Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Baseball Third Basemen: Who’s The Real Chase Headley?


If you started 2013 with Chase Headley as your third baseman thinking that he’d come close to repeating his 2012 season, I’m guessing that you came away disappointed. I’m also hoping for your sake that you gave up that hope quickly and called an audible at third base. At the very least, I hope that you got some unexpected production from a few other guys, because Headley’s 2012 and 2013 seasons could not have been much more different.

Season    AB H R HR RBI SB AVG/OBP/SLG   
2012 604 173 95 31 115 17 .286/.376/.498
2013 520 130 59 13 50 8 .250/.347/.400

Yeah. Quite the disparity. So, what Chase Headley can we expect in 2014?

When I play golf and have a rough hole early, I usually say to myself something like, “Okay, let’s make that hole stand out” with a couple of expletives thrown in for good measure. The theory being, when this round is over, I want to look back and see one bad hole with 17 good ones. Not one or two good ones mixed in with several bad ones.

So, when looking at the rest of Headley’s career, what stands out? The great 2012, or the not so great 2013?

Season

AB

H

R

HR

RBI   

SB    

AVG/OBP/SLG
2008 331 89 34 9 38 4 .269/.337/.420
2009 543 142 62 12 64 10 .262/.342/.392
2010 610 161 77 11 58 17 .264/.327/.375
2011 439 110 43 4 44 13 .289/.374/.399
Average    466    126     54     9      51  11  .270/.343/.393    

How does that average look in comparison to 2012 and 2013? Well, let’s see.

Season

AB

H

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG/OBP/SLG
2008-2011 Average 466 126 54 9 51 11 .270/.353/.393
2012 604 173 95 31 115 17 .286/.376/.498
2013 520 130 59 13 50 8 .250/.347/400

It’s awfully hard to look at Headley’s body of work and say that 2013 stands out as abnormally bad more than 2012 stands out as abnormally good. As a matter of fact, he missed substantial time in 2008 and 2011. So, if you add a few runs and homers in those years, his 2008-2011 average looks even more like 2013.

So, now that we’ve established that, let’s ask and answer a few questions here.

  1. Is there any chance that he goes back to 2012 form? There’s always a chance, but I wouldn’t bet on it. When you’re forecasting your fantasy team, it always helps to be somewhat pessimistic and then get pleasantly surprised. I just don’t know where Headley’s 2012 came from. Look at those averages from 2008-2011. He also never hit more than 20 home runs in the minors. Those 31 just stand out in a big way. I also really don’t know where 2012′s runs and RBI came from. In 2012, the Padres were 24th in the MLB with 651 runs scored. In 2013, they were also 24th with 618. Yes, fewer runs altogether, but Headley scored 36 fewer and drove in 65 fewer. He’s not a small part of that. Again, anything’s possible, but looking at the rest of Headley’s career 2012 was just too weird a season consider any projections close to that even somewhat reasonable.
  2. Will 2014 be better than 2013? Assuming he stays healthy, I’d have no real problem saying that 2014 will be better. The rest of his career arch would suggest that he’s closer to .270 than .250, and it’s not an extreme leap to say that he’ll go back to that form. If that is true, it means he’s making more solid contact, which should mean his power numbers will go up. If that happens, he should benefit more from Petco Park’s drawn in fences than he did in 2013. Petco isn’t Coors Field, but it is a better place to hit now than it once was.
  3. Will the talent around him be better? How much better remains to be seen, but it should be better. First, I have to note what Joel Sherman of the New York Post said: “The Padres recently completed organizational meetings in Arizona and came away believing they will retain Chase Headley in his walk year rather than trade him. San Diego will listen to offers for the switch-hitting third baseman…” Let’s assume that the first part of that ends up being true and focus on the Padres. Yonder Alonso should be there for a full year. Jedd Gyorko didn’t finish the season all that well, but even a slight upgrade will help Headley’s numbers. Carlos Quentin is always injury prone, but 2013 was extreme for him, missing basically half of the season. Everth Cabrera will return from his PED suspension. Bill Shaiklin of the Los Angeles Times also indicated that they may be interested in bringing in Mark Trumbo, although that would certainly take at-bats from someone. Not exactly the 1927 Yankees, but the protection should be a lot better, and that will make his numbers in runs and RBI better. Also, it should get him better pitches to hit.
  4. Is Age a concern? Not a big one. Headley dealt with a few injuries, but not a massive amount. You always notice when an athlete hits 30 (Headley will be there in May), and some of his value has always been that he steals bases. That will drop as he gets older, but I’m not expecting a massive drop in 2014. Actually, I’m expecting that area to be better in 2014 than it was in 2013, which was well below average.

 

Early Projection Range

It’s very early, and some questions still have to be answered, notably when it comes to the talent around him. So, let’s view these numbers for Chase Headley more as a range than an actual prediction.

 

AB

H

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG
Realistic Good 570 161 83 19 80 16 .282
Realistic Bad 450 110 38 6 48 7 .244
Realistic Expectations    540 148 74 14 70 12 .270

 

Tags: Chase Headley San Diego Padres Third Base