Fantasy Baseball: Should Grady Sizemore be owned in all leagues?

Boston Red Sox

Grady Sizemore

Grady Sizemore has not played a full season of baseball since 2008, but is now the starting center fielder for the Boston Red Sox. Initially, I assumed the signing of Sizemore would not amount to much, but he has come on very strong. Sizemore had a solid spring training, hitting .310 in 13 games and 42 at-bats; he also started the regular season on a good note, going 2-for-4 with a home run.

Sizemore went undrafted in most fantasy leagues, but since the start of the season a few days ago, he has seen a huge spike in his ownership numbers. Over the last seven days, Sizemore went from being owned in 19.6% of ESPN leagues to being owned in 61.6% of leagues, which is a jump of 42% over the last seven days – the second most of any player.

Because Sizemore hasn’t played in a MLB game since 2011, its going to be extremely difficult to predict the numbers he’ll be able to put up this season. Statistically speaking, Sizemore’s best season was 2008. He played in 157 games and had 33 home runs, 90 RBI, and 38 stolen bases. Sizemore was never a great average hitter (his career batting average is .269), but he did consistently have a high walk rate. In ’07 and ’08, Sizemore’s walk rate was 13.5% and 13.2% respectively. These numbers are well above the league average, which usually hovers around 9%.

[Potential breakout pitchers] 

Another aspect of Sizemore’s game that cannot be over looked is his stellar fielding ability. His career fielding percentage is .993 and he has won two Gold Gloves. Many fantasy baseball leagues do not take fielding into effect, but some do. His value is even greater in those select leagues.

As I previously mentioned, projecting Sizemore’s production this season is nearly impossible. Too many unknown factors – health issues, playing time, and the emergence of Jackie Bradley Jr. – limit our ability to project Sizemore’s stats this season, but many sites still try. CBS Sports projects Sizemore to hit .233 with 15 home runs, 44 RBI, and four stolen bases, but ESPN only projects Sizemore to hit .226 with six home runs, 28 RBI, and zero stolen bases.

The question remains: Should Sizemore be owned in all fantasy baseball leagues? The answer isn’t simple. First of all, we have to take into account what Red Sox manager, John Farrell had to say to the Providence Journal about Sizemore’s playing time:

“We’ve probably got the first six weeks mapped out,” Farrell said, “in terms of the number of games we target. That doesn’t say what specific dates they are, but we look at it a week at a time, with increasing workloads. There are going to be a number of factors that come into consideration.”

Based on Farrell’s words, it doesn’t look like Sizemore will see consistent playing time at the beginning of the season.

[Ryan Braun’s value in 2014]

The second thing we need to consider is the type of league we are looking at. In an AL only league, there’s no doubt that Sizemore should be owned; he was probably drafted. In mixed leagues, it all depends on league size. I believe Sizemore should be owned in any league with 10 or more teams. Even in leagues with less than 10 teams, he would be a good player to stash on the bench in case he does produce consistently this season.

Sizemore is worthy of being owned in almost every fantasy baseball league; he is a low-risk, high-reward investment and has the potential to put up huge fantasy numbers. Pick him up while he’s still available.

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  • Bill

    Great job Mark! I will be looking forward to your next article.