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Legit or Quit: What to Make of Corey Hart
Michael Ryan, FantasyJuice.com

Owning Corey Hart is scary.

There is a lot of debate about what Corey Hart will show up for 2011. I've seen some Corey Hart love, and I've seen a lot of Corey Hart hate. Most of it tends to err on the side of caution, or even "bust."

I'm not going to go Forrest Gump on you and compare him to a box of chocolates, but he tends to be a bit of a fantasy enigma. In the past four years, Hart has had seasons where he has contributed in all five categories (2007), zero categories (2009), and three or four categories (2008, 2010).

We don't know where Hart will bat in the order. We can't count on him for 20 steals anymore. He only hit 10 HR with 37 RBI in the second half. He strikes out too much. He looks goofy. These are all legitimate arguments I've seen made against Corey Hart this offseason.

There are also arguments for him being able to repeat, and even improve on last year's numbers. His past performance, improved line drive and fly ball rates, lefty/righty splits, and expected batting average all point to his season being legit and not a fluke. As for the steals, who really knows what he will bring but it can't hurt that Ken Macha is gone as manager for the Brewers.

Regardless of how you feel about Hart, it all comes down to value on draft day. How much are you willing to pay for what you're expecting in return and are you taking the best player to fit that need?

Corey Hart's current ADP on mockdraftcentral.com is 106th overall, and the 29th OF off the board. I think once draft day comes he could go even later in many leagues. Hart put up one of the quieter 30/100 seasons in a while and a lot of the press is down on him for a repeat, making it likely a lot of the more casual players will further downgrade him on their charts.

Even if he holds his current draft rank, I see Hart as a bargain at this level. He posted a top 50 overall season on most site's rankings and top 20 for outfielders. Most people, including myself, are not expecting a repeat of his 2010 numbers but even with a regression you have a good chance of seeing a profit at this price.

A couple of the outfielders going ahead of Hart right now are: Colby Rasmus, Torii Hunter, Grady Sizemore, Alfonso Soriano, Vernon Wells, Nick Markakis, and Delmon Young. Every single one of these players carries their own set of risks coming into 2011 (injury, age, production, upside). I would argue that Corey Hart provides the best ratio of risk and upside of this group.

The only thing we know for sure is that Hart is a classic high-risk/high-reward outfielder for the 2011 season. He reminds me a lot of the top prospects that everyone goes after each year. The only difference with Hart is that we know what he is capable of on a big league level.

As long as the price is right, and you are aware of the potential downside, Corey Hart could be a draft day gem again in 2011.


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