Originally posted on Fantasy Baseball Tools  |  Last updated 1/30/12


Here is the eighth article in the series for our 2012 fantasy baseball rankings looking at utility players. Utility players are players that don’t have enough games to qualify at any position on a fantasy baseball roster so they are confined to the utility spot. Personally, I don’t like drafting or buying these players in an auction because I think it tends to restrict movement on your roster and if can impact your ability to grab free agents on the waiver wire as well. Outside of Jesus Montero this year who might earn catcher eligibility at some point, I would rather have a position player in my utility spot.

Here is a look at the fantasy baseball utility players I have ranked 2012 with my comments. A longer list with 2012 fantasy baseball projections will be available in the FBT Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide which will go on sale February 1, 2012. I don’t have Johnny Damon Vladimir Guerrero or Hideki Matsui currently ranked since they are free agents and unsigned.

1. David Ortiz – reversed two years of an increasing strikeout rate and hit .329 against left-handed pitching which helped boost his batting average. Average also helped by the fact he hit .342 at Fenway Park compared to .273 on the road. Age and the fact he can only be used at a utility position on your fantasy roster gives him some downside.

2. Billy Butler - still waiting for that 25+ home run season from him. Lots of doubles again with 44, but unless you play in a league that counts total bases, it doesn’t quite get the job done for fantasy purposes. Hit 13 home runs in 284 at bats after the All-Star break vs. only 6 in his first 313 at bats of the season.

3. Jesus Montero – hit .306 for his minor league career and if he does get to catch a couple of games a week in Seattle, his value is going to get a big boost with catcher eligibility. If he did qualify at catcher, I would have him ranked right ahead of Matt Wieters.

4.  Travis Hafner – has not had 400 at bats in a season since 2007, is now 34 and has not hit left-handed pitching three of the last four seasons. No real reason to own him except in AL-only leagues and you are an Indians fan.

5. Jim Thome – move to the National League limits his at bat number with no designated hitter slot. Could see a start or two a week at first base if Ryan Howard is out for a prolonged period of time.

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