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Can Andruw return to glory?

Is Andruw Jones worth taking a gamble on late in your draft?
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It was not that long ago that Andruw Jones was a superstar.

From 1998 through 2007 Jones never hit less than 26 HRs or knocked in less than 84 runs while patrolling center field better than anyone else in the Major Leagues (he won 10 consecutive Gold Gloves). In 2005, Jones was at his peak, hitting a stunning 51 HRs and knocking in 128 runs. The next year was down a little bit, but still pretty good as he hit 41 HRs and knocked in 129. Then in his final year in Atlanta, the wheels began to fall off. He hit just .222 with 26 homers and 94 RBIs, but hit .207 and "slugged" at a .305 pace over September and October.

In 2008, Jones signed an $18 million-a-year, two-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but he never played up to that level. He had just 209 at bats, hit three homers, knocked in 14 runs and hit an anemic .158. The Dodgers released the five-time All-Star.

The Texas Rangers just signed Jones to a minor league deal on Sunday.

Now the question for fantasy owners is he worth taking a gamble on late in your draft? Can his "game" return to 2005, 2006 or even to his 2007 level and make him a viable fantasy player once again.

To come back from two "bad" years isn't that easy. Most "Comeback Player of the Year" winners had a single bad season, many times due to injury, before returning to stardom.

But there have been a few players who have showed us that it can be done. If you look at the numbers below, you will see that Ruben Sierra, Greg Vaughn, Jose Canseco and Javy Lopez have all made stunning comebacks after a long "down" period. And wouldn't that be a great fantasy bargain if Jones could do the same for you?

So although it doesn't happen often it is possible. If you take Andruw Jones with a very late pick, there really is no downside and possibly a huge upside. I'd say it's worth the risk.

Player Team Year AB R H HR RBI AVE SLG
Jose Canseco TEX 1992 73 8 17 4 15 0.233 0.452
Jose Canseco TEX 1993 231 30 59 10 46 0.255 0.455
Jose Canseco TEX 1994 429 88 121 31 90 0.282 0.552
Javy Lopez ATL 2001 438 45 117 17 66 0.267 0.425
Javy Lopez ATL 2002 347 31 81 11 52 0.233 0.372
Javy Lopez ATL 2003 457 89 150 43 109 0.328 0.687
Ruben Sierra CWS 1998 74 7 16 4 11 0.216 0.459
Ruben Sierra TEX 2000 60 5 14 1 7 0.233 0.283
Ruben Sierra TEX 2001 344 47 113 23 67 0.291 0.561
Greg Vaughn SD 1996 141 20 29 10 22 0.206 0.454
Greg Vaughn SD 1997 361 60 78 18 57 0.216 0.393
Greg Vaughn SD 1998 573 112 156 50 119 0.272 0.597


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

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