Today we take a look at one of the top NL performers last season in Chase Headley. Headley was a 2nd round pick in the 05 draft by the Padres and until last year shown glimpses of taking his game to becoming a $20 NL only player but no one expected his 2012 season. Headley is 2 years away from free agency as the Padres have him under control for this season and next year 2014. Headley is making 8.58 million this year and if he puts up another big season he will cash in at least on a 1 year deal through arbitration next winter. Lets take a look at Headley's stats since he become a starter player in 2008.
08 - 9HR, 38RBI, 34R, 4SB, .269 Avg in 331 AB's
09 - 12HR, 64RBI, 62R, 10SB, .262 Avg in 543 AB's
10 - 11HR, 58RBI, 77R, 17SB, .264 Avg in 610 AB's
11 - 4HR, 44RBI, 43R, 13SB, .289 Avg in 381 AB's
12 - 31HR, 115RBI, 95R, 17SB, .286 Avg in 604 AB's
Now for the last two or three years people have been predicting Headley come become a $20 NL only roto player as he could turn his 30 doubles a year into more HR's. Experts thought Headley could be a guy to give you high teens in HR's & SB's a batting average above .285 and runs and RBI's close to 80. That's good production but last year was a ridiculous season. Headley is in his prime years, has more major league experience under his belt and was injury free all year. What makes Headley's year even more impressive from last year is he did it playing half his games in Petco and wasn't like he is surrounded by a loaded line up either.
How do I explain the unexplainable? I don't. Remember a few years ago the year Eric Byrnes had for the Diamondbacks? Well after that season he was a complementary player and out of baseball 3 years after his magical 07 season. I am not saying Headley will be out of baseball in 3 years but repeating last season will be very hard to do. Do I think Headley who now has a new found confidence in himself as a player as well as a very good chance to be a $25 NL only fantasy player in 2013? Yes I do but asking for him to be the player he was last year, while he is obviously capable as we saw last season is not something anyone can count on.
Last Point Trade Warning:
The Pads and Headley started talking this winter about a long term deal and those talks went nowhere. If Headley is having another big season the Pads will realize this summer he will get a huge number in arbitration this winter (maybe around 15 million almost double his salary this year) and will be just 1 year away from free agency. Also at that point it would appear the Padres would have no chance to resign him based on their budgets. During the summer would be when the Padres could get the most for Headley as he could help a contending team the rest of the way this year and next season as well before turning free agent. Obviously a player who is a strong trade bait candidate especially in an NL only league makes that owner take on more risk. This is someone all NL only owners must be aware of regarding Headley and players like him.
Chase Headley thumb injury the other day probably means he will be out most of April. This will bring his draft day price down but bid accordingly as thumb injuries can be tricky. Need to get a very good discount on Headley with this latest news come draft day.
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NL King - C.Lizza