|Bruins Acquire RW Brett Connolly||Patriots Linebacker Dont’a Hightower Out 6-7 Months||Connelly’s Top Ten: Celtics on Exciting Run but Lose 26-Point Lead||Connelly’s Top Ten: Comebacks, Championships and Doobie Brothers|
With recent news that Manny Ramirez has tested positive for a banned substance and will miss 50 games, you may be wondering how this will affect your team. In reality, the Dodgers are still the best team in the West even without Manny due to the pure lack of competition. In the fantasy realm, having Manny miss this much time will obviously hurt your offense. Is there anybody else on the Dodgers who will also suffer as a result of this incident? Oh yes!
Fourth year outfielder Andre Ethier seems to be the man who’s stats will take the biggest hit with the suspension of Manny Ramirez. After Manny was traded to the Dodgers last season, Ethier was the biggest benefactor of the trade. Now, with no Manny for the next two months, don’t expect Ethier to keep playing at the same level he is now.
Last season, before the Manny trade, Ethier was enjoying modest success. He was hitting .273 with 48 R, 11 HR and 46 RBI. Clearly he was not standing out among the elite outfielders. Then on August 1st, Manny played his first game for Los Angeles and Ethier’s stock quickly shot through the roof.
From August 1st and until the end of the season, Ethier tore the cover off the ball by hitting .368 with 42 R, 9 HR and 31 RBI. In just 45 games, Ethier nearly reached his R, HR and RBI totals that he accumulated in the previous 96 games. No, this was not a sudden outburst of talent, it was because of Manny’s presence in the lineup.
Already this season, Ethier is hitting .317 with 6 HR and his 27 RBI are good for the 7th best total in the majors. Ethier has been batting 4th for the majority of games this season with Manny batting third. Now with no Manny in the lineup, both Orlando Hudson (batting 2nd) and Andre Ethier (batting 4th) will see a decline in their stats. Odds are that Ethier would move up to batting 3rd, but still, Manny’s presence in the lineup is essential to Ethier’s success.
I expect Ethier to go back to his usual, mediocre ways, especially in the RBI department. The next 50 games will be a test to Ethier owners who will have to ride out this rough patch and eagerly await the return of Manny Ramirez.