Player Analysis: Can James Loney Become A Viable Fantasy Option In 2012?

According to Mel Antonen (via Twitter):

“Ned Colletti says on MLB Network Radio that James Loney will be at 1B for LA next season. Says 20-25 HRs possible.”

If you agree with the decision to retain Loney as the first baseman or not (which I am not in favor of), the second half of that statement just seems preposterous.  Outside of his explosion in 2007 (15 HR in 344 AB), has Loney done anything to make us think that he could even come remotely close  to reaching 20+ HR in a season?

Look at his numbers over the past four years:

  • 2008 – 13 HR (595 AB)
  • 2009 – 13 HR (576 AB)
  • 2010 – 10 HR (588 AB)
  • 2011 – 12 HR (531 AB)

Just to further drive the point home, in 2,203 minor league at bats he hit a robust 36 HR.  So, after years of mediocre power numbers, at best, why exactly should we believe that he is suddenly going to develop a power stroke?

The lack of power alone basically eliminates Loney from fantasy viability.  Last season there were 13 players eligible for 1B who hit at least 25 HR.  There were 18 players who hit at least 20 HR.  If Loney wanted to have any fantasy appeal he would have to drive in a significant number of runs and hit for a tremendous average to overcome the deficit in the power department.  Of course, neither of those are actually the case.

Sure, Loney has driven in at least 88 RBI in three seasons (he had 65 in ‘11).  Last season there were eight who drove in at least 100 runs.  In other words, even if he gets back to his best season there’s no advantage, is there?

His average has always been fine, but is he going to help you there?  For his career he has posted a .288 average.  He does a good job making contact (12.4% strikeout rate), but without the power he still needs to have pretty good luck to hit for an elite average.  For his career he has a BABIP of .311 and has been at .315 or worse each of the past four seasons.  Is there really a hope that he improves on the numbers significnatly?  I don’t think so.

Throw in the fact that he’s never scored more than 73 runs in a season and Loney’s potential value just keeps falling further and further.

The Dodgers have to try and talk him up.  He’s on their roster and they need to hope that they can get something out of him in 2012.  However, based on his career numbers there is probably a better chance of him losing his job to Juan Rivera and Jerry Sands than there is of him actually excelling.  He’s a non-factor for fantasy owners and should absolutely be ignored in all formats.

What are your thoughts of Loney?  Do you think he has any potential value in 2012?  Why or why not?

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Make sure to check out all of our preliminary 2012 rankings:


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One Response to Player Analysis: Can James Loney Become A Viable Fantasy Option In 2012?

  1. Milo says:

    I gave up on LOney two years ago.

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