Article originally published at fantasybullpen.com.
Quite a few players filed for free agency over the past few days and while CC Sabathia is obviously the best pitcher, as far as hitters it is probably a tossup between Mark Teixeira and Manny Ramirez. Both hitters can legitimately hit .300 with a ton of home runs, and their fantasy value will probably change a lot depending on what team they land with. Ramirez is a lot older, and will definitely get a smaller contract, however for your 09 fantasy teams it’s not clear who the better option is. Let’s take a look at the numbers.
When it comes to batting average, you won’t find two players that were better than Ramirez and Teixeira in the second half of 2008. Teixeira hit .358 and Ramirez hit .396. Both players are also similar in that their batting averages are high because of their power and contact type rather than their ability to make contact with the ball. Even while striking out 16% of the time last season, Tex maintained an xBA of .319. Ramirez struck out an even worse 22% while still maintaining and xBA of .312. While this looks good for Teixeira, a power hitting first basemen in his prime, I’m a little concerned about Ramirez. He’s 36 and his power, while far better in 08 than in 07, probably won’t reach pre-07 levels again. Ramirez still hits the ball in the air pretty hard and far, but his low CT% is going to decline a little and so will his power. Teixeira probably wins in this category by a small margin; however the two players are pretty close here.
If we put aside RBIs, and runs, which we should, and we see how little each player will help you out in steals we see this is a question of average and home runs. If we give a slight advantage to Teixeira in average, these players’ values are going to depend a lot on their power hitting abilities. Both players have great power; however the difference is that while Teixeira is 28, right in his prime, Manny is 37 and declining. Manny put up better power numbers last season, however Manny’s age and inconstancy give Teixeira an edge.
While both Manny and Tex are going to be good next season it is pretty clear that Manny is declining and Teixeira is right in his prime. As long as he is consistent in 2009, which is the only thing we can really predict, he will be the far better fantasy performer and for similar reasons the better "real" baseball player in 2009.
Alex Geshwind is a sabermetric baseball analyst for FantasyBullpen.com. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.