Grady Sizemore has been through a lot since 2009. Left elbow surgery, abdominal surgery, microfracture surgery on his left knee, arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, sports hernia surgery, back surgery, microfracture surgery on his right knee. Seven surgeries and 5 years later Grady Sizemore is back and the front-runner to be the every day centerfielder for the Boston Red Sox. He signed a contract worth $750,000 but it could be worth six million if he meets all of his incentives.
At one time Sizemore was a must own in fantasy, but 2009 was a long time ago. In 2009 Derek Jeter was close to a 20/20 player, Pujols hit 47 home runs while Ryan Howard hit 45, Ichiro Suzuki hit .352 and Carl Crawford stole 60 bases. These were some of the best players in the league, but today (with the exception of Pujols) they are all mid to late round picks. So why has Sizemore’s ownership jumped up to 47% in CBS leagues (up from 16% last week)?
Grady’s last game action was in 2011 when he played 71 games for the Cleveland Indians. He hit .224 that year with 10 home runs and 32 RBIs in 268 at bats. His average fly ball distance was 294.6, but one has to wonder how much of that he’ll have after over a 2 year layoff. If he is truly healthy there is a chance we can see 20 home runs, but the key word here is Healthy. Assuming he is healthy and some of that power is still there, what else can we expect from Sizemore?
Well you can cross stolen bases off the list. Grady used to be good for around 30 stolen bases, but with multiple knee surgeries and other leg ailments over the years, I think it’s safe to say his running days are over. We may get a handful of steals; hell David Ortiz stole 4 last year, but if you’re looking at Grady you’re not thinking speed anymore. Maybe he can contribute in batting average? As Al Borland used to say…I don’t think so Tim. Sizemore’s average was on the decline even before the injury bug moved in and evicted his immune system.
2006 – .290
2007 – .277
2008 – .268
2009 – .248
2010 – .211
2011 – .224
So far this spring Sizemore is batting .360, but Martin Prado is batting .475 so take that batting average with a grain of salt.
OK, so maybe he can score a decent amount of runs. This is possible as Sizemore used to score 100 runs a year, but that was back when he was leading off, stealing bases and had two good knees. He has been leading off some games this spring, so IF he continues to hit for average he could score 80 or more runs over the course of the season. Even if the average dips and he’s moved down in the order he could still score 65-70 runs as the Sox have some potentially decent bats throughout the order.
That brings us to the final category of RBIs. If Sizemore ends up in one of the top 2 spots in the order, don’t bank on more than 60 RBIs. Jacoby Ellsbury hit only 53 RBIs out of the leadoff spot and Shane Victorino only managed to knock in 61 batting second. Granted both men missed some time as Ellsbury & Victorino played in 134 and 122 games respectively, but I’m sure everyone would be thrilled to see Sizemore play that many. If he hits 5th or 6th you could be looking at 75 RBIs (give or take), but just like I said with runs, this will come down to his ability to hit for average. You could say that it would come down to how he hits with runners in scoring position, but for his career Sizemore has been the same hitter whether the bases were empty or there were men on. He does hold a .339 batting average when the bases are loaded so you do have a sliver of hope.
So what is the conclusion here? Sizemore is a 31-year-old player that has talent but hasn’t played a full year since 2008. He’s had 7 surgical procedures since that time and has played a total of 210 games in the last 5 years (zero games in 2012 & 2013). The batting average is on the decline despite what you see this spring (remember Mark Reynolds last April?), and the speed ran away and didn’t leave a forwarding address. He could deliver runs and RBIs but that is dependent on the batting average which is questionable. Realistically Sizemore is a major injury risk and yet, he’s owned in 15% more leagues than Carlos Quentin who is the same age, has the same power potential and holds the same injury risk.
I’m still scratching my head because I don’t get it. Everyone loves a comeback story, but unless I’m missing something…this ain’t it. Sizemore is nothing more than a replacement level player, and that’s being polite. Players like Corey Dickerson or Tommy Medica are a better gamble than him. Even stashing a minor league player like Gregory Polanco, Oscar Taveras or Byron Buxton makes more sense then rostering Sizemore. I don’t hate Sizemore (even though it may look that way) and I’m actually rooting for him to succeed, I just don’t see it happening.
Are you one of those Grady Sizemore owners? If so, I would like to hear from you and to know your reasoning behind taking a chance on him. What are your thoughts on Sizemore, sound off in the comment section below.