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2014 Fantasy Baseball Player Profile: J.J. Hardy

J.J. Hardy is one of the more effective shortstops in the fantasy game. Why does no one seem to recognize that fact?

Slide 1 of 2 2014 Fantasy Baseball Player Profile: J.J. Hardy | Slide - 1 FantasyAlarm.com

Some players are sexy and everyone wants them on their fantasy baseball team. Names like Billy Hamilton, Bryce Harper and Eric Hosmer are hot. At the other end of the spectrum are those players that are decidedly unsexy, even if they are productive ball players. One of the guys in the second category is J.J. Hardy. Is he somewhat flawed from a fantasy perspective? We can all answer yes to that question. At the same time there are some things that he does very well but in many corners that just isn't enough. We'll explore whether Hardy is getting a fair shake or not with the words that follow.

Who led all shortstops in homers last season? That's right, it was Hardy who tied with Troy Tulowitzki for the positional lead with 25 homers. A solid power bat, Hardy has hit at least 22 homers in each of the past three seasons. He's also hit at least 22 homers in each of his last five seasons of 500 at-bats. Dude has some nice power. Moreover, the following data points are also in play. (1) Hardy is the only shortstop in baseball who has at least 22 homers each of the past three years. (2) Hardy and Tulo are the only two shortstops that have hit at least 22 homers in five of the last seven seasons. No other shortstop has more than three seasons of 22 homers in those seven years. Hardy is an elite power bat at the shortstop position. Period.

Hardy has knocked in at least 68 runs in each of the past three seasons. He's also hit that mark in each of his last five seasons of 500 at-bats. (1) Hardy is the only shortstop in baseball that has hit that mark each of the last three years. (2) He and Tulo are the only two shortstops in baseball to have recorded 68 RBIs in five of the last seven seasons. Hardy is an elite RBI producer at the shortstop position. Period.

Hardy has scored at least 66 runs in each of the past three seasons. (1) Hardy is one of four shortstops who has scored at least 66 runs each of the past three years. The others are: Erick Aybar, Elvis Andrus and Asdrubal Cabrera. (2) Hardy has scored at least 66 runs in each of the last five seasons that he has had 500 at-bats. Hardy is actually second with five such seasons in the last seven years. Derek Jeter is first with six such seasons. Hardy is an elite run scorer at to the shortstop position. Period.

Slide 2 of 2 2014 Fantasy Baseball Player Profile: J.J. Hardy | Slide - 2 FantasyAlarm.com

So I ask you, given all of that data, why aren't more people jazzed about Hardy?

Some guesses.

I've noted multiple times five out of seven years with Hardy. It needs to be noted that Hardy appeared in 115 and 101 games in 2009-10. At the same time he's missed a total of seven games the past two years. Tulowitzki misses that many games every April. Hardy is pretty darn solid and stable, but maybe people remember those down efforts of years past with Hardy.

Maybe it has something to do with the numbers Hardy posts? His consistency is laudable, but often the numbers are nowhere near elite. Only once has hit 30 homers. Only twice has he hit 80 RBIs. Only twice has he scored 80 runs. He's been very consistent, very solid. Elite? Rarely.

Perhaps it's because he is not dynamic? No one could argue that he is. Hardy has stolen a total of eight bags in his career and just two steals in three years. He'll never do anything in the steals category.

Hardy is not a strong batting average producer. This is probably the biggest reason that folks downgrade him. For his career Hardy has hit .260. That's slightly above the big league average during his career (.263). He's hit in the .260's three of the past four years, but twice in the past five years he's failed to hit .240. There is some volatility with his average, and it's down and not up. This is a valid reason to pass on Hardy.

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I think the above information pretty much lays out who Hardy is and what should be expected of him. Players that are limited in certain respects can still be thought of highly in fantasy baseball. Prince Fielder doesn't steal bases. Elvis Andrus has no power. Carlos Santana isn't exactly boosting any clubs batting average. Yet those players are thought of much more highly than Hardy. You will get no argument for me that those three should be drafted eons ahead of Hardy, but the point is we accept all three of those guys for their faults but for some reason we don't give Hardy the same pass for his faults. Instead of bashing Hardy for his faults, let's celebrate his successes (think Adam Dunn). If you plan on getting your average and steals from other spots in your lineup, Hardy makes a strong addition up the middle as a consistent counting category contributor.

By Ray Flowers


COMMENTS

  • 64x64

    Lawrence 11 Feb 11:37 / Reply

    On top of all that, the guy is one of the game's best defensive player at perhaps the most important position on the field. Great range, and a strong and accurate arm. He is very overlooked as a great player.


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