Grady Sizemore (OF, BOS) - Must Own Waiver Pickup
It was announced prior to the Boston Red Sox Opening Day that Grady Sizemore had won the starting Center Field job from prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. After not playing in a major league game since 2011, Sizemore, 31, will have the responsibility of filling the shoes left by Jacoby Ellsbury. He will also be joining the defending World Series Champions in pursuit of being the first team to repeat as champs since 2000. Certain questions have not been answered such as where he will bat, how often he will be playing, and how Shane Victorino’s recent injury will affect him. Yet for fantasy owners, the only real question that matters is: “Is he worth owning on my fantasy team?”
I’m not going to get into Sizemore’s prime numbers from 2006-2008 because, let’s face it, those numbers are irrelevant. All that can be taken from those years is that he is capable of being a valuable player in fantasy leagues. The only stats worth looking at that are close to being usable are his Spring Training numbers this year, the numbers that the Sox saw and decided to give him the starting job. In 13 games he hit .310 (13-42) with 6 Runs scored, 1 HR and a .784 OPS. Top that off with his first game with Boston, where he went 2-4 with a HR, and you are forced to take notice.
Another big factor in Grady’s fantasy relevance will be where in Boston’s lineup he will bat, as being slotted in the right spot could help or hurt your stats based on what kind of player you are (ex: Alex Gordon batting leadoff last year.) For Opening Day, he batted 6th in a lineup without Shane Victorino and still was slotted behind Mike Carp. While Victorino is out, Sizemore could see time in the front of the order and even bat leadoff when Johnny Gomes plays over Daniel Nava. He could be relegated to the 6/7 spot but would still have solid run producers behind him in A.J. Pierzynski and Will Middlebrooks, the 8 & 9 hitters who, while leaving a total of 9 men on base during Opening Day, are still solid hitters or have upside.
While I can go over positives and negatives of Sizemore’s intangibles and productivity all day, obviously the main question is going to be will he stay healthy and will he be playing enough to make him worth a roster spot. In deep leagues, he should already be considered worthy for a bench spot, while in shallow leagues he could definitely be added as plug-and-play depth OF if you have a 5 man bench or more. Just know to proceed with caution. The Red Sox signed him as a low risk, high reward possibility, and he should be looked at the same way in fantasy leagues. Don’t be afraid to drop him if he starts to show a decline or the slightest hint of injury.
That’s it for now, stay with me as next I’ll be going into How To, and How Not To Play The Waiver Wire. I consider these two pieces the reasons for my personal teams' success, and the success of any fantasy team, so they will definitely be worth your while. Make sure to follow Justin on Twitter @JustBerglund and @Rotoballer for all your fantasy baseball updates.