Sunday, March 16, 2008

Fantasy Plus: Richie Sexson

Like I said in my Felix Hernendez fantasy analysis, I'm going to be looking at a lot of the Mariners over the next couple days. Next up in the series, is struggling first basemen Richie Sexson.

Sexson hit a career-low .205 last season and struck out 100-plus times for the eighth time in his career. He is no longer a 40-homer guy, and if he hits 30 homers in 2008, that would exceed expectations. Sexson is no longer a must-have Fantasy 1B and is now more of a backup option in larger mixed leagues.

Like a presidential candidate, Sexson skillfully blamed injuries for his flirtation with the Mendoza line last season without directly blaming injuries. "People don't want to hear that, and I would never want to be that guy that blames anything on stuff like that," he said. "I had my reasons [for struggling]. I know what those were. And I don't want to talk about it." Sexson is healthy now, so, for his sake and the team's, hopefully he can re-discover his stroke this season. He's in the last year of his contract, and the Mariners won't bring him back next season. If he struggles, don't expect the team to show as much patience this year.

Mariners management has gone on record saying they appreciate Sexson's 40 homer potential, even though he hasn't cracked that many since arriving in Seattle, and will take the 150 whiffs and miniscule average that comes with it. But that just isn't good enough for fantasy owners. Sexson is lumped into an unfortunate group of corner infielders that offer high power potential at the expense of a handful of other stats, a group that includes Reds outfielder Adam Dunn and Blue Jays third baseman Troy Glaus.Fantasy owners need to recognize that Sexson hits nearly 40 points higher after the All-Star break, and in a career 4,214 at bats, he's hit below .250 in the first three months of the season. You probably say to yourself, the slow start in batting average is fine assuming he crushes a significant number of long balls. However, you'd be disappointed because the three months in which he has the most home runs are July, August, and September. In reality, Sexson is in the fourth or fifth tier of fantasy first baseman for a reason: he simply isn't a consistent fantasy producer. And his abysmal spring training isn't doing anything to help his draft day value.

My Analysis
What Richie Sexson is going to do this year is up in the air. He needs, and probably wants to hit around 30-35 homers, and see his terrible .205 BA from last season rise up to atleast .250. You can't expect much out of Sexson because of how is he's gone from a must-start first baseman to mostly a backup options if your regular 1B is out. Sexson is in a contract year, which usually means that the player will play better, because he knows that nothing is gaurenteed for next season. You can consider Sexson a sleeper because not many people have him in their wishlists. He could be a decent mid-late draft pick, but make sure that you have somebody else there, because it's uncertain if Sexson can ascent back up to his All-Star caliber self.

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