2011 Fantasy Baseball Profile: Is Carlos Lee Done?

Feb 11, 2011


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Carlos Lee’s days of 30+ home run seem like a distant memory. In fact, his HR totals have been in the decline since 2006.
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2006:  37
2007:  32
2008:  28
2009:  26
2010:  24
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While two dozen home runs are nothing to sneeze at, they are not the mark of an elite power hitter anymore. Lee will turn 35 in June so a return to 30 HR territory seems unlikely.
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His power wasn’t the only thing to go in 2010 for Carlos Lee. His streak of four consecutive .300+ seasons came to a crashing end. He didn’t just dip below the mark though, he plummeted by hitting .246. He struggled both at home (.258) and away (.234), in day games (.237) and at night (.251), against righties (.238), and even his .277 average against lefties was well below his .292 career mark.
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He failed to score even 70 runs for the third straight year. He’s averaging 64.3 runs per season over that stretch. Once a quiet double-digit base stealer, Lee has totaled just 12 during that same three-year stretch.
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So we have an outfielder with fleeting power that doesn’t score many runs or pick up steals. Are his days of fantasy relevance over?
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Not so fast. As a career .287 hitter I expect Lee to rebound in that department. He got off to such a slow start hitting .206 in April and May that it’s no wonder he hit just .246.
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There were bright spots though in June and August when Carlos Lee looked like his old self. In June he hit .283 with 13 runs, five HRs, and 20 RBI. In August he hit .288 with 15 runs, five HRs, and 25 RBI.
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His overall RBI total of 89 wasn’t quite up to snuff, as he’s had at least 99 for seven straight years. Considering his batting average, that’s a pretty good number though.
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Another positive is his first base eligibility. Being able to plug him in at 1B or OF is an advantage. Perhaps that, and name recognition, has him a little bloated in fantasy drafts given the age, lack or runs and stolen bases, and diminishing HR and RBI totals. Mock Draft Central has him at 133, which puts him in the 12th round.
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That’s a little early for my tastes, especially considering he could be traded to a contender as a salary dump, where he could be a part-time player, much like Lance Berkman was last year.
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While I don’t think Carlos Lee’s fantasy days are over, I don’t think he’s a good enough value. If he slips in your draft, he’s worth a shot, but don’t pay face value on his past production. Look for someone with a little more upside.
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What’s your take on Carlos Lee?
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