Fantasy Baseball: Is Alex Rodriguez Your Number One Pick?

Brandon HeikoopSenior Analyst IMarch 17, 2008

I always thought this song by INXS said "We're better than Oasis." In fact, I imagine if INXS could do it all over, they would probably change their lyrics to such. Now this is no commentary on the state of Pop or which group is better—in fairness, both groups have a terribly negative affect on my cerebellum.

Anyways, since INXS couldn't man up and say it, I'm going to...

And that is why The Fantasy Baseball Generals posed the following question to myself as well as the other authors of the website: "Is A-Rod an unquestioned number one overall pick?"

I concluded that Alex Rodriguez is not only NOT the unquestioned number one overall pick, but, in fact, I wouldn't even take him with my second or third overall pick. Keep in mind, this does differ in a variety of leagues, but here is what I said at FBG:

Personally, I would go with (Jose) Reyes. The guy will single handedly push you to the top of the pack in steals, so much so, that the rest of the draft you can focus on the 'cheaper' and easier to acquire stats, like home runs.

While teams are scraping the bottom of the barrel to team one dimensional hitters Kaz Matsui and Michael Bourn, you will already be set and able to take chances on players with high ceilings. The fact that Reyes is still only 25 years old is enough evidence that he is a potential breakout candidate and could post career highs in every category.

Also, when you couple this with position eligibility and scarcity, I cannot think of a better player to draft. I would rank the top five as follows: Reyes, Wright, Howard, Rodriguez, and Rollins.

Another reason, which I will cover in this week's Fantasy Fridays (or last week's, however you want to look at it), is how deep third base is.

In a recent draft I performed in over the weekend—alright, missed—I managed to grab Troy Glaus off of free agents, not even having to use my waiver slot. While the difference between Rodriguez and Glaus is admittedly large, the difference between Reyes and Khalil Greene is even more substantial.

Let's see what the forecast systems say (average of Bill James, CHONE, Marcel, MINER and ZiPS courtesy of Fan Graphs):

Rodriguez: 40HR, 116 Runs, 124 RBIs, 17 Steals with a .296 batting average.
Greene: 21 HR, 71 Runs, 78 RBIs, 5 Steals with a .253 batting average.
Total: 61 HR, 187 Runs, 202 RBIs, 22 Steals with a .275 batting average.

Glaus: 24 HR, 73 Runs, 76 RBIs, 2 Steals with a .255 batting average.
Reyes: 13 HR, 116 Runs, 69 RBIs, 66 Steals with a .291 batting average.
Total: 37 HR, 189 Runs, 145 RBIs, 68 Steals with a .273 batting average.

While looking at these numbers may not sell you, Team Rodriguez now is required to make up 46 steals. If we look at 2007 statistics, we see that only five others racked up more then 46 steals, where as the deviation in home runs (24) saw 52 hitters approach that total.

Also, keep in mind that the projection systems anticipate Glaus to hit as if he was hurt AND for him to suffer another injury. I do not anticipate either scenario creeping up on him in 2008.