James Loney
James Loney
35-Year-Old First Baseman1B
 Free Agent  
Free Agent
2019 Fantasy Outlook
There was no outlook written for James Loney in 2019. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
$Signed a one-year, minor-league contract with the Braves in May of 2017. Released by the Braves in May of 2017.
Retires from baseball
1BFree Agent  
May 10, 2019
Loney announced his retirement from baseball Friday, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Loney hit .284/.336/.410 with 108 homers in 11 major-league seasons. He's been out of the big leagues since 2016, spending time in Korea and in the independent Atlantic League.
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring James Loney
Regan's Rumblings: (Very) Early Season Takeaways
April 5, 2018
Dave Regan discusses items that have caught his eye in the (very) early going, including whether Brandon Belt's ever anticipated breakout is finally upon us.
General MiLB: AFL Prospect Spotlight
October 24, 2017
Chris Welsh scouts the early action in this year's AFL season and sees no reason to slow down the hype train for the Braves' Ronald Acuna.
NL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week
May 21, 2017
Jan Levine profiles this week's NL waiver-wire candidates, including Tommy Joseph, who is heating up in Philadelphia after slow April.
MLB Barometer: Don't Give Up Yet
May 9, 2017
Vlad Sedler's latest Barometer describes the glories of DFS victory and checks risers and fallers, with Toronto's Jose Bautista falling into the latter category -- but it's not time to cut bait on him yet.
NL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week
September 18, 2016
Jan Levine takes a look at the National League free agent pool this week, and who you might be able to squeeze some value out of with the season nearing a close.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2017
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2015
2014
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2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
Loney signed on with the Padres on a minor league deal last year after being released by the Rays, but he ended up with the Mets after an early-season injury to Lucas Duda forced them to make a move to acquire the veteran first baseman. The 32-year-old ended up carving out a fairly stable role in New York, ultimately starting in over half of the team's games. His output at the plate can best be described as mediocre, but it wasn't bad enough to hold him out of the lineup every night. The lefty also had extreme splits, hitting .282 versus right-handed pitchers but just .173 against southpaws. He signed with the Rangers on a minor league deal over the offseason, but at this stage of his career, Loney is likelier to follow his 2016 path to playing time than to be handed a starting job out of spring training.
Loney has always been a decent player that does little to move the needle for fantasy owners, known for a good glove at first base but nowhere near the power one would expect from a regular player at that position. His four home runs in 2015 tied a career low, but that was partially due to him missing time with finger and oblique injuries. In his six career seasons with at least 500 plate appearances, he has never cleared 90 RBI or 15 home runs. His walk rate also declined for the third straight year in 2015. As he continues to venture further into the wrong side of 30, his bat figures to continue declining. He enters free agency after this season and could see his role reduced as the Rays prepare for the future. He’s still positioned to be the starting first baseman again in 2016 over the newly arrived Logan Morrison, but he’s about as unattractive as an everyday first baseman can be.
Laugh all you want, but Loney has been productive as a Ray. Last season, he out-earned the likes of Ryan Howard, Brandon Moss, Eric Hosmer, Mike Napoli and Chris Davis at first base while being drafted later than each one of them. He is never going to hit for power, but he uses all fields to avoid the shifting that beleaguers most of his positional peers and hit for high average. The Rays hit him high enough in the order to allow him to drive in runs, and that's all he can do. While he's only a two-category player, he is a very safe two-category option. He does not hit lefties terribly well, but the team is not willing to bench his glove so he plays nearly every day. Loney has hit at least .288 in three of the past four seasons and as long as he continues to spray the ball, can do so again in 2015.
After a few seasons in Los Angeles and a short stay in Boston that seemed to display a career on the decline, Loney bounced back as a big player for Tampa Bay and resurrected his career in the process. He played in 158 games, hitting .299/.348/.430 with 13 home runs and 75 RBI. He is a high-contact hitter that posted a .326 BABIP on the year. Another value he brought to the Rays was his strong defense, which led to him being a finalist for a Gold Glove. One knock on Loney's game is that as a first baseman, he does not have the power typically associated with that corner infield position. His career-high homer total was 15, back in his second season with the Dodgers. He still hits for a high average and can produce RBI at a steady rate while playing in almost every game of the season. He will attempt to continue the turnaround with the Rays after returning to Tampa Bay on a three-year deal during the offseason.
Loney finished out the 2012 season in Boston after Los Angeles included him in the package to land Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford. He hit less for the Red Sox than he did for the Dodgers and experienced career lows in average, on-base percentage and OPS. Loney never hit for enough power nor got on base enough to be even an average first baseman. However, he's quietly amassed a .287/.344/.415 line against right-handed pitching while grading out as one of the league's best defenders at first base over the past three seasons, so it's possible that Tampa Bay could revive his career much like they did with Casey Kotchman.
Just looking at Loney's raw numbers, it's pretty easy to say that he's a first baseman who will hit in the .280s with below average power, a solid RBI count and a good glove. The key question for the free agent-to-be is this: is his 2011 second half - .320/.380/.534 - for real? Hard to say, though we do know that in each of Loney's four full big league seasons that he's yet to top 13 home runs. Loney doesn't strike out a lot and the swing is looks nice, but can he be a 25-homer type guy? The Dodgers are bringing him back for another year in the hopes that he is, but the questions remain.
Loney continues to earn points for consistency, but he's also showing no signs of being an average or better offensive first baseman. In each of his three full big league seasons, Loney has yet to top 13 home runs (10 in 2010), and though he did rack up a career-high 41 doubles last year, he also finished with just a .267 average. Since 2008, Loney has an .820 OPS with runners in scoring position, allowing him to finish with impressive RBI totals, but fantasy owners can do better at a position with plenty of power-hitting depth on draft day.
Loney finished with a .281/.357/.399 line, including 13 homers and 90 RBI. The homers and RBI were identical to the marks Loney recorded in 2008. Four of Loney's home runs came in the month of September, giving us at least some hope of a mini power surge next year. The lack of home-run power is the only thing standing in the way of Loney being a viable fantasy option in shallower leagues, but the ability is already there for him to be an annual .300 hitter.
Loney hit .289/.338/.434 in 595 at-bats, driving in 90 runs and stealing seven bases in his first full season as the club's first baseman. It was a step back from the .919 OPS in 344 at-bats in 2007, and Loney's long-term power potential continues to be in question. The guess here is that he'll settle in as a 20-homer guy, but .300 seasons should quickly become the norm. Look for slightly better numbers in 2009.
It took them awhile, but on Jun. 10, with Nomar Garciaparra hitting .274 with just one home run, the Dodgers turned to their future at first base. Loney proceeded to exceed expectations, batting .331/.381/.538 in 344 at-bats. After hitting just one home run in 233 at-bats in Triple-A, Loney's 15 (eight in September) were a pleasant surprise. We're not expecting quite the same production in his first full year in 2008, but something along the lines of a .300 average, 20 home runs, and 90 RBI should be attainable.
Loney, long touted as a top prospect, has battled injuries and high expectations ever since his selection as the team's first-round pick in 2002, but it appeared to all come together for him in 2006. Loney led all minor league hitters with a .380 average, but even more important, he at least did a little to allieviate concerns about his lack of power, improving his extra-base hit total from 44 to 58 in 2006 in fewer at-bats. The negative: by re-signing Nomar Garciaparra and inking Luis Gonzalez to play outfield, Loney has no spot open for him in 2007. Sure, there will be injuries, but barring a trade, Loney looks to be an in-year fantasy addition in most leagues.
Loney had a relatively disappointing season at Double-A Jacksonville last year, hitting .284/.357/.419 with only 11 homers and 44 extra-base hits. We've been waiting for him to grow into his power for a while now, and at some point it'll have to be asked whether it's ever coming.
Loney is considered one of the top prospects in the Dodgers farm system. He impressed in spring training in 2004 but then broke a finger early in the minor league season, causing him to miss five weeks. His poor numbers indicate that the injury affected him for much of the season. However, his strong showing in the Arizona Fall League indicates he is healthy again. Loney has yet to produce the kind of power numbers expected of him but as a 21-year-old at Double-A there is time for that to develop.
Loney is one of the few legitimate offensive prospects in the Dodgers' minor league system, performing well in low Single-A in 2003. His likely arrival would come in 2006, but he needs to turn some of his doubles into home runs before that happens.
Dodgers 1st round pick in 2002 draft. A broken wrist during the last month of season ended his season prematurely and prevented him from playing fall baseball. Loney showed impressive on-base skills in a limited stint with Class A Vero Beach.
More Fantasy News
Trying two-way role in indy ball
1BFree Agent  
February 5, 2019
Loney signed with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League on Tuesday as a two-way player, JJ Cooper of Baseball America reports.
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Signs on with Korean club
1BFree Agent  
July 18, 2017
Loney agreed Tuesday with the LG Twins of the Korea Baseball Organization on a $350,000 contract for the remainder of the season, Jeeho Yoo of the Yonhap News Agency reports.
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Released by Braves
1BFree Agent  
May 22, 2017
Loney was granted his release by the Braves on Monday.
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Reporting to Triple-A on Friday
1BAtlanta Braves  
May 19, 2017
Loney likely will join Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports.
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Assigned to Triple-A
1BAtlanta Braves  
May 18, 2017
Loney will report to Triple-A Gwinnett, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports.
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