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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.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fantasy baseball: Top 20 designated hitters

Before we get to the rankings for the “position” many of us tend to overlook on draft day, a quick reminder:

Adam Lind and Jason Kubel are much more valuable as outfielders than designated hitters, since you can draft anyone to play the latter position in fantasy.

That piece of advice might have been more obvious than an in-game question to a manager during a television broadcast, but we had to include it since the players who follow are ranked at the position at which they are expected to spend the most time this season. DH — aka the land of oversized current or former sluggers who have as much of a chance of being an adequate outfielder as you or I.

It’s also a position of much frustration for Tribe fans, since it’s the only spot in the lineup at which Travis Hafner and his $11.5 million salary can play.

Hafner — after averaging 32 home runs and 109 RBI from 2004 to ’07 — has 21 homers, 73 RBI, a .244 batting average and 122 strikeouts in 536 at-bats the last two seasons.

He’ll be drafted in deeper leagues — and he could be useful if he’s finally healthy. But in points-based leagues of 10 to 12 teams, his strikeouts are a liability and I’d prefer to wait and see if he’s available later on the waiver wire.

On to the rankings:

Rank, player: R-HR-RBI-SB-Avg.
1. Adam Lind, Blue Jays: 93-35-114-1-.305
2. Jason Kubel, Twins: 73-28-103-1-.300
3. David Ortiz, Red Sox: 77-28-99-0-.238
4. Vladimir Guerrero, Rangers: 59-15-50-2-.295
5. Hideki Matsui, Angels: 62-28-90-0-.274
6. Jack Cust, Athletics: 88-25-70-4-.240
7. Carlos Guillen, Tigers: 36-11-41-1-.242
8. Travis Hafner, Indians: 46-16-49-0-.272
9. Pat Burrell, Rays: 45-14-64-2-.221
10. Luke Scott, Orioles: 61-25-77-0-.258

Preseason top 100 players (1): Lind (50)

Short hops
Of the 10, Lind, Kubel, Cust, Guillen and Scott should be eligible to play the outfield in most leagues. The others are strictly DH’s, although Matsui could be eligible in the outfield later in the season, depending on your league’s guidelines. ... Ortiz struck out a career-high 134 times last season and has batted .264 and .238 the last two years. ... In 2009, Guerrero had his worst run production since 1997. ... If your league deducts a point for a strikeout, stay away from Cust, who fanned 185 times in 513 at-bats last year. ... From 2005 to ’08, Burrell averaged 31 homers and 99 RBI. ... Scott has 48 homers the last two seasons, but he won’t help you in batting average, runs and steals. ... A potential sleeper, if healthy: Guillen, who had a combined 40 homers and 187 RBI in 2006 and ’07.

NOTE: Statistics are from the 2009 season. ... Positions listed are according to the depth charts at

Third basemen, Monday; designated hitters, today; shortstops, Thursday

LAST WEEK: Catchers, March 2; first baseman, March 4; second baseman, March 5

Outfielders, starting pitchers and relievers

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