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No matter what time of year we are in, I just can’t stop talking about baseball. The other big sports may come and go but, baseball is forever my No. 1. Everyday of the year I am prepping for fantasy baseball. As of now, the cold, bitter months of winter are upon us and my preparation is in full swing.
Now when it comes to deciding the draft order, the fantasy gods have not blessed me with a #1 pick since 2005. If I somehow ended up with this gift, I would certainly have a difficult choice to make. I have made note of this in my previous post about the potential first round of the 2009 draft. In that piece, I said that Albert Pujols would probably be first off the boards in most upcoming drafts. However, I didn’t say that he would be the player I would choose if I had the first overall pick.
No disrespect to the 2008 NL MVP but, if I am granted the first overall pick, I am taking…
Yes it is a big man crush but, I don’t care. I love Hanley. I followed him in the minors and just couldn’t wait for the day he became the Sox everyday SS. Then, when we traded him in a deal for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell, I was at a loss for words. Yes, I know we won a World Series thanks in part to the big contributions of both Beckett and Lowell but, I don’t care. I’d kill to have Hanley back. This has nothing to do with fantasy. I just thought I’d rant. Back to the business at hand.
Hanley has played three full seasons in the majors. From his Rookie of the Year season in 2006 up until 2008, Hanley can’t be stopped.
To save you the math, that is a three year average of: 123 R, .308 avg, 26 HR, 69 RBI, and 46 SB. These are just the best numbers you can get from a leadoff hitter. The best thing is that he is not a one year wonder. The single most vital element to keep in mind when drafting a player, especially the first overall player, is whether or not he can put up consistently great numbers and stay healthy. Otherwise, you are stuck betting your season on the 24th best player in the draft. Hanley’s health is not a concern. He has played in 150+ games in each of his three seasons.
In the standard 5×5 format, the stats are: runs, average, HR, RBI, and SB. As you can see from the stats above, their is no hole in Hanley’s 5×5 game. You could nitpick at the RBI but, he is a leadoff hitter so, you can’t expect there to be a lot of opportunities to knock in runs.
Since 2004, I have been part of a 12×12 league. I love it. With so many more added categories (no, not caught stealing or fielding percentage…stupid), even more statistical research is put into my preparation. Including other factors such as doubles, triples, walks, on base percentage, and slugging percentage, makes Hanley look even more valuable than he already is.
Hanley’s three year averages for those categories are as follows: 43 doubles, 7 triples, 67 walks, .379 OBP, and .527 SLG. Again, mighty impressive for a leadoff hitter.
If I have the #1 overall pick, I am taking Hanley Ramirez…without hesitation. No matter what format your league is, Hanley is guaranteed to fill up the stat sheet. Hanley can hit for power and he is a huge threat on the basepaths. He is a 30-30 player at the SS position no less. Seriously, there are not too many elite SS out there. Odds are Hanley, Jose Reyes, and Jimmy Rollins will all be gone in the first two rounds.
Lets not forget that the guy is only going to be 25 when the season starts. He has not even hit his prime. The stats he has compiled so far are just the beginning. He hit over 30 home runs and stole 35 bases last season and it wasn’t even his best season. Yeah, hard to believe but, 2008 was a down season compared to his 2007 campaign.
Make the right choice this Spring. Hanley Ramirez: #1 in your hearts, #1 overall pick.