Will Brad Hawpe Hold Fantasy Value As The Padres 1B?

Brad Hawpe has found a new home in San Diego, though it isn’t to man the outfield.  Hawpe has been tabbed by the Padres to help fill the gaping hole left by the trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez to Boston.  At the major league level he’s appeared in just nine games at the position, though he did log 215 games there while in the minors.

His glove will be a question, at least early on, but the bigger issue for fantasy owners will be his bat.  From 2006-2009 while a member of the Rockies, Hawpe didn’t hit below .283 while averaging nearly 25 home runs a year.  Unfortunately, last year he hit just .245 with 9 HR spending time with the Rockies and Rays.

The average is a fair concern, considering his BABIP over his four strong seasons:

  • 2006 – .348
  • 2007 – .341
  • 2008 – .341
  • 2009 – .356

It’s not hard to imagine that luck running out, sooner or later, though the consistency has to make you think it is believable.  Last season he posted a .308 mark.  The problem is, if the luck isn’t going to be there, his average is going to fall.  For his career he has posted a 26.8% strikeout rate (a mark he has been above the past three seasons).  Over the past five years he has hit .310 at Petco Park, with 5 HR in 129 AB.  That’s promising, but he also had a .372 BABIP.

Even in the vast expanses of Petco Park, we are probably better off expecting an average around .270, as opposed to anything above that.

The power is also a concern.  It is hard to imagine him returning to the 25+ HR range, considering what will now be his home ballpark.  In that ballpark he has hit a home run about once every 26 AB.  In 450 AB, that would put him at 17 HR.  Granted, he could really shine on the road, but like with the average, expectations need to be tempered.

You also have to remember that, sooner or later, Kyle Blanks will be returning and easily could claim the job as his own.  However, with the ability to get AB in the outfield (Ryan Ludwick & Will Venable are the Padres starting corner outfielder), if he hits the AB will likely be there.

It may sound like I am being extremely negative of Hawpe, but the fact of the matter is that after last season it is tough to go into 2011 expecting him to return to his 2006-2009 levels.  With that said, in five outfielder formats he is going to be a player worth gambling on.  Even if he does hit .270 with 17 HR, he is going to have some value as a depth option, if nothing else.  Knowing that he has the potential to exceed those numbers, he’s a better late round option then many others.

What are your thoughts on Hawpe?  Is he a player you’d draft?  Why or why not?

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  1. yummy says:

    I view Hawpe as only a fill-in until Kyle Blanks returns to the line-up at 1st base. From there Hawpe is expendable and will probably get traded at the deadline. Not worth a draft pick in my opinion.

  2. Rotoprofessor says:

    I agree with you 100% about Blanks, but if Hawpe hits I don’t think he will just be banished to the bench. He easily could become a swing man, getting time at the corner outfield positions (giving Ludwick & Venable a rest), as well as a day or two a week at 1B. It also wouldn’t be shocking to see him take Venable’s job altogether.

    The Padres are a team that needs bats, so if he hits they will find a way to keep him in the lineup on a daily basis.

    • Fred says:

      Yes, it would be. It would be very shocking to see Hawpe taking over for Venable in RF. Venable is so much better defensively than Hawpe in RF it’s scary. Then you add speed to the picture. Venable’s speed adds a dimension that Hawpe never will be able to come close to. And considering the Padres were all about pitching, defense, and running, I don’t see how it’s possible Hawpe replaces Venable in RF.

      And look at how Venable faired as lead off hitter late last season. It was working for him. Then he got hurt.

      Venable getting hurt would be the only way Hawpe replaces Venable in RF. I still think it’s more likely the Padres would go with either Denorfia or Cunningham than Hawpe in RF. That’s a challenging position to play at Petco Park. LF might be a different story. Ludwick needs to show more at the dish to hold onto his starting job. That would seem to be the ideal platoon situation except that Ludwick usually hits right-handers better than lefties.

      And I also think if/when Blanks shows he’s recovered from his surgery he’ll soon be promoted for sole 1B duty in San Diego. Unless Blanks faulters again upon his return to Petco.

  3. Michael Morse says:

    Wheres the love?

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