Fantasy

Lee finds his swing

Derrek Lee is on pace to smack 31 HRs and knock in 103 runs.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Between 2003 and 2005 Derrek Lee was one of the best first basemen, fantasy or otherwise in the major leagues. He averaged 36 HRs, 99 RBIs and 16 stolen bases while hitting for a crisp .295 batting average.

Then in 2006 he played just 50 games due to a right wrist injury and it seems he hasn't been able to find his home run stroke since. Lee kept his batting average high over the next three seasons (.298), but his power numbers were down. He averaged just 16 HRs per season from 2006 through 2008 and that's just not enough for fantasy owners from a traditional power position like first base. Add in the loss of speed and stolen bases, and you have marginal fantasy value.

First basemen who average near .300 with little power, like Todd Helton (Average Draft Position - 319) and Lyle Overbay (ADP 350), get little respect on Draft Day. Neither player was likely drafted in your league and Lee was beginning to look like these guys.

But sometime after his one-home-run April, Lee apparently found his power stroke. He hit four homers in May and has six dingers in June with still a week left in the month. He's also batting .373 for the month and has a 20-game hitting streak.

Although he's still not stealing bases, Lee have become a viable fantasy option again. He's on pace to smack 31 HRs and knock in 103 runs.

The Cubs have an 11-game home stand coming up at the beginning of July and then a trip to Washington and Philadelphia, two hitter's parks. Historically, Lee's best months are June and July, so you might still benefit from making a trade for him, since he's likely to continue his torrid pace. If he's on your roster already, he should obviously be your everyday starter.

Derrek Lee's Career Statistics by Month
Month AB R H HR RBI SB AVE SLG OPS
March/April 963 167 268 46 177 28 0.278 0.503 0.877
May 1026 131 257 41 121 10 0.250 0.427 0.748
June 928 150 296 50 154 12 0.319 0.564 0.969
July 872 142 248 47 139 12 0.284 0.522 0.883
August 898 149 250 38 115 23 0.278 0.472 0.841
Sept/Oct 974 146 280 47 159 15 0.287 0.502 0.872


Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.