Power outages lead to tough roster decisions

This season has been marked by a mysterious drop in the power numbers of nearly all of baseball’s premier sluggers (perhaps not too mysterious actually, considering the increased steroids testing in place).

Fantasy baseball owners holding on to sluggers such as David Ortiz, Travis Hafner and Carlos Delgado desperately waiting for the perennial power hitters to snap out of their season-long funk may have already waited too long. Yet despite some of their curiously low home run totals, some of these heavy hitters may be able to contribute in ways other than the long ball, while others may be little more that just dead weight.

Just four players — Alex Rodriguez, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard and Adam Dunn — were on pace for 40-homer seasons, a far cry from the 11 players who did so last year.

One of those players on last year’s 40-homer list who won’t be returning to that group this season is Houston’s Lance Berkman. A career .303 hitter entering 2007, Berkman has been nowhere near that mark this year, batting just .264, with meager power numbers (21 homers and 73 RBIs).

As the season has progressed, Berkman, who hit 45 homers and drove in 136 RBIs last season, has shown no signs of getting any better — he has struck out 20 times in 14 games in August, while producing just seven RBIs over that span. What’s more, the Astros are done playing meaningful games this season, which may lead to Berkman sitting out the occasional game — all the more incentive for fantasy owners to start looking for players other than him for statistical production.

Deciding to part ways with Berkman, an annual All-Star candidate, may be tough, but getting rid of some other middling sluggers is a much easier decision.

As great as he’s hit in the past, Atlanta’s Andruw Jones has just been plain awful this season. With only 21 homers to his credit, Jones’ unsightly 114 strikeouts and .213 batting average are much more glaring numbers. The wise move would be to cut him loose before he inflicts any additional damage.

WHO’S HOT?

» Rick Ankiel, OF, Cardinals

» Melky Cabrera, OF, Yankees

» Joba Chamberlain, RP, Yankees

» Kaz Matsui, 2B, Rockies

» Orlando Hernandez, SP, Mets

WHO’S NOT?

» Adam LaRoche, 1B, Pirates

» Pedro Feliz, 3B, Giants

» Nomar Garciaparra, 3B-1B, Dodgers

» Troy Glaus, 3B, Blue Jays

» Dave Roberts, OF, Giants


Which slugger has been most disappointing?

Share your comments below.

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