Would Corey Hart Hold More Appeal If He Gained 1B Eligibility?

With Prince Fielder now residing in Detroit the Brewers are currently left to open the year with Mat Gamel as their starting first baseman (barring another move).  Despite the fact that they may be without Ryan Braun for the first 50 games of the season there have been rumblings that Corey Hart could see time at first base.  It’s hard to imagine the team further weakening their outfield, but you never really know.

So, with the potential for dual eligibility, let’s take a look to see if it adds anything to his fantasy value.

In 2011 Hart hit .285 with 26 HR, 63 RBI, 80 R and 7 SB over 492 AB (130 games).  However, before we just use those numbers for our analysis, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Hart spent 256 AB hitting in the leadoff spot in 2011.  With no Fielder and potentially no Braun, there’s no way that continues.
  2. Hart has played over 145 games in a season just once in his career (157 games in 2008)

For arguments sake let’s assume that he can stay relatively healthy and play 145 games in 2012.  If that happens or not remains to be seen, but we can all hope can’t we?

We also know that he’s not going to be hitting leadoff as the Brewers need his bat in the middle of the order.  So, how do we estimate his RBI and R for the coming season?  It is an inexact science, at best.  You obviously cannot go by his numbers in the leadoff spot and you can’t use the previous numbers from Fielder or Braun, since he is hardly the player that they are.

So what numbers do we use?  We might as well use his career year, which came in 2010, when he hit .283 with 31 HR, 102 RBI, 91 R and 7 SB.  Does anyone really believe that he could better those numbers?   There’s a much better chance of him coming in well below those number than above them.

Still, for arguments sake, if he were to match those numbers where would he have ranked among first baseman in 2011?  Let’s look how he would compare against those who qualified for the batting title:

  • Average – There were nine 1B who hit .293 or better and 12 who hit .282 or better.  Hart is a career .277 hitter and has never hit better than .295 (2007).
  • Home Runs – There were eight 1B who hit at least 30 HR and 14 who hit 26 or more.  The only season Hart hit more than 26 HR was in ’10.
  • RBI – There were seven 1B who had at least 103 RBI and 13 with at least 85.  Hart has only had more than 81 twice in his career (and ’10 was the only year he was over 100).
  • Runs – There were six 1B who had at least 90 R.
  • Stolen Bases – Only two 1B stole more than nine bases (Hart used to run more, though he has had just seven each of the past two seasons)

In other words, if Hart was able to match his career year of 2010 he would hold value as a low-end 1B.  Of course, in that season Hart spent 361 AB hitting second, ahead of both Fielder and Braun.  Without the protection that they offer can we reasonably expect him to reach those levels?  Yes, he could offer an advantage in the speed department, but that’s really about it.  At the end of the day he should hold a lot more value as an outfielder as opposed to a first baseman.

Will having additionally flexibility help?  Absolutely, but I wouldn’t bump him up draft boards because of it.

What are your thoughts on Hart?  Would he interest you more if he held 1B eligibility?  Why or why not?

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  1. Art Vandelay says:

    OF is so shallow, i’d still plug him in there…

  2. D says:

    Interesting article. Agree with you, but I’m a little more bullish on this potential. Gamel’s now done for the year, so the possibility is more likely. Yahoo leagues require 5 starts or 10 appearances at position to gain eligibilty, and that eligibility happens IN season – (not having to wait until next year). It helps me bc I’m loaded at the OF (granderson, gordon, gardner, bryce harper, willingham), and my 1B options are all underperforming (K. Morales, Ike Davis, Duda). Speed is a weakness of mine so I like the ability to get some bags at the 1b slot and insert an even faster thief in the OF. So I guess in my situation, there is more reason to like this flexibilty.

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