Wednesday, April 14, 2010

2010 Fantasy Baseball Draft Focus: Hitting

Your first round drafts are Albert Pujols (Stl), Hanley Ramirez (Fl), Alex Rodriguez (NYY), Ryan Braun (Mil), Chase Utley (Phil), and Mark Teixeira (NYY). Any fantasy team owner would be happy ending up with one of those guys as their first pick on a snake draft.

The auction draft is a different beast. Those headline grabbers can be a budget buster. Be mindful that Albert Pujols and Hanley Ramirez are going to be in the high 40s. In some leagues, you might have a maniac bidder which could drive up their prices into the 50s.

Remember, you still have 24 other roster positions to fill after that so be careful when bidding on the sexy picks. You don’t want to blow one fifth of your cash on one player and be stuck with bottom dwelling hitters for your outfield.

Pablo Sandoval (SF) should be on your team if you expect to win. The Kung-Fu Panda was making a big splash in San Francisco last year hitting .330 with 25 home runs. Sandoval was only second to Hanley Ramirez in NL batting. I think Sandoval is perfect fit for anyone’s roster because he is qualified for both first base and third base.

Listed for first base and third base is a big plus in fantasy. Kevin Youkilis (Bos) like Kung-Fu Panda falls into this category. Youkilis has been consistent with the Red Sox for the last few years and will bring nice numbers to your categories.

Jose Reyes (NYM) will be on the DL on opening day but it won’t effect his draft position. Hanley Ramirez is of course your dream short stop but if you can’t pick him up or afford him, I would go with Jason Bartlett (TB).

Chase Utley (Phi) is far and beyond the top second baseman. Ian Kinsler (Tex) will bring some power and speed that most second basemen don’t give. You can’t go wrong with Dustin Pedroia (Bos) was Rookie of the Year and MVP in his first two years.

Andre Ethier (LA), Ichiro Suzuki (Sea), Johnny Damon (Det), Adam Lind (Tor), Andrew McCutchen (Pit), and Nyjer Morgan (Was) are my picks for the outfield if you are staying away from big dollar players like Ryan Braun (Mil), Matt Kemp (Phi), Justin Upton (Arz) and Matt Holliday (Stl).

Jacoby Ellsbury (Bos) has 70 stolen bases and is an early round two draft pick. Ellsbury is also very over priced in auction drafts. Ellsbury just isn’t enough bang for your buck.
Instead of dropping your second pick for steals, I would recommend taking Andrew McCutchen who has 22 steals and Nyjer Morgan with 42 steals in later rounds. If you can’t get McCutchen, you could settle for a Juan Pierre who will get you 30 stolen bases.

Don't forget Juan Pierre had a fantastic 2007 with 64 steals, Ellsbury will likely slow down after this year and isn't your man for a keeper league but thefts should not be ignored.

Magglio Ordonez had a .368 avg. with 25 home runs in 2007. I believe that he will get you a decent .300 average with 15 home runs this season. Ordonez would be a nice fourth outfielder for a bargain or a later round snake draft pick. Your catcher should be Victor Martinez or Brian McCann. V-mart and McCann will provide 20 plus home runs and .290 avg. Joe Mauer is projected to hit 25 home runs and a .332 avg. Mauer is just a tad better but way too popular this year and will cost you a pretty penny to land him. The Twins are moving into their new stadium which could cause problems for Minnesota’s favorite son. Yadier Molina (Stl) is the perfect back-up catcher to your fantasy team.

In a Keeper League you will want to secure prospects Jason Heyward OF (Atl) and a Justin Smoak 1B/DH (Tex). Heyward is a top notch hitter in the minor leagues and looks like he might get the nod on opening day for the Braves. Justin Smoak did well last year after battling some injuries, bet on his appearance in the majors sometime in 2010.

Gamble on injured players. They will be cheap and if they return to greatness, your team will get the benefits.

Remember, video game cover boys alone won’t win you a fantasy baseball championship.

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