Will Brad Hawpe Hold Fantasy Value As The Padres' 1B?

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Will Brad Hawpe Hold Fantasy Value As The Padres' 1B?
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Brad Hawpe has found a new home in San Diego, though it isn’t to man the outfield. 

Hawpe has been tabbed by the Padres to help fill the gaping hole left by the trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez to Boston. At the major league level, he’s appeared in just nine games at the position, though he did log 215 games there while in the minors.

His glove will be a question, at least early on, but the bigger issue for fantasy owners will be his bat. 

From 2006-2009, while a member of the Rockies, Hawpe didn’t hit below .283 while averaging nearly 25 home runs per year. Unfortunately, last year he hit just .245 with nine HR spending time with the Rockies and Rays.

The average is a fair concern, considering his BABIP over his four strong seasons:

  • 2006 – .348
  • 2007 – .341
  • 2008 – .341
  • 2009 – .356

It’s not hard to imagine that luck running out, sooner or later, though the consistency has to make you think it is believable. 

Last season, he posted a .308 mark. The problem is, if the luck isn’t going to be there, his average is going to fall. For his career, he has posted a 26.8% strikeout rate (a mark he has been above the past three seasons). 

Over the past five years, he has hit .310 at Petco Park, with five HR in 129 AB. That’s promising, but he also had a .372 BABIP.

Even in the vast expanses of Petco Park, we are probably better off expecting an average around .270, as opposed to anything above that.

The power is also a concern. It is hard to imagine him returning to the 25+ HR range, considering what will now be his home ballpark. In that ballpark, he has hit a home run about once every 26 AB. In 450 AB, that would put him at 17 HR. 

Granted, he could really shine on the road, but like with the average, expectations need to be tempered.

It may sound like I am being extremely negative of Hawpe, but the fact of the matter is that after last season it is tough to go into 2011 expecting him to return to his 2006-2009 levels. With that said, in five outfielder formats he is going to be a player worth gambling on. 

Even if he does hit .270 with 17 HR, he is going to have some value as a depth option, if nothing else. Knowing that he has the potential to exceed those numbers, he’s a better late round option then many others.

What are your thoughts on Hawpe? Is he a player you’d draft? Why or why not?

 

Make sure to pre-order your copy of the Rotoprofessor 2011 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, selling for just $5, by clicking here.

Make sure to check out some of our 2011 projections:

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