it difficult to recommend rostering him.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 2/10/1984 | Team: Royals | Position: OF|
Profile: Alex Gordon has turned into a unexciting player who gives his owners a fairly consistent return. He’s past any hitting peak and it is all downhill here from now, but most of us can say that for ourselves — his boring production and decline shouldn’t scare owners away. He projects to hit around .275 with 15 to 22 home runs and 10 stolen bases. The problem I have with Gordon is a move the Royals made at the end of May when they replaced hitting coaches. Before that move, Gordon was hitting .329/.371/.486. That dropped to .233/.306/.388 after the move, which might not be worrisome if there weren’t reasons for the drop. He went from hitting 33% fly balls in the season’s first half — something he’d done to produce despite Kauffman Stadium’s size — to 47% fly balls in the second half. The fly ball increase is the main reason his batting average on balls in play dropped from .347 to .265. And yet it didn’t help his power — the increase in fly balls saw him only hit two more home runs in the season’s second half. I hope to see Gordon ditch the fly ball approach he took after the Royals changed hitting coaches. And if you draft him, you hope so too. (Jeff Zimmerman)
Quick Opinion: Alex Gordon has consistently positive fantasy value. He may see a larger than expected drop in production because of a new approach at the plate.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 8/10/1990 | Team: Blue Jays | Position: OF|
Profile: Anthony Gose has some of the most electric tools you’ll see on a major league field. He’s a tremendous athlete with top of the line speed, a Peyton Manning style “laser, rocket arm,” and he can put on a show in batting practice. His pure hitting ability, knowledge of the strike zone and pitch recognition have always been (and continue to be) a concern. If he ever gets the chance to start, Gose could be a dangerous fantasy weapon. In a full season he could lead the league in steals while hitting 10-15 home runs. Be forewarned those numbers might come with a .220 batting average, though. With the trade of Rajai Davis to Detroit, Gose appears poised to start the year on Toronto’s bench — and he could still prove useful in fantasy leagues there. As a part time player and pinch runner, Gose might still be worth rostering in head to head and AL-Only leagues. Of course, he’s definitely someone to grab in case of injury to any of the Blue Jays’ starting outfielders. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Gose is a big risk in terms of batting average, but his power and elite speed would still give him value in most formats if he gets playing time. Even off the bench he’s a potentially useful piece for teams that need stolen bases as well as a nice stash in deeper leagues.
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 8/17/1983 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: C|
Profile: Just kidding. There is no such thing as a Tuffy Gosewisch. (Patrick Dubuque)
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 11/8/1988 | Team: Padres | Position: C|
Profile: Fantasy baseballers have been waiting for the Yasmani Grandal hype machine to pay its dividends for some time now. Last season, owners patiently waited for the young catcher to return from his 50-game PED suspension, just to see his season prematurely ended thanks to a torn ACL. In the past three seasons, Grandal is third among catchers with a minimum of 250 PAs with a .380 on-base percentage. We should see more of the same on-base guy with a successful return from rehab — and he makes enough contact (17.1% career strikeout rate) and has enough power (.157 career isolated slugging percentage) to matter in the batting average and home run categories, too. Grandal is expected to start the 2014 season on the disabled list, but should be considered a late-round stash in mixers. Even with all the question marks, he’s a top talent with pedigree and good peripherals. (Alan Harrison)
Quick Opinion: Adding insult (PED suspension) to injury (ACL surgery) — or the other way around — Yasmani Grandal did not have a great year in 2013. This season still bring the promise of patience, contact, and power. That’s a stellar mix, especially from a catcher, and that’s why he’s still very relevant despite the question marks.
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 3/16/1981 | Team: Mets | Position: OF|
Profile: It was a season to forget for Granderson, as he missed time due to a fractured forearm and then a fractured knuckle, limiting him to just 245 plate appearances. Not surprisingly, when he was on the field his performance suffered, as he posted the lowest weighted offense of his career, while his isolated slugging percentage matched a career low that he first set back in 2006. He swung and missed at the highest rate of his career, which ensured that the elevated strikeout rate he posted in 2012 was repeated. Heading into his age-33 season, he’s on the wrong side of the aging curve. After signing with the Mets, he is going to pine for the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium. Citi Field is much less forgiving, rating as close to neutral for left-handed homers. Now in a more pitcher-friendly venue and surrounded by a weaker supporting cast, all of Granderson’s offensive numbers could take a hit, including his runs scored and batted in totals, making it a bit less likely he rebounds offensively. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: Granderson’s 2013 season was marred by injuries. His age and new home in Flushing make it less probable for him to fully rebound. An elevated strikeout rate the past two seasons also provides little hope that he will be able to get his batting average back into respectable territory.
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 9/27/1987 | Team: Angels | Position: 2B|
Profile: In a rare intra-divisional swap of second basemen, the Angels acquired the former first round pick from the Athletics at the trade deadline. It represented a “help now for help later” deal in a certain sense, and the Angels were surely betting on Green’s minor league scouting reports rather than his major league body of work. He has a sub-.700 OPS in the limited sample of his major league stats, but a .308/.355/.476 line in 212 games at Triple-A Sacramento, including 26 home runs and 17 steals. The Angels will likely give Green a long look at either second or third base this spring, and he has a chance to be an everyday player. If he wins a full-time gig, he could be a breakout player offensively, both due to his power potential, and his ability on the basepaths. (Jack Weiland)
Quick Opinion: Green was sent to the Angels at the trade deadline last year by Oakland, and will get a long look at either second or third base in Anaheim this spring. If he wins a job, he has potential to be a breakout fantasy player in 2014.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 8/17/1983 | Position: 2B|
Profile: Greene is the newest example of the Quad-A player. He’s been prone to strong stints at Triple-A, but can’t seem to put it all together in the majors. Two of the worst teams in baseball last season couldn’t find a use for him. Your fantasy team should follow the same path. (Chris Cwik)
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 2/18/1990 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: SS|
Profile: Gregorius’ overall numbers don’t look too bad for a first-year player who also offers above-average defense, until you look at his splits. The rookie shortstop was quite effective during the first two months of the season but he was well below-average as a hitter after the month of May. He doesn’t offer much power, he doesn’t walk much and he doesn’t steal bases so you’re pretty much buying the glove and a potentially hollow batting average with the Diamondbacks’ Gregorius. He should only be on your fantasy roster if you’re in a very competitive NL-only league. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: With another young hot-shot shortstop prospect in the system — Chris Owings — Gregorius will face a stiff competition for the starting gig since only one of the two young players will break camp with the club, barring a trade. Even if Didi is the Diamondbacks’ starting shortstop on opening day, don’t expect much from his bat.
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 9/16/1989 | Team: Astros | Position: OF|
Profile: Never a prospect-prospect, Grossman has nevertheless demonstrated reasonable athleticism and a control of the strike zone over the duration of his minor-league career to date. Last year, he produced a nearly league-average offensive line in nearly 300 plate appearances with the parent club as a 23-year-old. All quite promising, that. Owing to how he’s not a plus fielder, though, and to how his lack of power creates a low-ish offensive ceiling, he will have some trouble convincing clubs that’s not merely a fourth outfielder — which, maybe he is one. For the moment, however, he’s also a Houston Astro, which means he’s likely to receive a fair bit of playing time. (Carson Cistulli)
Quick Opinion: Imagine David DeJesus, except maybe not quite as good and 10 years younger and also different in a thousand other ways. Maybe you’re thinking of Robbie Grossman.
|Debut: 2014 | BirthDate: 12/20/1986 | Position: 2B|
Profile: The lesser-known Cuban import has — predictably — lesser numbers attached to his name. While Jose Abreu was scraping the stratosphere, Guerrero was “just” putting up .310/.400/.499 type seasons in Cuba. Those numbers look fine, but translate them, like Clay Davenport did, and you get a .250/.322/.480 line that is fraught with all the risk that comes with translating stats based on a tiny sample and an uneven competitive playing field in a country with relatively closed borders. Remember that Yuniesky Betancourt hit .317/.372/.488 in Cuba in 2003 before you get too nuts about this newest middle infielder from the island. When scouts talk of Guerrero, they talk of pull power but iffy plate discipline that will play out differently against tougher competition, but the hope is that the former shortstop will be competent enough with the glove that a few home runs will keep him at the position. If that happens, he’ll likely be a deep league play with mixed-league MI type upside. Power at second base is always worth a look. The risk here makes him worth a *cheap* look, though. (Eno Sarris)
Quick Opinion: If the scout’s reports were more positive, and the Cuban numbers just a little more superlative, the reward might be worth a substantial risk. Instead, make a more conservative play on the new Dodgers’ second baseman — wait until the rest of your league passes him by.
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 2/21/1983 | Position: OF|
Profile: Franklin Gutierrez may be one of the five most snake-bitten players in major league history, simply because he may have well been bitten by a rattlesnake. Guti has gone through myriad injuries, but even worse than the maladies themselves is the weird problem that keeps from coming back from those injuries with any haste. The last time has was truly healthy, Death To Flying Things hit .264/.321/.394 in 305 games with the Mariners. He also contributed 30 homers and 41 steals in those two years, and was a fringe outfielder in standard leagues, mainly during his 2009 breakout. Gutierrez is over 30 years old now, so odds are he won’t be figuring out how to stay healthy any time soon. Expect Guti to end up back in Seattle and play a little bit before succumbing to a minor injury that keeps him out for the remainder of the season, leaving little reason to put the former Gold Glove winner on your radar. (Zach Sanders)
Quick Opinion: Franklin Gutierrez is going to have to retire from baseball pretty soon if he can’t get healthy. Seeing as he wasn’t particularly fantasy dominant when he was actually on the field, don’t waste your printer’s ink by including him on your board.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 6/14/1984 | Team: Astros | Position: 1B/OF|
Profile: Guzman’s path to playing time opened up when San Diego traded him from their crowded situation in the outfield to Houston. He continually hit well in the minor leagues and in his first decent cup of coffee with the Padres, but has struggled over the past two seasons. Most of his issues came with his inability to hit right-handed pitching; he has a career .298 weighted on base average against them but a .354 wOBA against southpaws. In Houston, he provides a nice platoon partner for Brett Wallace at first base as well an option in left field or at designated hitter. For fantasy options, AL-Only owners could use him to fill a corner infield spot or a reserve roster spot, depending on the depth of the league. Mixed league players can take him if they’re trying to tank the season and relocate their franchise to a warmer climate. (Jason Collette)
Quick Opinion: AL-Only owners could use him to fill a CI spot or a reserve roster spot, depending on the depth of the league. Mixed league players can take him if they’re trying to tank the season and relocate their franchise to a warmer climate.
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 1/20/1981 | Position: DH|
Profile: Freddy Guzman! Welcome back to the majors! Ol’ Guzman spent some time on the Rays roster late in the season so that manager Joe Maddon could toss a little unexpected speed on opposing catchers. A former, albeit brief, major leaguer, Guzman has spent his latter years in the Mexican League, torching that nation’s batteries for something around a steal every four to five games. After his 73 steals season in 2013, the Rays figured they could use him in their stretch run. And use him they did — for a single game. Hey! He got a steal though! If you’re hoping for a Guzman renaissance though, don’t be disappointed if’n that doesn’t even come close to happening ever again. You can root for him, but don’t count on him. (@BradleyWoodrum)
Quick Opinion: Guzman, like OF Rich Thompson in the 2012 season, made for a fun, feel-good story of hard work paying off late in a career. But his story lasted essentially only one game, and his chances of contributing in 2014, much less reaching the majors, are as low as ever.
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 9/23/1988 | Team: Padres | Position: 2B|
Profile: When you look at Gyorko’s over numbers in 2013 — .249 average with 23 home runs, 63 RBI and 62 runs scored, you’re impressed when you think that he was supposed to start the season in the minors. But when you realize that he missed most of June and half of July with a groin injury and then still put up 15 of his 23 home runs over the final two months of the season, it opens your eyes to him a little wider. The plate discipline is in need of some work as he posted just a 33:123 walks to strikeouts and fished for too many pitches outside the zone, but at 25-years old, there is plenty of room to continue developing at the plate. In the field he was solid, so the Padres will happily leave him at the keystone for 2014. Gyorko should prove to be a fantastic choice for your fantasy team as he is more than capable of posting numbers to keep him in the top-10 at the position, however, given the scarcity at the position, the price you might have to pay on draft day could exceed what you’d want to put up for a second year player with plate discipline concerns. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: Gyorko not only led all rookies with 23 home runs, but he did it from one of the more scarce positions in the game and while missing almost a full month over the summer with a groin injury. The power is for real, but he’ll need to improve his plate discipline dramatically. If he can fix that aspect of his game and retain his power totals, he’s a near-lock for top-10 at the position and possibly even top-five.
|Debut: 2002 | BirthDate: 6/3/1977 | Position: DH|
Profile: The Yankees signed Hafner in 2013 hoping he could provide some cheap offense. He did knock 12 dingers, but provided little overall value throughout the season. Hafner is approaching 40 years old, and is a liability in almost every category. Add the fact that he won’t play any defensive positions leaves him basically untouchable. (David Temple)
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 5/25/1980 | Team: Nationals | Position: OF|
Profile: Scott Hairston had a nice little run with the Mets in 2012. He hit .260/.300/.504 with 20 home runs to go along with a middling number of runs, RBI, and steals. But Hairston isn’t going to be anything other than a role player with the Washington Nationals in 2014, making appearances almost exclusively against left handed pitchers. He’s likely to make a handful of starts, act as a bench bat, and a handy guy to go to for double switches as he has the positional flexibility to play anywhere in the outfield. His chin is statuesque, too. But as far as fantasy baseball goes, disaster would have to strike the National outfield for Hairston to find find regular playing time — and even if he did, he wouldn’t be terribly useful to you. (Michael Barr)
Quick Opinion: Scott Hairston is a nice little role player for the Washington Nationals to use against left-handed pitchers. The end.
|Debut: 1998 | BirthDate: 5/29/1976 | Position: 3B/OF|
Profile: After a decent first half, Jerry Hairston hit a brutal .143/.189/.179 after the break, and only .179/.253/.192 overall against lefties. The Dodgers didn’t include him on their playoff rosters, and he’s now more of a detriment than an asset at any position he plays defensively. Hairston was long a fun toy because of his versatility and not-awful bat, but it was clearly time, and he’s since called it quits. (Mike Petriello)
Quick Opinion: Jerry Hairston had a long and often interesting career, and now moves onto retirement and a broadcasting job with the Dodgers.
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 6/7/1987 | Team: Brewers | Position: 1B|
Profile: Halton eventually wedged his way into some playing time for Milwaukee in 2013; however, that was more a product of the Brewers’ historic woes at first base than it was a reflection of his overall ability. He scuffled to a .238/.291/.396 slash line in 111 plate appearances, and if he sees even nominal playing time at first base this year, we’ll collectively be compelled to send sympathy cards to the Brewers’ front office. (JP Breen)
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 5/21/1981 | Team: Angels | Position: DH/OF|
Profile: Josh Hamilton may have come woefully short of reaching the expectations the Angels had for him when they signed him to a 5-year, $123 million contract last offseason, but on the positive side, according to a confidential source, his hair is “always 100 percent flake-free.” Last year was undoubtedly his second-worst season in the bigs. His drop in home run rate was most concerning; having gone from one of most lefty-friendly stadiums to one of the least, at least some of that was to be expected. His issues may have partially been a case of “trying to do too much,” though his strikeout numbers are no worse than those of his excellent 2012. Beyond that, the lack of his typical above-average batting average on balls in play hurt his numbers (though his extremely lucky .390 BABIP-boosted 2010 MVP season might still cause some to overvalue him). Part of that was due to a career-worst popup rate. One thing to keep an eye on is his work against lefty pitchers, who held him to weighted offense that was 39% worse than league average and a 31% strikeout rate last season; unless he’s resolved those issues, platooning him might be a good idea. While Hamilton is a better player than he showed in 2013, he’s also very inconsistent, and is probably more “good” than “great.” The good news for fantasy owners is that he should have plenty of RBI opportunities behind Trout and a [maybe] healthy Albert Pujols. Look for him to be around the 13th-best fantasy outfielder, keeping in mind that he has shown himself to be pretty unpredictable, for better or worse. (Steve Staude)
Quick Opinion: Hamilton will probably be better in 2014, but don’t expect a good batting average or run totals, nor 30+ home runs. RBI potential will be there, though. He’s projected to be around the 13th-best OF; superstitions about the number 13 might be justified in this case.
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 9/9/1990 | Team: Reds | Position: OF|
Profile: Hamilton will be a popular target in fantasy baseball because of his plus-plus speed but he likely won’t help out in many other categories, unless he’s able to turn his quick feet into a plethora of infield base hits and significantly impact his batting average. The young speedster’s offensive ceiling is limited by his swing-and-miss tendencies and he doesn’t walk much, thus limiting his on-base presence. He has enough bat speed to step into a few home runs but power will not be a part of his game. On the plus side, Hamilton’s possible ability to play shortstop, second base and the outfield could make him a versatile fantasy player, which should help you find a way to work him into your lineup to take advantage of the stolen bases. He’s expected to be the Reds’ starting center fielder. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: As long as you realize you’re buying Hamilton for his stolen base abilities and expect little else, you’ll likely come away happy from this relationship. His limited offensive potential and low on-base percentage will probably limit him to 50 or 60 steals in 2014 if he manages to receive regular playing time throughout the season.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 8/16/1980 | Team: Rays | Position: C|
Profile: It was one thing for the Reds to replace Ryan Hanigan after his miserable, injury-filled 2013. It was another thing to do it with Brayan Pena, a likable fellow who is also clearly a replacement-level catcher. The Rays picked up Hanigan and while he is an asset, his shiny new three-year contract was something of a surprise. Hanigan is good defensively, especially when it comes to pitch framing, but that does not do fantasy owners much good. At the plate, what little offense he does generate is entirely due to a high rate of contact and frequent walks. The walks will probably come down at least a bit now that he won’t be hitting in front of the pitcher, but even without that consideration, Hanigan is not much use in fantasy. He’s probably a .250/.340/.340 hitter. He might be acceptable as a second catcher in deep AL-only leagues, but that is about it. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Ryan Hanigan was a nice pickup by the Rays, but unless your fantasy league includes catcher defense, he does not merit consideration outside of the deepest AL-only leagues.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 3/4/1980 | Team: Reds | Position: 3B|
Profile: Jack Hannahan walks. And this concludes the list of things Jack Hannahan does that might (possibly) help your fantasy team. The veteran infielder signed with the Reds prior to the 2013 season, where he spent the year as a utility infielder. His glove plays at any infield spot (in a pinch, even at shortstop) but his bat does not. When a player’s on-base percentage passes his slugging percentage, it’s safe to cross him off your list of potential fantasy infielders. (Jack Weiland)
Quick Opinion: Doesn’t have the skills that you need for your fantasy team. Even in leagues that try to score for defense.
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 8/19/1982 | Team: Orioles | Position: SS|
Profile: Here is a full list of shortstops who have hit more home runs than J.J. Hardy in the past three seasons: *return=nul* That’s right, not a single one. Hardy’s 77 dingers are 14 more than Troy Tulowitzki and 22 more than the next closest shortstop. He’s also been tops in RBI and fifth in runs scored while posting an average (for the position) batting average of .256. The only real concern in the profile for fantasy purposes is a two-year trend of trading a few fly balls for ground balls, but they’re minor changes. On the flip side, his strikeout rate neared a career low which, if real (and remember, he has elite contact skills), can help float his average north of .250. You’ll take a hit in league that takes on-base percentage into account and you don’t get points for his defense, but there simply aren’t more reliable options for power and run production than Hardy. (Blake Murphy)
Quick Opinion: There isn’t a shortstop more reliable for power and run production the last three years than J.J. Hardy. The average and speed keep him from being truly elite but there’s no indication the other three categories are going anywhere.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 10/16/1992 | Team: Nationals | Position: OF|
Profile: It’s hard to argue that Harper was a disappointment this year after posting strong weighted offense numbers, but injuries limited him to just under 500 plate appearances, and he failed to deliver that major breakout that many fantasy owners were hoping for. That said, all his skills took a step in the right direction, as his walk rate jumped, he made better contact, which led to a decline in his strikeout rate, and his isolated power moved up a smidge. His average fly ball and home run distance surged as well, pushing him up to the 20th-highest mark among all hitters. Still just 21, there is little doubt that Harper is going to develop into an elite hitter. It seems that the only thing holding him back at the moment is his health. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: Various maladies hampered Harper’s season, but he still improved upon his rookie 2012 campaign, displaying power, patience and speed. Coming off of offseason knee surgery, the only question mark pertains to his health, as the 21-year-old has the skills and pedigree to enjoy a monster season.
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 8/26/1980 | Position: SS|
Profile: Brendan Harris’ 2010 season, where he showed weighted offense that was 77% worse than league average (albeit over only 120 plate appearances), probably has a lot to do with why he was out of the majors until 2013. After being worse than replacement over 117 plate appearances in 2013, along with his age and long history of mediocre-to-bad offensive performances, what are the chances he’ll see much time in the majors in 2014? Not good. Even if injuries or trades allow him into the mix, his fantasy production would probably be more of a liability than anything. (Steve Staude)
Quick Opinion: If you own Brendan Ryan, and want to collect all the Brendans, then, by all means, pick up Brendan Harris. Otherwise, I don’t know what use this Brendan could have to your fantasy team.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 7/8/1987 | Team: Pirates | Position: 2B/OF|
Profile: Over the past two major league seasons, Josh Harrison has played second base, third base, shortstop, left field, and right field. He’s versatile. He hasn’t walked a lot during his 229 career major league games (just 2.6%) but he doesn’t strike out a ton, either (12.3%). With the Pirates in contention, it’s unlikely Harrison earns a role larger than super utility player. If he gets in the lineup enough, and regains eligibility at shortstop, though, he may provide value to deep leagues. (Jack Weiland)
Quick Opinion: Probably just a deep league waiver-wire pickup when injury thrusts him into a short-term starting situation, Josh Harrison is probably not worth thinking about on draft day.
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 3/24/1982 | Team: Mariners | Position: OF|
Profile: Away from home, for his career, Corey Hart has been a .262 hitter with 60 homers in 1949 plate appearances. That grades out to worse than 20 homers in a full season. And though it’s problematic to depend too much on away stats — everyone plays better at home — that’s a stark difference from the .291 and 94 homers he’s hit in a similar sample at home. We know Milwaukee is a nice home park, too. And his new home in Seattle isn’t. Add in a year missed due to microfracture surgery, and a roster that’s crowded at his current positions, and there’s a lot of risk in investing in Corey Hart. If he’s healthy and grabs a full-time role in the corner outfield or at first base, he could hit .260 with 20 home runs with only a few missed games along the way and provide mixed-league utility bat value. But the 32-year-old is no lock for any of those things. Don’t invest anything more than a late-round pick or a few dollars at auction. (Eno Sarris)
Quick Opinion: He may like to wear his sunglasses at night. His mullets have been sweet. But the new Richie Sexson isn’t aging as well as the old one, and his power is not as no-doubt as the last version. So health and situation make him an iffy play as anything other than a medium return flyer on a small investment.
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 6/22/1979 | Position: 1B/OF|
Profile: Brad Hawpe has been given a total of 32 plate appearances in the majors in the past two seasons. His 2009 season in Colorado is the last time he put up above average weighted offense in the majors. Looking back on his career, we see a disturbing rise in strikeout rates, a major drop in home run rates, and some pretty high batting averages on balls in play that may not have been sustainable. He could very well still have the potential to be a productive hitter, but his defensive inadequacy will probably limit him to mainly a pinch-hitting role, should any team add him to their roster this offseason. (Steve Staude)
Quick Opinion: Though Hawpe might still have some production left in him, he probably won’t be given much of an opportunity to show it.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 2/13/1984 | Team: Royals | Position: C|
Profile: It is tough to find any reason to roster Brett Hayes which doesn’t involve Salvador Perez getting hurt. The 30-year-old Hayes and Francisco Pena will start the season battling for the Royals’ backup catcher position. Whoever wins the job will probably catch only once every other week if Ned Yost continues with his past usage of Perez. As a backup, Hayes has no value. Now if Perez is hurt, Hayes can show off his possible power. In 78 Triple-A games in 2013, Hayes hit 17 home runs. In five major league games, he hit one. He has the possibility put up double-digit home runs, but that is about where his value ends. He is not going to steal more than a couple bases. His batting average will probably be around .230. In a league where a .230 batting average, 10 homers, and a stolen base is replacement-level catcher, go ahead and pick him up if Perez goes down. Now back in the rest of the fantasy baseball world, every possible option should be explored before picking up Hayes. (Jeff Zimmerman)
Quick Opinion: Brett Hayes right now doesn’t have the talent or opportunity to be a relevant fantasy option.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 5/9/1984 | Team: Padres | Position: 3B|
Profile: Headley failed to build off his 2012 success, in part due to a fractured thumb he suffered at the tail end of spring training. He finished the year batting just .250 with just 13 home runs, 50 RBI and eight stolen bases, a far cry from his career totals from the previous season. His strikeouts spiked a bit, but he managed to maintain his usual double-digit walk rate and though his home run total dropped with his fly ball rate, he made up for it with an increase of line drives. That should give fantasy owners hope for some semblance of a return to glory in 2014. Should he maintain his usual plate discipline, a year removed from injury should be plenty of time to allow some of that power to return. He may not bang 30-plus home runs again, but a return to 20 is certainly within the realm of possibility. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: Headley’s statistical trajectory was hindered by a fractured thumb suffered near the end of spring training last season and he was unable to build off his 2012 career-best totals. Still, he managed to maintain his plate discipline and contact rates which gives credence to the belief that he can return to form during the 2014 season.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 4/15/1989 | Team: Marlins | Position: SS|
Profile: Adeiny Hechavarria played his first full major league season in 2013; at the age of 24 he was the regular shortstop for the Miami Marlins. He posted a dreadful offensive season, registering an OPS of .565 with no fantasy utility to speak of. He did steal 11 bags, but got caught 10 times as well. There’s certainly room for him to grow, but there’s a long way to go for him to even be a viable target in NL-only leagues. He boasts a pedestrian minor league career, in which the numbers that may look enticing at first blush were accumulated in the Pacific Coast League, which is slightly above bar league softball in terms of run scoring environment. Even with incremental improvement it looks like he’d need a hefty gift from the batting batted ball gods to project as even a bench player in mixed leagues. In NL-only leagues, he’ll probably get some run when a legitimate starter gets injured. The cost-conscious Marlins are probably not moving all that actively to upgrade and will probably give the 24 year-old another season to prove what he has, but his glove does not appear good enough to drag such an anemic bat through a career as a starter. (Derek Ambrosino)
Quick Opinion: In 2013, Adeiny Hechavarria managed to score only 30 runs in a full season as a starting shortstop for the Miami Marlins. He’s young enough with room to improve, but is extremely far away from being a viable starting option in even NL-only leagues.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 12/14/1984 | Team: Reds | Position: OF|
Profile: Heisey has carved out a nice role as a high-power reserve outfielder. His lack of walks and abundance of strikeouts severely limit his upside, even in a full-time role. Heisey has yet to receive 400+ at-bats in a single season, and probably isn’t an option in most fantasy leagues. (Chris Cwik)
|Debut: 1997 | BirthDate: 8/20/1973 | Position: 1B|
Profile: For any longtime Rockies watcher, it is going to be incredibly odd to not see Helton in purple pinstripes during the 2014 season. Helton didn’t exactly go out with a bang, but he had been a steady force in the Rockies’ lineup since the late ’90s. While it is a legitimate discussion as to who the best player in Rockies’ history was — Helton or Larry Walker — most Rockies fans dismiss that debate altogether out of reverence to Helton. Whether he was the best or second-best player in team history isn’t really all that important in the grand scheme of things, of course. What’s important is that the team is going to have a heck of a time replacing him. Even with the end clearly in sight, the team did little to develop a first-base prospect worthy of succeeding the former University of Tennessee quarterback. Kyle Parker may be converted from outfield to first base thanks to the team’s sudden glut of passable major league outfielders, but expectations for Parker — who himself gave up a life as a college football quarterback to go pro with the Rockies — are decidedly mild. No matter who takes his place in the lineup though, it will be hard to replace the little things that Helton did — the 14-pitch at-bats, always being in the right place at the right time defensively, the way he scooped every throw out of the dirt, and of course, his flare for the dramatic. They don’t make many like Todd Helton.
Quick Opinion: You probably shouldn’t draft Helton this season, since he is, you know, retired now. But in honor of his many years of valuable fantasy production, if you have to use a major league player as a placeholder for a high school or college player that you’ve drafted but who isn’t yet part of your league’s database, I would humbly suggest #17 as that placeholder.
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 5/23/1990 | Team: Phillies | Position: 2B/OF|
Profile: The 23-year-old fell into some playing time at second base and center field, thanks to injuries to the Phillies incumbents. He has little power, but above average speed, while both his strikeout and walk rates have jumped all over the place throughout his minor league days. Over a small sample of innings, defensive stats suggest he was pretty terrible defensively at both positions he fielded at, so he will need to contribute offensively to convince the team to hand him a utility role. The early word is that he’ll have a chance to compete for a job during spring training. Even he wins a reserve role, he’ll be merely a replacement level player in NL-Only leagues. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: While he does offer some speed and the potential for stolen bases given enough playing time, he does little else to entice fantasy owners. He’ll hope to win a bench role during spring training and could potentially offer NL-Only owners some cheap steals and a batting average that won’t kill you.
|Debut: 1999 | BirthDate: 5/20/1976 | Position: C|
Profile: The Dodgers traded for Ramon Hernandez just after the season started as they looked to dump Aaron Harang wherever they could, and Hernandez somehow managed to under-perform the already low expectations he came with. Combining mediocre offensive play (.317 weighted on-base percentage) with lousy defense, the Dodgers designated Hernandez for assignment in June. He quickly joined and then was cut from Toronto’s Triple-A team in July, and didn’t play for the rest of the season, though Kansas City gave him a minor-league deal in January. Hernandez was once a nice second-tier catching option, but the meaningful portion of his career is almost certainly over. (Mike Petriello)
Quick Opinion: Ramon Hernandez turns 38 next year, hasn’t played since July, and has a .257 on-base percentage and eight homers over the last two years. Even Ramon Hernandez doesn’t draft Ramon Hernandez next year.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 2/1/1985 | Team: Brewers | Position: OF|
Profile: Organizational solider Elian Herrera got into only four games for the Dodgers in 2013, and now moves on to Milwaukee where he hopes his brand of multi-positional versatility can get him out of the minors and into the bigs. Needless to say, there’s no fantasy use here. (Mike Petriello)
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 11/3/1984 | Team: Red Sox | Position: 2B/SS|
Profile: Being a good utility player on a major league team is all about limiting mistakes. As an extreme contact hitter — Herrera finished 34th out of 356 hitters with at least 200 plate appearances last year in contact percentage — and a good fielder, Herrera is pretty good at limiting those mistakes. Of course, there are plenty of things he doesn’t do well. Hitting, for example, is not one of his strong suits. He’s only hit eight home runs in five major league seasons, which makes him just one of 148 players in the expansion era (1961-present) to have totaled 1,000 or more plate appearances in his career and hit fewer than 10 home runs. And while he’s a pretty decent baserunner, he is not a very good base stealer. For his career, he has been successful on only 14 of 24 stolen base attempts. If you’re trying to fill out a fantasy baseball roster, these are the most salient points. Drafting Herrera would be a mistake, because he is the very epitome of replacement player, but there have been worse players. Herrera is consistently healthy and available to play his brand of baseball with as few mistakes as possible, and that is more than can be said for most Rockies middle infielders these past five years.
Quick Opinion: A plus defender at second base and a scratch defender at shortstop, Jonathan Herrera is a very useful 25th man on a roster in real life, but he shouldn’t ever be anywhere near your fantasy league roster.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 11/24/1987 | Team: Twins | Position: C/OF|
Profile: Herrmann’s best attribute in the minors has been discipline, and that suited him well up through Double-A. But in his first taste of Triple-A in 2013, he hit just .227/.297/.312. In most organizations, that would possibly require a return trip to Double-A. Not with the Twins, however. In fact, Herrmann dubiously debuted in 2012, when the Twins called him up as an emergency option when he’d already been sent home at the conclusion of the Double-A season. Herrmann had last played thirteen days earlier when the Twins called him up to the big league club for the last two weeks, where he went 1-for-18 (.056/.105/.056) with five strikeouts to round out his season. The 2013 season started out better for Herrmann, who acted as a backup catcher and outfielder for the big league club starting in late May. He started out 11-for-31 (.355/.394/.613) with a pair of home runs while showing a strong throwing arm from the outfield. But from that point on, he hit just .167/.261/.254 while accruing a surprising 144 plate appearances between catcher and outfield. At this point, it’s unclear if the 26-year-old has much of a big league future. He’s been a decent catch-and-throw guy (33% caught stealing rate), but hasn’t been good enough for the Twins to not have to keep Eric Fryer on the 40-man roster as a defensive specialist, either. He may well be the next guy bounced off the Twins 40-man roster. (Brandon Warne)
Quick Opinion: Herrmann has to show more offensively to keep his roster spot, as he isn’t a standout defender behind the plate or in the outfield, despite his strong arm. The plate discipline has been nice, but isn’t enough on its own to merit his inclusion on the 40-man roster for the Twins.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 9/14/1983 | Team: Angels | Position: C/DH|
Profile: With a grand total of one MLB plate appearance in 2013, John Hester was not what you would call a productive fantasy catcher. Barring trade or injury in front of him, 2014 seems unlikely to be different. Hester had a couple great years in the minors that, upon closer inspection, were propped up by extremely high batting averages on balls in play; in more recent years, he’s shown himself to have a below-average Triple-A bat. Considering that, and the fact that he’s 30, don’t bet on him leapfrogging anybody in the depth charts. (Steve Staude)
Quick Opinion: Hester will be kept behind Chris Iannetta and Hank Conger, inside of a box labeled “IN CASE OF EMERGENCY BREAK GLASS.” He will probably see very little playing time in the majors.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 8/9/1989 | Team: Braves | Position: OF|
Profile: Heyward got out to a slow start in 2013, but unlike his teammate B.J. Upton, he turned things around starting in June. Unfortunately, he dealt with injuries on and off thereafter and only managed 195 plate appearances over the last three months. The injury story is all too familiar with Heyward, and he’s on the cusp of earning the Injury Prone tag (if he hasn’t already). There are some things to like about his 2013 season, starting with a hefty decrease in his strikeout rate, down to 16.6%. His career strikeout rate over 2,170 plate appearances stands at 20.6%, which includes his 2013 numbers. His swinging strike rate also declined substantially to 8.6%, which further supports the improvement (although he posted a lower swinging strike rate in his rookie season while striking out over 20% of the time). The biggest issue remains his health and it’s hard to know what to expect on that front. To date, he’s had two mostly healthy seasons and two injury-riddled seasons. If he stays on the field, he’s a good bet to pop over 20 home runs, swipe double digit bases, and score a bunch of runs while batting at the top of the Braves lineup. The reduced strikeout rate could result in a positive contribution to batting average too. Alas, health can hardly be assumed with Heyward. (Brad Johnson)
Quick Opinion: 2013 was an up and down season for Heyward. He had deep slumps, blazing hot streaks, and added more injuries to his health records. Health remains the single greatest concern when targeting Heyward. He’s always exceeded 400 plate appearances thus far, but eventually, one of these injuries is going to cascade into a problem that keeps him out for an extended period.
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 10/2/1989 | Team: Twins | Position: OF|
Profile: Long regarded as an extremely toolsy prospect, Hicks fell off the radar a bit with a couple mediocre minor league seasons. He finally started showing what he could do with a strong 2012 campaign at Double-A New Britain. That winter and spring saw much speculation Hicks might break camp with the team. He did in fact do so after an impressive Spring Training. Things went badly from that point on. Hicks showed the big leagues his power, speed and glove work. Yet his poor control of the strike zone proved a fatal flaw. He shows patience at the plate but sometimes he does so to a fault, watching hittable fastballs go by in hitter’s counts. Further polishing his plate discipline and pitch recognition skills will allow Hicks to tap into his considerable natural talents. With only 129 games above A-Ball prior to his major league debut, it’s easy to say Hicks was rushed in hindsight. He will enter camp with every chance to win the center field job back. If he doesn’t, a full year at Triple-A seems very possible and might even be the best idea developmentally right now. When going well, Hicks could potentially put up a 20/20 season. With Alex Presley in the fold, and the ascent of Oswaldo Arcia and Byron Buxton, the window for Hicks to make good is starting to close, too. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Hicks disappointed in his major league debut because of his approach at the plate. He enters spring with a chance to win back the center field job, but he’ll need to improve dramatically on his 2013 if he wants to win the job. His power and speed combo is appealing to fantasy owners when he’s seeing the ball well.
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 3/21/1982 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: 2B|
Profile: Hill has had a bizarre, up-and-down career. He’s had a season with 100+ runs and 100+ RBI, a season with 36 homers and six steals, a season with eight homers and 21 steals, a season where he hit .302 with a .317 batting average on balls in play, a season where he hit .205 with a .196 BABIP, and several season where he missed a fair amount of time with injuries. There has never been a year where projecting Hill based on the previous season has worked out. The best approach to projecting him this year is to pick a midpoint and lean towards the conservative side of the middle given that he’s easily on the back side of the aging curve at 32. The Oliver projection of .270 with 145 R+RBI, 17 homers and eight steals seems fairly reasonable. Assuming you’re cool with that projection, where would that place him among second basemen? That line looks a lot like what Chase Utley and Jed Lowrie did last year, so that would make him a borderline top ten second baseman. But you might prefer to go with someone with more upside at second base like Neil Walker or Jedd Gyorko. So he’s probably either the last “starter” at second in a twelve-teamer, or a middle infielder in a ten-teamer. (Brett Talley)
Quick Opinion: Hill has been one of the most difficult players to project over the last half decade. It wouldn’t be a shock for him to be worth anywhere between one and four wins this year. But a midpoint projection is more reasonable. Those numbers should mean he’s a borderline top 10-12 second baseman, but given his age, injury history, and general unpredictability, don’t rely on him at second and use him at your middle infield spot.
|Debut: 2003 | BirthDate: 3/9/1979 | Position: C|
Profile: For the past decade, Koyie Hill has bounced around the league as a back-up catcher, spending his longest stint with the Cubs. He is currently not signed to any major league club’s roster. He may catch on somewhere or may not. Hill may get signed mid season after an injury as the back-up to a back-up forced into starter duty. One can conjure many plausible hypothetical situations, but in none of these scenarios would Hill have fantasy value in any format. (Derek Ambrosino)
Quick Opinion: Koyie Hill is a career back-up catcher with an anemic bat. He’s currently without a team. Hill wouldn’t even have value in an AL-/NL-only league even with consistent at bats.
|Debut: 2002 | BirthDate: 8/5/1977 | Position: 1B|
Profile: After a 12-year major league career that began with a 2002 AL Rookie of the Year award, it looks as if Hinske is going to be hanging up his cleats for good. The 35-year old corner infielder / outfielder was released by the Diamondbacks back in mid-July of last year after posting a .173/.259/.288 slash line over 58 plate appearances and then going 1-for-18 upon being outrighted to Triple-A. As of the time of this writing, he remains an unsigned free agent and given the mediocrity of his recent part-time employment, his situation doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Thanks for the memories, Eric. We’ll miss you. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: Unless some team out there is crazy, desperate for a mediocre, part-time left-handed designated hitter, it would appear that Hinske’s 12-year professional career has come to an end. He was released by the Diamondbacks back in July of 2013 and currently remains unsigned.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 3/5/1990 | Team: Astros | Position: OF|
Profile: After coming over from the Baltimore Orioles, Hoes was given the opportunity to play nearly every day in right field for the Astros. He was a ground-ball machine and avoided hitting even one pop-up over his 170 at-bats. Along with a reasonable line drive rate, that kind of batted ball mix could lead him to sustaining a high batting average on balls in play. Unfortunately, he has no power and has shown only mediocre speed throughout his minor league career. After the acquisition of Dexter Fowler and with the imminent arrival of top prospect George Springer, Hoes’ playing time status could come into question rather quickly. With no real intriguing skills and the very real possibility that he’s out of a starting job by the summer, he’s just an end-gamer in AL-Only leagues. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: While Hoes is unlikely to hurt fantasy owners in the batting average department, he may only contribute real value in the stolen base category. But he many not end up playing enough to even do that as George Springer will be called up at some point and potentially take his job.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 11/19/1987 | Team: Tigers | Position: C|
Profile: Bryan Holaday is a career .243/.313/.349 hitter in the minor leagues, amassing just 16 home runs over 1161 plate appearances. He’s certainly behind Alex Avila, and he’s likely well behind Ramon Cabrera and James McCann in terms of stickiness at the major league level. He did get a couple little shots of coffee in 2012 and 2013 and he even got his first major league home run last year. For fantasy purposes, he’s a super deep keeper prospect stash, and even then you’re probably reaching. But then again, Bryan Holaday gets a player capsule for 2014, so he’s not to be trifled with. Never forget that. (Michael Barr)
Quick Opinion: Bryan Holaday got 33 plate appearances in 2013, and it stands to reason that he might get a few more in 2014. He’s on the Detroit Tiger 40-man roster, so that’s a plus. But at 26, with an uninspiring track record in the minors, Holaday isn’t going to be an impact fantasy catcher even if he could manage regular playing time. Move along.
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 1/15/1980 | Team: Cardinals | Position: OF|
Profile: Holliday continues to display a crazy degree of consistency at the plate, now having posted weighted on-base averages between .378 and .397 in each of the last five seasons. His power was down a bit, supported by a decline in his average home run and fly ball distance, but not enough so to sound the alarm bells. He’ll be entering his age-34 season, though, so age-related decline should start to rear its ugly head. That might mean the end of his smattering of stolen bases that added the cherry on top of his sundae of sweet production. Aside from the slight power dip, he has maintained strong skills with nothing in his metrics raising any red flags. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: Holliday has been as consistent as it gets at the plate, providing four-category production plus a bonus of non-zero steals totals. While nothing in his metrics suggest an age-related collapse is imminent, it is worth remembering that he’ll be 34 this upcoming season and that could mean some further decline is in the cards (pun very much intended).
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 6/11/1988 | Team: Red Sox | Position: 3B|
Profile: STEVE HOL– wait, sorry. BROCK HOLT. A part of Boston’s middle-infield depth at Triple-A, Holt certainly likes to put the ball in play. His career 4.6% swinging strike rate and 95% zone contact rate show that he does not like swinging through pitches thrown his direction. Unfortunately for him, he has mediocre line drive rates (17%) and has virtually no power (career .048 isolated slugging percentage), which offsets some of those contact skills. Stuck behind guys like Dustin Pedroia, Will Middlebrooks, and Xander Bogaerts at the big league level, Holt figures to ride the Triple-A shuttle again in 2014. Even when he does play, it’s tough to expect more than .270/.320/.360ish triple slash out of him, meaning he’s probably only going to ever see a fantasy roster in super-deep AL-only leagues. (Colin Zarzycki)
Quick Opinion: While Holt rarely swings and misses, he doesn’t do much when he puts the ball in play. Stuck behind a plethora of second and third base types on Boston’s depth chart, and he figures to spend most of 2014 either in the minors or the far end the Red Sox bench.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 10/24/1989 | Team: Royals | Position: 1B|
Profile: Eric Hosmer returned to his 2011 form last season by hitting .302 with 17 home runs after a disastrous effort in between. Hosmer’s main issue in 2012 was his .232 batting average driven down by a .255 batting average on balls in play. His 2012 xBABIP was .309 which was over 50 points higher. Hosmer’s true talent average is near .300 and he should hit near it in again 2014. He just doesn’t have typical first base power. His homer total will probably max out at 20, maybe 25. One advantage for Hosmer is that he steals bases. I usually consider it a huge win if a first baseman can get double-digit stolen bases. Hosmer has stolen 11, 16 and 11 bases over his first three seasons. At age 24, I don’t see those stolen base numbers dropping just yet. His Run and RBI should be decent since he will be hitting in the heart of the Royals lineup. The only blemish on Hosmer career so far has been his 2012 BABIP. Ignore it for 2014 and value him off his 2011 and 2013 seasons. (Jeff Zimmerman)
Quick Opinion: Ignore the low batted-ball-luck-driven batting average from 2012 and expect 20 homers, 10 stolen bases and something near a .300 average from Hosmer in 2014.
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 11/19/1979 | Team: Phillies | Position: 1B|
Profile: For fantasy owners who like to manage platoons to get the most out of low cost investments, Howard may be the best platoon hitter in baseball (in the low cost category). Even in a down year, he posted a .301/.357/.522 batting line against right-handed pitching with eight of his 11 home runs. That slash line is buoyed by a .370 batting average on balls in play, but his career BABIP against righties is a robust .334, If he can stay on the field for a full season, Howard could get 300-400 plate appearances against righties and bash around 20 home runs all while batting clean-up. He probably won’t cost more than a few dollars in a draft, which makes that kind of upside exciting. Alas, his owners will need to roster a platoon mate like Adam Lind if they want to avoid his dreadful numbers against lefties. Seriously, do not start Howard against lefties — not even somebody hittable like Joe Saunders. (Brad Johnson)
Quick Opinion: Howard enters 2014 as a high-upside platoon bat. There will be leagues where an owner overpays for his past home run totals, so don’t fall in love with him. View a Howard platoon as a reasonable Plan D at first base.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 9/8/1983 | Team: Padres | Position: C|
Profile: With a 50-game suspension levied on expected starting catcher, Yasmani Grandal, Hundley was, again, the Padres’ primary backstop in 2013. He opened the year strong with a .329-3-11 batting line through the first month, but faltered soon after and was replaced by a returning Grandal. However a torn ACL for Grandal thrust Hundley back into the starting role and he finished the year with a career best 13 home runs and 44 RBI. But with relatively poor plate discipline (24.0% strikeout and 6.4% walk rate) and a 42.5% ground-ball rate, Hundley’s average and on-base percentage remained a detriment to his overall value. He’ll carry that mid-level power and career .237 average into 2014 as the primary catcher once again should Grandal not be ready to return, but his overall value remains low as he will only be keeping the seat warm for his contemporary. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: Hundley was able to hold down the primary catching job in San Diego last year thanks to a suspension and season-ending knee injury to teammate Yasmani Grandal. He posted career numbers, but disappointed the fantasy community with a weak slash line. He’ll continue to hold the job in 2014, but for only as long as it takes Grandal to work his way back from his injury.
|Debut: 1997 | BirthDate: 7/18/1975 | Team: Tigers | Position: OF|
Profile: For the better part of his long career, Torii Hunter was about power, speed and defense. Between stealing home runs with his glove, he hit about one and a quarter grounders for every fly ball, and that led to 30-plus homers in a good year, with 20 or so stolen bases to boot. Two years ago, his declining power pushed him to the second spot in the Angels order, and he decided to hit more ground balls in order to get on base and get people over. That might just be a nice story he tells himself as his batting average on balls in play inflates, and there might still be regression coming, but it is interesting that the best BABIPs come from guys that hit more grounders, avoid pop-ups, and have a little foot speed. That all describes the new Torii Hunter, even at 39 years old. Of course, as the power wanes further, and the speed, there’s risk that the batting average becomes truly empty. For now, plan for 15 home runs, five stolen bases, a good batting average, and all the runs and RBI his health will allow him, and you’re being a reasonable person. (Eno Sarris)
Quick Opinion: When a player changes his approach on purpose, it’s even more tempting to believe anomalous numbers. But caution is better: bet on .280+ with good runs and RBI because of the Tigers offense around him, realize that the days of 25+ home runs are gone and that Hunter probably won’t steal many bags, and you’ve got your eyes wide open.
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