Fantasy Baseball Bounceback Players – Corner Infielders

Feb 23, 2009

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.

Images courtesy of Icon SMI

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6 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. David Funk
    February 23rd, 2009 at 8:17 pm #

    Konerko has always made me scratch my head. I remember in 2003 when he hit something .218 for the season with a low total of home runs and RBI. Then he came back to hit have more production with a higher average the next four years as you pointed out. Being that he dipped last year, you would think he’d be due to bounce back this season with more production. He seems to be a trendy-type of player.

    Nice work.

  2. LestersLegends
    February 23rd, 2009 at 8:22 pm #

    Agree. he’s a tough one to read.

  3. VagabondGuru
    March 2nd, 2009 at 8:53 pm #

    This is a really tough group. Like Posada, if Papi, Hafner and Carlos are healthy – they rake and put up huge numbers. I saw Papi play when they brought him back last season and it was immediately clear the wrist was not going to allow him to be himself. If he IS feeling well in wrist, knee and shoulder – he’ll destroy the ball and rack up huge early numbers, but then will be treated like Bonds with no Manny behind to scare…no matter how you slice it, better to deal with Bay, Youkilis, Drew than a healthy Papi.

    I’ve got Konerko and have no real feel, unlike the others I don’t really see an excuse for his dropoff…he reminds me of guys like Hrbek, Chambliss, Will Clark…winners with pop, but fantasy stud?

    Not like the others.


  4. LestersLegends
    March 2nd, 2009 at 8:57 pm #

    It sounds like Papi is healthy. I hope he can stay that way. Bay should provide better protection than most are crediting him. He’s a solid hitter. He’s no Manny, but he’s a tough out.

    Konerko seems to smack HRs, but doesn’t do much else.

  5. VagabondGuru
    March 2nd, 2009 at 9:06 pm #

    Oops, forgot Pena! He is the one I focus on (along with Adrian Gonzalez)…as set as NY and Boston are at 1B, tough to believe they BOTH had this guy and couldn’t find a spot for him and now watch him play GG 1B and slamming HR’s. Surrounded by talent and cool as cuke, he’s the bomb.


  6. LestersLegends
    March 2nd, 2009 at 9:49 pm #

    vaga – well said

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