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Lineup Changes: Hanley, Reyes, Upton, Chipper?

Let's take a look at a few possible major lineup changes in store for the '09 season.  In general I've found runs and RBIs to have a similar fantasy value (1 run is worth about the same as 1 RBI).  #3-5 hitters are often able to rack up strong RBI and run totals, but #1-2 hitters have a hard time getting the ribbies.  So if you have a #3-5 guy moving to #1-2, that might hurt his fantasy value.  But if a leadoff hitter moves down in the order he can still score 100+ runs.

  • Hanley Ramirez will move to the #3 spot, with Cameron Maybin and Emilio Bonifacio possibilities to lead off.  Hanley bulked up by 24 lbs. over the offseason, but he'll trim some of that off before Opening Day.  Over the past three seasons, Ramirez has run less and less each year.  It wouldn't be surprising to see him drop below 30 SBs this year.  On the flip side, he'll top his career high of 81 RBIs.  Maybe the stats shift around, but you shouldn't reduce your dollar value for Hanley for '09.
  • Luis Castillo could bat leadoff, with Carlos Beltran at #2 and Jose Reyes at #3.  Matthew Cerrone thinks it's just motivational chatter.  It still probably would not make Castillo draftable.  It wouldn't affect my Reyes projection much, unless he changed his approach.  Beltran would be the biggest loser here, as he mostly batted #4-5 in '08 and that helped him rack up 112 RBIs.
  • B.J. Upton could move to leadoff spot.  In 2008, Upton had 289 PAs at #3, 213 at #2, and 89 at #4.  This year the Rays have Pat Burrell, who mostly batted at #5 for the Phillies in '08.  You have to figure Burrell, Carlos Pena, and Evan Longoria get the #3-5 spots somehow.  Last year Upton ran less when he batted cleanup, but with about the same frequency from the #2-3 spots.  In general Upton being pushed out of an RBI spot is not a good development for his value.  We have to hope he runs more to make up for it, but he already runs more than 30% of the time he's on first base.
  • Chipper Jones could move from #3 to #4 spot.  The Braves figure to make an addition, possibly Ken Griffey Jr.  The #3-5 are all usually solid RBI spots, so it shouldn't matter too much how it's sorted out between Chipper, Brian McCann, and the new addition.
  • Lou Piniella is at least considering moving Alfonso Soriano out of the leadoff spot.  I think this would improve his value, as stated in the opening paragraph of the post.


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