The combination of age and injury history makes certain players very, very scary to own in fantasy baseball. These types of players have recently become an afterthought in fantasy land, as owners can only reminisce the good ole days.
Someone needs to stand up for these guys, right? Right?
Okay, you talked me into it. A few guys, in particular, deserve a second chance.
Don’t give up on …
Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies: If you’ve read my work before, I don’t have to tell you how much I love Howard. Let’s not forget, this guy was once a legitimate 40-home run guy, who belted a whopping 58 back in 2006. The 2012 season shouldn’t be taken too seriously, as Howard only played in 71 of the team’s contests, while recovering from an Achilles injury. Fast forward to the present and Howard says he is feeling as healthy as ever. Of course, we don’t know if that is true or not, but if his Spring numbers are any indication, he’s fine. In 25 games, Howard is batting .338 with seven home runs and 16 RBI. If he can stay on the field for at least 130-140 games, Howard has the power and skill to hit 30 home runs and drive in 100 runs. If he can cut his strikeout rate and strike fear into opposing pitchers, there is no reason to believe that Howard can’t be a top 10 fantasy first baseman, despite being on the declining stage of his career.
Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins: The plethora of young, exciting talent at the first base position have owners totally disregarding Morneau. It’s definitely understandable, as Morneau turns 31 in May and has been absolutely decimated by injury, including wrist issues and concussion. It’s hard to say whether or not Morneau will be himself again, considering how gray of an area concussions are. However, keep in mind that his 2012 campaign (.267, 19 homers, 77 RBI) wasn’t really all that bad. Many believe that the veteran could actually be a fantasy sleeper here in 2013. If he can increase his home run to fly ball ratio, he’ll obviously have a much better chance to eclipse the 20-home run marker. Now look, I’m not telling you to draft Morneau as your starter at the hot corner, but he is a very ideal bench player for your roster.
Carl Crawford, Los Angeles Dodgers: Perhaps a new environment is exactly what Crawford needs. During his time in Boston, Crawford wasn’t much of a factor. Large in part due to the fact that he only played 161 games in two seasons with the team after coming off of Tommy John surgery in August. Good thing he is a hitter and not a pitcher, as Crawford is expected to be the starting left fielder and lead off man for his new ball club, the Dodgers. The combination of a difficult injury and being 31-years old may drive fantasy owners away, but I believe he will be one of the most productive outfielders based on his ADP. Again, he will lead off for a powerful Dodgers’ lineup, providing a boatload of run potential. The power certainly isn’t there anymore and shouldn’t be expected to hit for 20 homers, considering he never has in his career. Still, 12-15 seems more reasonable and despite being in his 30’s, Crawford is still very athletic and will be a candidate for at least 30 steals. When you are in the later rounds and are looking for more outfield depth, don’t forget about Crawford.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.