This list will take into account past, present and future values based on standard five by five 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 10, 2010
41. Justin Verlander-SP-Detroit Tigers
2009 statistics: 35 GS, 240.0 IP, 19 W, 296 K, 3.45 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 3 CG, .243 BAA
Verlander was one of the most dominant pitchers in the American League last year, finishing among the top 10 in almost every significant pitching category. His 19 wins ranked first in the AL, along with his 269 strike outs which also ranked first.
He had increased season totals in K/BB rate with a 4.27 K/BB, which was up almost three points from last year’s total of 1.87 K/BB. A high rate of K/BB also usually leads to a high K/9 IP, which Verlander also displayed last season. He finished first in the AL in K/9 IP with an astounding 10.09 K/9 IP.
On February 4, the Tigers reached an agreement with Verlander on a five-year, $80 million contract, which kept the Tigers from a salary arbitration hearing with their young ace. With this signing, Verlander should be stress free for 2010 and should be for another great season for the Tigers and for fantasy owners.
42. Pablo Sandoval-3B-San Francisco Giants
2009 statistics: 153 G, 189 H, 25 HR, 90 RBI, 79 R, 5 SB, .330 BA, .387 OBP, .556 SLG, .943 OPS
The ’09 season was Sandoval’s first full season in the major leagues, which proved to be a good move by the Giants. The “Kung-Fu Panda” had a breakout season in ’09 ranking in the top 10 in just about every National League offensive category. His .330 BA finished second to only to Hanley Ramirez in the NL and was fifth best in all of baseball.
He had a great BB/K rate in ’09, finishing with a .63 rate, which led him to a good on-base percentage. His total bases ranked him sixth in the National league, but couldn’t have been higher if the Giants could have produced better offensively.
The only downfall for Sandoval was his runs scored in ’09. The Giants had a poor offensive season last year which held Sandoval back from going over 100 runs scored and 100 RBI.
If the Giants offense can be more productive next season that will benefit Sandoval and get his fantasy value even higher for following years.
43. Dustin Pedrioa-2B-Boston Red Sox
2009 statistics: 154 G, 185 H, 15 HR, 72 RBI, 115 R, 20 SB, .296 BA, .371 OBP, .447 SLG, .819 OPS
For the second year in a row, Pedrioa was able to finish the season ranked first in runs scored in the American League. He also showed that he can produce back-to-back above average fantasy seasons keeping him towards the top of draft boards.
Pedrioa improved in many categories last season, including BB/PA (.104) and BB/K (1.64) which led him to a low total in strikeouts (47). He beat out both Joe Mauer and Marco Scutaro to finish in first in the American League in BB/SO rate.
His SB percentage dropped to 71 percent last season resulting in only 20 stolen bases, which it the same total he had in ’08. What needs to be recognized is that he was only caught once in ’07 and ’08 but caught eight times in ’09 which could lead the Red Sox to limiting his stolen base opportunities in the future.
With the RBI-machine Jason Bay gone, it will be interesting to see who will be able to get Pedrioa his runs scored in 2010. This should be a question going into draft day, but it shouldn’t shy you away from drafting him this season.
44. Brian McCann-C-Atlanta Braves
2009 statistics: 138 G, 137 H, 21 HR, 94 RBI, 63 R, 4 SB, .281 BA, .349 OBP, .486 SLG, .834 OPS
McCann had a decent ’09 campaign finishing as one of the best catchers in baseball. He played in only 138 games due to in part by an eye issue, which resulted in slump for him early on in the season.
He saw decreases in his extra base hits (57) and BB/K (.59), but did have an increase in AB/HR (23.2). He showed a more powerful swing at the plate in ’09 setting a career-high in RBI, but also saw an increase in strikeouts.
Last season McCann set a career-high in strikeouts, totally 83. This was up 19 strikeouts from his ’08 season in which he struck out only 64 times.
With the addition of Troy Glaus and a healthy Nate McClouth and Chipper Jones, McCann shouldn’t be relied on as much to provide the Braves with the long ball next season. This should result in a better batting average and better strikeout rate for him in the upcoming season.
45. Jimmy Rollins-SS-Philadelphia Phillies
2009 statistics: 155 G, 168 H, 21 HR, 77 RBI, 100 R, 31 SB, .250 BA, .296 OBP, .423 SLG, .719 OPS
Rollins started the ’09 season in one of the worst slumps of all-time, but was able to put together a good second half to salvage his season. This should cause a bit of worry in terms of fantasy value, due to the fact that some of his stats have seen decreases for the last few years now.
His BB/K rate was way down in ’09 dropping to .63 from 1.06 in ’08. To go along with that, his BB/PA was also down to .61 from .93 in ’08 showing he had very poor plate discipline last season.
His patience at the plate was terrible last season, finishing the year with a 3.36 P/PA rate, which was a four-year low for Rollins. But on the upside he still found a way to steal 31 bases with a sub .300 OBP.
The Phillies will be ready to return to the World Series once again in 2010 and they will need Rollins to step up his game and forget about last season’s output. Expect Rollins to answer the calls and return to the elite status of shortstops in fantasy baseball.
46. Joey Votto-1B-Cincinnati Reds
2009 statistics: 131 G, 151 H, 25 HR, 84 RBI, 82 R, 4 SB, .322 BA, .414 OBP, .567 SLG, .981 OPS
Votto had himself a great season in ’09 despite playing in only 131 games. He showed maturity and showed flashed of why he was such a highly regarded prospect.
Votto found himself ranked among the best players in the National League in BA (fifth), OBP (fourth), SLG (fifth) and OPS (third) and could have been ranked in the top 10 in the other major categories if he did have injuries last season. His AB/HR rate was very low for such a young player in the league which was an impressive 18.8.
He also showed patience at the plate with a high BB/PA rate at .129, which supports the fact that he has matured as a major league baseball player. To go along with his high rate of BB/PA, he landed amongst the league leaders in BB/K (.66).
The stars are all lining up for Votto to have a great 2010 season as long as he stays healthy. If you can’t get one of the top tier first basemen Votto should be a great fit for any fantasy team.
47. Johan Santana-SP-New York Mets
2009 statistics: 25 GS, 166.2 IP, 13 W, 146 K, .313 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 0 CG, .244 BAA
Santana had a sub-par season last year according to his standards that fantasy owners have grown accustom to. He pitched his last game on August 20 before being shut down for the remainder of the season.
For the fifth season in a row Santana’s K/BB rate fell, which was a 3.17 in 2009. To add to the decrease in K/BB Santana saw an increase in BAA for the sixth year in a row.
The Mets should have a better offensive season in 2010 with the addition of Jason Bay, so Santana should get more run support on the days he pitches. He still has the stuff to produce at a high level, but the question is whether or not Santana will be able to stay healthy for a whole season.
48. Josh Hamilton-OF-Texas Rangers
2009 statistics: 89 G, 90 H, 10 HR, 54 RBI, 43 R, 8 SB, .268 BA, .315 OBP, .426 SLG, .741 OPS
Playing in only 89 games for the Rangers in 2009, Hamilton had a difficult time getting into a rhythm and had a difficult time reliving his great 2008 campaign.
In his limited action Hamilton saw his OPS drop to .741 in ’09 after producing a .901 OPS in ’08. This shouldn’t be too much of a concern considering the large amount of time he missed last season.
Hamilton is said to be fully healthy for the start of Spring Training after having all winter to take care of his rib and abdominal injuries from last season. Be sure to check his progress in Spring Training before taking him on draft day.
49. Brandon Phillips-2B-Cincinnati Reds
2009 statistics: 153 G, 161 H, 20 HR, 98 RBI, 78 R, 25 SB, .276 BA, .329 OBP, .447 SLG, .776 OPS
Once again Phillips was able to reach the 20/20 club showing his great mix of power and speed that not many players possess. With a week second base position, Phillips is a player that can help you out in many categories.
Phillips improved in important categories in ’09, including P/PA (3.66), BB/PA (.069) and BB/K (.59) which shows he is starting to get away from his free-swinging ways. He also saw increases in all the fantasy categories except for stolen bases, which is still above the league average.
With Phillips you pretty much know what you are going to get. He should once again be part of the 20/20 club and have another successful season for the Reds and for fantasy owners.
50. Kevin Youkilis-1B-Boston Red Sox
2009 statistics: 136 G, 150 H, 27 HR, 94 RBI, 99 R, 7 SB, .305 BA, .413 OBP, .548 SLG, .961 OPS
Playing in only 136 for the red Sox in ’09, Youkilis was able to ranked in the top five in OBP (second), SLG (fifth) and OPS (second) putting him in an elite category in terms of fantasy value. His .961 OPS was a career-high, but he also set a career-high in a category that he wished he didn’t; strikeouts.
Youkilis set a career-high in strikeouts in ’09 with 125, which has now gone up each of the last three seasons. Although he set a career-high in strikeouts he still saw an increase in BB/K (.62) and BB/PA (.131).
With the loss of Jason Bay in Boston, Youkilis will likely be looked at to produce more hits and RBI for the Red Sox in 2010. If you are in a fantasy league that has OPS, SLG and OBP as categories, be sure to have Youkilis towards the top of your wish lists.
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.