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Designated Hitters and Fantasy Football: A Discussion

ANAHEIM, CA - OCTOBER 22:  Vladimir Guerrero #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim doubles to center scoring teammate Torii Hunter #48 (Not Shown) during the first inning in Game Five of the ALCS against the New York Yankees during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Angel Stadium on October 22, 2009 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
John ZaktanskyCorrespondent IFebruary 21, 2010

Drafting a “designated hitter” is similar to cleaning the toilet.
It’s a job you want to do as little as possible.

And for good reason.  The position, if it can be called that, is filled with aging, injury-prone players who continue to demand a sizeable paycheck based on their glory days and not the present day.

Ignoring these players in your draft could come back to haunt you…much like that toilet you keep ignoring.

But it isn’t a good idea to overspend on these guys, either.

Some general comments about the designated hitters


Vladimir Guerrero

Guerrero has joined the ranks of the fantasy DH (or utility player) after playing just two games in the outfield in 2009 for the Angels.  He now plays in Texas and will see very little of the field.  This could keep him healthier than last season and he can still produce when he’s able to pick up a bat and swing it.  Still, it is very likely Guerrero will be drafted too high in your respective drafts, as less-informed people jump invest in his name a few rounds too early.


David Ortiz

Ortiz was one of the biggest disappointments last season, especially during the first half.  He did turn it around to the tune of 16 home runs and 52 RBI after the All-Star break, and does play in a stacked lineup, but Ortiz’s best days are over as a player and as a fantasy contributor.


Ken Griffey Jr.

It is one of the biggest travesties in sports that we never got to see Ken Griffey Jr. reach his full potential.  Now, the chronically injured Mariner barely breaks .210 in batting average (.214 in 2009) and is a twisted knee away from missing more major time.  Griffey does provide some pop when healthy, as shown by his 19 home runs last season, but the dismal plate ratios and inconsistent playing time isn’t worth the investment.


Hideki Matsui

On Friday, Hideki Matsui arrived at camp a few days early with the Los Angeles Angels, and promptly announced through a translator that his knees are not 100 percent. Matsui won’t be asked to produce much in the field, and will likely take over Vladimir Guerrero’s DH duties.  He definitely has power potential if his body allows him to play a decent amount of the season.  But as is the trend with our fantasy DH/utility players, it all depends on how much time is spent on the DL.


Andruw Jones

Jones is allegedly in the best shape he’s been in for a decade according, to’s Jon Heyman.  Whether or not that leads to a resurgence with his new team, the Chicago White Sox, remains to be seen.  Jones has struggled mightily since his 2007 campaign with the Braves and offers very little in terms of batting average assistance. As with most on this list, his main assistance, if he stays healthy, will be in power numbers.


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