Sunday, March 1, 2009

Designated Hitter

Yet again, I am falling behind on these. I`ve been busy lately which is my lame excuse for not posting that much. Anyway, I still have the three outfield spots, the bullpen, and apparently I missed the third rotation spot so I have to hurry up if I`m getting this done before opening day.

Yankees- Hideki Matsui- Matsui's biggest problem the past few years has been his injuries. After a super long consecutive game streak (including him somehow playing 163 games in 2003), he's average only 93 games the past three years. The move to full-time DH might help him stave off the DL though. With Swisher on the bench he should get plenty of rest as well. Matsui can still hit and he`s headed into a big contract year but he`s certainly no lock to be a big producer.

Rays- Pat Burrell- Burrell was the Ray's only major offseason purchase and he was a pretty good one at eight million dollars a year. Like Adam Dunn, he compensates for a relatively low batting average by walking a ton and hitting home runs. Taking him out of the field also adds to his value. His EQA is consistently over .300 and he`ll be a welcome addition to the middle of the Ray's lineup. Nobody will mistake him for Mark Teixeira or Manny Ramirez but he's a solid, under the radar acquistion.

Red Sox- David Ortiz- With Manny gone, Ortiz has inherited the proud title of the biggest pain in the Yankees @ss in baseball. The proud soldier against steroid use in baseball has emerged as one of the best sluggers in baseball in recent years. However, last year was not a good one for him. His EQA dropped over 50 points from the year before and he was plagued with injury. I have a hunch that he may be headed for a steep decline the next few years and the injuries could become more commonplace. He just seems like the type of player who would have that type of problem. Of course, I`m a Yankees fan and I have nothing more than that hunch to base it on.

Conclusion- Red Sox- Rays- Yankees- I was really tempted to put the Rays first here but in the end I couldn't do it. Ortiz had a down year last year but even so, he matched Burrell's EQA and most projection systems have him bouncing back well. Still, I wouldn't be surprised to see Ortiz miss a big chunk of the season again this year and further slipping. Matsui is pretty clearly at the back of the pack here. Even if he can stay healthy and bounce back, he's not the hitter that Ortiz is and Burrell is a much safer pick for similar production.