2010 has blessed Major League Baseball with a memorable rookie class.
Fantasy owners in Dynasty and Keeper leagues were quite familiar with this cast of characters long before they arrived in the show.
In commemoration of their foresight, let's take a gander at the top ten positional keepers for 2011.
Posey is a line drive hitting machine (22.3%) batting .342 in his real taste of big league action. The overwhelming majority of his extra base hits are directed towards right field and right-center. As he learns to pull the ball, his power numbers will escalate (nine HR). His natural opposite field approach is tailor made for RISP situations, as evidenced by his .366 batting average in those spots. His pitch selection and discipline (18 BB) will only improve with experience. The feeble catching position only buttresses his case as the top keeper.
Not many can hit the ball harder than Heyward. His talent level is extraordinary, but his performance has taken a notable dip in the past three months. Over his last 58 games he's hit just four HR and driven in 19 runs. It should be noted that a trip to the DL with a groin injury in late June halted his progress. Pitchers better take advantage of him while he's down because it won't be for long. Heyward hit ten HR with 38 RBI in his first two months in the majors, look for him to maintain that form in 2011.
Castro served blatant notice driving in six in his major league debut, but not many expected a .316 batting average through 95 games. At 20 years of age, his quick on the job study has been remarkable. On June 24th his BA was down to .255, but it's safe to say he's made the necessary adjustments. The HR pop is not there yet, but he's only just beginning to grow into his 6'0 frame. Castro has the potential to be number one on this list.
Brown's 1:15 BB:K ratio is ugly, but not quite as bad as it looks. He's seeing 4.33 pitches per plate appearance meaning he's not opposed to working counts. As he settles in, he'll finish those AB's with walks rather than chasing and getting himself out. He's knocked in 11 of his 12 runs in ten starts. The big picture is a clear one: he WILL be a fixture in the Phillies outfield in 2011 and years to come. The 22-year old has all the tools, he just needs time to show them off.
Santana posted a sick 37:29 BB:K ratio in 150 big league at bats prior to injury, an unheard of figure for a first year player. When he got his pitch, he did damage with 13 doubles, six homers and 22 RBI. His .152 BA with RISP and .146 as a right-handed hitter are worrisome. Santana should be good to go for spring training barring a setback to his surgically repaired knee. He'll turn 25 just after opening day '11.
Stanton possesses inhuman power. After smashing 21 HR in 53 AA games, he's hit 14 in 63 games for the Fish. Fantasy players will trade power for strikeouts, but his 80 K's are exorbitant. He'll never hit for a reasonable average unless he changes his two-strike approach, and shortens up. Stanton is an excellent athlete and it's not out of the question that he could steal 15-20 bases.
A .468 18 RBI spring landed Colvin a spot on the Cubs opening day roster. Despite rookie peaks and valleys, he hasn't disappointed. He's flashed his easy lefty power stroke, mashing 18 homers with a .502 SLG %. He needs to be more selective at the dish (.302 OBP) and prove he can be a reliable middle of the lineup run producer (.200 RISP).
Jackson is still a raw product offensively, which makes his .307 BA even more intriguing. If he can close some holes in his swing (9% swinging strike), and shave a few dozen strikeouts off his 130 total, he'll be a force. He has a solid idea the plate, putting all sections of the diamond to work for him. With 28 doubles and seven triples, double digits HR's should be in his future. 30 stolen bases is a reasonable expectation as well.
After a miserable June, Alvarez has put the pieces together since, hitting .265 with ten HR and 30 RBI in 44 games. He strikes out far too frequently (78) but lack of patience is not a concern. He uses left field adroitly, but is too occupied with pulling for power. Alvarez is likely to become a true fantasy bopper at the hot corner, but can he keep his BA above respectability?
The ball explodes off Davis' bat, but he has rarely found the sweet spot as of late. He was far more under control upon first arrival to the bigs, using the whole field. He has only two extra base hits (both doubles) and four RBI in August. Much like Alvarez, Davis has sensational power, but needs to the find the balance between swinging from his heels and poking the ball the opposite way.
Written by Adam Ganeles exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com.
Check back weekly for Adam's insight into Major & Minor League Baseball.
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