Rick Ankiel
Rick Ankiel
39-Year-Old PitcherRP
 Free Agent  
Free Agent
2018 Fantasy Outlook
There was no outlook written for Rick Ankiel in 2018. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
$Agreed to a contract with the Mets in May of 2013.
Pursuing comeback as pitcher
PFree Agent  
August 7, 2018
Ankiel announced Monday that he plans to pursue a comeback to professional baseball in 2019 as a relief pitcher, FOX Sports Midwest reports.
ANALYSIS
Ankiel, who turned 39 years old in July, began his career on the mound and dazzled with a 3.50 ERA in his first full MLB campaign in 2000 before suffering from significant control problems in the postseason that same year. The control issues persisted the following season, and Ankiel's inability to rediscover his rookie form coupled with a Tommy John surgery thrown in along the way prompted him to reinvent himself as an outfielder beginning in 2005. Ankiel went on to slug 74 home runs over parts of seven seasons with six teams before announcing his retirement in 2014. After throwing against college hitters in a recent exhibition event in Louisville, Ankiel was apparently motivated to give pitching in the professional ranks one last try, so he'll take the next few months to get back in playing shape and attempt to land a minor-league contract ahead of spring training.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
Ankiel struggled through the 2011 season for the Nationals producing a wOBA of .294 (second lowest of career) and a .127 ISO (career low). By producing the lowest swinging strike rate of his career (12.9 percent), Ankiel’s HR/FB ratio dropped to a career-low 8.9 percent. Last season was Ankiel’s best year in the field in terms of defensive analytics, and he can play three outfield positions. His career strikeout rate is too high (25.5 percent) and OBP is too low (.309) for him to be considered an everyday player, and he will mostly likely be a fourth outfielder in 2012.
Ankiel's career continued on a downward decline as he again struggled with injuries (missing two months with a quad injury) and poor plate discipline (71 strikeouts in just 211 at-bats) with too little offsetting power. Other than a game-winning home run in the playoffs, he was worse after being traded to Atlanta (.210/.324/.328) from Kansas City. While his overall numbers look poor and he hasn't been a major fantasy factor since 2008, he could be productive in a smaller platoon role as he can still hit righties (.801 OPS vs. right-handed pitchers last season). He'll likely work in a platoon role after signing a one-year deal with the Nationals.
It looks like 2007 is turning out to be the fluke in Ankiel's career. Though he had a strong first half in 2008, the injury-filled and power-depleted second half carried over into 2009, and the Cardinals are probably not going to have him back. Ankiel still has nice power, but poor plate discipline and a propensity for injury have exposed him as someone who should be just a part-time player. He should find a job as a fourth outfielder somewhere.
The feel-good story of 2007, Ankiel was on his way to providing a nice encore last season, hitting 20 homers before the All-Star break. Unfortunately, he only hit five home runs in the second half, and his season ended with surgery for a sports hernia. He's expected to be fine for 2009, but the Cardinals' outfield is getting crowded.
One of the feel-good stories of 2007 took a dark turn in September when Ankiel's name was linked to a human growth hormone shipment. Before the mini-scandal broke (he has been cleared of any official MLB violations), Ankiel hit 32 home runs for Triple-A Memphis and nine more in a month with the Cardinals. For the year, the former pitcher hit .285/.328/.535 in 172 at-bats in the bigs, and he could be the heir apparent to Jim Edmonds in center field. The power is nice, but Ankiel will have to work on his batting eye (BB:K ratio of 38:131 with Memphis and St. Louis) if he wants to be an everyday player.
Ankiel ruptured his knee during spring training, making 2006 another lost season. The former pitching phenom has tried to catch on with the Cardinals as an outfielder during the past two seasons and did show a little pop at two levels in 2005, but at age 27 and coming off of a serious knee injury, it's unlikely he'll make much of a contribution near the major league level.
After switching to the outfield in 2005, Ankiel hit a combined .259 with 21 HR and 75 RBI in Single-A and Double-A. The Cardinals were impressed enough that they added him to the 40-man roster and will give him a look in spring training as a possible extra outfielder and left-handed bat off the bench. If not, he'll have to clear waivers to return to the minor leagues.
The poster boy for wildness a few seasons ago, Ankiel walked just three batters in 2004, making stops at every level of baseball past rookie ball. Once he reached the big leagues Ankiel joined the bullpen, which looks to be his role in 2005. Should his tenuous hold on control continue, Ankiel is a dominating pitcher who will rack up the strikeouts (he has 12.83 strikeouts per nine innings pitched for his minor-league career.) The Cardinals will treat him tenderly, but a comeback even to this level is an unexpected surprise. Continued success will likely land Ankiel in increasingly more important roles.
Just when he started to look like a pitcher again, Ankiel blew out his elbow. Tommy John surgery in July of 2003 renders him a non-factor in 2004.
Now, more than two seasons removed from his stellar rookie season (3.50 ERA, 194/90 K/BB in 175 IP), Ankiel, who was shut down for most of last season with elbow and shoulder stiffness, will try once again this spring. While the sky is still the limit for the one-time phenom, the one-two punch of arm injury and Mark-Wohlers disease is a formidable foe. Still, for his upside alone, Ankiel is worth end-game consideration.
More Fantasy News
PFree Agent  
March 5, 2014
Ankiel appears to have retired, MLB.com reports.
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PFree Agent  
June 13, 2013
Ankiel elected to become a free agent after clearing waivers, YES Network's Michael Tanowitz reports.
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PNew York Mets  
June 8, 2013
The Mets will designate Ankiel for assignment prior to Sunday's game, Newsday's David Lennon reports.
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PNew York Mets  
June 5, 2013
Ankiel is not in the starting lineup Wednesday against the Nationals, according to ESPN.com's Adam Rubin.
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PNew York Mets  
May 22, 2013
Ankiel erupted on Wednesday against the Reds going 3-for-4 with two doubles, a triple, and two RBI while starting in center field and hitting second in the order.
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