Tag Archives: Carlos Beltran

Season Preview: NL East


Onto the National League, starting with the East division. You can also take a look at my previews of the AL East, AL Central and AL West.

Last Year’s Records
Philadelphia – 97-65
Atlanta – 91-71
Florida – 80-82
New York – 79-83
Washington – 69-93

Notable Additions

Atlanta – Dan Uggla

Florida – Omar Infante, Mike Dunn, Javier Vazquez, John Buck

New York – Brad Emaus, Ronny Paulino

Philadelphia – Cliff Lee

Washington – Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche, Tom Gorzelanny

Notable Losses

Atlanta – Omar Infante, Mike Dunn, Derrek Lee, Melky Cabrera, Takashi Saito

Florida – Dan Uggla, Cameron Maybin, Ronny Paulino

New York – John Maine, Hisanori Takahashi, Pedro Feliciano

Philadelphia – Jayson Werth

Washington – Josh Willingham, Adam Dunn

My Thoughts

Atlanta – This is a playoff team from last year that has upgraded itself at 2B (Uggla), and will look for growth from Jason Heyward in his second season. The team will plug in Freddie Freeman to start at 1B, and hope that he can have even a partially similar season to Heyward’s rookie year. The pitching remains solid, behind Tommy Hanson, Tim Hudson, and Jair Jurrjens. The biggest role that seems to be up in the air coming into Spring Training is the closer, with Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters competing for the job.

Florida – As they prepare to move into their new stadium in 2012, this is a young team who should continue to be exciting for the next few seasons. It appears that 3B Matt Dominguez is likely to be the starter this year, despite not playing a single day in the Majors yet. However, the loss of Dan Uggla‘s bat in their lineup could cause a major hole in terms of power and run production. They’re also hoping that Javier Vazquez will rebound with a return to the NL East, and also provide some more veteran leadership with Josh Johnson in the starting rotation. I’m not sold that they stand a great chance of winning the division, but they could surprise some people in a tough division.

New York – With new GM Sandy Alderson on board, 2011 is going to be a partial rebuilding season. They did not make any substantial changes to their roster, and will look to get bounceback seasons from players like Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes instead. Ace Johan Santana is expected to be out until midseason, and the team is going to be looking for nice performances from Chris Young and Chris Capuano.

Philadelphia – The Phillies went out and made what was probably the biggest surprise move of the offseason, inking Cliff Lee to a 5 year, $120 million contract. With their four aces in the starting rotation, they definitely look like the team to beat in the NL East. However, the injuries are already starting to pile up, as Chase Utley has yet to play in Spring Training, and potential right fielder Domonic Brown will miss 3-6 weeks after having hand surgery. If this team can stay healthy, I don’t think there’s a team in the NL that can compete with them. But that is a gigantic if.

Washington – The Nationals made one of the biggest splashes in the free agent market, and it was completely unexpected. Jayson Werth signed a 7 year contract with the team, and will play right field for the first few years of the contract. The team is still not ready to compete, but they will look for continued growth from Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa. Jordan Zimmermann will also look to have an injury free campaign, and while they will miss Stephen Strasburg this season, he should be back in 2012 from his injuries.

Overall Thoughts

The NL East really comes down to the two teams at the top of the pile. The Braves and Phillies really seem like they will be the only teams that are likely to win the division or the Wild Card. The Mets and Nationals just simply aren’t ready, and I don’t believe that the Marlins are ready to compete quite yet either.  Here’s my predicted order of finish:

1. Philadelphia
2. Atlanta
3. Florida
4. Washington
5. New York

Fantasy Rankings in Review – Outfielders


Back in February, I took my first shot at attempting to rank players for fantasy purposes. After a full season, I thought it wise to take a look back at how they went, and compare them to how it actually turned out and see if there is anything to be gained from it. Next up is the review of my OF rankings. I ranked 45 outfielders originally, and you can find them here.

Yahoo’s Top 25 Outfielders

  1. Carlos Gonzalez
  2. Carl Crawford
  3. Josh Hamilton
  4. Jose Bautista
  5. Ryan Braun
  6. Matt Holliday
  7. Jayson Werth
  8. Vladimir Guerrero
  9. Alex Rios
  10. Corey Hart
  11. Shin-Soo Choo
  12. Hunter Pence
  13. Chris Young
  14. Aubrey Huff
  15. Delmon Young
  16. Juan Pierre
  17. Nick Swisher
  18. Adam Dunn
  19. Andrew McCutchen
  20. Drew Stubbs
  21. Angel Pagan
  22. Ichiro Suzuki
  23. Vernon Wells
  24. Nelson Cruz
  25. Brett Gardner

Notable Outfielders Outside the Top 25: Matt Kemp (26), Torii Hunter (27), Shane Victorino (28), Bobby Abreu (29), Andre Ethier (34), Jay Bruce (35), Justin Upton (41), Nick Markakis (46), Curtis Granderson (49), Alfonso Soriano

Continue reading

Week in Review – July 12 to July 18


If the Playoffs Started Today

Tampa Bay Rays (55-36) vs. Texas Rangers (53-39)
Chicago White Sox (50-41) vs. New York Yankees (58-33)

Colorado Rockies (50-41) vs. Atlanta Braves (54-38)
St. Louis Cardinals (51-41) vs. San Diego Padres (54-37)

League Leaders

Batting Average – Josh Hamilton (TEX) .347
Runs – Carl Crawford (TAM) 70
Home Runs – Jose Bautista (TOR) 25
Runs Batted In – Miguel Cabrera (DET) 79
Stolen Bases – Juan Pierre (CHW) 33

Wins – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) 15
Saves – Heath Bell (SD) 26
ERA – Josh Johnson (FLA) 1.62
Strikeouts – Jered Weaver (LAA) 142
WHIP – Cliff Lee (TEX) 0.94

Roster Movement

To the Disabled List: Kerry Wood, Mat Latos, Mike Adams, Eric O’Flaherty, Reed Johnson, Matt Wieters, Justin Morneau, Doug Davis

Return from the Disabled List: Zach Duke, Manny Ramirez, Chad Durbin, Carlos Beltran, Jason Heyward, Placido Polanco

To the Minors: Jason Jaramillo, Dan Meyer, Brandon Hicks

Called Up: Allen Craig, Lorenzo Cain, Josh Bell

Trades:

Top Stories and Weekly Links

  • The All-Star Game festivities were this week, so there were only 4 days with games on them. The National League finally managed to get off the bench and win one, as they defeated the American League 3 to 1 on Tuesday. Brian McCann had the deciding hit, and was named the game’s MVP.  Manager Joe Girardi of the American League received a small ration of grief as well for not pinch running Alex Rodriguez for David Ortiz in the bottom of the 9th inning, but overall the game was pretty well played and well managed.
  • The Home Run Derby on Monday was won by David Ortiz, and since the majority of the players participating had very little home run derby experience, it was nice to see them get so much national exposure.
  • Sadly, the Yankee family lost a titan on Tuesday, with the passing of owner George Steinbrenner from a massive heart attack. I wrote up my thoughts on the Boss here.
  • The All-Star break ended with a surprising trade, as the Braves sent their starting SS Yunel Escobar to the Blue Jays for their starting SS, Alex Gonzalez. It appears that Escobar was not well liked in the Braves’ clubhouse, and there seemed to be constant concern with a lack of effort from Escobar. A true challenge trade, it remains to be seen which side will win this trade in the end, but I actually think it could be good for both teams.
  • It had been widely discussed that Padres’ ace Mat Latos would be on an innings limit, and there was talk that he might be placed on the disabled list so that he could be skipped for his next start and help to keep him near that innings limit. The surprise was the “injury” that he sustained to put him there. Apparently he tweaked a muscle trying not to sneeze. At least it’s not a deer meat injury.

From the Twitter Followers and Friends

If you aren’t yet, you can follow me over at Twitter here. These are some of the better reads I found from the previous week.

Upcoming Posts This Week:

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: I will be continuing on with my series of posts about the 2003 BA Almanac, going over both the Minor League All-Stars  the Top 20 Prospects by League, and the 2002 Top 100 Prospect List

Friday:  Trade Retrospective of Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs. This one is a huge trade, since 4 teams were involved in it, and also clearly had an impact on the pennant races as well.

Other News

I also wanted to let everyone know that in addition to writing for Fake Teams, I am also now a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. The group of over 200 blogs has writers who cover nearly every aspect of baseball you could think of, and honestly a couple I had not thought of yet.

The BBA has, as a secondary aim, the goal of producing year-end awards in a similar fashion to the Baseball Writers of America.  These awards can be found here in October with links back to the voters, ensuring transparancy and, most likely, the onset of some good baseball arguments.

Over the coming weeks, I will be taking a look at a lot of them (there are so many!), and may potentially writeup a few of them. We’ll see what happens, but I’m really excited to be here!

One Other Thing

Lastly, I wanted to bring up a charity that the Baseball Bloggers Alliance has taken up. Here’s the official word, and what you can do:

Pitch In For Baseball is delighted to have been selected to participate in State Farm’s ‘Go To Bat’ campaign.  Now we need your
help!

‘Go To Bat’ was launched nationally during the State Farm Home Run Derby.  ‘Go To Bat’ gives entrants a chance to win tickets to the upcoming World Series and selected charity partners the chance to receive significant financial support.

Here’s how to play and how to help Pitch In For Baseball:

* Go to  www.statefarm.com/gotobat to register for your chance to win World Series tickets.
* As you register, you will get a chance to designate a charity that could win up to $25,000/week.
* To designate Pitch In For Baseball as your charity, select PUBLIC GOOD as the charity category and then choose Pitch In For
Baseball from the drop down list.
* Revisit www.statefarm.com/gotobat each day and play the ‘Go To Bat’ online game to increase your chances for tickets and Pitch In For
Baseball’s chance at financial support

Thanks to all the readers who help out with this. You can find a lot more information about Pitch In For Baseball at their website

Original Draft Series: Team #28 – Kansas City Royals


For those that missed the guidelines I am using for this series of posts, you can find them here.

Team #28: Kansas City Royals

General Managers(since 1994)

Herk Robinson (1994-2000): 489-576
Allard Baird (2001-2006): 386-586
Dayton Moore (2006-Present): 209-277

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
0 0 0 0 1 3 4 8

While this team has not seen success on the field, there are more players than I would have imagined who achieved success in the Majors after being drafted or signed by the Royals. I think that what put them ahead of the White Sox to me was the caliber of the top players listed on this team, and the performance that they gave while still in a Royals uniform. You have a Rookie of the Year award winner (Beltran), and of course last season’s Cy Young Award winner (Greinke). All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Paul Phillips 1998 – 9th Rd 9 58 gm, .258/.271/.364, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 18 R Released 12/12/07
1B Billy Butler 2004- 1st Rd (14) 6 438 gm, .297/.353/.457, 46 HR, 235 RBI, 1 SB, 191 R Currently with Org.
2B Mark Ellis 1999 – 9th Rd 2 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to OAK – 1/8/01
3B Alex Gordon 2005 – 1st Rd (2) 5 346 gm, .249/.331/.413, 38 HR, 142 RBI, 28 SB, 165 R Currently with Org.
SS Mike Aviles 2003 – 7th Rd 7 172 gm, .295/.323/.424, 13 HR, 65 RBI, 9 SB, 98 R Currently with Org.
LF Johnny Damon 1992 – 1st Rd (35) 9 803 gm, .292/.351/.438, 65 HR, 352 RBI, 156 SB, 504 R Traded to OAK – 1/8/01
CF Carlos Beltran 1995 – 2nd Rd 9 1999 Rookie of the Year, 1 All-Star Appearance
795 gm, .287/.352/.483, 123 HR, 516 RBI, 164 SB, 546 R
Traded to HOU – 6/24/04
RF David DeJesus 2000 – 4th Rd 10 847 gm., .288/.360/.429, 61 HR, 383 RBI, 47 SB, 489 R Currently with Org.
DH Mike Sweeney 1991 – 10th Rd 16 5 All-Star Appearances
1282 gm, .299/.369/.492, 197 HR, 837 RBI, 50 SB, 700 R
Free Agency – 10/30/07
SP Zack Greinke 2002 – 1st Rd (6) 8 2009 AL Cy Young Award, 1 All-Star Appearance
52-61, 3.75 ERA, 828 K, 243 BB, 977 IP, 1.265 WHIP
Currently with Org.
SP Luke Hochevar 2006 – 1st Rd (1) 4 18-30, 5.68 ERA, 240 K, 125 BB, 362.2 IP, 1.45 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Jeremy Affeldt 1997 – 3rd Rd 9 17-22, 4.77 ERA, 281 K, 178 BB, 399.2 IP, 1.519 WHIP Traded to COL – 7/31/06
SP Billy Buckner 2004 – 2nd Rd 3 1-2, 5.29 ERA, 17 K, 16 BB, 34 IP, 1.559 WHIP Traded to ARI – 12/14/07
SP Tim Byrdak 1994 – 5th Rd 6 0-4, 8.27 ERA, 26 K, 24 BB, 32.2 IP, 2.204 WHIP Free Agency – 12/21/00
RP Carlos Rosa Int’l FA – 2001 9 0-0, 3.21 ERA, 7 K, 3 BB, 14 IP, 1.143 WHIP Traded to ARI – 5/1/10
RP Chad Durbin 1996 – 3rd Rd 6 11-22, 6.01 ERA, 140 K, 106 BB, 262 IP, 1.573 WHIP Free Agency – 12/21/02
RP Kiko Calero 1996 – 27th Rd 6 No Major League Appearances with Organization Free Agency – 11/21/02
RP J.P. Howell 2004 – 1st rd (31) 2 3-5, 6.19 ERA, 54 K, 39 BB, 72.2 IP, 1.541 WHIP Traded to TAM – 6/20/06
RP Brian Sanches 1999 – 2nd Rd 4 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to SD – 8/26/03
CL Mike MacDougal 1999 – 1st Rd (25) 7 10-14, 50 SV, 3.88 ERA, 162 K, 76 BB, 174 IP, 1.437 WHIP Traded to CHW – 7/24/06
BN Kila Ka’aihue (1B) 2002 – 15th Rd 8 14 gm, .280/.357/.400, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 4 R Currently with Org.
BN Mitch Maier (OF) 2003 – 1st Rd (30) 7 217 gm., .252/.330/.335, 5 HR, 63 RBI, 9 SB, 73 R Currently with Org.
BN Dusty Hughes (P) 2003 – 11th Rd 7 1-3, 4.03 ERA, 31 K, 18 BB, 38 IP, 1.474 WHIP Currently with Org.
BN Matt Treanor (C) 1994 – 4th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to FLA – 7/29/97
BN Blake Wood (P) 2006 – 3rd Rd 4 0-0, 15 gm., 4 K, 5 BB, 15.1 IP, 1.109 WHIP Currently with Org.

The Royals have had an awful lot of poor finishes, and as a result a lot of very high draft picks in the first round. The Royals do have a lot of hope coming, in the form of the last 4 1st round picks, pitchers Aaron Crow and Mike Montgomery, 1B Eric Hosmer, and 3B Mike Moustakas. It is a bit nice to see that all of their top picks since the 2004 season (with the exception of Matthew Campbell) are still either on their roster or in their minor league system.

June Amateur Draft

Looking at their drafting results, they have had only 24 first round picks in the last 15 drafts (not including 2010). At least some part of this is a result of the fact that the Royals were consistently trading away their type-A free agents to be prior to their reaching free agency, and as such not receiving the compensation picks related to this. That said, they have definitely had a mixed bag of results in recent years. In 2001, you have Colt Griffin, a highly coveted prospect out of high school who could never really improve his control and was out of baseball before the age of 23. In 2000, you have Mike Stodolka, a high school pitcher who flamed out as a pitcher after 6 seasons, and failed as a 1B/OF prospect for the following 3 seasons after that. But in 2002, you have Zack Greinke, and in 2004 you have Billy Butler. There have been quite a few players who at least provided a reasonable return on their first round picks for the Royals.

International Free Agency

I only found one player who the Royals had signed as an international free agent for their roster who was currently in the Majors, Carlos Rosa. Clearly, the Royals have been missing this market for players for quite some time at this point, and unless they make more than a threadbare effort to find players in these countries, they will continue to miss some of the top prospects in the game.

Overall Grade

I think I have to give them a C-. Clearly, there are some high quality players that were developed in the Royals’ system at one point or another (Beltran, Greinke, Damon), and solid major league regulars (Ellis, Butler, Dejesus). Unfortunately, they’ve either never held onto these players at the same time or been able to put together any more than 83 wins in a season to this point. Some of their misses in the draft were pretty stunningly bad in the last 15 years, but overall their ability to scout and develop players is only slightly below average.

Trade Retrospective: Carlos Beltran


Next up on the trade retrospectives is the trade of Carlos Beltran on June 24, 2004. He was a part of a 3-way trade from the Royals, with the Astros receiving Beltran, the Royals receiving C John Buck, IF Mark Teahen, and P Mike Wood, and the Athletics receiving RP Octavio Dotel.

The Background

The Royals started out the 2004 season off to a slow start, which wasn’t entirely unexpected. Knowing that 5-tool outfielder Carlos Beltran would be a free agent at the end of the season, it became extremely clear that the Royals were very likely to trade him so that they would receive something in return for the free-agent-to-be.

The Astros were in the heat of a pennant race, and had spent a lot of money in the previous offseasons on high level acquisitions including Roger Clemens. They were 38-34, and only 5 games back of the first place Cardinals.

The Athletics were 40-31, only a single game back of the first place Angels, and well in the race for a playoff spot. They had been using Arthur Rhodes in the closer’s role but not particularly effectively, and needed some improvement at the back end of the bullpen.

The Moving Pieces

Carlos Beltran slotted into the Astros’ lineup in center field and in the heart of the order. The Astros added another excellent bat in their lineup with Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman, and Jeff Kent already providing excellent production.

The Athletics slotted Dotel into as the closer, and moved everyone else back in the bullpen, with former closer Arthur Rhodes slotting in as the 8th inning guy.

John Buck was slotted in as the starting catcher for the Royals the next day. Mark Teahen was sent to AAA Omaha, and spent the remainder of the 2004 season there. Mike Wood was called up by the Royals and spent the remainder of the 2004 season in their rotation.

What Happened Next

Beltran had an excellent rest of the season, hitting .258/.368/.559. He helped to carry the Astros to the playoffs, with them qualifying for the wild card. His better performance actually came in the playoffs, as he hit .455/.500/1.091 with 4 HR, 9 RBI and 2 SB in the series victory over Atlanta. While they didn’t win their next series against the Cardinals, it wasn’t really anything related to Beltran’s performance, as he hit .417/.563/.958 with another 4 HR, 5 RBI and 4 stolen bases.

Octavio Dotel came in to Oakland slotted as the closer, and made 45 appearances. He posted a 4.09 ERA, a 6-2 record, and 22 saves. He also recorded 72 strikeouts in just 50 innings with the A’s, although was somewhat prone to homeruns, as he gave up 9 in that time.

John Buck hit .235/.280/.424 in 71 games, with 12 homeruns and 30 rbi. Mike Wood went 3-8 with a 5.94 ERA in 100 innings for the Royals, and was also prone to homeruns a bit, giving up 16 in that time frame.

The Net Moves

Houston – First Level

Carlos Beltran became a free agent at the end of the season, and was signed by the New York Mets. As a result of this, the Astros received two compensation picks from the Mets. They used these selections to take OF Eli Iorg (1st round supplemental) and SS Tommy Manzella (3rd round)

Oakland – First Level

Octavio Dotel pitched the remainder of the 2004 season, and the entire 2005 season with the Athletics, and became a free agent after the 2005 season. Unfortunately, he did not return any compensation picks for signing with the Yankees.

Kansas City – First Level

  • John Buck played for the Royals from the 2004 season through the end of the 2009 season, when he was non-tendered. He hit for some solid power for a catcher, hitting 18 in 2007. However, the batting average never really came along with it, and never hit for an average higher than .247 with them.
  • Mike Wood pitched for the Royals from the 2004 season through the 2006 season. Over that time, he posted an 11-19 record with a 5.28 ERA in 87 appearances (34 starts). He was waived by the Royals after the 2006 season, and claimed by the Rangers.
  • Mark Teahen spent the rest of 2004 at AAA, but was called up early in the 2005 season. He played for the Royals from 2005-2009, moving all over the field. 2006 was his best season with the Royals, as he hit .290/.357/.517 with 18 HR, 69 RBI and 10 stolen bases. During this previous offseason, he was traded to the White Sox for infielders Chris Getz and Josh Fields.

Houston – Second Level

  • Eli Iorg spent parts of the 2005-2009 seasons in the minors with the Astros, leading to his release in July of 2009. He appears to be out of baseball.
  • Tommy Manzella is now the starting shortstop for the Astros, although that only became fact at the start of this season.

Kansas City – Second Level

Chris Getz and Josh Fields are both currently on the major league roster, although Getz is on the disabled list. Both players appear to be hoping for a fresh start in Kansas City, as they were unlikely to break into the lineup in Chicago.

Overall Reactions

This trade was rather unusual, in that I am not 100% sold it worked out well for anyone. The Astros received an excellent half season of Beltran, but knew going into the trade that they were unlikely to resign him. As a result, the draft picks that they received as compensation had to calculate into the value received from him. And to this point, those have been a complete disaster. For the A’s, Dotel wasn’t quite enough to get over that last hump to get into the playoffs, and it is highly possible that he may have actually cost them some victories. I can distinctly remember feeling particularly un-confident in his ability to shut the door on the game when it was going on. The Royals probably made out the best on this, although I imagine that they had been hoping for a better return than the one that they got. Buck and Wood were essentially filler pieces based on their performance, but Teahen turned into a solid everyday player. It remains to be seen whether Chris Getz or Josh Fields will help them get return for him.

Team Preview – New York Mets


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Rod Barajas SP 1 Johan Santana
1B Daniel Murphy SP 2 Oliver Perez
2B Luis Castillo SP 3 John Maine
3B David Wright SP 4 Mike Pelfrey
SS Jose Reyes SP 5 Jon Niese
LF Jason Bay Bullpen
CF Carlos Beltran CL Francisco Rodriguez
RF Jeff Francouer RP Ryota Igarashi
Bench RP Pedro Feliciano
OF Gary Matthews Jr. RP Kiko Calero
1B Mike Jacobs RP Sean Green

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
LF Jason Bay Free Agency 1B Carlos Delgado Free Agency
C Rod Barajas Free Agency RP J.J. Putz Free Agency
RP Ryota Igarashi Free Agency RF Gary Sheffield Free Agency

Top Prospects: Fernando Martinez (OF), Jennry Mejia (P), Reese Havens (2B)

2009 Review

The Mets spent most of the 2009 season adjusting to their new stadium and futilely attempting to avoid injuries. They lost significant playing time from SS Jose Reyes, 3B David Wright, OF Carlos Beltran, and 1B Carlos Delgado during the season. Needless to say, their on-field performance didn’t turn out so good, as they finished 70-92, 23 games out of 1st in their division. Probably their best performances on offense last season came from David Wright (.307/.390/.447, 10 HR), and Carlos Beltran (.325, 10 HR, 11 RBI). Daniel Murphy led the team with 12 HR on the season.

Citi Field played like a pitchers park for the hitters, but it didn’t seem to help the pitching staff. Staff ace Johan Santana pitched well (13-9, 3.13), but only made 25 starts last year. The rest of the rotation was an ineffective mess, with the best performance of the group probably coming from John Maine (7-6, 4.43 ERA) in his limited starts. All in all, it was a pretty poor year for the Mets unfortunately. There had been speculation that they may fire either manager Jerry Manuel, GM Omar Minaya, or even both. Both men are still on the job though, with a lot to prove.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Mets signed the 2nd best outfielder on the free agent market this season, committing 4 years and $66 M to LF Jason Bay. They have also given the everyday job at 1B to Daniel Murphy, and are hoping that they will be able to get a full season out of most of their star players this year. Unfortunately, the injuries have already started to hit them, as CF Carlos Beltran will miss the first month of the season as he recovers from off-season surgery. It remains to be seen how effective SS Jose Reyes will be this season, as he tries to return from a hamstring injury that forced him to miss most of last season.

For the Mets to have a chance of competing in the division, they will need marked improvements from all of their starting pitchers. For Santana, they need him to make a full season worth of starts. For the rest of the rotation, they need to pitch better. Maine was the only pitcher with an ERA under 5, and none of them were particularly effective last year.

There is a little help coming, as Fernando Martinez should be able to contribute by mid-season, and P Jennry Mejia (who I wrote up earlier in the offseason), could potentially see some time late in the season as well.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

Coming into last season, you had 2 bonafide first rounders in David Wright and Jose Reyes. Concerns surrounding the two of them this year have dropped them in the rankings, but I think that Wright will have a bounceback season. The power should still be there, as he’s only going to be 27 this season. OF Carlos Beltran, SP Johan Santana, OF Jason Bay, and RP Francisco Rodriguez will be owned in nearly every league as well. Watch for Fernando Martinez if he gets the call to the Majors, as he could be a cheap source of stolen bases.

Prediction for 2010

The Mets really do not look like a contender this season, and I have serious doubts that they will be competitive next season either. They have a lot of bloated contracts that have been given to players that are either not performing to their expected standards. And there’s not a lot of Major-League ready talent down in the Minors. It could be a couple years before they challenge the Phillies again.

75-87, 4th in the NL East

Fantasy Preview – Outfielders


A note about my rankings: I am assuming a standard scoring league (5×5) with the following categories:

R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, W, SV, ERA, K, WHIP

Also, I have done a lot of statistical analysis in the past, but I’m not ready to start calculating my own projections statistically. So for me, a lot of this is based entirely on gut feel (which of these 2 players would I want), and looking at previous performance. All statistics are from the 2009 season.

My top 45 Outfielders for 2010

1. Ryan Braun – MIL
R HR RBI SB AVG
113 32 114 20 .320
What’s not to love about Ryan Braun the fantasy outfielder? He gives you elite runs and RBI, excellent power and batting average, and great speed. And he’s still young, and has the potential to improve even more. Seriously, Braun is a top-5 talent right now for fantasy, and would definitely be on the short list of players I would want to start a franchise around. I am extremely confident that Braun could give you all those stats again in 2010.


2. Matt Kemp – LAD
R HR RBI SB AVG
97 26 101 34 .297
As good as Braun has been, Kemp vaulted up into the same tier after his excellent 2009 season. Kemp is another top-10 type player who is going to provide you great value in all 5 categories. Honestly, I think that Kemp would actually put up better numbers than Braun if he didn’t play so many of his games in the spacious parks of the NL West. And he’s only going to be 25 to start the 2010 season. Another player on the short list to start a franchise around.


3. Matt Holliday – STL
R HR RBI SB AVG
94 24 109 14 .313
Holliday started off slow last season while in Oakland, but really turned it up once he arrived in St. Louis. I’m sure that having that Pujols guy as protection for you in the batting order doesn’t hurt, but I think that the Holliday we saw in the second half is legit. I can see him posting another season of 100 runs scored, 30+ HR, 100+ RBI, and probably 10 steals, all while hitting around .320 again. I don’t think that Holliday has any drop-off related to the gigantic contract that he signed in the offseason, but it may be something to watch for.


4. Carl Crawford – TAM
R HR RBI SB AVG
96 15 68 60 .305
I put Crawford here because I think there is still some upside for him. I think that he’s probably not going to hit more than the 15 HR he hit last season, but I think there’s actually the potential for his SB total to increase on the career high he set last season. An elite basestealer who I believe has the potential to approach the 75-80 range, and post solid-to-great values in some other categories, and there’s a lot to like here. Something to keep an eye on will be his contract situation, as there remains the possibility for him to be traded midseason if the Rays fall out of it and cannot get him signed to an extension.


5. Justin Upton – ARI
R HR RBI SB AVG
84 26 86 20 .300
Upton really started showing us the potential we had all been hearing about last season. Despite missing almost 3 weeks in August due to injury, he still posted a 20-20 season, and was on pace to score 100 runs and drive in 100 also. And he’s still only going to be 22 years old this season. I think he probably has a 30-30 season in him at some point, but for this season, I think he probably posts a 25-20 season. He’s missed time in each of the last 2 seasons related to strains, so I’d be at least aware of that possibility, but I wouldn’t put a lot of weight into it when you’re drafting him.


6. Torii Hunter – LAA
R HR RBI SB AVG
74 22 90 18 .299
This is probably where you ask how on earth I can have Hunter this high. He missed over 30 games last season, and still put up an excellent season. While I don’t think that he necessarily will hit quite as well as he did last year, I can see a 90 run, 27 HR, 100+ RBI, 20 SB season with a .290 average. I’m a sucker for players that contribute well to all 5 categories. Although that could be all fantasy players. The Angels will look to him to really lead this team, as Chone Figgins and Vlad Guerrero are both gone. This is Hunter’s team, and I think he’ll thrive in the role.


7. Jacoby Ellsbury – BOS
R HR RBI SB AVG
94 8 60 70 .301
Elite basestealer. Normally this is not going to be enough to get a ranking nearly this high. (Keep an eye out how much further Michael Bourn is to see that). But Ellsbury drives in runs at a reasonable rate, scores runs at a great rate, hits for a high average, and even provides some power. I think that if you draft Ellsbury, you’re pretty much able to ignore speed for quite a while after that. I think there’s actually some room for growth in his numbers this season with the changes that they have made to the lineup in Boston.


8. Jayson Werth – PHI
R HR RBI SB AVG
98 36 99 20 .268
I didn’t realize how good of a 2009 season that Werth had. He saw a spike in his fly-ball percentage (44% LY vs. 40% career), which probably lead to the increased homerun total. I don’t think he necessarily hits 36 again, but I think a 30-20 season is very reachable for Werth. The batting average is probably going to be in the same range, but with him likely to approach 100 runs and 100 RBI again, there’s quite a bit to like. I don’t necessarily prescribe to this idea, but he is also in a contract year. Something to file away in the back of  your mind.



I think this starts the next tier of outfielders. Werth was probably the last of the “elite” outfielders, in my opinion.

9. Grady Sizemore – CLE
R HR RBI SB AVG
73 18 64 13 .248
Sizemore probably hurt some of your fantasy teams pretty bad last year. Try to remember that the stats he didn’t give you last year have no affect on the quality he could potentially bring you this season. After offseason elbow and abdomen surgery, Sizemore has been cleared to practice at full-speed. I think that he sees a rebound to numbers close to his 2008 season, when he was a 30-30 outfielder. The slight risk I see based on the injuries of last year are what keep me from putting Sizemore back into the top 5 for outfielders.


10. Adam Lind – TOR
R HR RBI SB AVG
93 35 114 1 .305
Lind was one of the few bright spots on the 2009 Blue Jays, as he posted great numbers across the board. You’re not going to get speed from him, but the high average and excellent power more than make up for it. I think that Lind has a very good chance of repeating his 2009 season. He will be 26 this season, and I think that at some point in his career he’s going to top 40 HR in a season.


11. Bobby Abreu – LAA
R HR RBI SB AVG
96 15 103 30 .293
Abreu is one of those players who never really comes to mind when talk begins of the best fantasy players, and the only reason I can think that is lies with his homerun total. He’s not particularly likely to hit even as many as 20 homeruns anymore, but he’s a professional hitter. He’s going to hit right around .300, score right around 100 runs, drive in right around 100 RBI, and steal between 25 and 30 bases. A very solid outfielder.


12. Ben Zobrist – TAM
Also qualifies at 2B and SS
R HR RBI SB AVG
91 27 91 17 .297
I also wrote about Zobrist in my 2B rankings. I think I have him ahead of some of the outfielders due simply to the positional eligibility he provides. It seems unlikely to me that any team is going to be using him in the OF, but there’s always the chance.


13. Andre Ethier – LAD
R HR RBI SB AVG
92 31 106 6 .272
The Dodgers have some pretty good outfielders, don’t they? Ethier posted career highs in runs, HR and RBI last season. I think there’s actually room for improvement on the batting average front as well, which could very well leave you with an outfielder with 100 runs, 30 HR, 100 RBI, 5 SB and a .285 average. Which also seems amazing considering all the time spent in the parks of the NL West. Ethier seems like he will be a hot commodity on draft day, and could go earlier than anticipated. Those owners may well end up extremely happy with that decision.


14. Curtis Granderson – NYY
R HR RBI SB AVG
91 30 71 20 .249
I think that Granderson has an even bigger season now that he’s playing at new Yankee Stadium. The place played like a bandbox last season, and I think there’s a very good possibility that between that and being in the better Yankee lineup, Granderson scores 100 runs, hits 35 HR, and drives in 90 runs. Even the batting average seems like it has the potential to head up to the .265-.270 range.


15. Shin-Soo Choo – CLE
R HR RBI SB AVG
87 20 86 21 .300
Choo helped to make up for some of the dropoff in performance from Grady Sizemore last year, and I think he actually can build on this performance. I can see getting closer to 100 Runs and RBI this season, providing the Indians lineup performs even slightly better than last year. Something interesting about Choo: At some point before he turns 30, he’s required to do 2 years of military service since he is a citizen of South Korea. It has happened in the past that players have been excused from this, but it’s something to keep an eye on if you are playing in a keeper league.


16. Adam Dunn – WAS
Also Qualifies at 1B
R HR RBI SB AVG
81 38 105 0 .267
I wrote about Dunn in my 1B rankings. He’s a lock to give you 35+ HR and 100+ RBI. Even the run total could see improvement on last year. Quietly, a very solid player.


17. Jason Bay – NYM
R HR RBI SB AVG
103 36 119 13 .267
I don’t think that Jason Bay gives you these numbers again. If I did, he’d be in my top 10 outfielders. I think he sees a drop off in runs (probably to the 85-90 range), HR (probably toward 25-30), and RBI (probably to the 90-95 range). I just don’t have a whole lot of faith in the idea that Jason was not helped by playing at Fenway Park. Just remember that when you’re drafting him, you’re probably not going to get the same stats as last season.


18. Ichiro Suzuki – SEA
R HR RBI SB AVG
88 11 48 26 .352
Ichiro remains a hitting machine, posting a .352 average and 225 hits despite missing almost 20 games during the span of the season. I think that he approaches 100 runs again, and could reach 40 steals potentially. But I wouldn’t bank on more than 25 steals and 8 homers out of Ichiro. He seems to be able to hit homers when he desires to, but is just as happy getting singles and stealing the bases instead. Pairing him with a high-power, low average group of hitters could be a good strategy to use Ichiro with.



I’d say that at this point, nearly everyone in this next group could be moved around based on what you think you need at that point in your draft. They’re all very similar to me in terms of value, and it’s really your preference.

19. Carlos Beltran – NYM
R HR RBI SB AVG
50 10 48 11 .325
Beltran missed half of the season last year due to injury, and was having a very good season when he got hurt. If he’s 100% healthy, I could see him returning to his 100 run, 20 HR, 100 RBI, 20 steal form of previous years. I think that the ranking of him here is very aggressive considering that he seems unlikely to stay healthy for the full season. Definitely a lot of upside, and possibly a top-10 outfielder if he meets that upside.


20. Shane Victorino – PHI
R HR RBI SB AVG
102 10 62 25 .292
Victorino had a good well-rounded season, posting solid numbers in all categories. I think that Victorino is a lock to score 100 runs again in that powerful Phillies lineup. I also think he could steal over 30 bases again this season, and even possibly hit a few more homeruns as well.


21. Nelson Cruz – TEX
R HR RBI SB AVG
75 33 76 20 .260
I had no idea that Cruz had this good of a season last year. 2009 was really the first time Cruz got a full season at the Majors, and he provided a solid season as a result. My biggest concern with Cruz would be that he may have already peaked, as he turned 29 during the 2009 season. I think that he has some room for growth this year in batting average, and also possibly in runs as well.


22. Carlos Lee – HOU
R HR RBI SB AVG
65 26 102 5 .300
Lee isn’t going to steal double digit bases any more, and he seems really unlikely to score 100 runs again. He seems like an ideal candidate for the “Name not performance” award. He does have some good solid value still, as he’s practically a lock to hit 30 HR and 100 RBI with a .300 average. But I don’t think he’s a top-10 outfielder anymore, and it seems like there’s bound to be someone who will draft him like he is. I do think he does score closer to 80 runs this season as well, which still makes him a solid fantasy outfielder.


23. Michael Cuddyer – MIN
Also qualifies at 1B
R HR RBI SB AVG
93 32 94 6 .276
I originally had thought about Cuddyer as a candidate for my top-15 first basemen, but he ended up in the notes at the bottom instead. Cuddyer had a very good year last year, posting a career high in HR last season. I think he can repeat similar power (probably 30 or so), and conceivably repeat similar numbers in all other categories as well. I think he’s also has a pretty good chance at getting to 100 runs and 100 rbi again this season. Something to watch for: Cuddyer is going into the season as the starting RF, but has also played 1B and 3B previously for the Twins. If Nick Punto struggles really badly, I could see them conceivably moving Cuddyer if they feel that they can get better production with Jason Kubel in RF and Jim Thome as the DH.


24. Raul Ibanez – PHI
R HR RBI SB AVG
93 34 93 4 .272
Ibanez posted an amazing first half of the season, showing quite a bit of power (22 HR through June), but fell off a bit in the second half. That split concerns me, as he hit 12 in the second half. It is what keeps me from ranking him higher, as I think he’s probably more likely to hit 25 HR than 35. Ibanez will be 38 years old by the end of the 2010 season, and I just don’t think he can keep up this kind of performance for another season.


25. Adam Jones – BAL
R HR RBI SB AVG
83 19 70 10 .277
Adam Jones is already showing just how good the return was on the Erik Bedard trade. He only played in 119 games last season, and I think that if he can stay healthy for a full season, he will post a 25-15 season with 90+ runs and RBI. The key to this whole theory being that he can stay healthy. Just remember to include that in your thoughts when drafting Jones.


26. Jason Kubel – MIN
R HR RBI SB AVG
73 28 103 1 .300
Kubel posted what was easily his best season to this point. The power is legitimate, and I can see him being good for 100 RBI again. I’m not 100% sold that he can repeat his batting average, partially due to a jump in his BABIP (.327 in ’09 compared to .295 in ’08 and .305 in ’07). While it’s not a huge spike, it could very well be the difference between him posting a .295 average and a .275 average. I do think that the run total could potentially see a little bit of growth, but probably not a whole lot more than 80 or so. He’s another player who I think could be forgotten about on draft day.


27. Hunter Pence – HOU
R HR RBI SB AVG
76 25 72 14 .282
Pence looks to me like he’s got a pretty good chance of repeating his 2009 season, as he essentially repeated his 2008 season, but with a slightly higher batting average. Pence was able to cut down a bit on his strikeouts in 2009 (18% vs. 21% career), and also increased his walk rate as well. I think that the thing that really appears to be holding Pence back is his own team. He really doesn’t seem likely to improve his run or RBI totals with the lineup that the Astros have built. It just doesn’t seem like it’s going to be that good.


28. Manny Ramirez – LAD
R HR RBI SB AVG
62 19 63 0 .290
Ramirez really wore down at the end of last season (.255/.379/.459 in the 2nd half), and that concern keeps me from ranking him too highly. Obviously, there’s a huge amount of upside possible with Ramirez, as he could conceivably post a 100-30-100-.300 season. I just won’t be the one to pay for it, because I’m a little wary of that not happening.  But if you’ve gotten some players with low risk, he could be worth it when he’s going to be drafted.


29. Andrew McCutchen – PIT
R HR RBI SB AVG
74 12 54 22 .286
McCutchen only played in 108 games last season, due to not being called up until the beginning of June. Once there, he cemented himself as the starting center fielder for the years to come in Pittsburgh. McCutchen could conceivably get to 100 runs, 20 homers, 80 rbi, and 30 steals if it all falls correctly for him. He’s a very good young player, and he’s only going to get better. He may see a little bit of an adjustment period with it being his sophomore season, but I think he eventually becomes a top-15 outfielder on a consistent basis.


30. Michael Bourn – HOU
R HR RBI SB AVG
97 3 35 61 .285
The speed is legitimate. Beyond that, it’s all a bit risky to me. He posted a career high batting average of .285 backed by a BABIP of .366. I think that there’s some chance of regression, but the .366 BABIP is not brutally out of line with his minor league numbers (.335 at AA, .353 at AAA). He’s not going to provide a lot of RBI or even more than the 3 HR he hit last season. But I think there’s still a chance he steals even more bases. Just try to temper your expectations on Bourn. The Astros’ lineup worries me a bit still, but as the leadoff hitter he should have the best chance to score of anyone on that team.


31. Nate McLouth – ATL
R HR RBI SB AVG
86 20 70 19 .256
I actually like McLouth a lot for this season. Providing that you can get him at the right point in your draft. He missed some time last season, and could see a return to a 20-20 season again. The batting average is a bit of a drag, and it doesn’t appear to be that far out of his expected range unfortunately. He posted similar per-game numbers with both teams last season, so I’m not inclined to believe that he’s going to post a much better season due to spending the full year in Atlanta.


32. Carlos Quentin – CHW
R HR RBI SB AVG
47 21 56 3 .236
Quentin is another player who is coming back from an injury, and missed quite a bit of time as a result. He also posted an extremely low BABIP last season (.221 vs .278 in 2008), which should lead him to an increase in batting average if he regresses closer to his norm. I think that there’s a lot of upside here as well, with the potential for a 100-30-100 season out of Quentin. But he’s missed time in both seasons with the White Sox due to injuries, and the concern around these leads me to rank him lower than his talent probably would justify. I would want the potential to be that much higher as a result.



From this point on, you’re really getting into need. For me, all the players remaining are all extremely similar in terms of the value they provide to a fantasy team. Just figure out where you are needing some stats, and go from there.

33. Carlos Gonzalez – COL
R HR RBI SB AVG
53 13 29 16 .284
Gonzalez appears to finally be showing the promise that made him the highlight of both the Dan Haren and Matt Holliday trades. Despite only playing in 89 games last year, he still posted excellent numbers. And he comes into Spring Training with what appears to be a very good chance to be an everyday player. In a full season, I think he can post 100 runs, 20 HR, 75 RBI, and 25 SB with a good average. The only real concern I have for Gonzalez is that the Rockies seem to have too many solid outfielders (Hawpe, Spilborghs, Fowler, Smith), and as a result could see a loss of some playing time potentially for Gonzalez. Something to monitor in Spring Training if you get him. But I love the upside, and think he’s going to be extremely popular this season.


34. Johnny Damon – DET
R HR RBI SB AVG
107 24 82 12 .282
I don’t believe. He’s not going back to the Yankees, and I don’t believe in the homeruns or the runs scored based on him not being there. Someone is probably going to get a decent value on him, as he’s still out there as of this writing. Once he signs,  I think that he could conceivably score about 85-90 runs, hit 15-20 HR, and steal 10+ bases. But I don’t think that there’s a lot of upside for him without playing in that Yankee juggernaut.


35. Nick Markakis – BAL
R HR RBI SB AVG
94 18 101 6 .293
Markakis is one of those players that I think ends up doing well on his name, as opposed to his actual numbers. I don’t see a full repeat of the numbers he posted last season, but I can see another 85 runs and 90 RBI season. The problem I keep running into is the power. Even with a spike of almost 8% in his fly ball rate, he hit even less homeruns. There’s still the potential for growth since he’s only going to be 26 during the 2010 season, but I’m not necessarily taking the risk. For me, the upside for Markakis appears to be what he did last season. Which is good, but not amazing. And for upside, I’d rather take some other players first.


36. Alex Rios – CHW
R HR RBI SB AVG
63 17 71 24 .247
He can’t be as bad as that batting average, right? I think he may rebound this season, but it really speaks to me that the Blue Jays were willing to give up on the talent for just salary relief. He has the potential to post a 25-25 season I think, but at this point the risk that he continues to be what he did in Chicago (.199/.229/.301) is what keeps me from drafting him like he could do that.


37. B.J. Upton – TAM
R HR RBI SB AVG
79 11 55 42 .241
The batting average is a concern, especially since his BABIP of .310 was actually fairly solid. I think he could very well hit .250 again. The steals are nice, but I’m not convinced that he could give you a 20-20 season again. I’m not really sold he will give you 40 steals again, but I think he’s got a better shot of that. Strikeouts remain a problem, as he had 152 last season against only 57 walks. If he can improve that ratio, he could see some improvement, but I’m not inclined to believe it will happen.


38. Josh Hamilton – TEX
R HR RBI SB AVG
43 10 54 8 .268
Hamilton is probably one of the higher-upside high risk players you could draft. If he’s back to 100% healthy (both mentally and physically), he could be an elite outfielder again. But this remains a player who has missed significant time in 2 of the last 3 seasons. And while I do have to remind myself that he is still developing, I’m averse to the risk in this case. I’ll let someone else take the chance on him. If he does perform to his potential, he could post an 85 run, 25 HR, 100 RBI, 15 steal season with a .280 average. But the odds of that seem really low to me.


39. Alfonso Soriano – CHC
R HR RBI SB AVG
64 20 55 9 .241
The Cubs would probably like a do-over on this contract. Soriano missed quite a bit of time last season due to injury, and will look to rebound in 2010. His batting average should improve, as he posted a BABIP about 20-25 points lower than his career norms. I think that he’s more likely to have a similar season to 2009, with probably about 80 RBI instead of 55, and a few more homeruns as well. But I think that his days as a top-10 outfielder are over, and I don’t think he steals more than 15 bases this season. At this point he’s just not quite the same player he once was.


40. Brad Hawpe – COL
R HR RBI SB AVG
82 23 86 1 .285
Hawpe is always knocked as a player who benefits from playing at Coors Field, but the dropoff between home and away does not seem that severe to me. (.297/.397/520 at home, .275/.372/.518 on the road). Something to watch about Hawpe would be whether or not the Rockies consider moving him mid-season. There was rumor that he may get moved during the offseason, but remains with the Rockies. I think they’d have to hold onto him unless they’re blown away by whatever is offered, as he remains a solid power hitter. I don’t think the upside to get to 100 runs or 100 RBI is there for Hawpe, but he’s still likely to provide solid production in 4 categories. Probably a fair 2nd outfielder or great 3rd outfielder for a fantasy team.


41. Franklin Gutierrez – SEA
R HR RBI SB AVG
85 18 70 16 .283
Gutierrez quietly had a very solid season last year. he’s not going to provide top-tier stats in any category, but he will provide you with value in all 5 categories. I think he has the potential to post a 20-20 season at some point in his career, but I’m not convinced it will be this season. But he should still give you about 15 HR and 15 steals to go with a solid batting average and run totals.


42. Denard Span – MIN
R HR RBI SB AVG
97 8 68 23 .311
Span finally got consistent playing time, and made great use of it. Span probably drops slightly in batting average this season, but we’re talking about him still being around .300, so it’s not really that much of a drop. He’s not likely to be a power hitter, probably providing no more than the 8 homeruns he had last season. But if you pair him with someone like Adam Lind or Adam Dunn, he’s going to be a great balance and give you solid production from a 3rd outfielder.


43. Juan Rivera – LAA
R HR RBI SB AVG
72 25 88 0 .287
Rivera was healthy for the most part in 2009, and his numbers really showed it. He cemented himself as a starter in the Angels’ outfield last year, and with the trade of Gary Matthews Jr., this is unlikely to change. I think he’s going to provide similar numbers again in 2010. Reasonable power, and some solid run-production. He’s what I would call a “bland” player, in that none of the stats that he provides really stand out. But you need players like this on your team just like you need the ones that provide elite values.


44. Juan Pierre – CHW
R HR RBI SB AVG
57 0 31 30 .308
Pierre has finally been freed from the bench in Los Angeles, and will be a starter in Chicago. I don’t think he’s going to give you 60-70 steals anymore, but I can see him getting into the 50′s potentially with the Sox. He could very well get back to around 85-90 runs as well. And you should know better than to expect even a single homerun. But he’s likely to give you a solid batting average to go with those other stats. I think he adjusts to the American League just fine, as he has quite a track record of performance at this point in his career.


45. Nolan Reimold – BAL
R HR RBI SB AVG
49 15 45 8 .279
As you get down into the 40s for outfielders, you’re mostly looking for upside. Or maybe that’s just me. Reimold only played a little more than half the season, and I think he could pretty easily post a 20-15 season with a full season. The upside is 85 runs, 25 HR, 85 RBI, 15 steals. Something to watch for is how the playing time sorts itself out. Reimold is probably going to lose a little playing time to Felix Pie, but could also see some time at 1B or DH as well. I can’t imagine that the Orioles think that Pie is the better long-term play, but I don’t imagine that they’ll ask me either. Not that they should.



From here, you’re really going to be looking for specific skills or stats. You’ve got lots of steals out there if you need them: Rajai Davis (41), Nyjer Morgan (42), Dexter Fowler (27). But for me, I tried to avoid players who didn’t provide at least reasonable value in 3-4 categories. There’s still some upside plays, with Vladimir Guerrero and Jay Bruce both having the potential to be special this season.

The one thing that I did notice is this: More than any other position, nearly every outfielder provides value with stolen bases. This seems unusual to me, and it’s something to keep in mind when you’re drafting. There are a lot of positions that don’t provide speed particularly well, but outfield is not one of them.

Tomorrow I will continue on with my fantasy previews, with the first half of my starting pitcher rankings.