This 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 offseason and regular season.
Be sure to check back periodically for updated versions prior to your fantasy drafts.
*As of February 3, 2010
31. Derek Jeter—SS—New York Yankees
The captain of the Yankees had a great season in 2009, on his way to his fifth World Series Championship.
He finished the season with 18 HR, 66 RBI, 107 R, 30 SB and a .334 BA, proving he is still an elite shortstop in the American League.
Jeter was statistically the best shortstop in the American League last season finishing in the top five in almost all offensive categories: BA (first), R (first), SB (second), H (first), OBP (first), TB (first) and AB (second) when compared to qualified AL shortstops (minimum of 500 PA).
His ability to steal bases last season was a big surprise. He wasn’t able to record more than 15 in the ’07 and ’08 seasons, finishing with a total of 26 stolen bases in that time period.
If he can continue to play on a high level in 2010, expect much of the same from this future Hall of Famer.
32. Nick Markakis—OF—Baltimore Orioles
Markakis started off the 2009 season hot, finishing the month of April with a .381 BA, 22 RBI, .460 OBP, .560 SLG and a 1.020 OPS. But, he couldn’t find a way keep that high level of play up for the whole season.
His season continued to be a year of highs and lows ending up with a .293 BA, 18 HR, 101 RBI, 94 R, .347 OBP and .801 OPS.
However, he did find himself ranked in the top 10 of AL outfielders in hits, batting average, RBI, runs and at-bats.
Markakis saw declines in his AB/HR, BB/PA and BB/SO rates last season ,which led to decreases in BA, OBP, OPS and SLG.
He should be just fine heading into the 2010 season. His declines are better than most players' average stats at his position.
33. Adrian Gonzalez-1B-San Diego Padres
In his fourth full season of Major League play, Gonzalez finished 2009 with 40 HR, 99 RBI, 90 , and a .277 BA for a sub-par Padres team.
He ranked in the top 10 in most offensive categories in the National League (HR, OBP, SLG, OPS, BB, XBH and TB) and finished fifth in AB/HR (13.8) playing in a pitcher’s ballpark.
For the last year or so, the Padres have put Gonzalez’s name in trade rumors but have yet put together a lasting deal. If a deal goes down at any point this season, it will benefit Gonzalez drastically in fantasy value. He plays in one of the biggest ballparks in all of baseball, which has limited his offensive output.
Be sure to keep an eye out for him in trade talks. If something goes down, it will benefit his owners this season and in the future.
34. Justin Morneau—1B—Minnesota Twins
Morneau had an injury-plagued 2009 season, playing in only 135 games for the Twins before being shut down for the rest of the season in mid-September.
Morneau recorded 30 HR, 100 RBI, 85 R and a three-year high .516 SLG last season.
On January 31, doctors cleared Morneau for all baseball activities after results showed the stress fracture in his back had completely healed. Be sure to check up on his progression this offseason leading up to your fantasy drafts.
35. Dan Haren—SP—Arizona Diamondbacks
Haren continued to shine in 2009, finishing in the top 10 in every starting pitching category for the National League. His 14 W, 3.14 ERA, 223 K and 1.00 WHIP put him in an elite class as one of the best NL pitchers.
For the second season in a row, Haren ranked first in K/BB with a 5.868 K/BB rate, which ranked first in WHIP in the NL.
He did give up the fifth most home runs last year. He surrendered 27 home runs but held opponents to a .224 BA, which was a career-low.
His 38 walks in ’09 were also a career low. Only Joel Piniero and Ted Lilly had less than Haren last season.
Haren continues to shine playing in the NL and should be able to produce great numbers once again in 2010, but his run support will be in question. He finished below average in run support again in ’09 with a 5.77 run support average.
36. Robinson Cano—2B—New York Yankees
In 2009, Cano helped carry a great Yankee team to their 27th World Series Championship. He finished the year with 25 HR, 85 RBI, 103 R and a .320 BA, proving he too can display power numbers when needed.
Cano, who is usually known for his hits and batting average, set career-highs in home runs, AB/HR (25.5), SLG (.520) and XBH (75), while setting a career-low in strike outs with only 63 last season.
If he can continue to mature at the plate, the possibilities are endless for Cano playing for the best team in baseball. He is just slightly behind the elite second basemen in terms of fantasy value and should be drafted after the likes of Chase Utley, Ian Kinsler, and Aaron Hill.
37. Brian Roberts—2B—Baltimore Orioles
Roberts has continued to transform from a speedster to a power hitter over the last few seasons and really displayed a big bat last season. In 2009, Roberts finished with 16 HR, 79 RBI (career-high), 110 R, 30 SB and a .283 BA.
His 110 runs from a season ago was his third year in a row that he reached over 100 runs scored. Roberts' stolen base total has by 10 each of the last three seasons (’07: 50 SB, ’08: 40 SB, ’09: 30 SB), proving that he has lost a step since reaching the age of 30.
He also set a career-high in strikeouts with 112, which could be a reason for the decrease in OBP, BB and SB. Roberts is still a good option at second base if you can’t get one of the elite players at his position. So don’t get down on yourself if you have to go with Roberts in 2010.
38. Victor Martinez—C—Boston Red Sox
Martinez started the season off with the Indians, but a midseason trade landed him with the Red Sox, a contender for the American League Championship.
He finished the season with 23 HR, 108 RBI, 88 R and a .303 BA.
Early on in the season, Martinez was contending for the American League MVP Award, but fell into a slump in June and July, taking his name out of MVP contention.
However, he did finish fifth in the American League in RBIs (108) and set career-highs in BB (75), BB/PA (.117).and R (88).
Martinez failed to record many extra base hits in 2009. Twenty-three of his 37 extra base hits were home runs.
The Red Sox have named Martinez the full-time catcher for the 2010 season. He will have to prove he can still be an everyday catcher in the big leagues. This change of position could affect his performance at the plate and could leave him at a higher risk of injury in the future.
39. Manny Ramirez—OF—Los Angeles Dodgers
Ramirez had a very interesting 2009 season. He went from being a member of the hottest team in April to being suspended for 50 games due to violating baseball’s drug policy.
Before being suspended on May 7, Ramirez was off to a great start for the Dodgers with six HR, 20 RBI, 22 R, and a .348 BA.
Once he returned to the Dodgers lineup in July, he started off slow but eventually ended up putting up typical Manny statistics.
Looking ahead to 2010, Ramirez seems ready to make up for lost time with the city of Los Angeles and his fans. He exercised his option to return to the team next season and looks to have put his past behind him as he reaches closer to the end of his career.
In terms of fantasy value, you know what you are going to get out of him. He has been one of the most consistent hitters to ever play the game, so don’t let his age (37) hold you back from drafting him this season.
40. Ryan Zimmerman—3B—Washington Nationals
Zimmerman had a coming out party in 2009, setting career-highs in just about every significant batting category on his way to receiving the National League Silver Slugger Award for third basemen.
He finished the season with 33 HR, 106 RBI, 110 R and a .292 BA, proving he can hang with the elite third basemen in baseball.
When compared to other National League third basemen, he ranked first in runs scored and RBI, second in home runs, third in hits and SLG, fourth in OPS and sixth in batting average, all of which lead to his first All-Star selection.
His AB/HR dropped significantly in 2009—going from 30.6 in ’08 to 18.5 in ’09—which lead to his career-high in home runs (33).
This rising star is still only 25-years-old and has plenty of maturing to do before he reaches his prime. The 2009 season could have been the beginning of great things to come for the Nationals and Zimmerman's fantasy value.
Be sure to get this guy if you can’t get one of the elite third basemen like Alex Rodriguez, David Wright or Evan Longoria 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.