Fantasy Baseball Bounceback Players – Corner Infielders
Here is a look at Corner Infielders who, by their standards, had disappointing 2008 seasons, that I feel will bounce back in 2009.
David Ortiz - After averaging 41.6 HRs and 128.4 RBI in his first five years with the Red Sox, Big Papi had just 23 & 89 in 2008. He battled a wrist injury, which contributed a great deal. He clearly didn’t have anything in the tank during the playoffs. He lost the protection Manny provided, but Papi actually hit better after the All-Star break (.252 to .277) with three more RBI. He’s about 15 pounds lighter so hopefully he’ll get out of the gate than the .184 he hit in March/April. He didn’t spend any time at First Base last year, but I figured I lump him in with the Corner Infielders. I expect Papi back in the 32 & 115 range minimal.
Carlos Peña – A year after slugging 46 HRs with 121 RBI and a .282 average, Peña saw his numbers dip to .247, 31, and 102 despite the Rays’ success. He offered some encouragement by hitting 24 points higher and having 3 more HR and 8 more RBI after the All-Star break in seven fewer games. He flashed that power with three HRs in the seven-games series against the Red Sox. I don’t expect a huge jump in his production, but the average will likely jump at least 20 points.
Carlos Guillén – Switching from Shortstop to First Base and ultimately Third Base did not do wonders for Guillén. After hitting .296 with with 86 Runs, 21 HRs, and 102 RBI, Guillén disappointed with .286 with 68 Runs, 10 HR and 54 RBI. From 2004-2007 he had three seasons of .318 or better average, three seasons of 86+ Runs, 19+ HRs and 85+ RBI. Plus, he’s a career .290 hitter. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him bat .300 with 15-18 HRs and 85 RBI. He qualifies at both 1B & 3B so he give you a little flexibility.
Todd Helton – Helton hit .264 with 7 HRs and 29 RBI last yea in 83 games. Even if you double that production that’s 14 HRs and 58 RBI, which is a far cry for a lifetime .328 hitter with 310 HRs and 1116 RBI. He had surgery on his back and has been rehabbing. Even if he can only manage 130-140 games, he should hit in the .300s with 15 HRs and 80 RBI.
Paul Konerko – I don’t see his batting average, .240 last year, taking too big of a leap, but his overall production should bounce back. The four prior years he averaged 87.5 runs, 36.8 HRs, and 105 RBIs. He was limited to 122 games last year and had just 22 HRs and 62 RBI. His HRs probably won’t increase drastically, but he should see an increase in RBI by at leat 15-20.
Travis Hafner - Once a Sucker, always a Sucker. I thought Pronk would have a great season last year. I was way off. A shoulder injury derailed his 2008 season, but I’m confident this is the year he bounces back. From 2004-2006 he averaged 34.3 HRs and 111.3 RBI. In 2007 he dipped to 24 and 100 and last year he had just 5 and 24. I’m not expecting him to return to his 2006 form, but I coul see 28 HRs and 100 RBI.
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