The following list will take into account past, present and future values based on standard 5×5 H2H settings. This is strictly a projection and may be changed throughout the baseball off-season and regular season. Be sure to check back periodically for updated versions prior to your fantasy drafts.
*As of January 30, 2010
21. Mark Reynolds-3B Arizona Diamondbacks
Reynolds had a breakout season in 2009 finishing the year with 44 HR, 102 RBI, 24 SB and 98 R. His batting average (.260) and strikeout total (223) kept him out of the top 20 on my Big Board. Reynolds is very similar to Ryan Howard in the way they both can carrying your team in certain categories like home runs and RBI and can also hurt you in batting average with their high strikeout totals.
He has led the National League in strikeouts each of the last two seasons, which can be looked away from as long as he produces the power numbers in 2010. If he can start to show more patience at the plate, Reynolds may break into the elite class of infielders in the National League in the upcoming seasons.
22. Ian Kinsler-2B Texas Rangers
In his fourth season in the big leagues, Kinsler set career-highs in HR (31), RBI (86), XBH (67) and SB (31), but set a career-low in BA (.253) and OBP (327). His SB% ranked among the best in MLB at 86% only getting caught stealing five times all season. Kinsler showed more patience at the plate last season as well, finishing the season with a .093 BB/PA, which was up from .078 the season before.
If his trends continue onto the 2010 season, there is no telling what Kinsler will be able to do. I expect him to continue to become more of a power-hitting baseball player, rather than the on-base percentage player he once was earlier in his career.
23. Jacoby Ellsbury-OF Boston Red Sox
Adding on to a great start to his career, in 2009 Ellsbury finished the season ranked first in the American League in both stolen bases (70) and triples (10). To go along with his great speed on the base paths, he was able to produce 60 RBI while managing a .301 BA last season.
His 60 RBI was a new career-high, as he continues to improve his plate discipline allowing himself to go deep into at-bats and force pitchers to throw more pitches. Ellsbury’s #P/PA was also a career-high last season with an impressive 3.77 up from 3.59 the prior season. If Ellsbury can continue to terrify teams on the base paths, expect another good season form this up-in-coming star.
24. Jason Bay-OF New York Mets
Bay quietly had himself a great season in 2009 for the Red Sox finishing in the top 10 in the American League in seven major offensive categories (HR, RBI, R, SLG, OPS, XBH, BB). His final stat line was very impressive with 36 HR, 119 RBI, 103 R, 13 SB and a .262 BA. Bay also finished in the top five in strikeouts with 162 last season, which should be a bit of caution since his total increased by 25 strikeouts from the season prior.
Now that Bay will be playing for the Mets in 2010, it has to make you wonder if you will see the same power numbers from him in a pitcher-friendly ballpark. If you look at what the new ballpark in Queens, New York did to David Wright last season, it should caution you on what could possibly happen to Bay in the Big Apple.
25. Zack Greinke-SP Kansas City Royals
Greinke finished the 2009 season with 16 W, 242 K, 2.16 ERA, 1.07 WHIP in 229.1 IP on his way to receiving his first American League Cy Young Award. He set career-highs in just about every major pitching category last season, including wins, strikeouts, ERA, WHIP and complete games (6). His 9.50 K/9 IP was third best in the American League, trailing only Justin Verlander (10.09) and Jon Lester (9.96), showing his true dominance.
To go along with his power pitching, Greinke also displayed great control in 2009, finishing in the top 10 in BB with 51. Hitters had an extremely hard time hitting Greinke season, producing only a .230 BA, .276 OBP and a .336 SLG for the entire season. Looking ahead to the 2010 season, I expect to see Greinke’s numbers fall strictly on the fact that last season was his career year, but he should still be able to have another solid season, making him worth a high pick in this year’s drafts.
26. Ichiro Suzuki-OF Seattle Mariners
The 2009 season was another typical season for Ichiro, finishing first in the American League in hits with 225 and receiving his ninth straight Golden Glove Award. He finished the season with 11 HR, 46 RBI, 88 R, 26 SB and a .352 BA to add onto his Hall of Fame career. With the additions of Chone Figgins and Milton Bradley to the Mariners offense, it should take some pressure off of Ichiro and help him produce an even better season than last year.
He will likely be hitting in the two-hole in the Mariners lineup this season with Figgins batting lead-off, leading to more chances for him to drive in runs with the speed of Figgins on the base paths. Ichiro is now 36 years old and has started to show signs of slowing down on the bases, so this change should only benefit him in the future and still produce fantasy success.
27. C.C. Sabathia-SP New York Yankees
In his first year wearing pinstripes, Sabathia carried the Yankees all the way to their 27th World Series Championship. His 19 wins led all American League pitchers, while he finished in the top 10 in every other major pitching category (K, WHIP, ERA, CG, ERA, IP, W %) last season. Most of his stats were up from the prior year, but that could be due to the fact he is now pitching in one of the best hitters-ballparks in all of baseball.
Going into his second season with the Yankees, Sabathia should now know how to pitch in that ballpark and should see improvement in his stats like P/IP, K/9 IP and K/BB rate, which were all below his career-averages. There is no question that Sabathia will have a good season in 2010 since he is the ace for the Yankees, but HOW good of a season will he have is the real question.
28. Grady Sizemore-OF Cleveland Indians
Sizemore had an injury-plagued 2009 season, playing in only 106 games for the Cleveland Indians. He finished the season with 18 HR, 64 RBI, 13 SB, 73 R and a .248 BA, which wasn’t a normal Sizemore stat line. He appears to be ready for the start of the 2010 season and should have an immediate impact in terms of fantasy value.
You will likely be able to get him around the third round of fantasy drafts this year, since people will likely be down on his after last season. If Sizemore can stay healthy, you are looking at a third round pick that could give you a first round pick’s numbers, based on his past performances.
29. Jose Reyes-SS New York Mets
After playing in only 36 games in 2009, Reyes is looking to have a bounce-back year for both the Mets and for fantasy value. He finished the season with only 2 HR, 15 RBI, 11 SB and a .279 BA before being sidelined May 22 for the remainder of the season with a calf injury.
If he can return to his 2007 numbers, Reyes would be a steal around the third round. It looks as if he will be fully healthy to start the 2010 season, but be sure to check his status up until your fantasy drafts.
30. Aaron Hill-2B Toronto Blue Jays
Hill had a break-out season in 2009, finishing the year with 36 HR, 108 RBI, 103 R and a .286 BA at a position that doesn’t usually put up great power numbers. He ranked in the top ten in home runs (3rd), RBI (5th), R (6th), TB (2nd), XBH (6th), AB (1st) and PA (1st), proving his worth as a former first-round pick.
After examining his stats form last season, two things stuck out to me, with one being his AB/HR (18.9) and the other being his BB/SO (0.43). Compared to the other second basemen in MLB, Hill ranked fourth in BB/SO rate, showing that he has acquired plate discipline and ranked fifth in AB/HR behind only Dan Uggla, Ian Kinsler, Chase Utley and Ben Zobrist. The sky is the limit for this youngster, as he has yet to reach his prime as a hitter, so after Utley and Kinsler look Hill’s way in this year’s draft.
Be sure to check back for the rest of the 2010 Big Board in the upcoming weeks!
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org .