Chase Headley doing work at Coors Field (US Presswire)
As of this writing, San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley is the No. 9 overall fantasy asset in the year-to-date Yahoo! ranks, thanks largely to the three-day binge he just enjoyed at Coors Field. Entering the Colorado series, Headley was hitting .212 with an OPS of .855. Exiting the series, he's at .283 and 1.066.
Headley hit a pair of opposite-field homers on Wednesday, driving in three runs. He finished the series 5-for-13, scoring five runs, driving in four. All of his hits went for extra bases. If you've started him over the past three days, congrats. Well played. Headley remains only 48 percent owned and 32 percent started, so it's not as if everyone was on board. That's changing quickly, however, as Headley has been the most-added player in Yahoo! leagues on Thursday, with over 11,000 pick-ups so far.
I've probably fielded more questions about Headley than any other player over the past 24 hours, most of them asked by people who are hoping this is his breakout year — and in many ways, he fits the profile. Headley is 27 years old, he's shown multi-category potential in prior seasons (double-digit power and speed), and he has a history of success in the minors (2007 Texas League player of the year). He's also batting third for San Diego, so you can't argue with the lineup position.
But my current stance on Headley isn't so different from prior years, even though he's already matched his 2011 home run total (four). Petco Park has been a constant drag on his fantasy value, to a ridiculous extent. Just check the home/road splits...
2011, home - 59 G, 1 HR, .243/.348/.326
2011, road - 54 G, 3 HR, .330/.399/.465
2010, home - 80 G, 3 HR, .237/.319/.315
2010, road - 81 G, 8 HR, .289/.334/.432
Career, home - 271 G, 16 HR, .228/.321/.336
Career, road - 271 G, 24 HR, .305/.366/.452
Of course nothing about those numbers should really surprise you. Petco is a notoriously unfriendly place to hit; Headley isn't the only player who suffers. The Padres, as a team, actually ranked fifth in the National League in road batting average last season (.252), and sixth in road on-base percentage (.313) and run-scoring (338) — they finished ahead of the Brewers and Diamondbacks, in fact. But at home, the Pads ranked dead-last in average, OBP and slugging (.221/.296/.334), and next-to-last in runs (255).
So if we can find a new home park for Headley, great. I'm in. I'll be among the first to recommend him if a trade goes down, no matter where he ends up. I can also endorse Headley in a fantasy platoon at third base, if you're playing in a league with deep benches.
However, I'm not prepared to endorse Chase Headley as a must-add, or even a meh-add. The Pads will play 16 of their next 19 games at Petco, so let's just check back in a couple weeks to see how you're feeling about today's most popular pick-up.
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