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Fantasy Baseball: Is Manny Ramirez Undervalued?

Manny Ramirez is currently entering another walk year, and is looking to rebound from a season in which he spent 50 games suspended, and posted one of his worst seasons in recent memory. He will be 38 years old this season, and has been largely dismissed as a top-10 fantasy outfielder. But is that production still in him, and is it likely to return in 2010?

In 2009, Manny Ramirez only played in 104 games, but still posted respectable stats (.290, 19 HR, 62 R, 63 RBI, 0 SB). But for Ramirez it was really a tale of two seasons, as his performance before the suspension was much better than his performance afterward:

  • Pre-Suspension: .347, 6 HR, 22 R, 20 RBI (27 games)
  • Post Suspension: .260, 13 HR, 40 R, 43 RBI (77 games)

He clearly was not performing at the same pace as he had prior to the suspension. But what do his component stats tell us? Is post-suspension Manny the real Manny, or just an outlier?

Manny's career BABIP is .338, and posted a BABIP for 2009 of .328. But the splits tell a slightly different story as well. In March and April, his BABIP was .407, extremely high even for him. In September, it was .241, which is extremely low for him as well. So he definitely could have been slightly unlucky during the time after the suspension.

Bill James is projecting him to post the following: .296, 30 HR, 88 R, 101 RBI, 1 SB. To me, that projection puts him in the top 15 of fantasy outfielders. I'm not sold that he posts that much power or runs scored either though. For me, I think he's more likely to post something like this: .290, 24 HR, 75 R, 95 RBI. Which still makes a definitely valuable outfielder.

Manny currently has an ADP of 66, and is the 19th outfielder off of the board. The outfielders surrounding him are Nelson Cruz and Andre Ethier (ahead), and Shin-Soo Choo and Shane Victorino (behind). To me, this seems like a really good value for Manny. I think that if he posts the line I think is likely, that spot in the draft is about right. But there's definite upside, and I think he's worth targeting even earlier than the 6th round. You could very easily get 3rd or 4th round production out of Manny.