Chris Heisey caused quite a stir last week when he went 3-5 with 3 HR, 5 RBI and 4 R against the New York Yankees in the second game of a double header. At this point the Reds have still not anointed him their everyday left fielder, though with Drew Stubbs failing at the top of the order (not to say that he’s playing poorly, but 103 K is not ideal for a leadoff man) there certainly is a need for Heisey.
So, the question for fantasy owners is if he should be considered a viable fantasy option or if he should simply be ignored.
Obviously, let’s not get caught up on just one game. Players have big games only to fade out of memory before we know it. Does everyone remember Tuffy Rhodes of the Chicago Cubs? For those who don’t, he had one of the most memorable Opening Days in history, way back in 1994. Squaring off against the Mets and Dwight Gooden, Rhodes went 4-4 with 3 HR, 3 RBI and 3 R. His career line? That would be .224 with 13 HR and 44 RBI in 590 AB.
Sure, he ultimately went on to be a monster home run hitter in Japan, including 55 HR in 2001, but that has little relevance to fantasy owners. He’s known for that one game, sending fantasy owners scurrying to grab him off the waiver wire. It was all for naught, however, as that was his one true shining moment.
Will owners make the same mistake with Heisey or does he have the potential to continue to produce? If he has that potential, it isn’t going to be as a power hitter.
In 1,772 minor league at bats, he hit 51 home runs. That’s a home run once every 34.7 AB, far from a mark that would get anyone excited. The bulk of the power came in 2009, when he hit 22 HR between Double and Triple-A. Prior to that he had never hit more than 10.
This season he already has 8 HR, though given his history it certainly doesn’t appear to be something that we should be buying into. He is currently carrying a HR/FB of 15.7%, which on the surface is not completely unrealistic. However, he is holding a 52.0% fly ball rate, something that the Reds do not want to see, especially if they are looking for him to hit leadoff.
While it could lead to a little bit more power, if he continues to hit this many fly balls he is not likely going to hit for a good average. He’s currently at .271, but if the power waivers, the fly balls continue and his 26.3% strikeout rate stays constant, his average will drop significantly (yes, there is hope for him to improve on the strikeouts, though he hasn’t shown it in the Major Leagues quite yet).
If we aren’t counting on power and we aren’t counting on a great average, then he is a speed option, right? He did have 88 stolen bases over his minor league career, so you can’t say that he doesn’t have speed, but it certainly doesn’t appear like he’s going to be a 30+ stolen base threat. He did have 32 SB back in 2008, but it’s gone down since then:
- 2009 – 21 SB (516 AB)
- 2010 – 3 SB (280 AB)
- 2011 – 3 SB (128 AB)
In other words, we aren’t counting on power… He doesn’t appear to be a big time stolen base threat… His average is a risk…
So what exactly are we buying into? Sure, he has some potential, but it would appear likely that there are options with more upside available to you. At this point, I would leave him sitting on the waiver wire.
What are your thoughts of Heisey? Is he a player worth owning? Why or why not?
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