Thoughts on Grady Sizemore's amazing, inspiring comeback
The new Red Sox starting center fielder deserves praise for his perseverance, but one must think with his head and not with his heart
Thoughts about a remarkable and commendable comeback. Thoughts about his career in Cleveland. Thoughts about his Fantasy value.
First things first. Sizemore must be praised for his persistence as he battled back from multiple knee surgeries to revitalize his career. Only he can fully appreciate the hard work and determination required of him to achieve that goal, as well as the inner-satisfaction he must be feeling.
Sizemore was once praised by former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen as the best all-around player in the American League Central. He earned that acclaim as a four-tool standout with the Indians and one of the premier leadoff hitters in the sport. From 2005 to 2008, few in baseball could impact the game with a greater combination of speed, power and intensity.
His endurance was never in question - he played in 382 consecutive games during that time. But one feared that his kamikaze style of play could lead to physical issues and once the injuries started, they never seemed to stop. Multiple surgeries (elbow, knee, hernia) later he was just another player trying to hang on to a fading career. That is what makes his performance this spring so inspiring.
The heart says it will be nice to root for Sizemore this season. But the head says Fantasy owners should beware. The fear is that he is more likely to perform as he did at the end of his career in Cleveland than he did in his prime. He always struck out a lot - at least 130 times in each of his peak seasons. But his average dropped to .248 to .211 before inching up to .224 from 2009 to 2011 as he turned into a whiff machine. He struck out 85 times in just 268 at-bats in the last of those seasons.
Sizemore also became pull-happy in his later years. The short porch in right at Fenway Park could be too tempting.
Everyone should root for Sizemore in 2014. He deserves a "way to go" from one and all for his amazing comeback. But Fantasy owners should greet his return with many grains of salt.
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