Fantasy Football Maniaxs

February 23, 2010 6:03 PM

Same Face, Different Place: Johnny Damon

johnny damon.jpgAfter having a great season in 2009, the former Yankee hit the free-agent market in hopes of signing another lucrative long-term deal. Unfortunately, he had to settle and did not get the deal he once hoped for.

No one benefited more from the new Yankee Stadium than Damon, who tied his career high last year by hitting 24 home runs. He finished with 82 RBI, scored 107 runs and hit .282.

However, one number that did decline in 2009 was his stolen base total. He only had 12, and in his previous three years in New York, he averaged 27 stolen bases.

After having a great 2009, he hit the 2010 free-agent market and had to settle for a one-year deal. After contemplating offers from several teams, he finally settled on a one-year deal with the Detroit Tigers for $8 million.

The Tigers desperately needed a leadoff man and someone to replace OF Curtis Granderson, who was traded to the New York Yankees in the offseason.

Will Damon's numbers suffer, or will he be able to duplicate 2009?

Switching from a hitter's park to a pitcher's park will hurt Damon's power numbers. His three-year averages are .285/.365/451. During that span, Damon has scored 98 runs, with 18 home runs, 72 RBI and has stolen 23 bases. His OPS over that stretch is .815.

Fantasy Owners should be aware of Damon's numbers on the road versus home numbers. Last year at home, he had 17 home runs, with 42 RBI, and hit .279. On the road, he had only seven home runs, with 40 RBI, and hit .284. His RBI and batting average are very similar, yet his power production is notably a concern for Fantasy owners for 2010.

Last year, Damon's average draft position was 88.6 in ESPN leagues and 167.8 in CBS Sportsline leagues. This year in Fantasy drafts, given the age of Damon (36), it will be interesting to see where he will land.

He should be drafted between rounds 8-10 in rotisserie leagues and head-to-head formats. Expect Damon to have between 14-16 home runs, with over 70 RBI, and to hit around .280. Having the ability to lead off will definitely help Damon score runs, yet he probably will not score over 100 runs in 2010.

Fantasy Owners looking for a No. 3 outfielder will be very pleased with Damon, and with the opportunity to hit the free-agent market again in the offseason, he may be motivated to show everyone he still has the goods to produce.

By John Arias, analyst at Fantasy Baseball Maniaxs

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