In Detroit, and Fantasyland, Size does indeed matter.
Sizemore's 15-15 potential should grab the attention of owners seeking middle infield assistance in deeper mixed leagues
However, for deep-thinking fanatics, Sizemore, in terms of immediate impact, is Brooklyn-Decker-sporting-a-bacon-thong smokin'.
An older rookie at 25, the former VCU standout is expected to man the pivot everyday for Sam Elliot's (Jim Leyland's) AL Central contending team. A patient (12.3 BB% in '09), solid contact hitter with plus gap power and an insatiable competitive streak, Sizemore has the characteristics of developing into a respectable, but not necessarily an exceptional mixed league talent. Tom Brookens, his minor league manager, summed up the second baseman's profile best. From the Detroit Free Press:
"When you see him work out, no one is going to do back flips and say, 'This is the next big-league all-star.' But you've got a solid player who does a lot of things well. He's consistent … He's got a nice, short, compact swing. He doesn't chase a lot of bad pitches. He gives you good quality at-bats."
Last season, the upstart made a major leap in plate maturation. In 520 at-bats between Double and Triple-A, he collected a .307 BA with 17 homers, 66 RBI and 21 steals. Against major league pitching, the BA likely won't convey, but double digit contributions in home runs and stolen bases probably will. Essentially, he's a poor man's Alexei Ramirez(notes). With an ADP of 327.65 (2B 24) according to Mock Draft Central, the newcomer, who expects to be at full strength next week after sustaining a broken left ankle during Arizona Fall League action in October, is a fabulous value. The risk is minimal.
Though Leyland isn't currently committed to Sizemore as his No. 2 hitter – he refuses batting two rookies consecutively at the top of the order – he's the ideal fit for the position. Johnny Damon(notes) may initially hit behind Austin Jackson(notes), but if the rookie centerfielder struggles, Sizemore could be elevated to the two-hole post-break, boosting his R/SB production.
Rookie failures are common. After all, experience is youth's best teacher. But Sizemore has the skill set and job security to make a significant splash.
Inevitably, Leyland, and the rook's fantasy followers, won't be able to ignore his profitability for long.