Those of you who read my pitchers article understand exactly what I mean when I say manageable players. These are players that have value by putting them in positions to succeed for you. These players aren't all fringes or bottom of the barrel players. Some we rely on every day to produce for us and the numbers just aren't there. Some players simply can't hit on the road or their hitting styles don't fit their home parks. In this article I will give you players that I believe are on the rise because of their splits and some that shouldn't be drafted at all. There are just too many occurrences to target one set of players. So we'll dig a little deeper. I will be giving you players in three different groups. The three groups will be; On the Rise, Home Park Advantage, and Home Park (Dis)advantage. Each group will have two players pinpointed and two more honorable mentions. These players should be bumped either up in their particular tier or down depending on what the stats tell you about a said player.
On the Rise:
M. Teixeira 1B/Tex- Teixeira hit 32 points lower at home than he did on the road last year, 266 at home and 298 away. His home run numbers also were down at home, hitting nine less than on the road. This is surprising, considering that Mark hits in one of the best hitters parks in baseball. His splits in 2005 tell a different tale where he hit 64 points higher at home. He also hit 18 homers in the last two months of 2006. He also is approaching that magical age of 27. With all that said, I believe that you can confidently put Teixeira as one of the top five first basemen in baseball this year.
R. Martin C/LAD- Russell is on here for the exact opposite reason Mark Teixeira is on here. He hit seventy-five points higher at home than he did on the road last year (319 at home and 244 away). The fact that Dodger Stadium is known as a pitcher friendly park is what make this feat so encouraging. In his first full season as a full-time starter he was still trying to learn how to call a big league game behind the plate. Now with that behind him, he can settle in and put more concentration on his hitting. Did I mention that he also had ten steals last year, 80 percent of which were at home? That's another story though.
Honorable Mentions are J. Damon/OF NYY and R. Zimmerman/3B Wash.
Home Field Advantage:
N. Markakis OF/Bal- The way that Nick finished last season, hitting 43 points higher in the second half, puts him on everyone's list to breakout this year. His second half numbers would have been much better if not for his sub-par September where he hit 224. The decrease in stats could simply be fatigue at the end of the season. Markakis also hit for eighty-two points higher at home than on the road. His power numbers stayed consistent both on the road as well as at home. He should settle in nicely and having a hitter park as his home makes him a juicy pick as your second outfielder.
C. Biggio 2B/Hou- Craig is one of those players that have been getting overlooked in drafts this year. They look at his overall low average and his career nearing it's end. He may lose his job after he hits number 3,000, but that might just be on the road. With his putrid 170 average on the road, Craig hits a very respectable 298 at home. Fifteen of his twenty-one home runs were in Minute Maid Park. Did you know that he hit 25 doubles at home to go with his eight on the road. The list goes on and on. Did I mention that his splits are almost as drastic when he plays against lefties? You could probably do better with your back up second base job, but I'll be riding the wave that comes with chasing down a career accomplishment.
Honorable Mentions are M. Holliday OF/Col and V. Wells OF/Tor.
Home Fields (Dis)advantage:
C. Delgado 1B/NYM- Every time I get into a heated debate with one of my cronies, Carlos' name almost always comes up. I have to hear about his thirty eight-home runs and how great the Mets are and about his thirty eight-home runs. My argument stays the same. How does his 226 home average help me? How does Delgado going one for five every night help me in fantasy baseball? Sure, one hit might be an extra base hit, but that still leaves roughly fifty games that he does nothing for me. He also can't hit off of lefties, and they are almost as bad as at home.
A. Marte 3B/Cle- Although we don't have a full season of stats on Andy just yet, there is a split of more than 100 points that has to be noticed. He had a minute average of 160 at home while belting 281 away. In all fairness, I do hate to use less than a half a season as a trend, but his stats almost double in every category except home runs. Maybe this will be just a start for him. I can't seem to forget that every time he came up with the Braves he had trouble hitting in that hitters park too.
Honorable Mentions are K. Griffey Jr. OF/Cin and H. Matsui OF/NYY.
Remember that a few of these players will be drafted too high by owners that will panic if they miss the top few players at a position. The ones that we want are the players that start dropping further than they should. The art of it is when to draft the right person at the right time. Don't forget, if you miss out on the players that you want. There is always that trading season that we all long for.