How amazing was Carlos Gonzalez last year for fantasy baseballers?
How about a .336 average, 111 runs, 34 home runs and 26 stolen bases to boot?
Good enough to be considered the best overall fantasy batter, and he was drafted on average around pick 120 (according to espn.com).
Regardless, he wasn't highly sought after, except by those who thought he could blow up after an impressive end to his first action in the big leagues in '09 with Colorado.
And some of us thought it could happen. I luckily was one of them.
So who are some batters that could make magic happen in '10?
I'll give you 10 that may become this year's CarGo.
Stubbs, as Matthew Berry of ESPN says, had the quietest 20-30 season in recent history.
It's crazy to think that in many leagues, he was on the waiver wire.
Sure, he may hurt your average a bit (he batted .255 last season), but you can get a guy who could go for 20 homers and 30 steals again as your third or fourth outfielder.
If he can get that average up, he could definitely be the steal of this draft.
I think this may be a bit of a stretch, as Gonzalez was a bit overlooked last season, and that is something that will not happen with the Braves' youngster in drafts this year.
So in a way, he is a bit overrated if you look at his stats from last season (.277 average, 18 HR, 72 RBI, 11 SB).
But, we all know he has great potential, and last season, he was rushed into the majors.
He should be more comfortable in 2010, and with the addition of a guy like Dan Uggla, the Braves offense should be improved.
So really, the sky is the limit for a guy like Heyward.
I can't take any credit for this one, but I'll give this one to Matthew Berry.
I listened to the Fantasy Focus Baseball podcast the other day, and Berry said that based on draft position (around 120), Adam Jones could be this season's Carlos Gonzalez.
Jones has been a big letdown thus far, and last season seemed like a low point (.284 average, 19 HRs and 69 RBI).
But, for one thing, I think that's the worst that he'll do for a while.
And he should have an improved offense with Brian Roberts healthy, and with the addition of players like Mark Reynolds, J.J. Hardy and Derrek Lee.
So for a guy you can draft that late, why not take a chance that he could finally reach his potential?
Alvarez's name has been tossed around for what seems like a while now (for those really into fantasy baseball), and last season, he gave us a taste of what he could do.
In 347 AB, Alvarez cranked out 16 HRs and 64 RBI for the Buccos.
The problem? He struck out over 100 times.
So, he's not patient and his average isn't great (.255), but he definitely has 30 homer potential.
And at a shallow third base position, that is rather attractive...wouldn't you say?
Now this is going to draw some groans.
I'll admit it, I've become frustrated with the former over-hyped second baseman.
Let's be frank: he's severely underperformed expectations.
But, let's all agree on this: the talent is there.
If Beckham can get comfortable, I would think over 70 RBI and 15 HRs is possible, with an average around .290.
For a weak position, that's not bad this year.
But we all know he could be even better than that.
Speaking of quiet seasons, Weeks had one of the quietest seasons for a second baseman recently.
He cranked out 29 HRs, and got 11 SB to go along with a decent .269 average.
So, he's clearly got some power, and some speed. If he can get the average up, he could have the best year for a second baseman not named Cano.
So why draft Chase Utley, who just got a shot in his knee, when you could have a guy like Weeks?
If you're looking for a guy who's seen a jump in the rankings because of the success of a guy like Carlos Gonzalez, look no further than Mike Stanton.
Stanton, like Gonzalez, gave us a taste in the last half of his first season of what he could really do.
Twenty-two HRs in 359 AB is pretty good.
Granted, he, like many others on this list, struggles in the BA category.
But with the possibility of him getting 40 HRs, who cares, right?
Young surprised a few people last season that took a chance on a guy who'd been sent down to the minors the previous season.
The owners were rewarded with a great speed/power combo, although nothing like what CarGo did.
Young struggled with his strikeouts and his average last season (this is getting to be rather annoying among all these candidates), but we know the power is there, as he had 27 bombs last season.
He could get over 30 homers easy.
The steals? Well, many see 28 from last season as a fluke. I tend to think he could get close to 30 there as well.
Wouldn't that be nice?
First of all, any St. Louis player is a viable sleeper because they are batting in the same lineup as Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols.
But Rasmus had a quietly decent year last season with 23 HRs and 12 SB to go along with a decent average and 66 RBI.
He's projected to do about the same this year, so he's not going very high.
But you could get a potential steal with the Cards' youngster in the later rounds of your draft, because he has the tools, speed, average and power to come close to what Carlos did last year.
As you've noticed, not all these players are outfielders, as that would be rather difficult.
But, the other players in my mind come from week fantasy positions in second base and third base (you try to find any kind of sleeper at the shortstop).
McGehee had a very quiet 23 homers last season to go along with 104 RBI.
In Milwaukee, Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun usually get all the attention.
Maybe you should take more notice of McGehee, who, if he raises his average to .300, could be a top-five third basemen in fantasy this year quite easily.