Sheets a sleeper in Oakland, but he's also risky 

January, 26, 2010
1/26/10
3:51
PM ET
Just last Friday, I blogged that from a fantasy baseball aspect, Ben Sheets potentially joining the Texas Rangers wouldn't be such a great thing, and that I would prefer he choose a larger, safer home ballpark, like where the New York Mets play. On Tuesday, Sheets and the Oakland Athletics agreed to a one-year deal. Hmm, that's kind of interesting, isn't it?

For fantasy purposes, sometimes it really does come down to where the team plays its home games, at least to me. Pitchers have a much smaller margin for error at Rangers Ballpark than they do at Oakland Coliseum, and when discussing a pitcher who last pitched in 2008, one recovering from a major elbow surgery, that detail matters. Oakland's stadium is a rather large place that certainly has favored pitchers over the years.

Ben Sheets
Jeff Hanisch/US PresswireThe last time we saw Ben Sheets pitch was in 2008, when he won 13 games for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Sheets missed all of 2009 recovering from elbow surgery, and while I wouldn't go crazy with expectations here, the fact is when the right-hander has pitched, he has generally pitched fairly well. His career ERA is 3.72, and the last time we saw him (in 2008), it was 3.09. However, it has rarely been "performance" that has scared me about Sheets, but rather his durability. I've heard some people compare Sheets to Rich Harden, another brittle right-hander who did end up with the Rangers, and certainly there are similarities. Sheets made 31 starts in 2008, but before that averaged 21 starts in a three-year period. I doubt he still possesses major strikeout potential, which Harden does have, but Sheets remains interesting in fantasy, to say the least.

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