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It’s a question we seem to be having every season. If you are granted the first overall pick in your fantasy baseball draft, you have a tough choice to make. Do you take arguably the best slugger of our generation in St. Louis 1B Albert Pujols, or do you draft fantasy’s elite SS in the form of Florida’s Hanley Ramirez?
Now, taking Pujols #1 is a no-brainer to a lot of people, but the allure of having the absolute best SS in this game has been too tempting to pass up lately. So, do you draft your guaranteed avg, power, and RBI with Pujols, or do you sacrifice some of that power, but pick up speed with Hanley? Man, this is a tough one to call.
What else can be said that hasn’t been said already? But hey, let’s lay out all the facts just for the hell of it.
Baseball is a grueling sport that takes a toll on the players for 162 games. Both men are going to play in 150+ games, so that isn’t a deal breaker.
If you take Pujols, your avg., home runs, and RBI are set in stone. You can plug him in there everyday and never worry about it. If you take Hanley, you don’t match the home run total, but you get equally good hitting plus stolen bases.
What you must also consider, and what is probably the biggest deciding factor, is position eligibility. Pujols is a 1B. Yes, he is the best 1B out there, but let’s not kid ourselves, the 1B position has depth. If you skip on Pujols at #1, then you can easily grab other players at the position later in the draft who can return very good power.
Guys like Mark Reynolds, Joey Votto, Justin Morneau, Kevin Youkilis, Pablo Sandoval, Garrett Jones, Adam Dunn, and Adrian Gonzalez will be available 3-4 rounds after Pujols is off the board.
The short stop position is one of shallowest talent pools out there. Hanley isn’t just the best at his position, he is just so far ahead of everyone else that passing him up could be one of your biggest regrets. After he is gone, the short stops are either inconsistent (Jimmy Rollins), injured (Jose Reyes), or are coming off career years (Ben Zobrist, Jason Bartlett). Hanley blows them all away with his power/speed combination and most importantly, consistency.
Nobody is going to second guess you if you take Albert Pujols. All I am saying is that he can be passed up. First base is so rich and deep with talent that letting Pujols go to another team will not be the end of the world.
Hanley is head and shoulders (or any shampoo) above other short stops. He has superb hitting, the potential for 25-25, and thanks to his move to the 3rd spot in the batting order, he can now drive in close to 100 RBI.
If Hanley was still a leadoff hitter, he would have all the same tools except for the RBI. Now that he is complete, I think the choice for Hanley as the #1 pick should be everyone’s plan of action for draft day.