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Moving to the Headley of the class
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - If you can answer the following question correctly, you have obviously been doing your homework this offseason:

What player ranked in the top-eight among Yahoo fantasy hitters in 2012, yet isn't even being selected in the first FIVE rounds in most 2013 fantasy leagues?

If you said San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley, then you get an "A" for your pre-draft preparation.

Despite playing in one of the worst hitters parks in all of baseball and dealing with numerous trade rumors throughout last season, Headley managed to finish No. 8 among all non-pitchers.

That put him ahead of such luminaries as Robinson Cano, Adam Jones, Prince Fielder and David Wright.

Headley batted .286 with 95 runs scored, 31 home runs, a league-leading 115 RBI, 17 stolen bases and a .875 OPS.

Yet apparently fantasy owners aren't convinced.

That's the only conclusion you can come up with for why he has an ADP of 62 and getting selected after the likes of Paul Goldschmidt, Allen Craig and Jason Kipnis.

Perhaps it's his career .769 OPS or the fact that before last season he had never slugged more than 12 homers in a season or knocked in more than 64 runs.

Or it could have something to do with a mediocre start (.267, 8 HR, 43 RBI, 0.780 OPS before the All-Star break) that had fantasy owners sour on him well before a season-half explosion.

If your fantasy team wasn't competitive down the stretch, you might have missed what he did in August, September and October. In the final 57 games, Headley batted .318 with 19 home runs, 63 RBI and posted a 1.020 OPS.

If you believe he can repeat his 2012 performance, you would be a fool not to select him before the fifth round.

Or it could have been a "career year" and fantasy owners are just being wisely prudent.

Here is what we do know:

The fences have been moved in at Petco Park, thus helping Headley and the rest of the Padres lineup. The team announced modifications that will affect left- center, right-center and right field by about 11-12 feet. According to general manager Josh Byrnes, the changes "won't qualify the ballpark as neutral, but will certainly move it away from being a supremely run-suppressing environment."

As a switch hitter, Headley hit 11 homers to left, eight to center and 12 to right field, where the biggest changes to the fences was made. Advantage Headley.

Headley has always been good on the road (.302 BA, .836 OPS) and that shouldn't change, but an improvement at home, where he has a career .240 batting average would be huge. Or if the team can't come to terms with the him (he'll be a free agent after the 2014 season), they could end up trading him to a team with a more favorable home ballpark.

Headley's HR/FB rate in 2012 was 21.4 percent, good for 10th-best in the major leagues. Again, the fences have been moved in for 82 of his games.

Carlos Quentin, Headley's protection in the lineup, was only there for 86 games last season. He is supposedly healthy after having his right knee worked on last October.

The bottom line is that while Headley may have posted unrepeatable numbers last season, there are still many good reasons why he is likely to outperform his No. 62 ADP.




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

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