Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Corey Hart Free Agency: Where his Fantasy Value Would be Best


So many questions surround Corey Hart. Where will he go? Will he stay healthy? Does he also wear sunglasses at night?

According to Jim Bowden, there are four major players the Corey Hart free agent sweepstakes.

So, the incumbent Milwaukee Brewers vs. the Colorado Rockies, Boston Red Sox, and Tampa Rays.

Hart is an interesting player, in fact he is like someone else I’ve written about recently, Jayson Werth. He is not quite as sporadic as Jayson but he has certainly had some up and down seasons, and mostly due to injury.  Hart is a fairly consistent producer when healthy, but he has only played in over 150 games in one of his seven “full” seasons and has been over 140 games played in just four seasons. So he isn’t exactly a sure thing for a full season of at bats.

With that said, he is certainly worth consideration, especially depending on where he lands this Winter. While he missed all of 2013, 2012 was a very respectable campaign.

Hart put up a very respectable 2012 campaign: 

AB
H
R
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
5621529130835.270

The only problem is that that was two seasons ago. Again, Hart missed all of 2013 with not one, but TWO knee surgeries. I would venture to say that Hart’s time in the outfield may have come to an end.  That said, it would make Boston and Tampa slightly more favorable landing spots as they are in the AL and Hart could play first base or DH (I suppose not while Papi is around in Boston, but whatever).

Coming off two knee surgeries isn’t exactly easy to do, just ask Jason Kubel. However, Hart could very well be at full strength come playoff time with the proper rest management. So, when drafting Hart do not expect 500+ at bats.

Now in regards to the teams that are after him we need to consider two things.

1. Ball park factor: 

Stadium
Runs (Rank)
Home Runs (Rank)
Fenway Park (Boston)0.960 (20)0.845 (23)
Tropicana Field (Tampa)0.931 (23)0.975 (8)
Coors Field (Colorado)1.237 (1)1.169 (14)
Miller Park (Milwaukee)1.110 (5)1.259 (5)
 Source: ESPN Park Factors: Runs and Home Runs.

2. Lineup: These are projections as to what each team’s lineup would look like with Hart in it. 

Boston
Tampa
Colorado
Milwaukee
Jackie BradleyDavid DeJesusDexter FowlerNorichika Aoki
Shane VictorinoBen ZobristNolan ArenadoJean Segura
Dustin PedroiaEvan LongoriaCarlos GonzalezRyan Braun
David OrtizWil MyersTroy TulowitzkiAramis Ramirez
Jonny GomesMatt JoyceMichael CuddyerJonathan LuCroy
Corey HartDesmond JenningsWilin RosarioCarlos Gomez
Xander BogaertsYunel EscobarCorey HartCorey Hart
Will MiddlebrooksCorey HartDJ LeMahieu Rickie Weeks
David RossJose LobatonPitcherPitcher
Obviously those can change a lot, and other than the addition of Hart, we’re not speculating on any other moves that may happen.

Both of these elements, along with Hart’s health, will have an impact on Hart production for 2014.

Hart is is a guy that you must wait on as a dollar guy or a last round last round pick, (MAYBE even a free agent pick up after the draft). Hart has good upside potential but is such an injury concern and getting up a little in age (32 on opening day) that you have to be careful to invest too much in him.  Hart as a primary active player could really hurt your team if he misses a lot of time. On the other hand, Hart as a bench guy that can be used at 1B, a corner infield, or UTL spot could mean an extra 20+ home runs.

Ultimately I think that the best landing spot for Hart would be Boston. Even though it rates the worst pak factor wise, I think that Boston has good enough options to spell Hart to keep him healthy, and when fully healthy he would undoubtedly be their best 1B option.

He also would have a chance—albeit a small one—to crack the Top-5 in the order if he really starts to rake. Jonny Gomes may have won the hearts of the Boston fans during last season’s postseason run but he has not been a very consistent player in the regular season for quite some time. Corey Hart would have some pretty good value as the everyday first baseman for the Red Sox come the later months of the season, especially batting 5th. Let’s just hope those knees hold up.

Tags: Corey Hart