The designated hitter is no longer a position for aging sluggers no longer able to perform in the outfield. Some of baseball’s best hitters can be found here, including some key players for team owners in a keeper fantasy baseball league.
The top five keeper fantasy baseball designated hitters are:
1. David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox
2. Jim Thome, Chicago White Sox
3. Jason Giambi, Oakland A’s
4. Hank Blalock, Texas Rangers
5. Travis Hafner, Cleveland Indians
#1 Keeper Designated Hitter – David Ortiz – Fantasy Baseball 2009
Don’t think that last year’s injury will slow down David Ortiz in 2009. In the past, Ortiz has bounced back from injury with a vengeance. Since Ortiz does not have to carry all of the offensive load on a powerful Red Sox team, he can relax at the plate wait for his perfect pitch. Last year, he hit .264 with 23 homers. That’s a career year for many, but for Ortiz, something in the area of 45 homers and a .300 average is what we should see in 2009.
#2 Keeper Designated Hitter – Jim Thome – Fantasy Baseball 2009
There is no other way to say it: Jim Thome is incredible. Year after year, he delivers huge numbers, which makes him a perfect fit for an keeper fantasy league team owner. Some many worry about his age (38 on Opening Day 2009), but Jim Thome shows no signs of slowing down. His average may have dipped a bit recently (.245 in 2008), but the power was still there (34 home runs, 90 RBIs). That should good enough for most keeper league team owners.
#3 Keeper Designated Hitter – Jason Giambi – Fantasy Baseball 2009
Don’t bury Jason Giambi just yet. After leaving the New York Yankees for a return to the Oakland A’s, expect a nice return to form. It wasn’t like Giambi had an off year in 2009: he hit .247 but did homer 32 times and drove in 96 RBIs. There’s no reason he can’t be better this season now that he’s back home.
#4 Keeper Designated Hitter – Hank Blalock – Fantasy Baseball 2009
Yes, Hank Blalock. The former third baseman takes over the DH slot for the Texas Rangers after two injury-shortened seasons. The Rangers hope that Blalock will continue the tear he finished the 2008 season on (.287 average and 12 homers in limited play). It appears he is back in his usual groove, which should be bad news for opposing pitchers. Hank Blalock uses the entire field to scatter hits, so .280 and 25 homers are realistic numbers for 2009. He’s only 28, so he could be in this role for years to come.
#5 Keeper Designated Hitter – Travis Hafner – Fantasy Baseball 2009
Travis Hafner represents a bit of risk for keeper fantasy league team owners. His performance for the Cleveland Indians the last two seasons has been spotty (granted, he was injured last year). Last year, he hit only .197 with five homers. He usually hits around .280 and could reach the 30 homer plateau. If he is healthy, he can give quite a reward to a team owner willing to take a chance on him.
Other potential DH candidates for your keeper fantasy baseball league team include Rocco Baldelli of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Jason Kubel of the Minnesota Twins, and Gary Sheffield of the Detroit Tigers.
Source: MLB.com, ESPN.com