Dispelling The “Negatives” Of Paul Konerko

Paul Konerko gets little respect from fantasy owners, though as fantasy drafts have come upon us he has quickly become a player that I’m targeting.  No, not in shallower leagues, but if I’m in a league that requires a corner infielder he is one of the players on my list.  Why?  He’s a cheap source of power that no one else seems to care about.

First let’s look at his statistics from last season:

546 At Bats
.277 Batting Average (151 Hits)
28 Home Runs
88 RBI
75 Runs
1 Stolen Bases
.353 On Base Percentage
.489 Slugging Percentage
.282 Batting Average on Balls in Play

No, those aren’t sexy numbers, but at the same time when he’s available in your draft would you really complain if he repeated them?  Then again, he has the potential to outperform them.

Before someone says that he’s getting up there in age, he’s just 34-years old.  It is not like we are talking about a 40-year old.  I would agree that he’s likely on the downside of his career, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have another good year or two left in him.

A lot of the negative vibes surrounding him center around the .240 average in 2008, but he also suffered amazing poor luck that year (.244 BABIP).  He’s never been a player to post stellar BABIP (career .282), but that was just ridiculous.

He’s a career .277 hitter and has even had a year of .313.  He makes solid contact, having a strikeout rate of 19.0% or better every year outside of his seven at bat stint back in 1997.  The average should be there, unless he once again suffers from big-time bad luck.

The other concern is his drop in flyball rate in 2008.  Just look at the numbers:

  • 2005 – 42.0%
  • 2006 – 42.5%
  • 2007 – 44.6%
  • 2008 – 37.8%
  • 2009 – 45.7%

If he hadn’t rebounded last season I could buy the concern, but he proved last year that he still has the ability to put the ball in the air.  Yeah, he had a slight decrease in HR/FB (13.2%), but would it be a surprise to see him get it back up to where he was in prior years?

No, don’t expect 2004s 22.0%, but he was between 15.3% and 17.5% from 2006-2008.  He gets back into that range again this season and he’s a 30 HR hitter once again.  Considering that he has five seasons of 30+ HR, it wouldn’t come as a big surprise.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what I’d expect from him in 2010:

.282 (145-515), 24 HR, 85 RBI, 80 R, 1 SB, .304 BABIP, .372 OBP, .476 SLG

That’s all we really want from him, isn’t it?  A solid average, plenty of home runs and some RBI.  We all know he can’t run and he’s not likely to score many runs, but from a corner infielder that’s a fine number.

As I’ve already said, he also has the ability to significantly better the power department, so what’s not to like?  He’s no longer a starting first baseman for those in smaller formats, but as soon as you start looking at a corner infielder he’s a player that I want to own.

What about you?  What are your thoughts on Konerko?  Is he a player you want to own?

If you would like to see a free preview of the Rotoprofessor 2010 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide (available for just $5) now including a Top 50 Prospects for 2010 List, click here.

For some 2010 projections, click here.  Among those we’ve already covered include:

Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.

2 comments

  1. ClayHenry says:

    Wow… you are predicting a high BABIP for a guy who is slower than a sloth! But I do like Konerko though.

  2. Morat says:

    He had some thumb problems last year. I remember him sucking for two stretches until he had some shot applied then he was fantastic. Gotta find more info about this.

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