Saturday, January 23, 2010

Early 2010 Ranking Rundown

Assume standard 5x5 roto format. (If this were head-to-head, I'd drop pitchers considerably lower what with the rich, documented depth at the position; you can wait).
  1. 1B Albert Pujols - The Cards slugger should be the consensus #1 in traditional 5x5 drafts. Impressive numbers across the board.
  2. SS Hanley Ramirez - Reigning NL batting champ carries 30/30 upside. In his prime (26), surrounded by an emerging cast, and production far exceeds that of next SS.
  3. 3B Alex Rodriguez - You won't be blamed if you take Utley - who has the greater upside coming into the season, in my opinion - at pick 3. Position scarcity, though, dictates that you grab the headline-making A-Rod.
  4. OF Ryan Braun - You need to fill three OF spots; taking this five-tool stud is a sharp choice. His potential exceeds that of anyone's in the top 5 or within the first round even.
  5. 2B Chase Utley - A-Rod stats at the 2B position. A 115-27-95-10-.295 floor is not something to be overlooked.
  6. 1B Prince Fielder - In 2008, his decline in power was highly criticized. His monsterous 2009 campaign, though, emphatically squashed all questions surrounding his ability to produce first round numbers. Select Fielder in the first and you can take a speedster in the second to complement the behemoth.
  7. 3B Evan Longoria - I fought myself six times over who to slot here. By no means was this a simple, resounding selection. I'm loathe to having Longoria ranked this high because he's unproven and you want security here, but he has the pedigree, competitive lineup (Rays were seventh in runs, sixth in homers, seventh in runs batted in and lead the league in steals - by a definitive 45 steal margin) and potential (just 24) to post a special season. I see his AVG creeping towards the .285-.290 mark.
  8. 1B Mark Teixeira - I prefer Howard to Teixeira. That being said, at pick eight, Teixeira would be my endorsement. "The Big Noise" aptly labelled him the "consistency king" and his numbers, when paired alongside those of third rounders' (first basemen, that is), surpass them greatly. That margin makes him a strong albeit mundane pick.
  9. 1B Ryan Howard - He'll be your cornerstone in the power cats; build around him with complementary pieces as necessary.
  10. 2B Ian Kinsler - Will enter the magical 27 year, primed for first round production and destined for a comeback season with the dangerous Rangers lineup and favorable ballpark.
  11. OF Justin Upton - Extrapolate this considerable talent's line from 2009 and you get a tasty line of 99-31-101-24-.300 ... in his first full season.
  12. 1B Miguel Cabrera - Will endure an underwhelming season by Cabrera standards. Will feel the loss of Granderson, Polanco, et al.
  13. OF Carl Crawford - I loaded up on Crawfords in 2008 and was rewarded handsomely ("trophied" in all nine leagues). I've always been bullish on young gun. To some, he still hasn't shaken off his inability to contribute in the power numbers, but when you exclude his 2008 campaign marred by injury, you get averages of 97-14-73-55-.304 as five-year averages, or, Jose Reyes in his prime. Draft this guy and you're near set on speed; Tampa Bay has always proven they'll run leading the league in steals the past two years.
  14. SP Tim Lincecum - Has improved on-field in each of the past three seasons. Unanimous first pitcher off everyone's board, deservedly so.
  15. 3B David Wright - It seems a crime to have him ranked outside of the top 8 but assuming the 27 year old rebounds, the discount will yield a tremendous value for those buying. The drop-off is unattractive but give him 2010 to redeem himself.
  16. OF Grady Sizemore - This 27 year old cat will never hit .295 (well prove me wrong, Grady) but the rest of his line is exceptional. Barring injury, this guy has 108-30-92-32-.282 written all over him.
  17. SS Jose Reyes - Bright outlook: Per David Lennon of New York Newsday, Reyes will be running at full-speed in January and hasn't experienced any pain thus far.
  18. C Joe Mauer - Undeniably gifted backstop will, without question, regress in home runs. AVG will carry your team, imperative if you're carrying Howard, Dunn, etc.
  19. OF Matt Kemp - If Kemp weren't slotted in the seventh spot, he'd go higher. I have him projected for numbers comparable to Sizemore.
  20. OF Matt Holliday - Everyone's roto posterboy in Mile High, everyone (rightfully) questions him and his credibility upon his arrival in Oakland, everyone and their grandmother's favorite roto saviour in St. Louis. Everyone, including myself, is interested in seeing what comes out of Holliday's massive offseason deal. My personal call: continued progression.
  21. 3B Mark Reynolds - I'm not a buyer, personally, but there's no denying he can be an asset for a lot of fantasy teams. To get him this late, you're virtually ensured 70 home runs and 30 steals at this point in the draft.
  22. OF Jason Bay - Too high? Questionable call? Nearing the end of the second round, pair him up with an early draft pick and you've got 200-75-205-25-.285. I don't want to second guess myself out of this pick.
  23. SS Troy Tulowitzki - He'll go much higher in 2011 drafts if he's able to duplicate his outstanding roto-friendly line of 2009.
  24. SP Roy Halladay - Upgrades in team's competitiveness, schedule, and pressure (a good thing).
  25. C/1 Victor Martinez - I'm convinced his value derives solely on his being a catcher; otherwise, Votto, Youk and Sandoval bring more to the table.
  26. 1B Joey Votto - Capable of posting similar numbers to fellow lefty Todd Helton in his prime.
  27. SP Felix Hernandez - Correcting his mechanical flaws during the 2008 offseason did wonders for his stats.
  28. SS Jimmy Rollins - I want to go even lower but Rollins' documented roto contributions has me at an impasse.
  29. 1B/3B - Kevin Youkilis - The heart of the BoSox lineup now runs through this guy. The third base eligibility is huge because if you whiffed early on third basemen, here's your opportunity to nab 97-32-110-4-.308. The floor's nice here; losing Bay ... not so much.
  30. 1B Justin Morneau - With Mauer, Kubel, Span and Cuddyer coming off enjoyable 2009 seasons, Morneau seemingly finally has the supporting cast to break out.
  31. SP CC Sabathia - He pitched remarkably well down the stretch compiling a 11-2 record with a 2.74 ERA and a K/9 of over 9 after the break.
  32. 1B Adrian Gonzalez - Conversely, when compared to Morneau, Gonzalez lacks the supporting cast to truly post an obscene roto line. If he gets traded, his stock rises significantly, needless to say.
  33. OF Jayson Werth - Put together a quiet 36/20 line in 2009. Consider him Sizemore Lite.
  34. OF Curtis Granderson - Relatively young, favorable ballpark, juggernaut lineup ... Granderson regains his groove back.
  35. OF Jacoby Ellsbury - The steals are great, but the lack of balance in his 5x5 line makes him a hard addition to a team (I'd rather pass and go 25/25 if I have a little speed already on my roster). If you're looking for strictly a burner, wait, then get Bourn or Figgins at a substantial discount.
  36. 1B/3B Pablo Sandoval - Kung-Fu Panda has been a productive hitter throughout his baseball career at all levels. If he can swipe 5-8 bags a season, he'll be a top 40 player. The additions of DeRosa and Huff will only help.
  37. SP Dan Haren - Haren and Verlander are almost interchangeable as the fifth starter off the board. I prefer Haren because of his overall consistency. When you draft him, you know you're getting above-average numbers in four cats.
  38. OF Ichiro - His speed's in decline but he still provides a healthy roto line. With the acquisition of Figgins, it should lessen the pressure on Suzuki so look for another decent season from #51, the hitting machine.
  39. 2B Dustin Pedroia - Concluded somewhat disappointing 2009 campaign with 13 home runs in his final four months, as opposed to two in his first three. Prime age (27) and SS-eligible soon (h/t Funston). This is simply a gut call on Pedroia.
  40. 2B Brian Roberts - I have Pedroia slightly ahead of Roberts due to the lineup, youth but I trust Roberts a lot more to deliver a fantasy relevant line as per his usual.
  41. OF Lance Berkman - Don't call it a comeback. I been here for years. Yes, yes you have, Berkman. Your current ADP is 58.11. Seems disrespectful to a slugger one season removed from a zesty 114-29-106-18-.312 roto line.
  42. SP Johan Santana - If this were the Yahoo! Big Board, I'd get at least 25 comments flaming me on my decision to have Santana ranked in the top 50. They'd also question my credibility. And ask for my job. So thankfully this isn't the BB. I do truly believe, though, that Santana rebounds in 2010 and delivers meaningful numbers. Not brilliant ones like he did when he was in his prime, but enough to be ranked ahead of Verlander, and, barring injury, Greinke, too.
  43. 3B Ryan Zimmerman - 2009 was likely his ceiling. That's still one helluva line. His numbers will probably mirror Aramis' but he's the safer play.
  44. SP Zack Greinke - How does last year's Cy Young winner get ranked below the damaged Santana, the unproven Hernandez, and the uninspiring Haren? Greinke will not achieve the level of success that he did a year back. I'd have him a lot lower but I feel obligated to keep him in the top 50 to, you know, keep this thing relatively credible.
  45. 2B Brandon Phillips - As a frequent Phillips owner, I can tell you I endure persistent bouts of self-loathing. It's brutal to own him. In roto, you know what you're going to get but to own him is not a fun ride.
  46. OF Bobby Abreu - Annual 100-15-100-25-.295 line is unappreciated.
  47. 3B Aramis Ramirez - Prior to last year's miserable campaign which featured ailments, Aramis was the model of consistency. I'll take the over on 135 games so he'll have some sort of fantasy impact. Don't sleep on this guy.
  48. SP Justin Verlander - I don't completely trust him, and the Tigers lost some key players this offseason, but this guy is a high K/9 pitcher and a proven winner regardless.
  49. OF Carlos Quentin - A return to form is in order for this 27 year old slugger. Does he reach or elipse his 2008 totals? Unlikely. But reportedly the plantar fasciitis he battled throughout last season has healed entirely. He's also playing for a contract this year.
  50. OF Adam Jones - Displayed his talents last season showing what he had to offer. Still only 22, Jones was having a breakthrough season until injuries struck. Extrapolate his numbers through 119 games and you get 113-26-96-14-.277. Definitely a top 50 line.

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