- Hanley Ramirez—FLA — He has the potential to be the number one overall pick in your draft. Most people will side with A-Rod, but I don’t think he will have quite the same season again this year. Hanley is a beast in almost every category. 125 runs, 212 hits, nearly 30 HRs, 80+ RBI, 50+ steals, and a stellar .332 average. Add that all together with the fact that he plays shortstop and you have my first overall pick. If Josh Beckett wasn’t so dominating in the playoffs, Red Sox fans would be moaning and groaning about that trade forever.
- Jose Reyes—NYM — This was a close call making Reyes second over Rollins, but I’m assuming the second half of last year was a fluke. Reyes has the green light every time he is on base, and it showed (ML best 78 SBs). Some people attributed his massive steal total to fatigue that caused his second half swoon. Figure this year he gets some of his power back and approaches 20 HRs again, and gets his average back around the .300 mark. Reyes can run like a jackrabbit and should be one of the first handful of picks in the draft
- Jimmy Rollins—PHI —The NL’s MVP had a historic season with his bat. Only two others had ever had 20 doubles, 20 triples, 20 HRs, and 20 steals. Rollins talked plenty of smack early in the year about the Phillies being the team to beat in the NL East, and then went out and walked the walk. He also plays in a ballpark that is very helpful to an offensive player and having Chase Utley and Ryan Howard hitting behind him ensures that Jimmy sees plenty of pitches to hit. He may sneak into the first round this year after two straight great seasons. I see a slight downturn in Rollins’ numbers this year, but still a .280/24/75/40 steal campaign in ’08 would be impressive.
- Troy Tulowitzki—COL — After his cup of coffee in the big leagues in 2006 it didn’t look like Troy was ready to join the big boys in the majors. It all clicked in ’07 though, and Tulowitzki came out hitting and never stopped. The runner up for the NL ROY went .291/24/99 in while quickly becoming one of the leaders of the Rockies team. This is around where his minor league stats were, so don’t expect a big jump in production in the future. However, I’ll take those numbers from my shortstop any day. Don’t reach too early, but if you miss out on the Big 3, Tulowitzki is not a bad consolation prize.
- Derek Jeter—NYY — This would have been Carlos Guillen if he wasn’t being moved to first this season. However, Mr. Consistency put together another solid season in ’07, further cementing his legacy as one of the hardest working guys in the majors. You can practically write in a .300 average. 15-20 HRs, 70-80 RBI, and 100 runs in 2008. Jeter’s running has slowed as he gets older, but he is still a smart base runner and will chip in 15-20 steals.
Rising Star—Stephen Drew—ARI — So far the career of Stephen Drew can be summed up in two words…..big disappointment. After a pretty good last third of the season in ’06, many (including myself) expected big things in 2007. Drew didn’t deliver as he hit below .240 and only amassed 12 HRs. However, Drew has way too much potential to just fizzle out in the majors. Look for a .285/23/90 season, and he will probably snag ten bases to go with it.
Falling Stock—Michael Young—TEX — Once considered one of the most consistent SS in the league, Young’s numbers have started to fall off the last couple of years. He is still producing respectable numbers, with a .300+ average, 200 hits and 90+ RBI. However, his runs, hits, homers, and average have fallen three straight years, while his strikeouts have risen. Expect to see another year of decrease as Young falls below .300 and below 200 hits for the first time in five seasons.
Make or Break Year—Miguel Tejada—HOU — Tejada is another guy whose numbers have dropped for three consecutive years. Top that off with his name in the Mitchell Report, and you’ve got a guy who really needs a big season. If Tejada can return to the numbers that once made him the MVP, all will be forgiven. But, if we see another downswing in production, Miguel’s career will come into more question, and his days of being fantasy relevant may be in the rear view mirror.
Risky Pick—J.J. Hardy—MIL — Few players have had the type of first half that Hardy enjoyed in ’07. Hardy had more homers in the first two months of the season than he had in the two previous years combined. He rightfully came back down to earth in the second half, and I fully expect him to go back to what he is, an adequate player. Nice enough for the Brewers to have on their roster, but no one that should be counted on by fantasy players.
Top Prospect—Reid Brignac—TB — You won’t see Brignac to open the season in Tampa Bay this year. After crushing single-A pitching in 2006, Reid had a huge drop in batting average, and a less drastic drop in power numbers when he transitioned to AA in ’07. Chances are he will get a full season of grooming in AAA this year, however, given an injury or two in Tampa this summer, you might get to see another potential star for the Rays. He is capable of going .300/20/85/20 if he were to get a full season of ABs.
As always, your questions about your team (adds, drops, trades, etc) and comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org. I guarantee an answer within 18 hours.
As always, your questions (adds, drops, trades, draft questions, etc) and comments are welcome at email@example.com. I guarantee a response within 18 hours.