2013 RotoRob MLB Draft Kit: Designated Hitter Rankings
Travis Hafner’s crappy taste in beer wasn’t bad enough; now he’s a damn Yankee.
By Tim McLeod and RotoRob
And we’re back, with more of the 2013 RotoRob MLB Draft Kit. So while you celebrate the fact that Tim McCarver is going to stick a fork in himself after this season, let’s preview the top six designated hitters for 2013.
The list for players with no positional home is mighty short this year. Part of the reason for the spare nature of the DH Rankings is because Billy Butler has finally qualified at first base this year. Victor Martinez, depending on your league rules, might find himself being only DH eligible. Meanwhile, David Ortiz has surged back to the top of the list for 2013 (although Big Papi’s Opening Day status is very much in doubt as he suffers through a heel issue). The DH-only guys are a small group and best left for the mid- to latter-rounds in 2013.
Last year’s rankings are in parentheses.
1. David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox (2): Back in late-November, we did a complete recap of Ortiz’s 2012 campaign, so we won’t rehash too much here, but the big news is that Big Papi’s Achilles’ injury could render him unavailable to begin the season (which could open the door for Jackie Bradley, Jr.). Ortiz has finally started taking BP, but has been unable to run the bases because of the injury, so you’d be wise to lower your projected at-bats for the big guy. The longer the pain lingers, the less likely it is he’ll be ready on Opening Day. MRIs have revealed inflammation in both of his heels, and let’s not forget that a similar injury last year limited him to 90 games. Uh oh.
2. Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers (53 at C): Back in a January Podcast, we talked about V-Mart’s recovery from his injuries and how missing last season has somehow made him lose catcher eligibility. WTF? In 2011, Martinez stayed healthy and enjoyed a massive season, and the thought that perhaps he can gain first base eligibility this year (he’s seen time there in this spring) would help. Certainly, if he’s catcher eligible in your league, he’s a No. 1 backstop. Note that the Tigers will likely pinch run for Martinez late in games, and that may cap his run total.
3. Luke Scott, Tampa Bay Rays (83 at OF): In a Podcast last month, we were perplexed by the Rays’ decision to re-sign Scott, but here he is — the universally agreed upon third-best DH available. Woo hoo! He stayed somewhat healthy last year to the point where his runs and RBI were up, but his strikeout rate was also up and that will always limit his BA. Fragile DHs don’t exactly excite us, but hey if that’s your thang, knock yourself out with Scott. This dude has struggled offensively for the past two seasons, but come on — you gotta love that stuffed boar’s head that he has mounted on the side of his locker. The man is all class.
4. Mike Olt, Texas Rangers (NR): No. 2 on our list of the Top 23 Texas Rangers Prospects, Olt has been sent down to Triple-A for more seasoning, but he likely won’t be there long (still, the fact that our No. 4 DH won’t even begin the season in the majors should give you an idea of the depth here). He mostly saw action at the hot corner this spring, but also saw time in right field as Texas seeks way to get the talented youngster into the lineup. Olt struggled in his first taste of the majors last year, but the late-season look provided him with some valuable big league experience that should stead him very well when he returns. Texas would probably have been better served leaving Lance Berkman on the scrap pile and letting Olt take the job, but then again, how long will it be until the old guy gets hurt again and the kid gets a shot? It makes more sense for his long-term development for Olt to play every day at Triple-A rather than sit on the bench in the majors.
5. Travis Hafner, New York Yankees (4): In January, we wrote an in-depth preview of Hafner, so there’s little we can add here except to mention that since then, he’s donned pinstripes. After spending most of his time batting cleanup for the Indians, there’s little chance that Pronk will occupy that spot with the Yankees. He still has power, but chocolate-bar-named-after-you power? Not so much anymore. Hafner has long ago shed his glove and don’t think for a moment he’ll pull it out of the attic now that he’s a Yankee.
6. Dan Johnson, New York Yankees (NR): It’s been a couple of years since we even mentioned Johnson as he’s pretty much fallen off the Fantasy radar. Well, he’s getting another shot now and has been seen batting fifth in some Spring games with the injury-ravaged Yankees. With Mark Teixeira out until possibly June, Johnson will get the strong side of a platoon at first with Juan Rivera. Johnson flashed great extra-base pop in very limited action with the White Sox last year and while he has no speed at all, the 33-year-old vet is in line to see more action in 2013 than he has in many years.
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