Still holding on- Icon SMI

 

Happy New Year to all. I thought this week would be a good time for designated hitters since everyone is so busy this time of year. Designated hitters in most leagues can only be used at a utility spot so I would attach a negative premium to their ranking. With my system, I generally use my judgment. I would only marginally discount Ortiz but I would de-value the other players below at least a couple of points from their listed rating. This list includes players that I expect at least 350 at bats in 2009 but did not play 20 games at any position in the major leagues for 2008. The rankings are based on 2009 projections.

 

1) David Ortiz – Boston – Ortiz had wrist problems in 2008 and complained of pain in September. His 2nd half numbers were down as a result. Full recovery before March 1st is expected but I will be watching his spring training at bats. Ramirez departure could have an effect especially since it looks like Manny’s bat will not be adequately replaced.  (2009 fantasy rating is 80. See below for rating explanation)  

 

2) Jim Thome – Chicago White Sox – Thome has always been a favorite because he scores more runs than you would expect due to his walks. His 38 years of age combined with his .245 AVG in 2008 concerns me but he is still solid in HR, RBI and R. (2009 fantasy rating is 63) 

 

3) Gary Sheffiled – Detroit – Based on some decent September numbers, I don’t think Sheffield is done. I will be watching the news throughout spring training trying to get a guess as to how much playing time he will get in 2009. Sheffield has a no trade clause and he has complained about being a full time DH so his status bears watching.  My guess right now is 400 at bats. (2009 fantasy rating is 53) 

 

4) Travis Hafner – Cleveland – Hafner is no longer a premier hitter. From most reports, shoulder surgery went well and he should be ready by March 1st. Obviously he will be watched very closely in spring and if I see any signs of an ailing shoulder I would stay away. (2009 fantasy rating is 44) 

 

5) Rocco Baldelli – Free agent – When I wrote the article on free agents, I discussed Baldelli’s prognosis from mitochondrial disorder. Apparently that was an incorrect diagnosis and he has since been re-diagnosed with channelopathy, a less serious, more treatable illness. Apparently, numerous teams are interested in him and my at bat projections probably will change depending on where he lands. Right now, I am predicting 350 at bats. (2009 fantasy rating is 41)  

 

6) Matt Stairs – Philadelphia – Stairs is only an option if you are involved in a very deep league. He has one year left on a two year contract and he is 40 years old. (2009 fantasy rating is 36)  

 

NEXT WEEK: OUTFIELD (1-25) 

 

Note on fantasy rating: It is based on assigning point values to each of the five standard fantasy categories from 1 to 25. SB is given extra value because the league leaders are at levels that are far greater than the average player. Theoretically the top rating would be 125. Over the past 20 years, Larry Walker had the best fantasy season in 1997. His .366 AVG, 49 HR, 130 RBI, 33 SB and 143 R resulted in a 121 rating


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