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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fantasy baseball rankings: DH

The true designated hitter -- not the extra outfielder or first baseman from your fantasy roster whom you plug into your lineup as your ninth batter -- isn't of much use to fantasy owners.

Most of the time, they are eligible at only one position -- DH -- and it's a position at which leagues allow you to play anybody.

So if you have a choice between a one-armed, sore-shouldered Travis Hafner and, say, a Carlos Pena or Jermaine Dye, that's an easier decision than Jessica Biel or Jessica Sierra (and if you don't know the latter, you were definitely late to the party when it comes to "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew").

When you draft a true DH, he better be the caliber of David Ortiz or Jim Thome -- threats to hit 30-plus homers and drive in 100 runs.

Hafner was that player from 2004-06, when he averaged 32 homers, 111 RBI and batted between .305 and .311 with an OPS of .993 to 1.098. He was still productive in 2007, when he had 24 homers and 100 RBI, but his average dropped to .266, his runs scored to 80 and his OPS to .836.

He's trying to come back from offseason surgery on his bum shoulder, and he will turn 32 on June 3. He might produce on the level of the 2007 Hafner, or he might be done faster than you can say David Dellucci.

To be safe, I would draft him late as a backup and hope he's more Pronk and less Dellucci.

Tomorrow, we'll post the top outfielders. On to the designated hitters ...

Note: Each player is listed at the position he is projected to play this season, according to the depth charts at ... Statistics listed are from the 2008 season.


Rank, player, team: R-HR-RBI-SB-Avg.

1. David Ortiz, Red Sox: 74-23-89-1-.264
2. Jim Thome, White Sox: 93-34-90-1-.245
3. Travis Hafner, INDIANS: 21-5-24-1-.197
4. Pat Burrell, Rays: 74-33-86-0-.250
5. Hideki Matsui, Yankees: 43-9-45-0-.294
6. Gary Sheffield, Tigers: 52-19-57-9-.225
7. Jason Kubel, Twins: 74-20-78-0-.272
8. Jack Cust, A’s: 77-33-77-0-.231
9. Ken Griffey Jr., Mariners: 67-18-71-0-.249
10. Billy Butler, Royals: 44-11-55-0-.275


Ortiz had a combined 178 homers and 541 RBI from 2004-07. His injury concerns should cause him to fall into the fifth or sixth round. ... This list contains quite a few fading former fantasy studs, as Sheffield hasn’t had a big year since 2005, Matsui lost his power last season and Griffey was a fantasy backup. ... Oakland’s Cust has huge power (59 homers the last two seasons), but is a strikeout waiting to happen (a combined 361 the last two years). ... The second-best player on this list could end up being Burrell, who has had at least 29 homers and 86 RBI each of the last four seasons and moves into the middle of the Rays’ dangerous lineup.


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