Not So Granderson Start to the Season

by Michael Egnak on March 23, 2008 @ 02:28:18 PDT

 


The Associated Press reports the Detroit Tigers placed outfielder Curtis Granderson (finger) on the 15-day disabled list Sunday, March 23, with a broken finger. He sustained the injury Saturday, March 22, when Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Travis Blackley hit him in the right hand with a fastball in the fourth inning of an exhibition game. The team had hoped it was only a bruise, but precautionary X-rays revealed the break. Granderson said he will likely miss a minimum of three weeks. He was wearing a splint on his hand Sunday. He expects to have X-rays in two weeks, and after that, he hopes to return to baseball activities, after which it would likely be another week before he could play. Manager Jim Leyland said he had no idea what the team would do while Granderson was out.

Granderson figures to miss the first two weeks of the regular season because of the injury. He hit .302 with 23 home runs, 26 steals, 74 RBIs and 122 runs scored last season. He was one of the best fantasy outfielders because he contributed in all categories, and he has the potential to reach 30 homers and 30 steals in his fourth season. Some of his numbers carried over this spring, with Granderson batting .306 with four dingers, eight RBIs and 12 runs scored in 49 at-bats.

While Leyland says he has no idea what to do, he does have options. Outfielder Jacque Jones could shift over from left to center, allowing outfielder Marcus Thames to start in left. Jones played 84 games in center field last year with the Chicago Cubs. However, he suffered from a severe power outage in 2007, knocking just five balls out of the park in 453 at-bats. He did hit .285 with 66 RBIs and 52 runs scored. Jones hasn't looked good this spring, hitting just .190 with three RBIs in 42 at-bats. Fantasy owners know not to put a ton of stock in spring numbers, though. Thames, meanwhile, hit .242 with 18 home runs and 54 RBIs in 269 at-bats last year with Detroit. He is batting .250 with four homers and eight RBIs in 28 at-bats. This news only very minimally boosts either player's fantasy value.

While fantasy owners who grabbed Granderson will take a hit early in the season, it should only be for two or possibly three weeks. Owners should have a solid No. 4 option in the outfield anyway, as the position is fairly deep each year, at least in shallow mixed leagues. For leagues that have not had their drafts yet, Granderson should fall, but only minimally; the news shouldn't make him fall more than several picks, a round at most beyond his average draft position, which is somewhere around the middle of the third round. That could turn out to be an overreaction as well. There's the potential his average and power could drop a bit as a result of the broken finger, but his 2007 season still shows his value, and it's purely speculative.

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About Michael Egnak

Michael Egnak is a Hot Off The Wire Analyst at KFFL and has been with the company since 2005. Covering both NFL and MLB, Egnak is also a key contributor to KFFL's fantasy services.

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