With the onset of interleague play this weekend, many fantasy baseball owners will be scrambling to sign or release players who will be most susceptible to the change of action the crisscrossing format will bring.
Toronto slugger Frank Thomas stands out as one of the more notable players who will be affected adversely by the weekend adjustment, as his Blue Jays travel to Philadelphia, where he will not be able to suit up as a designated hitter.
Last year, in a similar position playing for the A’s, Thomas, whose fielding skills and mobility at first base are virtually nonexistent, was used sparingly in National League stadiums where he was forced to play the field. In 18 games of interleague play, Thomas batted just 2-for-13, with those two hits coming in A’s home games. As injuries continue to wear down the 38-year-old Thomas, it is unlikely he will be used as anything but a pinch-hitter.
Any fantasy owner with the Big Hurt on their roster would be wise to bench him in expectation of a fruitless weekend for Thomas, who is batting just .236 with five homers.
Like Thomas, Texas DH Sammy Sosa will be playing in an NL park this weekend, when the Rangers travel to Houston for a three-game set with their in-state foe. However, unlike Thomas, Sosa played right field until his one-year hiatus, meaning he still knows what a glove is, plus he has impressed fantasy owners with his late-career power revival by knocking out nine homers and driving in 30 runs through 35 games. In fact, he has played a bit in right this year.
Nonetheless, don’t be surprised if Sosa sits the weekend out against the Astros, although the injury to Brad Wilkerson this week could change that.
Of course, the flip side of this situation is American League pitchers going to National League parks and essentially facing one less hitter — do you really think pitchers are hitters?
» Kevin Youkilis, 1B, Red Sox
» Bob Wickman, RP, Braves
» Fausto Carmona, SP, Indians
» Randy Wolf, SP, Dodgers
» Jack Cust, OF, A’s
» Shawn Green, OF, Mets
» Cliff Lee, OF, Cubs
» Delmon Young, OF, Devil Rays
» Mark Hendrickson, SP, Dodgers
» Nate Robertson, SP, Tigers