Positional Ranks: Designated Hitter

This is a short list, but it contains some of baseballs former supper sluggers.  Having DH-only eligibility handycaps owners who draft these hitters so they’ll have to put up the numbers to warrant a selection.  Who, if any, will be worth the pick?
 

Tier one

 
1. Vladimir Guerrero
 
Vlad the impaler missed some time in 2009 mostly because Angels management couldn’t help but let him play the outfield.  Hopefully Texas has learned from Anaheim’s mistake and will keep Vlad at DH the entire season.  Vlad is still the hacker he has always been, but his walk rate has declined for two years running.  Of course, then there is the fact that Guerrero has absolutely destroyed the Rangers in their home park over his career.  Vlad holds a .666 SLG and 1.027 OPS career against the Rangers with a 15.8 AB/HR rate.  The problem is that Vlad will be 35-years-old in 2010 and as age catches up his bat speed will slow down, which, because of his hacking ways, will lead to a quicker decline than most.  If he falls to the later rounds, feel free to take a flier on Vlad as he still appears to have the skills to hit .290-.300 with 20 home runs.
 
Tier two
 
2. David Ortiz
3. Hideki Matsui
 
David Ortiz’s huge slump over the first half of 2009 is certainly a cause for concern.  The AVG should bounce back a little, but the power output may never again reach what it once was.  For Hideki Matsui, it is more about the change in venue than anything else.  His 28 home runs in 456 at bats represent a huge spike in AB/HR rate over his career average numbers.  Thank the new Yankee Stadium for some of that.  Angel Stadium won’t be so kind.  Expect 20 or so home runs in 2010.
 
Tier three
 
4. Pat Burrell
5. Travis Hafner
6. Jim Thome
 
After years of consistent power production, Pat Burrell fell off big time in his first season as a full time DH.  Injuries played a role in that, but across the board production was down even when healthy.  After a season of adjusting to the American League and DH, Burrell should bounce back power wise a bit.  Travis Hafner seems to be at the end of the road with three sub-par season in a row.  Health is a major issue and it will probably continue to be so for the rest of his career.  Jim Thome will launch some home runs in the new Target field, but he will be 40-years-old in 2010 and should see time on the pine against left-handed pitching.  Those factors will ultimately limit what he can do for your fantasy team. 
 
The Master List
 
1. Vladimir Guerrero
2. David Ortiz
3. Hideki Matsui
4. Pat Burrell
5. Travis Hafner
6. Jim Thome