Cockcroft: The Bonds Effect

Originally Published: March 24, 2005
By Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN Games Fantasy Edge
Barry Bonds' sudden announcement on Tuesday that he might miss half or all of the season rehabilitating his knee casts much doubt on his fantasy value for 2005. But, more importantly, it could have a devastating effect on the Giants' entire offense, meaning some radical changes in fantasy value for several key hitters.

Fantasy owners are surely well aware that the Giants are a better team with Bonds in the lineup, but some might not realize how much better they are with No. 25 around. Consider that in the past three seasons, Bonds has appeared in 419 of San Francisco's 484 games, leading the team to a 258-161 record (.616 winning percentage) and an average of 5.09 runs scored per game. In those 65 games where Bonds sat, however, the Giants were just 28-37 (.431) and averaged 3.92 runs per game. That's something to think about if you're a Jason Schmidt owner; that disparity often translates into the difference between an 18- and 20-win campaign.

Bonds' absence was particularly devastating to the Giants in 2004, when the team won just four of 15 games, averaging 3.33 runs a game due to an offense that batted just .244 with a .695 OPS. Among the most notable players who struggled without Bonds around: A.J. Pierzynski, .167 average (7-for-42), .437 OPS; Dustan Mohr, .184 (7-for-38) and .621; and Marquis Grissom, .188 (9-for-48) and .585. Among those who performed well: Ray Durham, .316 (12-for-38) and .948, Edgardo Alfonzo, .346 (18-for-52) and .835; and J.T. Snow, .343 (12-for-35) and .865. Interestingly enough, it was the higher-in-the-order hitters who remained successful, while the lower hitters struggled due to the lack of lineup depth.