New York Yankees outfielder Andruw Jones’ statistics for the first half of 2012 looked okay, but not awe-inspiring. He has 11 home runs and 22 runs batted in. Scott Hairston, an outfielder for the New York Mets, has 12 home runs and 34 RBI. So what is special about both of these players? Well, in the first half of the year, Jones drove in 11 home runs in just 127 at bats, while Hairston hit those 12 home runs in 185 at bats.
According to the numbers compiled for the first half of the season, Jones was hitting a home run every 11.5 at bats, while Hairston was doing it every 15.4 at bats. To put these numbers in perspective, Jones had a better ratio of hitting home runs than Jose Bautista, who was tied for the major league lead in home runs at that time.
Jones slowed down after the first half, and currently only has 13 homers, although he could get hot again at any time. As for Hairston, he currently has 17 homers and 48 RBI. At press time, Hairston is tied for second for the most homers on the team with David Wright, even though Wright is a starter and Hairston is a part-time player.
As for Jones, he has been a very valuable tool against lefthanded pitching. Even on a team surrounded by All-Star hitters like Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, and Derek Jeter, Jones has made his mark. Arguably the highlight of his season was when he hit three home runs against the team’s arch-rival Boston Red Sox in a day-night doubleheader. While his batting average is nothing to write home about, he has been a reliable home run hitter for the team, and he is also very good defensively. Hairston also does not hit well for average, but he is effective against both lefthanded and righthanded pitching.
However, the problem with both of these players when it comes to fantasy baseball is that neither of them play full-time. So on the days they do not play, you would have to find somebody else to fill their spot. This is not an issue, of course, if you play daily fantasy baseball, in which you pick a new team and set up a new lineup each day. If they are playing that day, you would just pick them up with no problem.
If you are on a season-long fantasy baseball team, it gets a little more complicated. You might want to pick either Hairston or Jones as a utility player, to throw into your lineup when they play. Granted, you are sacrificing a little flexibility, because neither player is a full-times one, but you could be getting a home run or two for your efforts.
Lisa Swan writes for a variety of sports sites, including DraftStreet.com.