39-Year-Old First Baseman – Free Agent
2015 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
There was no outlook written for Paul Konerko in 2015. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
Paul Konerko Contract Information:
Agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the White Sox in December of 2013.
Konerko is in the lineup Sunday for the final game of his career.
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Paul Konerko: MLB Games Played By Position
Paul Konerko Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Paul Konerko: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Paul Konerko.
Entering last season, it looked like Konerko would be the kind of player to gracefully mature as a productive player into his early-40s. That perception came to a shattering end in 2013. He dealt with a litany of injuries in his age-37 campaign that severely limited his production at the plate even if he was "healthy" enough to record 500-plus at-bats. He had 124 home runs from 2009-12 to go with a .376 OBP over that stretch, but he had a career-low .669 OPS in 2013. Notably, he served as the White Sox's DH in 50 games and only played a full game at first base 65 times. The White Sox's signing of Jose Abreu should bump him from regular at-bats in 2014, but Konerko will be back for another year after signing a $2.5 million deal to return to Chicago in December.
Konerko's 26 home runs in 2012 marked the 13th time in 14 seasons the White Sox's first baseman hit at least 20. However, he was hitting .381 with 11 home runs as of May 31, before an early-June wrist injury derailed his season. He slashed a mortal .263/.332/.417 over his final 94 games, and his .486 slugging percentage on the season was his fourth-lowest since becoming a full-time player. He had surgery to remove those fragments over the offseason, so he should be healthy to start the 2013 season. Coming back from injury and having a disappointing second half last season, it would hardly be surprising if Konerko is undervalued in some circles as owners continue to fear a decline in his overall production.
Just when you thought Konerko's 2010 campaign was a fluke, he goes and tops 30 home runs, 100 RBI once again in 2011. His home-run total dropped by eight between the two seasons, which might be explained by a five percent drop in his flyball rate, and a continued drop in that area would not be unexpected as he ages. Even if it does, he should continue to hit third or fourth in the White Sox's order, which should put him in a good position to accumulate counting stats. The team's training staff has kept him remarkably healthy -- he has averaged just a hair over 157 games per season since 1999 -- so fantasy owners should be worried more about a dip in production rather than a dip in at-bats as he approaches his late-30s.
Konerko had one of the best seasons of his career in 2011, and it conveniently came as he entered free agency. He finished the season ranked in the top-10 in the AL in slugging, on-base percentage, batting average, home runs, RBI, runs created and extra-base hits. His career-worst contact rate may indicate he was a bit more aggressive at the plate, and a BABIP 40 points above his career average certainly didn't hurt. Konerko re-signed with the White Sox for three more seasons, and that decision may have been best for his fantasy prospects in 2011 - he hit 26 of his 39 home runs in Chicago. While he may not come close to repeating his 2010 performance, he should stick in the fourth spot in what figures to be a very capable lineup that added Adam Dunn to the mix during the offseason.
Konerko's 2009 was a nice rebound from an injury-riddled 2008, and his offensive stats were up across the board. Most importantly, his ISO emerged from the sub-.200 doldrums, but his power probably won't near his mid-decade levels, as he is 34 this season. He should be the White Sox's everyday first baseman in 2010, and the team will give him a few days at DH each week to keep him fresh.
Take a good-not-great player with a limited skill set into his 30s, and this is what you get: a sharp decline with little to stop it. Konerko's contract, popularity and the lack of better options will keep him in the lineup, and that lineup means that he can pick up 70 runs and 80 RBI accidentally. Just don't confuse him with a good first baseman.
Konerko failed to eclipse both the 100-RBI mark and the 35-homer plateau for the first time since 2003, finishing with 31 homers and 90 RBI. He also saw his batting average (.259) drop to its lowest point since 2003. We're very much looking at a player in decline at the age of 32. He's still a solid contributor at first base but his best days are behind him.
It was revealed after Konerko put together the best season of his career in 2006 than he was bothered for most of it by lower back pain. That's either a really good sign or a really bad sign. He'll spend the offseason in a training program to help his back, which means he is a must-watch this spring.
Konerko spent most of the season as the only "name" power threat in the White Sox lineup, but other than a slight uptick in his walks you'd never know it from his stat line as he posted his second straight 40 HR, 100 RBI season. After doing what he could to disprove the "lineup protection" theory he'll now hop the fence and try to benefit from it with the newly acquired Jim Thome riding shotgun for him in the batting order.
Konerko shook off his 2003 slump and attacked the ball with a vengeance last year, setting new career highs in home runs, RBI, SLG and walks -- and strikeouts, of course, a by-product of his new approach. He's still in his prime (29 on Opening Day) and just so long as he doesn't slip back into back habits, he should enjoy the new 35+ HR level he's found.
He turned back into Paul Konerko (he of the rock-steady OPS) after the All-Star break, but for three months he couldn't have hit water if he'd fallen out of a boat. June was the nadir -- four singles, zero extra-base hits, .098 BA. The most distressing thing about the slump was the complete lack of a reason for it -- he wasn't hurt, and his plate discipline was as decent as ever. Players who plateau without peaking tend to fade more quickly than expected. White Sox fans with a pessimistic streak can be forgiven for seeing Greg Walker in their nightmares.
Konerko's breakout year once again failed to materialize, and despite a mammoth first half (71 RBI and a .950 OPS), his final totals were remarkably similar to his previous three years with Chicago. Eerily similar, in fact -- his OPS totals for his Sox career run 863-844-856-857. You can pin your hopes on an age-27 breakout in 2003 if you want, but his career arc looks like a plateau from here.