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The Big Board is the cheat sheet for any fantasy baseball draft. The players are judged on past performances, current state, and potential future progression. Also a huge factor is position eligibility. For instance a first baseman who hits .300 is not worth as much as a second baseman who does. After running a few numbers last year I found there’s at least a 10% drop in numbers between 2nd baseman and 1st baseman. So keeping that all in mind, the Big Board.
(Updated as of Jan 1, 2008)
(1) Alex Rodriguez, NYY, 3B: Hopefully the off-season wasn’t too much for this soft cookie.
(2) Hanley Ramirez, FLA, SS: How many tools can a player have again? 5? No that doesn’t seem like enough.
(3) Albert Pujols, StL, 1B: Don’t expect Pujol’s team or his SBs to help you. Everything else is golden.
(4) Chase Utley, Phi, 2B: (.332, 22, 103, 104, 9 w/ 30 missed games) Means Elite Player even without being a 2nd baseman.
(5) Jose Reyes, NYM, SS: 78 SB and 119 runs in ’07, and he’s still only 24.
(6) David Wright, NYM, 3B: Solid all around (.325, 30, 107, 113, 34) even with poor 1st half (.879 OPS/ 1.061 OPS 2nd)
(7) Jimmy Rollins, Phi, SS: NL MVP, and 3rd best SS (.296, 30, 94,139, 41)
(8) Matt Holiday, Col, OF: Prime numbers (.340, 36, 137, 120, 11) and consistent for last 2.5 years.
(9) Miguel Cabrera, Det, 3B: Key member of MLB’s likely best offense.
(10) Ryan Braun, Mil, 3B: (324, 34, 97, 91, 15) in only 113 games played and bats 3rd in a strong Brewer lineup.
(11) Prince Fielder, Mil, 1B:He’s 23, hit 50 HRs, and finished strong. I’m sold.
(12) Ryan Howard, Phi, 1B: Had bad 1st half but adjusted to find stroke. Look for better numbers overall in ’08.
(13) David Ortiz, Bos, 1B: Down year for HRs but avg stepped up (.332, 35, 117, 116, 3). Due for a 40+ HR year.
(14) Johan Santana, Min, SP: Assuming he moves to Boston or Yankees he’ll be the best pitcher in the game and a 20 game winner.
(15) Jake Peavy, SD, SP: Hot stuff coming through. Peavy even went 19-6 while pitching for the Padres, a hard mark to reach on that team.
(16) Vladimir Guerrero, LAA, OF: Very consistent and still looks to bat around .330. Interesting split, Vlad’s average is .033 less during the day.
(17) B.J. Upton, Tam, 2B/OF: Mostly this high because of 2nd base eligibility and potential. His ’07 162 game average is (.300, 30, 103, 108, 28). Worth the risk.
(18) Carlos Beltran, NYM, OF: Even through injuries and slumps he piles stats.
(19) Carl Crawford, Tam, OF: Everyone has been waiting for Crawford to explode. But he is what he is. 50 SBs, .300+ avg, and close to 100 runs. Still great.
(20) Alfonso Soriano, ChC, OF: Only 19 SBs and his best avg (.299) since being with NY in 2002. I’m buying low. Still big power and speed.
(21) Ichiro, Sea, OF: Mr. Average still at his best hitting .351 in ’07. Look for a drop in avg to about .323, but still +200 hits, 100+ R, and 30+ SB.
(22) Lance Berkman, Hou, 1B/OF: 2nd half Lance is the real deal. Amazing potential for anyone in a league thats more then 5×5.
(23) Brandon Philips, Cin, 2B: I’m still not sold on his consistency. But he plays 2nd base and had an awesome year. My prediction: (.270, 22, 85, 95, 25)
(24) Curtis Granderson, Det, OF: Hitting lead-off on a premeir offense and he’s getting better. Granderson hit .043 better in the 2nd half.
(25) Grady Sizemore, Cle, OF: Also hitting lead-off on a premeir offense but he could bat anywhere. Still only 25, don’t be suprised if he’s a 30/30 guy in ’08 and leads the majors in runs.
(26) Victor Martinez, Cle, C: Consistently one of the best fantasy catchers. You can buy that early.
(27) Carlos Lee, Hou, OF: Expect similar numbers to ’07 (.303, 32, 119, 93, 10)
(28) Eric Bedard, Bal, SP: Assuming Bedard gets moved like Tejada, most likely to Seattle, Bedard has the chance to put up Cy Young numbers.
(29) Mark Teixeira, Atl, 1B: Took well to the Braves. For what he did in 54 games there, his 162 game average would be (.317, 51, 168, 114, 0). Don’t expect it, but he’ll still be good.
(30) Magglio Ordonez, Det, OF: The ’07 season was a miracle season for Magglio. He can’t do better and probably won’t repeat it. Expect something like (.310, 25, 110, 95, 2)
(31) Russell Martin, LAD, C: Martin is young at 24 and is already great. The only catcher who can get you 20 steals. Expect similar numbers to last year, hope for improvement.
(32) Adam Dunn, Cin, OF: Every year from Dunn you can expect 40 HRs, 100 R, 100 RBI and several steals. Just looks for someone like Ichiro to help negate Dunns awful average.
(33) Brian Roberts, Bal, 2B: A 2nd baseman who can get you 50 steals (more likely to be 35) and about 95 runs. But if you already have a 2nd baseman or are all set on steals, you can get a lot better value.
(34) Derek Jeter, NYY, SS: Productive and consistent. Predicting (.310, 12, 70, 105, 15) season.
(35) Miguel Tejada, Hou, SS: Yes I’m putting him this high. Considering he’s a SS who plays everyday and will be in the middle of Houstons lineup, he’s worth it. Predicting (.300, 24, 110, 95, 4)
(36) Robinson Cano, NYY, 2B: Solid 2B bat. Also there have been talks of moving Cano up in the batting order. Predicting a (.315, 20, 99, 90, 4) season.
(37) Manny Ramirez, Bos, OF: The ’07 season was a down year for Manny. But he’s always been consistent and I expect a rebound for him. Predicting a (.300, 32, 115, 92, 0) season.
(38) Derek Lee, ChC, 1B: Law of averages says a guy who plays 150 games, is 3rd in a lineup, and hits .317, has a .400 on-base and a .513 SLG will get a better line than (.317, 24, 82, 91, 6). Can’t explain it. He’ll be better in ’08 though.
(39) Troy Tulowitzki, Col, SS: Tulowitzki at 23 has shown he’s a solid SS fantasy bat. A year more maturity and half his games at Coors, he’s a sure bet to produce. Now if he could only hit away from home.
(40) Carlos Guillen, Det, 1B/SS: With the addition of Miguel Cabrera and Edgar Renteria Guillen got pushed further down the batting order. Most likely he’ll hit in the 6th spot all year. Still good enough for 100+ RBIs and a line similar to last year.
(41) Josh Beckett, Bos, SP: This time around Josh Beckett should be expected to be one of the best pitchers in baseball. He’s adjusted to Boston and dominated the majors. Expect more of the same but don’t count on getting 20 wins from him. Its a hard pressed mark.
(42) Travis Hafner, Cle, 1B:Hafner had bad in ’07. Ironically it was the most games Hafner has ever played in a year but he couldn’t take advantage of it. Look for a bounce back. Probably along the lines of (.290, 30, 110, 85, 0)
(43) Aramis Ramirez, ChC, 3B:Aramis swings a mean bat when he’s healthy. If he dodges the injury bug he’s good for 30+ HRs, 100+ RBI and a .300+ average.
(44) Alex Rios, Tor, OF: Predicting about same numbers for ’08 (.297, 24, 85, 114, 17). Solid all the way around.
(45) Joe Mauer, Min, C: He’ll really help for average and will be better than average in most other stats.
(46) Chone Figgins, LAA, 2B/3B/OF:Figgins is the best utility guy in fantasy baseball. He’s been inconsistent in the last few years but on average you’re looking at a (.295, 5, 58, 94, 45) type of line in ’08.
(47) Brandon Webb, Ari, SP: Cy Young stuff, Cy Young numbers, and does for 230+ IP. And thanks to an improving Diamondbacks team 18 wins a season is looking possible for Webb.
(48) Chipper Jones, Atl, 3B: If Chipper could still play 155+ games like he used to he’d be one of the best in baseball. But Chipper gets injured a lot. So if you’re willing to watch his health game to game and sub him out when he sits he’s a great 3B option. Expect a line of about (.315, 26, 100, 105, 5) or better.
(49) C.C. Sabathia, Cle, SP: The AL Cy Young award winner has been very consistent the last two years. About a 3.21 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP, and 30 starts. All great things to see. And at age 27 Sabathia is just reaching his prime now.
(50) Carlos Pena, Tam, 1B: Now a lot of other names could have gone at the very bottom of the list but Pena seemed most appropriate to straddle the line. After all, how many people can pull 46 HRs out of their ass?
Bigger Big Board still to come.