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Albert Pujols plummets in hitter rankings

6/20/2011

The news that Albert Pujols will miss four to six weeks with a fracture in his left forearm is a significant blow to his fantasy owners' championship hopes, being that he had returned to "Pujols-like" levels of production recently, batting .343 with nine home runs and 17 RBIs in his past 19 games. He was the top-ranked player in my June 15 "Hit Parade," but his value now plummets.

Using my projection system, six missed weeks would drop Pujols about 40 spots, into Adam Lind territory -- remember that there are only 14 more weeks in the 2011 season -- but that also presumes that he instantly recaptures his form upon his return. A Pujols at only 85-90 percent of his usual self would drop nearly 60 spots; using the June 16 "Hit Parade," struggling outfielders like Shin-Soo Choo (No. 56), Ichiro Suzuki (58) and Andre Ethier (59), as well as multi-position eligible Ben Zobrist (61), would be strong comparison points. Certainly I would now trade him for Lind, and I'd even consider doing so for fresh-off-the-DL Jason Heyward, due for a rise from his No. 62 ranking.

Tristan H. Cockcroft is a fantasy baseball analyst for ESPN.com and a two-time champion of the League of Alternative Baseball Reality (LABR) experts league. You can e-mail him here, or follow him on Twitter @SultanofStat.