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Fantasy Sleeper: Los Angeles Dodgers Outfielder Manny Ramirez

I previously wrote about Manny Ramirez being a sleeper in 2010 here, without going into too much detail. Today I will provide some reasoning.

I was listening to some of the ESPN Fantasy podcast with Nate Ravitz and Matthew Berry yesterday afternoon. The discussion lead to who they would rather have Manny Ramirez or Raul Ibanez. I was schocked when both of them said they would rather have Ibanez.

Is it me or was 2009 a fluke year for both Manny Ramirez and Raul Ibanez? Manny was suspended for 50 games, but in 352 at bats, he still went 19-63-62-.290-.418-.531. Many, including Eric Karabell, are focusing on his .218 BA in September. Many don't remember Manny getting hit on the wrist in a game vs the Reds on July 21st. In his first 57 at bats after returning from suspension, Manny hit .347-.439-.755 with 5 HRs and 17 RBIs. When he left the game on July 21st, Manny was hitting .348-.472-.657 for the season to date. He finished the season hitting .290-.418-.531, but the fantasy experts want you to focus on his September BA.

Raul Ibanez had a fantastic season in his first year with the Phillies going 34-93-93-.272-.347-.552 in 500 at bats. Ibanez had a huge first half going 22-60-.309-.367-.649, but he faltered in the second half going 12-33-.232-.326-.448. He hit .193-.276-.318 in August.

Both hitters will turn 38 in 2010, so both come with risk. Bill James projects Ibanez to go 26-96-86-.270-.340-.467 in 2010. James has Manny going 30-101-88-.296-.406-.537.

Karabell went so far as to say in his fantasy chat yesterday that he would take the following hitters before Manny-Matt Wieters, Gordon Beckham, Carlos Pena, Hunter Pence, and are you sitting down-Chris Coghlan.

If you didn't think it before, Manny has officially become a sleeper. Draft accordingly.