33-Year-Old Outfielder – Free Agent
2014 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
There was no outlook written for Rocco Baldelli in 2014. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
Rocco Baldelli Contract Information:
Announced his retirement in January 2011.
Baldelli is expected to officially announce his retirement as a player Wednesday, the St. Petersburg Times reports.
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Rocco Baldelli: MLB Games Played By Position
Rocco Baldelli Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Rocco Baldelli: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Rocco Baldelli.
Baldelli's mitochondrial disorder, which leads to fatigued muscles, limits his ability to play for extended stretches. As such, he's not a good fit for fantasy leagues. He's a quality guy who can help in the clubhouse, but there's not much he can provide on the field. He hasn't ruled out trying a comeback, but he's retired for the time being after taking a coaching job with the Rays.
Although the Rays bought out Baldelli's 2009 option in March when it was announced he was suffering from fatigue disorder, the team gave him a chance to return to action, and Baldelli responded by contributing in a part-time role down the stretch. Among all Rays, only Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria had higher OPS marks than Baldelli last season. Baldelli's fatigue disorder means he'll never be an everyday player again (and he'll never be much of a baserunning threat again, either), but he'll help out as the fourth outfielder for the Red Sox in 2009.
Those numbers are by far the worst of Baldelli's career, and he had two potential returns from the DL aborted due to re-aggravation of his hamstring injuries. Despite rumors of retirement, Baldelli intends to return to action this season, and he's in the process of revamping his training regimen (including changing his running style) in an attempt to avoid further injury. If he's healthy, Baldelli may slot in as the regular DH early in the year, with occasional outfield starts (if his legs can take it) to give the Rays' regular outfielders a day off. With Delmon Young gone, the long-term goal would be to establish Baldelli as the regular right fielder, moving Jonny Gomes to DH. It'll be interesting to see when Baldelli has enough confidence in his legs to start running on the bases again.
That Baldelli missed almost half of last year and all of the 2005 season to injuries masks the fact that he enjoyed his best season at the plate in 2006. If you extrapolate his numbers over a full season, he produced at a 25-homer, 16-steal rate and his .872 OPS would have ranked in the top 20 of the AL with enough at-bats to qualify. Now all he has to do is stay healthy. He'll likely start the year as the Rays' leadoff hitter. Check back in the spring to see if his hamstrings have healed.
Baldelli missed all of last year with knee and elbow injuries (the latter requiring Tommy John surgery in midsummer). However, he should be healthy going into spring training, and he'll be Tampa Bay's everyday centerfielder this year. Make sure you insert him into your cheatsheet based on his 2003-2004 numbers, because he'll be off the radar based on his season-long absence last year.
Baldelli tore the ACL in his right knee in a backyard ballgame at the end of October. His return date is pegged at anywhere from mid-May to mid-August. He showed a bit more pop in 2004 and also cut down on his strikeouts. When he returns, he may not run as much, and look for an eventual move from center field to a corner outfield spot.
Many said that Baldelli wouldn't be ready for a full-time role in the majors in 2003. Sometimes he proved that (such as the day he struck out five times against Roger Clemens), but at other times he looked like the best 21-year-old player in baseball, and a bit more besides. His plate discipline has to get better, of course, and he needs to rediscover his power stroke (he averaged one extra-base hit every nine at-bats in the minors, but only one every 12.5 ABs last year), but he'll likely help you in the steals and batting average categories in 2004.
In an area that has seen a few athletes develop from rookies to established stars (Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks), seen others show great promise (Vinny Lecavalier), and seen many more just stink (Keith McCants, Broderick Thomas), Tampa Bay prepares itself for the arrival of Rocco Baldelli this spring. Baldelli was the Devil Rays' No. 1 pick in the 2000 amateur draft, a multi-sport, five-tool prospect from Rhode Island, where he was a high school legend. Baldelli hit a combined .331 at three minor-league levels in 2002 (with 24 homers), was named Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year, and was named the Devil Rays' starting centerfielder in 2003 when the Rays traded Randy Winn. With all that, there's still some question on whether Baldelli is ready for the majors yet. He only walked 23 times in 117 games in the minors last year (including none in 23 games a Triple-A), and, even though he hit .316 in the Arizona Fall League, he only walked six times in 34 games. Major league pitching is a lot less forgiving on those with poor strike zone judgement. In a keeper league, you have to try to get Baldelli as soon as you can. In a 2003-only league, however, draft Baldelli as if he's in the bottom third in the league among everyday centerfielders, because this year will be a learning experience for him.