Fantasy Articles

It has been a tumultuous off-season, and there is plenty to discuss, including signings, trades, and Josh Hamilton.

How are some of the recent players who have moved impacted?

Mike Cameron – The big thing every fantasy owner needs to remember here is that Mike Cameron has played his entire career in pitcher friendly parks. These include SafeCo Field in Seattle, Shea Stadium in New York, and PETCO Park in San Diego. Cameron’s career statistics have been seriously depressed because of this. Let’s take a look at PETCO Park.

According to ESPN.com’s Park Factor Page, PETCO Park ranked 30th in runs scored (.755) and 29th in home runs (.685). That means offenses were drastically affected because of the huge spacious dimensions. If you take a gander at Miller Park, you’ll see that it finished 16th in runs scored (1.011) and 10th in home runs (1.119). These numbers  tell us that Cameron is finally playing in a park that will help his offensive production, not hinder. Even with that 25-game suspension for failing a steroid test, we should expect a .260 average, 22-25 homers, 20 stolen bases, 75 RBIs, and 75 runs scored. He should be very valuable in all leagues.

Mark Kotsay – While he has never been a good source of power throughout his career, Mark Kotsay has usually been able to provide a decent batting average. He has a career .282 mark in that category. However, due to recurrent back troubles, Kotsay hit only .214 last season.

Should we expect any type of improvement? I think it is fair to say Kotsay could be a legitimate .250 hitter, which definitely does not help you in fantasy, and his days of hitting for 15+ homers or stealing any bases are long gone. This move makes him more valuable, but he is still worthless.

Marcus Giles – Now here is a tough one. Marcus Giles went to San Diego last season to find himself. He, along with Padres management, hoped that playing on the same team as his older brother Brian would help Marcus find the .291/15/63 with 16 stolen bases of three seasons ago.

It turns out they were horribly wrong. His batting average fell from a miserable .262 to .229. His number of home runs fell from 11 to 4. His RBIs fell from 60 to 39. Anybody who drafted Giles last year immediately had a black hole on their roster.

If there ever was a fountain of youth for a position player, however, it would be Coors Field. The humidor can only do so much offensive suppression. If Giles can re-find his stroke that made him a future Jeff Kent all those years ago, he may be a worthwhile fantasy pick up. However, he’ll need to have a strong spring training: Giles is in competition with Jeff Baker, Ian Stewart, Omar Quintanilla, and Jayson Nix for the every day job.

Nick Swisher – The Oakland Athletics continued their mini-fire sale by moving outfielder Nick Swisher. Swisher, one of Billy Beane’s high-OBP guys, has never maintained a high batting average, which limited his fantasy value.

However, Swisher has hit for power throughout his career. Two years ago he his 35 homers and last season he had 22. This all came with Swisher playing half his games in a huge pitchers’ park. Move him to homer friendly US Cingular Field, and you’ve got a recipe for a 27-year-old breaking out. Expect huge things from Swisher -- minus a healthy batting average. Maybe Adam Dunn with about 20 points batting average and 10 fewer home runs. That’s definitely worth owning.

What should we do about Josh Hamilton?

It depends on what type of fantasy player you are. If you tend to be less conservative, then look at his 19 home runs in about half a season’s worth of at-bats and be ready to draft him toward the middle rounds. If you tend to be like me, more conservative, then look at the fact that Hamilton only played about half a season’s worth of games.

On the plus side, Hamilton will be turning 27 years old next season. That’s the prime of a player’s career. If there were any age Hamilton would bust out, it would be around this time. Next, he’s moving to a hitter friendly ballpark in Arlington with a jet-stream out to right field. Get it in the air in that area and it’s gone. Look at Hamilton’s injury-shortened season from 2007: .292/19/47 in about 300 at-bats. Those are middle-of-the-lineup numbers if projected over an entire season. Last, Hamilton was very consistent the entire year, so it was not like the long season strained on him.

For those of you who see the glass as half empty, look at all of the injuries Hamilton had last season. He only accrued 298 at-bats because he could not take the field, not because the Reds wanted to run Norris Hopper or Edwin Encarnacion out there. Is he capable of handling a 162-game schedule after being out of the game for such a lengthy period of time? Also, who says that 2007 should be the norm, and not a fluke?

It is difficult to gauge just what Hamilton can do next season. If he is still there in the later rounds -- maybe round 18 or 19 in a 12 team draft -- I’d go for him. The only question is, How much do you like him?