MLB Power Rankings: The Top 50 Fantasy Baseball Players to Draft for 2011

Nathan PalatskyCorrespondent IIJanuary 31, 2011

MLB Power Rankings: The Top 50 Fantasy Baseball Players to Draft for 2011

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    Didn't quite make this listMichael Buckner/Getty Images

    You know Albert Pujols should be drafted. You know Evan Longoria, Hanley Ramirez and Ryan Braun should be drafted. These rankings were produced by considering who can be had at an appropriate price relative to their projected stats, or at a discount. The highest projected bargains are ranked higher (who could most surpass their draft value). Many of these players have counterparts being drafted earlier for similar production, so when you see “instead of”, take note of someone you can pass on and get their production or close to it, later. 

#50-46 Saltalamacchia, Pineda, Porcello, Street, Cahill

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    46-    Trevor Cahill might regress in 2011 after showing a 2.97 ERA and 1.10 WHIP as a 23-year-old in 2010. He will never strike many hitters out, but even if he stays about the same, he can be had for a late middle round pick and is a high-end #3 fantasy SP. Projected: 16-7, 3.10 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 6 K/9

    47-     Huston Street needs to stay healthy, but if he does, he is a safe bet for 30 saves and around 9 K/9. He is going between the 15-20 RP off the board and could surely end up in the top-10. Projected: 31 SV, 2.95 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 9 K/9

    48-     Rick Porcello was a phenom at 20 years old in 2009 with 14 wins. He struggled in 2010, but showed some flashed after returning from AAA. He is still only 22, so expect some rough patches, but he is definitely better than the #80-90 SP rankings he has garnered thus far. Projected: 13-11, 3.75 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 5 K/9\

    49-     Michael Pineda might begin 2011 in AAA, but the Mariners are warming a spot for him behind Felix in their rotation, and IF he doesn’t start there, he will be there soon. Projected: 11-8, 3.81 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 7.5 K/9

    50-     Jarrod Saltalamacchia is going to have a hard time NOT scoring runs in that lineup. He can’t be expected to bat over .250, but he has never had a full-time gig before, so look for him to find a groove and develop some pop. Projected: .249, 21 HR, 76 RBI, 2 SB, 78 R

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

#45-41 Jones, Sanchez, Desmond, Brignac, Rodriguez

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    41-    Francisco Rodriguez is the Mets closer. He posted a 2.20 ERA and 25 saves last season, while battling off-field issues. He should be drafted among the top-10 RP, but is going later than that. Projected: 37 SV, 2.61 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 10 K/9 (instead of Brian Wilson)

    42-     Reid Brignac will replace Jason Bartlett at shortstop for the Rays. He has more pop than the average SS, some quiet speed and won’t hurt your team AVG. Projected: .284, 17 HR, 78 RBI, 10 SB, 80 R

    43-     Ian Desmond is an example of why, if you are unfortunate enough to miss Hanley Ramirez, Tulowitzki, and Reyes, you need to wait on SS. Desmond’s .269, 10 HR, 17 SB is nothing particularly special… unless you get him in the 15th round and see that, at 25 years old, he is batting ahead of Jason Werth and Ryan Zimmerman. Projected: .271, 13 HR, 65 RBI, 20 SB, 71 R

    44-     Jonathan Sanchez has seen his ERA drop and innings and strikeouts increase for four straight years. Even if 2010 is his plateau, that’s 3.07 ERA and 205 strikeouts. At 28, he could hang around there for several years. Projected: 14-11, 3.18 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 9.5 K/9 (instead of Clayton Kershaw)

    45-    Adam Jones’ hype got so big, owners failed to appreciate his .284, 19 HR and 76 R in 2010. He is being underdrafted, and could still have some better numbers coming. Projected: .287, 23 HR, 84 RBI, 12 SB, 80 R (instead of Corey Hart)

#40-36 Gutierrez, Gardner, Nishioka, Wieters, Rasmus

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    36-    Colby Rasmus is the catalyst of a lineup that includes Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols. In 2010, he batted .276 with 23 HR, 12 SB, and scored 85 runs. Now only 24, he should continue to improve. Projected: .281, 25 HR, 75 RBI, 18 SB, 91 R (instead of BJ Upton)

    37-     Matt Wieters is only 24 so let’s not give up on him yet. He is in a deceptively stacked lineup with Mark Reynolds, Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, and Derrek Lee. 20 HR, 80 RBI, 80 R all possible. Color me optimistic. Projected: .281, 18 HR, 79 RBI, 0 SB, 78 R (instead of Victor Martinez)

    38-     Tsuyoshi Nishioka is an unknown. At 26 years old, he could start at 2B or SS for the Twins, but he should start, and his .346 AVG with 11 HR and 22 SB in Japan means he could be a multi-category help. Projected: .279, 8 HR, 65 RBI, 25 SB, 81 R (instead of Ben Zobrist)

    39-     Brett Gardner stole 47 bases in his first full season of playing time. He also batted .277 and scored 97 runs. At 27, there is still some upside from those numbers, as a leadoff man for the Bronx Bombers. Projected: .281, 5 HR, 51 RBI, 55 SB, 113 R (instead of Juan Pierre)

    40-     Franklin Gutierrez was a household name going into 2010. After batting .283 with 18 HR and 16 SB in 2009, he dropped to .245 last year with only 12 HR. As a Gold Glove outfielder, he will get the at-bats to figure it out and has the talent to go 20/20. Projected: .278, 17 HR, 70 RBI, 24 SB, 81 R (instead of Alex Rios)

#35-31 Lowrie, Stewart, Bumgarner, Tulowitzki, Matusz

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    31-    Brian Matusz had the up and down season that should be expected at 23 years old. But he showed flashes of brilliance and should continue to mature in 2011, as the young star of Baltimore’s staff. Projected: 13-11, 3.65 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 7 K/9 (instead of Cole Hamels)

    32-     Troy Tulowitzki should be a top-5 overall pick, and can be had in the early second round in many drafts. He’s one of very few players capable of .300/30/100/20/100 (AVG, HR, RBI, SB, R). Projected: .315, 31 HR, 105 RBI, 17 SB, 95 R (instead of Hanley Ramirez)

    33-     Madison Bumgarner, at 20 years old, made 18 starts and posted a 3.00 ERA, 1.306 WHIP, and 7 K/9. Expect some bumps on the road, but useful numbers for a late round pick. Projected: 15-11, 3.15 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 7.5 K/9 (instead of Roy Oswalt)

    34-     Ian Stewart will benefit from batting in a lineup with Tulowitzki and CarGo. He hit 18 HR and batted .256 in an injury shortened 2010, and is 100% for 2011. He has breakout potential, seeing 90+ RBI if he bats fifth and 90+ runs scored if he bats second. Projected: .265, 27 HR, 95 RBI, 8 SB, 75 R (instead of Adrian Beltre)

    35-     Jed Lowrie is eligible at 2B and SS. He batted .287 with 9 HR in 55 games. He will probably end up somewhere around 7th or 8th in the stacked Red Sox lineup, but that puts him after David Ortiz and Victor Martinez and before Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford. Projected: .285, 15 HR, 78 RBI, 8 SB, 85 R (instead of Brian Roberts)

#30-26 Anderson, Gallardo, Nunez, Lind, Latos

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    26-    Mat Latos burst onto the scene in 2010 with a 2.92 ERA and 1.083 WHIP. He also struck out over nine per nine innings. Some regression is expected, but not too much. Projected: 16-11, 3.10 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 8.5 K/9 (instead of Francisco Liriano)

    27-     Adam Lind can be had at a major bargain if you can live with his DH-only eligibility. At 27, he is going very late, and should produce .275+ AVG with 25+ HR and 90+ RBI. And I see those numbers are basement figures for his potential. Projected: .281, 31 HR, 95 RBI, 0 SB, 80 R (instead of David Ortiz)

    28-     Leo Nunez is another young closer who should have a decent leash. His ERA isn’t what you’d like from a closer, but he has a good chance to top 30 saves for a late round pick. Projected: 32 SV, 3.50 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 8 K/9 (instead of David Aardsma)

    29-     Yovani Gallardo is still the ace in Milwaukee. The 24-year-old was 14-7 with almost 9 K/9 in 2010 and still has serious room for improvement. His ERA and WHIP should come down with experience. Projected: 17-8, 3.43 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 8.5 K/9 (instead of Ubaldo Jimenez)

    30-     Brett Anderson was supposed to be the young stud in Oakland when he got hurt, and opened the door for Cahill to take the #1 spot away from him. Now healthy, look for that potential to blossom in the 22 year-old. Projected: 16-9, 3.15 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 7 K/9 (instead of Clay Buchholz)

#25-21 Jackson, Al Ramirez, Ar Ramirez, Johnson, Bruce

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    21-    Jay Bruce has topped 20 HR in each of his first three seasons, increasing each year, and batting career high .281 in 2010. (instead of Jason Werth)

    22-     Kelly Johnson set career highs with 26 HR, 71 RBI, and 13 SB, while batting .284. It was his first season in Arizona, and nothing in the sabermetrics seems to indicate a coming downturn. Projected: .280, 21 HR, 75 RBI, 10 SB, 80 R (instead of Dan Uggla)

    23-    Aramis Ramirez has 25+ HR and 80+ RBI in seven straight healthy years (2009 was cut short by injury). He is falling past the top 10 third basemen and is a bargain anytime after that. Projected: .290, 31 HR, 95 RBI, 3 SB, 85 R (instead of Alex Rodriguez)

    24-     Alexei Ramirez has three years in the majors, and has had at least 15 HR and 13 SB in each. In that loaded offense, he should score 80 runs easily. Projected: .285, 17 HR, 75 RBI, 18 SB, 95 R (instead of Derek Jeter)

    25-     Austin Jackson batted .293 with 27 steals in his rookie season. He will be the catalyst of a powerful Detroit offense, and can be had at a reasonable price in the middle rounds of a draft. Projected: .295, 8 HR, 60 RBI, 35 SB, 80 R (instead of BJ Upton)

#20-16 Bailey, Dunn, Victorino, Scherzer, Weaver

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    16-     Jered Weaver led all pitchers with 233 strikeouts in 2010, while posting a 3.01 ERA and 1.074 WHIP. Projected: 18-9, 2.98 ERA, 1.020 WHIP, 9 K/9

    17-    Max Scherzer broke out in 2010 with a 3.50 ERA and 1.247 WHIP in 31 starts. He also added 184 strikeouts in 195.2 innings. Projected: 14-10. 3.31 ERA, 1.250 WHIP, 8 K/9 (instead of Dan Haren)

    18-     Shane Victorino quietly hit 18 HR and stole 34 bases for the Phillies in 2010. His average should return to the .280-.295 range where it had been 2005-09. Projected: .288, 15 HR, 70 RBI, 35 SB, 95 R (instead of Ichiro Suzuki)

    19-     Adam Dunn has 38 or more HR every year since 2004. He has now batted better than .260 for back-to-back seasons, fixing the one downfall of his game. Projected: .265, 41 HR, 110 RBI, 2 SB, 90 R (instead of Adrian Gonzalez)

    20-    Andrew Bailey has two seasons as the A’s closer, and both seasons saw him post a sub-3 ERA and sub-1 WHIP. Projected: 35 SV, 1.65 ERA, .901 WHIP, 9 K/9 (instead of Carlos Marmol)

#15-11 Stanton, Wright, Ethier, Reynolds, Sizemore

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    11-    Grady Sizemore already has a 30/30 season under his belt, and is going after the tenth round in drafts because of his injuries in the past couple years. Projected: .275, 25 HR, 80 RBI, 19 SB, 90 R

    12-     Mark Reynolds’ average fell below .200 last season, partially due to his historic strikeout rate but also aided by a remarkable .257 BABIP. The average should go up, making his 40 HR and possible 15-20 SB available at a bargain. Projected: .240, 40 HR, 95 RBI, 12 SB, 90 R (instead of Jose Bautista)

    13-     Andre Ethier is the most powerful member of the Dodgers and has plenty of RBI opportunities with the hitters ahead of him. Projected: .305, 31 HR, 110 RBI, 5 SB, 90 R (instead of Nelson Cruz)

    14-     David Wright is inexplicably falling out of the first round despite .283, 29 HR, 103 RBI, 19 SB, 87 R in 2010. Look for the average to be back above .300 where it had been since 2005.  In a categories league, Wright might be better than Longoria. Projected: .310, 27 HR, 105 RBI, 23 SB, 95 R (instead of Evan Longoria)

    15-     Mike Stanton has as much raw power as any young hitter in baseball. As long as his batting average stays at .250 or higher, love the homers and RBIs. Projected: .260, 38 HR, 120 RBI, 2 SB, 90 R (instead of Matt Holliday)

#10-6 Hill, Young, Price, Kinsler, Morales

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    6-    Kendry Morales broke his leg in a freak accident, but has 30+ HR power, and comes at a discount this season. Projected: .295, 35 HR, 110 RBI, 5 SB, 90 R (instead of Ryan Howard)

    7-    Ian Kinsler hit 31 HR and stole 31 bases in 2009, his last healthy season. His health concerns are legitimate, but so is the chance he could be the top fantasy second baseman. (instead of Chase Utley)

    8-    David Price is being ranked outside the top-20 SP in many expert lists. At 24, he posted 2.72 ERA, 1.193 WHIP, 8 K/9 and two complete games over 208.2 IP in 2010. Projected: 18-9, 2.95 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 8 K/9 (instead of Cliff Lee)

    9-    Chris Young hit 27 HR and stole 28 bases very much under the radar in Arizona. He is 27 years old and has 30/30 potential, without killing your batting average. Projected: .260, 31 HR, 90 RBI, 28 SB, 100 R

    10-    Aaron Hill was remarkably unlucky in 2010. There had to be some regression from his .286, 36/108 2009, but .205, 26/68 is ridiculous. Expect something in the middle, and a top-10 second baseman. Projected: .281, 32 HR, 95 RBI, 4 SB,89 R

#5-1 Castro, Stubbs, Ellsbury, McCutchen, Reyes

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    1-    If healthy, Jose Reyes has a realistic chance of being the best fantasy shortstop in baseball. And he is going three or four rounds after Hanley Ramirez and Troy Tulowitzki. Projected: .295, 15 HR, 60 RBI, 50 SB, 100 R

    2-    Andrew McCutchen has increased his power and speed numbers in both years of major league ball. He’s young enough to keep trending up. Projected: .290, 20 HR, 70 RBI, 35 SB, 100 R (instead of Matt Kemp)

    3-    Jacoby Ellsbury can give you Carl Crawford numbers at a major discount, and began discovering his power before being hurt in 2010. Projected: .301, 12 HR, 60 RBI, 70 SB, 100 R (instead of Carl Crawford)

    4-    Drew Stubbs is the up and coming power/speed combination in the National League. He is quickly surpassing a certain Arizona right fielder who is going in the very early rounds. Projected: .270, 25 HR, 80 RBI, 30 SB, 100 R (instead of Justin Upton)

    5-    Starlin Castro quietly batted .300 as a rookie. He will steal bases, and might reach 10 HR. Projected: .310, 8 HR, 70 RBI, 25 SB, 90 R (instead of Jimmy Rollins)