Fantasy Baseball Profile: What to Make of James Loney?
You know he can hit for average. He has a .295 career average, topping out a .331 in 2007. You know he can driver runners in. He has 90 RBIs in each of his past two seasons. A near .300 hitter capable of 90 RBIs that will turn 26 this year. So why isn’t he among my top 20 fantasy first basemen (click to see the list)? Because he has just 45 HRs in 1617 ABs.
He hits a HR once every 36 ABs or roughly once every nine games. That sounds like something a middle infielder would do. It’s not like he’s even banging out a bunch of extra base hits to make up for it. His OPS the past two years have been .772 and .756.
If he were making up for his lack of power with a .310+ average, he’d interest me more. If he scored more runs, I’d have more interest. He has averaged just 69.5 the past two years despite averaging 585.5 ABs.
Really the only thing he has going for him are the RBIs, and even that isn’t an elite number. I will give him a little credit for averaging seven SBs the past two years.
When all is said and done, I would consider him as a backup first baseman. Of course I’d prefer someone with position flexibility like Jorge Cantu (3B) or someone with more upside like Chris Davis.
Prediction: .300, 80 Runs, 15 HRs, 90 RBIs, 7 SBs
Arizona Diamondbacks: Brandon Webb
Atlanta Braves: Yunel Escobar
Baltimore Orioles: Adam Jones
Boston Red Sox: Clay Buchholz
Chicago Cubs: Geovany Soto
Chicago White Sox: Jake Peavy
Cincinnati Reds: Joey Votto
Cleveland Indians: Grady Sizemore
Colorado Rockies: Ubaldo Jimenez
Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera
Florida Marlins: Cameron Maybin
Houston Astros: Lance Berkman
Kansas City Royals: Billy Butler
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Howie Kendrick