Thursday, February 3, 2011

Worthy Of Drafting After Returning From Injury?

NL Chase Utley: ADP (18) the 2nd two bagger off the board. Utley’s frequent injuries have led to casts or surgery 3 of the last 4 years. He missed a total of 47 games last year with the torn thumb ligament. We saw decreases in BA, SLG, and OPS last year due to the thumb injury. Those stats were all well below his career averages. Utley has always returned on schedule from his injuries but he is getting older and future injury setbacks will take longer to heal. He will be 32 this year and the speed may be decreasing along with managements thought of injury when he does run. Still a perennial 25/15 guy he is a must have no later than Round 2 and still arguably the top 2B in baseball.
For the next week or so we will examine players from every position who are returning after lengthy, if not season ending, injuries. We will examine players from both leagues, their current ADP, possible alternatives, and finally giving a green light to draft them.  Today we continue with two All-Star second basemen.

AL Brian Roberts: ADP (125) the 12th two bagger off the board.  Roberts said at Saturday's fan fest that he hasn't felt this good in more than a year. That is good news to hear.  Now can he hit .283 with 16 homers, 79 RBI, 110 runs and 30 stolen bases like he did in 2009 before injury settled in last season? That injury was a back/disk problem that lingered from opening week to nearly September. Remember he had to take epidurals just alleviate the pain at times.  Here is another tidy tidbit on why he missed the last week of the year; Roberts stated that he missed the last six games of the season for concussion-like symptoms after hitting himself in the helmet with a bat. Some of the cons for Roberts will be that he is 33 this year, those SB numbers have been on steady decline since he turned 30, and old back problems can flair up at any time.  What Roberts has going for him is the Orioles added 3B Mark Reynolds, SS J.J. Hardy and 1B Derek Lee they should give Roberts added lineup protection. If healthy a nice spike in R could be had this year.  If he gets back to that 2009 level, then Roberts might return to being an elite Fantasy 2B. For now, treat him as a low-end No. 1 Fantasy 2B on Draft Day or a high level MI for your team. Some alternatives would be Zobrist (123), Hill (153), and Beckham (200). None of those 3 bring the complete package and a leadoff hitter to boot like Roberts but with that group doesn’t have the lingering back problems of a 33 year old base stealer.

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