ASK ROTOMAN: Does Sizemore Matter?

Dear Rotoman,

What are your thoughts on Grady Sizemore?

“Thinking Along”

Dear Thinking,

In the Fantasy Baseball Guide 2013 we ran profiles of both Grady and Scott Sizemore. With Grady we noted his three microfracture surgeries, his possible timetable of a midseason return, and said it was best to have no expectations. Scott Sizemore was expected to be healthy after surgery to repair his ACL, which he tore in 2012. $3 I said, for the As third baseman. But Scott Sizemore again tore his ACL in the second game, thus ending his 2013 season. Meanwhile, there was no sign of Grady. Which is why I decided to scratch both of them from the 2014 Guide. Oops.

Now they’re back. Scott Sizemore is competing with the equally back-from-the-dead second baseman Brian Roberts for the Yankees job at second base. And Grady is trying out with the Red Sox, ostensibly to serve as their fourth outfielder.

Here are the knocks on Grady. He hasn’t played a full season since 2008. He was passably productive (.788 OPS) in 503 plate appearances in 2009, and has been ineffectual when not not playing since. That’s a lot of down time. But Grady was a finely conditioned athlete (see illustration), and presumably hasn’t shirked on the upper body while rehabbing his knees.

Screenshot 2014-03-14 09.34.43Still, keeping muscle tone (and this isn’t a recent selfie, this is from 2009) is easier when you’re 31 (turns 32 in August) than it is to keep your bat speed and timing. Especially after years of not facing real pitching. Which isn’t to say he can’t do it.

I was skeptical last year of Victor Martinez coming back effectively after a year off. I could find little evidence of other hitters at his age missing a full year and becoming effective regulars again. Martinez, of course, did just fine. History is a guide, not a destiny.

So, Sizemore has age on his side, but has essentially missed his entire prime to injury. He lands on the post-prime part of his career with a history that offers only caution and hope. It would be nice if he regained some of his career, wouldn’t it?

The nice thing for fantasy players is that he’s a late-round low-cost flyer at this point. Skepticism is damping down his price, while there is a real chance for playing time if Jackie Bradley Jr. doesn’t grab hold of the starting job or someone gets hurt. That could mean real value if Sizemore can actually play.

The problem, of course, is that he’s a low contact high-walk-and-strikeout type of player, which means in a BA league he’s likely to hurt you in that category. He’s had a little power, and maybe will add to that, as guys often do as they move into their 30s. What made him specially valuable back in his glory days were his legs, but since they’ve been the motor of his downfalling, don’t count on big steals numbers. Still, you have to think that if he’s going to make the team as a backup centerfielder that the legs will be healed.

I haven’t put a projection in the software at this point because really? If you made me I’d say 300 AB, .235 BA, .350 OBP, 10 HR and 5 SB. I’d pay a buck for the chance that works out. I’d use a 23rd round pick in AL only. I wouldn’t assume any mixed league value.

I would also wonder why I thought an obvious bad pun was a good idea for a headline?