2011 Fantasy Baseball Big Board, Nos. 31-40: Jason Heyward or Justin Upton?

Nick Kappel@@NickKappelAnalyst IIIFebruary 14, 2011

ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Jason Heyward #22 of the Atlanta Braves breaks his bat on an infield grounder in the seventh inning against the Washington Nationals at Turner Field on September 15, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Our 2011 fantasy baseball projections will be released one-by-one until the top 100 players have been revealed. These rankings consider past achievements, current performance and expected future results based on standard 5×5 H2H settings.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve announced the top 40 players on our 2011 big board. To help keep these rankings easy to find, we’re recapping the 31-40 group in one short post. Click on each player’s name for a more in-depth analysis, including 2011 projections!

Check out our 2011 big board (1-10) here.

Check out our 2011 big board (11-20) here.

Check out our 2011 big board (21-30) here.

31. Joe Mauer (C – Min)- Doesn’t need 25 HRs to be the top catcher; his three-year batting average (.340) is 42 points higher than any player at his position.

32. Victor Martinez (C – Det) - Only catcher to post 100-RBI season since 2004, and he’s done it three times. Leads backstops in HRs over the last seven seasons (129), and now bats in the same lineup as Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez.

33. Cliff Lee (SP – Phi) – Since 2007 minor-league stint, he has averaged 222 innings, 16 wins, 7.23 K/9, 1.28 BB/9, 2.98 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP per season with four different MLB teams. And now he’s a No. 2 starter on a team with plenty of run support.

34. Nelson Cruz (OF – Tex) -  Has played in only 267 out of a possible 486 games over the last three seasons, yet he’s averaged 21 HRs, 13 steals and a .292 batting average per year. A change in his running style will hopefully pave the way for his first full season and a possible 30/20/.300 campaign.

35. Jason Heyward (OF – Atl) – Injuries have been a concern with him as well, but there’s no denying his talent. Sixth best walk rate in the majors (14.6 percent) last season as a 20-year-old, and appears primed to approach an eye-popping 100/25/100/15/.300 line in 2011.

36. Justin Upton (OF – Ari) – His 30/30 potential didn’t suddenly disappear. 23-year-old still has plenty of room to grow, and has reportedly taken on a “rigorous strengthening program” this offseason to solidify his health.

37. Josh Johnson (SP – Fla)- Since 2005, only five starters have an ERA lower than Johnson’s mark of 3.10 (min. 600 innings). Top-five among qualified starters last season in ERA, FIP, xFIP, HR/9, contact rate and swinging strike rate.

38. Ian Kinsler (2B – Tex)- Three-year averages (92 runs, 19 HRs, 67 RBI, 24 SB, .285 BA) are mind-boggling considering he’s missed a total of 118 games since 2008. Top-10 potential given a full season atop the Rangers’ lineup.

39. Andrew McCutchen (OF – Pit)- Improved plate discipline and recognition of breaking pitches last season are very encouraging. Poor man’s Carl Crawford should approach 100 runs, 20 HRs, 35 SB and a .300 BA in 2011.

40. Jon Lester (SP – Bos)- Has the ninth-best ERA (3.29) among starters who’ve logged 600 innings since 2008. Of the eight pitchers with a lower ERA during that time, only Lincecum has a better strikeout rate (10.25) than Lester (8.72).

The top 50 on our 2011 Big Board will be announced in the coming days as we continue our journey to rank the top 100 players!


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