By Derek of The Sportmeisters
1. Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins
Projection: .310 BA, 110 R, 30 HR, 100 RBI, 32 SB
Can you say superstar?
Ramirez has been phenomenal since becoming an everyday player in 2006, joining the 30 HR-30 SB club last year. He is expected to hit third in the order this year, which could mean less running and more power.
Either way, he should still be the No.1 overall pick in most drafts and should again be in the 30-30 range. If you are in a keeper league, he is only 25-years-old, not even in his prime yet.
Can you say future MVP?
2. Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia Phillies
Projection: .290 BA, 115 R, 22 HR, 80 RBI, 40 SB
Rollins was slowed by an ankle injury last year and never really got his swing back to where we expected it to be. He only hit .277 with 11 HRs, but stole 47 bases.
This year the 2007 NL MVP will get back to normal numbers and should be a first or second round pick.
3. Jose Reyes, New York Mets
Projection: .290 BA, 115 R, 15 HR, 66 RBI, 62 SB
Reyes is a five-tool player that gets you every fantasy category that you need. He will hit over 10 HRs, hit around .290, and steal over 50 bases.
He is a surefire first round pick, top four to be exact.
4. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
Projection: .300 BA, 100 R, 12 HR, 77 RBI, 15 SB
Jeter is not the same player that he used to be, but is still a productive fantasy short stop.
He will no longer steal more than 30 bases or hit over 20 HRs, but will hit .300 and score 95 runs. Besides, he will still hit over 10 HRs and steal more than 10 bases, making him a safe play.
I would not reach for him at least until the seventh round. But because of his star power, someone probably will take him before that.
5. Stephen Drew, Arizona Diamondbacks
Projection: .285 BA, 90 R, 20 HR, 75 RBI, 5 SB
Drew had a breakout year in 2008, hitting .291 with 21 HRs. He was the third short stop to hit 40 doubles, 10 triples, and 20 home runs in a season.
After the big three, I would not be too upset if Drew fell to me in the seventh round.
6. Rafael Furcal, Los Angeles Dodgers
Projection: .300 BA, 90 R, 10 HR, 55 RBI, 28 SB
Furcal lost most of last season due to a back injury. When he played, he was awesome. He hit .357 with eight SBs in only 143 ABs.
If he can stay healthy this year, he should return to 2006 form (.300 BA,15 HR, 37 SB).
7. J.J. Hardy, Milwaukee Brewers
Projection: .280 BA, 85 R, 25 HR, 77 RBI, 3 SB
Hardy was almost called a fluke last year, only hitting six HRs through June. Then he busted out with nine in July, five in August, and four in September. He finished with 24 HRs and 74 RBI.
He has a decent lineup ahead of him and should have similar numbers this year. Draft him in the middle rounds.
8. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies
Projection: .280 BA, 88 R, 20 HR, 85 RBI, 5 SB
Tulowitzki lost most of last season due to injury, but when he returned, he looked like he was coming back to form, hitting .392 in September.
He could slide in the draft due to last year. If he does, go ahead and grab him, and expect 2007 like numbers (.291 BA, 24 HR, 99 RBI).
9. Miguel Tejada, Houston Astros
Projection: .285 BA, 85 R, 16 HR, 77 RBI, 4 SB
Tejada’s HR total declined again last year, going from 18 to 13. However, he did stay healthy enough to play in 158 games and hit .283.
He could bounce back to hitting over 15 HRs this year, and could be a sleeper in the middle to late rounds.
10. Ryan Theriot, Chicago Cubs
Projection: .288 BA, 85 R, 2 HR, 40 RBI, 25 SB
Theriot will not hit many homers, but will steal you over 20 bases. He plays in front of a potent Cubs lineup, so he will score a bunch of runs. Theriot is an everyday player.
He could be a steal in the middle to late rounds.
11. Orlando Cabrera, Oakland Athletics
Projection: .280 BA, 90 R, 8 HR, 60 RBI, 18 SB
Cabrera is as solid a player as anybody in the majors. He always hits at least .280 with over 18 SBs. He may not be a stud player, but if you need a solid SS in the later rounds, Cabrera’s your guy.
12. Jhonny Peralta, Cleveland Indians
Projection: .270 BA, 100 R, 20 HR, 85 RBI, 2 SB
Peralta found himself hitting cleanup for the Indians last year and responded with 23 HRs and career highs with 89 RBI and 109 runs scored. He will not hit cleanup this year, but should put up similar numbers, putting him among the top-10 SS on draft day.
13. Yunel Escobar, Atlanta Braves
Projection: .300 BA, 77 R, 12 HR, 65 RBI, 5 SB
Escobar was on every one of my fantasy teams last year, and I was not sorry that I drafted him because I got him in the late rounds. This year he will slide to the back again and should put up similar numbers to his .288 BA and 10 HRs.
Potential sleeper candidate here.
14. Christian Guzman, Washington Nationals
Projection: .300 BA, 78 R, 8 HR, 52 RBI, 6 SB
Where did this guy come from?
After a lost 2006 season, Guzman has come alive, hitting .328 in 2007 and .316 last year. He won’t hit many HRs or steal many bases, but if you need a late round SS, Guzman’s your guy.
15. Mike Aviles, Kansas City Royals
Projection: .292 BA, 85 R, 11 HR, 66 RBI, 10 SB
Another guy that came out of nowhere last year, Aviles hit .327 and had double-digit HRs and eight SBs in only 419 ABs. With a chance to play every day, his numbers should be even better.
He could be a nice middle round sleeper and also has 2B eligibility.
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