If you're a mixed league owner, you probably didn't even make it to this sentence. But if you're an A.L.-only guy...I hope you're hanging on my every word.
In 186 at bats last year in 5x5, Brent Lillibridge's 13 HR, 29 RBI, 10 SB, 38 R, .258 BA were worth $11. Despite this, he won't be on anyone's sleeper lists this spring.
Here's why he should be:
1) He has a shot at regular playing time
Lillibridge's only competition in left field is Alejandro De Aza. The White Sox don't have anyone on the farm that is all that close to making the team. Lillibridge probably won't beat out de Aza for the job, but a platoon is not out of the realm of possibility. de Aza is clearly stronger against righties and Lillibridge is clearly stronger against lefties. Yes, the sample sizes are painfully small. However, a path for 200-250 AB for Lillibridge is somewhat evident.
2) Even if Lillibridge's batting average tanks, he still has power/speed
A .220 batting average for Lillibridge would sting - particularly if he does get 250 AB. And that's Lillibridge's career average, so you'd be right to anticipate some regression this year if he gets more playing time.
But throughout his career, Lillibridge has stolen bases. Even if the home runs drop somewhat, he's not going to revert to zero. Prorating his career performances to 250 ABs, Lillibridge would put up a 9 HR, 31 RBI, 13 SB, 41 R, .220 batting average. That's not as good as last year, but that still would have been good for a $9 season.
Don't bid for a $9 season. But don't simply put $1 next to Lillibridge's name either. If he's sitting out there for $2-3, you might want to jump in with both feet.