Jason Bay (NYM): One of the top hitting outfielders from last season is moving from the comfort of Fenway to CitiField, which won’t help. Bay will also be leaving the protection of one of the league’s best hitting line-ups, to a line-up that at one point during last season only had one regular starter playing because of various injuries. All signs point to a year that won’t touch his gaudy 2009 line of 103-36-119-.267, especially after looking at how Citi zapped David Wright’s power last season. Regardless, he is a big bat in the middle of a line-up that will improve over the course of the season as [hopefully]the injury woes lingering from last season are behind them, and the rust is shaken off. Bay’s average draft position in Yahoo mock drafts is about 60th overall. At this position it may be worth taking a chance on Bay, depending on how good his skills are compared to how much his stats were attributed to his surroundings. Expect a sub-par first half, but then for Bay to round into form post-All Star Break.
Projected line: R: 89 HR: 28 RBI: 99 SB:6 AVE: .275
Mike Cameron (BOS) – Cameron is the epitome of a journeyman, his journey has led him to a good hitters field in the middle of a good hitting line-up. He’s getting a little older, but his production has been steady for the past few seasons and there is no reason to expect a drop off. He won’t hit for average, but he’ll belt a few homeruns, and depending on where in the line-up he hits he’ll score a bunch of runs. Not really a strong fantasy option, but in the last few rounds, and you are looking for a sure thing as opposed to a comeback risk or a rookie who may not play, Cameron can bring some value.
Projected line: R: 78 HR:23 RBI:69 SB:5 AVE: .250
Johnny Damon (DET) – Johnny Damon’s situation is like a lesser version of Bay is almost every sense. Leaving a great hitting line-up and stadium to a worse one (although not as bad as Citi and the Mets, the major hurt in the move to Detroit is the loss of the Yankees). There are concerns about health, age and defense. Damon saw a nice jump in power last season as a result of the new Yankee Stadium, so don’t expect that to continue, but an increase in steals to back to between 15-20 is likely with the freer running Tigers. Batting lead-off will mean he will still provide runs, but with Detroit shifting towards youth, and if Scott Sizemore and Austin Jackson start playing like the front of the line-up players they are projected to be, Johnny’s spot can be bumped back.
Projected Line: R: 90 HR: 12 RBI: 72 SB: 17 AVE: .300
Vladimir Guerrero (TEX) – Of all the out fielders who are changing teams, Vlad is probably the only one heading into a situation that will improve his value the most. Plagued by injury last season, he is just a year removed from stud-status. Down in Austin, Vlad will be surrounded be a powerful and well balanced offensive line-up in a stadium that’s friendly to hitters and without the added physical stress of playing the field, so improvements across the board are not out of reach. Barring another injury, he will be involved in the Come Back Player of the Year talks all season. That being said, Guerrero is getting old and signs of decline are evident, and his bat speed and MVP candidate years are behind him. His ADP on Yahoo is about 170, so in those late rounds where you are looking for someone to fill in the roster that has some upside, Guerrero is as good a pick as any.
Projected Line: R: 79 HR: 26 RBI: 87 SB: 1 AVE: .305
Hideki Matsui (LAA) – Much of what was said about Guerrero can be said about Matsui. Matsui is a start in decline, but still managed to belt 28 home runs last season, albeit in the comfort of Yankee Stadium. Bobby Abreu made a similar jump from Pinstripe to the Angles and saw his career rejuvenated. Although the comparison is a bit stretched, the pressure of Los Angeles compared to New York is a lot different, especially with the Angels in what some are calling a rebuilding year. Slight regression in his numbers from last season would be reasonable, this season is Matsui’s chance to enjoy one last season of baseball or try and prove his deserves one more year in the big leagues. He is getting drafted in the 20th plus rounds, so in deep leagues, like Vlad, once all major prospects are gone, he can provide some value as a back of the roster player.
Projections: R: 72 HR: 21 RBI: 70 SB: 0 AVE: .280