Thank you all for taking a look at the next installment of my position ranks. The top 10 I have here shouldn’t surprise anyone, but after that I’m either gonna take some heat from people or reassure some. I value players that provide power and speed above anything else, so keep that in mind as you peruse the list.
My complete position rankings in handy google doc format is available here.
On to the list…starting outside the top 10…those guys need no explanation…
Matt Holliday is the first player outside the top 10. He doesn’t have Pujols around him in the lineup anymore, and Berkman and Beltran aren’t going to give him the kind of protection in the lineup he needs to really shine. He’s still an exceptional player and the only reason he is ranked after Hamilton in my mind is the lineup around him.
Shin-Soo Choo comes in 15th on my list. Last year was a fluke. The DUI set him up for distractions all season and he was hurt, which seriously sapped his power. After an off season with the South Korean military and a renewed focus, Choo is going to return to his .300 20/20 ways of years prior.
Hunter Pence is a 20/20 player in my dreams of seasons past. I’ve come to the realization that is no longer a possibility. With an injured Ryan Howard and Chase Utley in Philly, Pence finds himself in the position of being the best player on the field for his team (at least at the start of the season). He’s got 20 HR’s in him, but I think 12 or 13 steals is his ceiling now.
Desmond Jennings is a player that people are either on board with, or avoiding entirely. People point to his 2,000 plus AB’s in the minors as a cause for concern. Honestly? Who really cares? He has shown he can hit AAA pitching and major league pitching. Granted the power a little higher than we expected from him but his speed is absolutely real. After belting 10 HR’s in 63 games last season, 15 in a full season is certainly attainable. As for the steals 40-50 isn’t out of the question.
Alex Gordon broke out last year and I’m expecting more of the same from him here. The Royals are an offense on the rise and Gordon putting numbers up in the neighborhood of 20/20 (or 25/15) is a big part of it. His OBP and AVG are the driving factors behind his scoring 100+runs for you.
Cameron Maybin plays in the worst hitters park in baseball, but we aren’t drafting him for power. Sure he could threaten 15 HR’s this year, but I’m looking at 50 steals from him. That’s not too much to ask considering the 28 he had post all star last season led the majors, right?
I haven’t looked at a whole lot of other site rankings, but of the ones I’ve seen I’m clearly in the minority ranking Lucas Duda in the top 30. He wasn’t a household name in the minor leagues, but he clearly showed he belongs in the bigs last season. He posted the 6th highest OPS in the 2nd half last season among OF’s with at least 200 plate appearances. Home Run Tracker says El Duderino’s 10 HR’s last season contained 3 No Doubts and only 3 Just Enoughs. The fences are moving in at Citi this year. Duda is one of two players this year I fully expect to have rostered in every league and I’ll reach to get him.
I’m gonna take some heat for puting Jay Bruce 29th. Sure he can hit 30 HR’s. But that is all he does. He isn’t going to hit for a strong average and he isn’t going to steal any bases. I’m not saying I wouldn’t take him on my team, but there are other guys I’m looking at first.
Nick Markakis comes in at 34 on my list. It seems like people view him as a joke, but he batted .284 and got on base at better than a .350 clip. 15 HRs, 72 Runs, 73 RBI and 12 steals are certainly useful numbers from someone you are getting past the 12th round.
Josh Willingham has made a career of hitting the ball out of parks that it’s difficult to hit the ball out of. Minnesota certainly fits that category, but if anyone can conquer that place it’s Willingham. He’s an excellent source of cheap power late in drafts.
Nick Swisher is another Markakis type, but with a better lineup and park. He;s not going to blow you away in any category, but he won’t hurt you at all either.
Jeff Francoeur is another player I’m probably in the minority on. I think he has another 20/20 season in him.
Angel Pagan, Jose Tabata, Peter Bourjos and Lorenzo Cain… another group of guys that will steal bases. They aren’t prolific, but certainly productive enough to keep an eye on later in drafts.
Brennan Boesch is going to see a nice uptick in the runs department and will probably get on base at a better clip hitting in front of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.
Houston isn’t totally devoid of talent. JD Martinez is a great pick later in a draft to round out your OF. There is a little bit of risk though as he has just 208 major league AB’s after skipping AAA entirely. Still a .208 ISO and .338 AVG in AA shows the kid can hit. The 10 HRs in the majors last year helped too.