Over the last four months, I’ve poured hundreds of hours into researching, ranking and re-ranking the top 100 players in fantasy baseball.
This Big Board is much different than most, however. I’m going to give you something you can’t get anywhere else free of charge.
Instead of just listing names without justification, Fantasy Baseball Insiders provides not only the top-100 overall rankings, but includes a few nuggets on each player, and links to an in-depth individual analysis complete with 2010 stats, three-year averages, and calculated 2011 projections!
These rankings and projections consider past achievements and expected future results based on standard 5×5 H2H settings.
Before we dive into the meat and potatoes, let me highlight a few key points.
- First base is extremely deep this year, as 15 players at the position rank inside the top 100, including a whopping eight inside the top 20.
- While it’s true that third base has become surprisingly thin, there are actually 13 players at the position ranked on this list. There’s a significant drop-off after the top five come off the board, but there is potential for bounce-back seasons in players such as Aramis Ramirez and Mark Reynolds.
- Shortstop is especially thin this year. If you miss out on Ramirez or Tulowitzki, you’re left with the likes of Jose Reyes, Derek Jeter and Jimmy Rollins, who all come with risk.
- Starting pitcher is very deep this year. As baseball continues its transition from the steroid era, pitchers are becoming more dominant again, and fantasy baseball managers should take notice.
- Closers are the most overrated players in this game. Therefore, only five made this list. Check out 2011 Closer’s Corner for more on the massive turnover this year at the position.
Since I began constructing this list in January, injuries to players such as Chase Utley and Zack Greinke (among others) have altered my rankings. Those changes are presented below. Also note that Adam Wainwright (originally ranked No. 27) has been dropped from the 2011 Big Board. For updated starting pitcher rankings, click here.
All right, enough babbling from me. After much anticipation, I present my new and improved 2011 Fantasy Baseball Big Board:
Click on a player’s name for an in-depth individual analysis complete with 2010 stats, three-year averages, and calculated 2011 projections!
1. Albert Pujols (1B – STL): His career averages (119 runs, 41 HRs, 123 RBI, 8 steals, .331 batting average) haven’t been matched in a single season since Larry Walker posted a redonkulous 143/49/130/33/.366 line in 1997.
2. Hanley Ramirez (SS – FLA): His career averages (112 runs, 25 HRs, 78 RBI, 39 steals, .313 batting average) are jaw-dropping considering his position. However, the most impressive stat (and the one that separates him from Troy Tulowitzki) is that he’s averaged 152 games per season over the last five years.
3. Miguel Cabrera (1B – DET): Entering his age-28 season and still improving. He’s had 33 HRs in six of the last seven seasons and no less than 103 RBI and a .292 batting average per in seven full seasons.
4. Troy Tulowitzki (SS – COL): He was the only shortstop to hit 25 HRs last season. Entering his age-26 season, he’s one of only two players at a thin position capable of a 30/20/.300 line.
5. Adrian Gonzalez (1B – BOS): His career home/road splits suggest 50 HRs/.315 batting average are entirely possible in Boston’s lineup.
6. David Wright (3B – NYM): Despite the strikeouts, he still has the 30/100/100/.300 potential that Longoria shares, only Wright is capable of adding 30 steals to the mix.
7. Evan Longoria (3B – TB): Career averages of 88 runs, 27 HRs, 101 RBI, 10 steals, .283 batting average at a surprisingly thin position. And he’s only 25.
8. Ryan Braun (OF – MIL): Improving plate discipline suggests possible improvement on three-year averages (102 runs, 31 HRs, 108 RBI, 16 steals, .303 batting average) in 2011.
9. Carl Crawford (OF – BOS): 20-HR, 50-steal, .300-average potential in Fenway.
10. Carlos Gonzalez (OF – COL): First player to post at least 110 runs, 35 HRs, 110 RBI, 25 steals and a .330 batting average since Ivan Rodriguez recorded a 116/35/113/25/.332 line in 1999 with the Texas Rangers.
11. Joey Votto (1B – Cin): His 2010 campaign was the first 100/35/100/15/.320 season from a first baseman not named Pujols since Derrek Lee posted a 120/45/107/15/.335 line in 2005.
12. Robinson Cano (2B – NYY): Has hit .297 or higher five times (in six seasons), and sports a career .309 batting average. His on-base percentage, slugging percentage, isolated power, fly ball percentage and HR/FB rate have all increased progressively over the last three seasons, and he’s has missed a grand total of eight games over the last four years.
13. Ryan Howard (1B – Phi): Four-year streak of at least 45 HRs and 136 RBI ended last year due to ankle injury that forced him to miss three weeks. Thirty-one-year-old’s contact rates are trending upward while his strikeout rates are on the decline; he remains capable of 40 HRs and .275 batting average.
14. Prince Fielder (1B – Mil): Since 2006, he’s produced HR totals of 28, 50, 34, 46 and 32, with RBI totals ranging from 81 (2006) to 141 (2009), while batting as low as .261 (2010) and as high as .299 (2009). Notwithstanding, he’s never missed more than five games in any of his first five seasons.
15. Matt Holliday (OF – STL): Despite playing the last two seasons in Oakland and St. Louis (not Colorado), his three-year averages (99 runs, 26 HRs, 100 RBI, 17 steals, .315 batting average) are better than those of Kemp, Hamilton and Upton.
16. Alex Rodriguez (3B – NYY): Batting average and slugging percentage (and therefore his isolated power) have declined progressively over the last four years. Despite this, he’s managed to post 30 HRs and 100 RBI in 13 consecutive seasons.
17. Mark Teixeira (1B – NYY): Line-drive, fly-ball and strikeout rates are all trending in the wrong direction, which may help explain .256 batting average in 2010. 30 HRs and 100 RBI are near-locks, but a .300 average isn’t.
18. Matt Kemp (OF – LAD): BB/K ratio was 15th worst last season, while his strikeout rate was 12th highest, and his contact rate was the sixth lowest. BABIP 49 points below career average could explain his “down” season, but full potential won’t be reached without improved plate discipline.
19. Roy Halladay (SP – Phi): Five-year averages: 236 IP, 18 wins, 1.42 BB/9, 2.96 ERA, 1.11 WHIP. Entering age-34 season, but there’s no reason to believe he can’t continue dominance.
20. Kevin Youkilis (1B/3B – Bos): Increased OPS in each of his seven seasons. Better three-year batting average than Wright, Longoria, Rodriguez and Zimmerman. Three-year averages across the board top that of Zimmerman.
22. Ryan Zimmerman (3B – Was): Missed 20 games last season and 56 games in 2008; Werth and LaRoche will struggle to replace Dunn’s presence. However, the 26-year-old remains capable of 25 HRs and .300 at thin position.
23. Jose Reyes (SS – NYM): Averaged 113 runs, 14 HRs, 66 RBI, 65 steals, .287 batting average while missing a total of just 15 games from 2005 to 2008. Has missed 155 games over last two seasons, but remains capable of elite fantasy numbers given healthy Mets lineup.
24. Shin-Soo Choo (OF – Cle): One of three players to post 20/20/.300 line in 2010. Given healthy returns from Sizemore and Santana, Choo could be just fourth 100/20/100/20/.300 player in last three years.
25. Josh Hamilton (OF – Tex): Missed 73 games in 2009 and 29 games in 2010, but still posted MVP numbers. .390 BABIP (among other things), however, suggests a regression in 2011.
26. Tim Lincecum (SP – SF): Regression in K/9, BB/9, HR/9, batting average against, ERA and WHIP last year after improving all categories in previous two seasons. Decrease in fastball velocity and fourth-least effective curveball also contributed to his 2010 decline. Throw out unlucky August, however, and his season ERA drops from 3.43 to 2.79.
27. Felix Hernandez (SP – Sea): Lowest ERA (2.27) in majors last year to go along with stellar peripherals: 8.36 K/9, 2.52 BB/9, .210 BAA, 1.06 WHIP. Low BABIP (.263) and sub-2.50 ERA curse, however, suggest regression in 2011.
28. Dan Uggla (2B – Atl): Most HRs among second basemen (154) since 2006. 30-plus HRs finally came with respectable average (.287) in 2010. Given his new ballpark and loaded Braves lineup, career year could be in the works.
29. 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.
30. 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.
31. 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.
32. 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.
33. 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.
34. 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.
35. 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.
36. 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).
37. Clayton Kershaw (SP – LAD): Youngest of 45 pitchers that logged 200-plus innings in 2010. Of that group, only Lincecum, Lester and Weaver posted a strikeout rate better than Kershaw’s (9.34). His age-21 (2009) and age-22 (2010) seasons show he’s well ahead of where Felix Hernandez was at the same ages.
38. Alex Rios (OF – ChW): Once an unreliable, over-hyped player now has four consecutive seasons of at least 567 at-bats. His three-year averages (81 runs, 18 HRs, 79 RBI, 30 SBs, .275 BA) support his 89/21/88/34/.284 2010 campaign and prove he’s one of the most dynamic fantasy outfielders in a loaded White Sox lineup.
39. 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.
40. Jacoby Ellsbury (OF—Bos): Top-20 2009 season (94/8/60/70/.301) is well within reach in 2011 after Boston’s leadoff hitter missed all but 18 games last year due to a lingering rib injury.
41. Drew Stubbs (OF – Cin): Quietly posted a 22-HR, 30-steal season that went unmatched in 2010. Rare combination of “above-average raw power, and plus-plus speed”—according to Baseball America—makes him a 30-HR/40-steal candidate likely batting near the top of a loaded Reds lineup in 2011.
42. Ichiro Suzuki (OF – Sea): Has averaged 39 steals over the last five seasons and has hit .350 twice in the last four. Additions of Cust, Olivo to the Seattle lineup and expected emergence of Smoak, Ackley should help Ichiro score 100 runs in 2010.
43. Andre Ethier (OF – LAD): Broken finger that sidelined him for two weeks last season wasn’t 100 percent until September, but he still posted 23 HRs, 82 RBI, .292 BA line. Little protection in the Dodgers’ lineup, and will be counted on to carry the offense with Matt Kemp.
44. Victor Martinez (C/1B – 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.
45. Martin Prado (2B/3B – Atl): Highest batting average among second basemen since 2008 (.309). Fifteen HRs, 100 runs in 2010 despite playing only 140 games thanks to a finger injury in August. Entering his age-27 season as the Braves’ leadoff man with second base, third base and outfield eligibility.
46. Cole Hamels (SP – Phi): Only eight pitchers since 2007 (min. 800 IP) have lower ERA than his total of 3.44. Ranked second among qualified starters last year in contact rate, swinging strike rate, and 10th in strikeout rate. Clearly best No. 4 starter in the majors, should lead to career high in wins this season.
47. Brian McCann (C – Atl): Only catcher to have hit 20 HRs in each of the last three seasons. Entering his age-27 season in a stacked Braves lineup could lead to first career 100 RBI season.
48. Jimmy Rollins (SS – Phi): Low BABIPs and injuries have hindered last two seasons. Three-year averages (75 runs, 13 HRs, 59 RBI, 32 SBs, .258) remain impressive (given position) despite low batting average.
49. Ubaldo Jimenez (SP – Col): 2010 was third consecutive season his innings pitched, wins, strikeout rate, ERA, WHIP and batting average against all trended in the right direction. Disturbing totals after June (4.34 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 9.43 K/9, 4.19 BB/9 in 120 1/3 innings), however, raise some red flags. Needs to lower his walk rate (3.74 in 2010) to become elite fantasy starter.
50. Derek Jeter (SS – NYY): Career worst batting average (.270), BABIP (.307), on-base percentage (.340), slugging percentage (.370) and OPS (.710) in 2010. Notwithstanding, he maintained consistent contact (85.5 percent) with an above-average strikeout rate (16.0 percent), while scoring 111 runs and stealing 18 bases. Expect a bounce-back 2011 season.
51. Adam Dunn (1B/DH – ChW): Only Pujols has hit more HRs since 2004. Dunn’s incredible durability (missed a total of 26 games over the last seven seasons) has been overshadowed by his notoriously low batting average. Given a season in U.S. Cellular Field in the middle of the White Sox’s order, he’s due for a monster season.
52. Justin Verlander (SP – Det): Very different performances in each of the last three seasons: 7.30, 10.09, 8.79 K/9; 3.90, 2.36, 2.85 BB/9; 4.84, 3.45, 3.37 ERA. 2010 marked improvements in HR/9, BAA, ERA and WHIP for third consecutive season. However, Wandy Rodriguez-like home/road splits are frustrating.
53. Chris Carpenter (SP – STL): Best ERA since 2005 (min. 900 innings) at 2.88. Despite average strikeout totals, his stellar walk rates and improving curveball have helped him maintain an incredibly low ERA and WHIP, but others haven’t seemed to notice.
54. Jay Bruce (OF – Cin): Career AB/HR rate of 18.63 (compared to Miguel Cabrera’s AB/HR rate of 18.09) only hints at Bruce’s power potential. If his 2010 second half splits (15 HRs, .306/.376/.575), are any indication, he’s finally due for a monster season.
55. Hunter Pence (OF – Hou): One of only three players in 2010 to post at least 90 runs, 25 HRs, 90 RBI, 15 steals and a .280 batting average. Incredible display of consistency in games played (157, 159, 156), home runs (25, 25, 25), batting average (.269, .282, .282), and improving stolen base efficiency over the last three seasons makes him a reliable and well-rounded fantasy option.
56. CC Sabathia (SP – NYY): Much like fellow southpaw Johan Santana after his age-27 season, Sabathia has experienced negative trends in K/9, BB/9, HR/9, FIP, WHIP, contact rate, first-strike rate and swinging strike rate in each of the last three seasons.
57. Justin Morneau (1B – Min): Wide range of HRs (23, 30, 18) and batting averages (.300, .274, .345) in last three seasons. He’s endured a long recovery from a concussion last July, but appears on track to start Opening Day. Target Field could limit power potential, but he remains capable of 30/100/.280 season.
58. Rickie Weeks (2B – Mil): Led league in plate appearances (754) and finished third in runs scored (112) last season. Tied for second in HRs (29) among second baseman, and ranked third among his position in RBI (83). Strikeout rate (28.3 percent), contact rate (75.0 percent) and DL stints in four of the last five seasons, however, raise red flags.
59. Carlos Santana (C—Cle): Plus-power from both sides (23.8 AB/HR in six minor league season) with the ability to hit for average (.290 in minors) and draw plenty of walks (19.3 percent with Cleveland in 2010) give him an upside higher than that of Buster Posey.
60. Buster Posey (C/1B—SF): Scouts have always noted that power isn’t his best tool. Poor home splits (.258/.304/.419) are a reflection of AT&T Park, but his 31.8% FB rate and 10.7% HR/FB rate at home are more realistic than the .351/.406/.587, 34.4% FB, 19.7% HR/FB he posted on the road. He will hit for average, not 20-plus power.
61. Adrian Beltre (3B—Tex): Improving strikeout, contact and swinging strike rate suggest progression at the plate. 2010 BABIP (.331) is likely to drop, but 25/90/.280 remains within reach in the middle of the Rangers’ lineup.
62. Alexei Ramirez (SS—ChW) : Likely to hit eighth, limiting his value. Well-rounded, consistent game, however, offers 15/15/.280 floor.
63. Jered Weaver (SP—LAA): Became completely different pitcher in 2010, posting marked improvement in his K/9, BB/9, ERA, WHIP and BAA. Luck doesn’t appear to be much of a factor: .276 BABIP (career .283), 75.7 percent LOB rate (career .75.5 percent), 7.8 percent HR/FB rate (career 7.9 percent), plus encouraging FIP (3.06) and xFIP (3.51).
64. Zack Greinke (SP – Mil): Wide range of ERAs (3.47, 2.16, 4.17) and K/9 (7.40, 9.50, 8.14) in last three seasons. 2010 LOB rate (65.3 percent), FIP (3.34) and xFIP (3.76) indicate he was better than 4.17 ERA. Rib injury will keep him out until late April, but Cliff Lee missed nearly all of last April too.
65. Dan Haren (SP—LAA): Despite 3.91 ERA in 2010, his K/9 (8.27) and BB/9 (2.07) remained intact. His plate discipline stats were very good, and his numbers after the trade to Anaheim (94 IP, 2.87 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 7.00 K/9, 2.40 BB/9) foreshadow a bounce back season.
66. Jose Bautista (3B/OF—Tor): His 54 HRs in 2010 were 17 more than that of Joey Votto, and five more than Albert Pujols’ career high. Third-highest fly-ball rate (54.5 percent) led to alarmingly low .233 BABIP. Assuming a regression in his home run total, a lower fly-ball rate will follow. This will aid his BABIP, but further dent his actual batting average.
67. Francisco Liriano (SP—Min): Returned to near-2006 form last year: 9.44 K/9, 2.72 BB/9, 2.66 FIP, 53.6 GB%, with elite plate discipline stats: 34.4 percent o-swing rate, 73.4 percent contact rate, 12.4 percent swinging strike rate. However, injury concerns still linger.
68. Tommy Hanson (SP—Atl): Despite increase in ERA (2.89 in ‘09, 3.33 in ‘10) and decrease in strikeout rate (8.18 to 7.68); marked improvement in walk rate (3.24 to 2.49) is reason for optimism. At age 24, he’s only going to get better.
69. Brian Roberts (2B—Bal): Average season of: 598 at-bats, 99 runs, 13 HRs, 64 RBI, 37 steals, .294 batting average from 2005 to 2009 before being limited to just 59 games due to neck and back injuries last season. Back issues this spring foreshadow a possibly season-long problem.
70. Shane Victorino (OF—Phi): Low BABIP (.273) in 2010 resulted in career-low .259 batting average. Eighteen HRs and 34 steals, however, remained valuable to fantasy teams. Given an average amount of luck, 15 HRs and 30 steals, he’s a top-75 player. His run-scoring and run-producing totals will fluctuate based on where he hits.
71. Michael Young (3B—Tex): Versatility should allow him enough playing time to obtain 650 plate appearances in 2011. Assuming he stays in Texas, 100 runs, 20 HRs, .290 batting average is within reach batting between Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton.
72. Casey McGehee (3B—Mil): 2010 totals (23 HRs, 104 RBI, .285 BA) were nearly identical to that of Evan Longoria. Age (28), lineup position (fifth behind Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder), and advanced stats suggest a repeat performance in 2011.
73. Aramis Ramirez (3B—ChC): Has averaged 28 HRs, 96 RBI, .295 batting average per since 2004, despite missing 118 games over the last two seasons. Low BABIP (.245) in 2010 was likely the effect of a league-high 56.8 percent fly-ball rate, which led to career-worst .241 batting average. Expect a bounce back performance in 2011.
74. Matt Cain (SP—SF): Second-highest fly-ball rate, in conjunction with lowest HR/FB rate since 2005 has led to wacky ERA/FIP/xFIP totals. Apparent fluke has become trend, coupled with improving walk rate and WHIP. Consider me a believer!
75. Roy Oswalt (SP—Phi): Twelve starts with Phillies last year: 1.74 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 7.95 K/9 and 2.29 BB/9. 2010 FIP (3.27) and xFIP (3.45), suggest slight regression in 2011, though he clearly isn’t as bad as 2009 (4.12 ERA, 3.13 career) indicated.
76. David Price (SP—TB): Ninth-best fastball in 2010, but secondary pitches lagged behind. FIP (3.42) and xFIP (3.99) stand out in comparison to his 2.72 ERA, while .270 BABIP supports luck argument. Regression is due in 2011.
77. Yovani Gallardo (SP—Mil): Significant improvement in his walk rate last season (3.65 from 4.56). His 2010 BABIP (.324), LOB rate (69.8 percent), FIP (3.02) and xFIP (3.42) in comparison to his season ERA (3.84) all suggest he actually was, and will continue to be much better than his 2010 totals indicate.
78. Billy Butler (1B—KC): Low fly-ball rate (34.0 percent last season) makes it difficult to generate big power numbers. However, a return to 20 bombs in 2011 is likely, and there’s evidence (follow the link) that the 25-year-old can still develop 25-plus HR power.
79. Mat Latos (SP—SD): 15-start stretch from June into September yielded an eye-popping: 1.50 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 10.65 K/9, 2.24 BB/9 in 96 1/3 innings. However, a shoulder injury will force him to begin the season on the DL. Verducci effect is also working against him.
80. Kendrys Morales (1B—LAA): Was on pace for another stellar year in 2010 (11 HRs, 39 RBI, .290 in 51 games) before he broke his leg celebrating a walkoff grand slam on May 29. He’s capable of 30/100/.300, but DL-stint to start the season will cut into his production.
81. Chase Utley (2B – Phi): Averaged 151 games, 111 runs, 29 HRs, 101 RBI, 15 steals, .301 average from 2005 to 2009 before thumb injury forced him to miss seven weeks in 2010. Knee injury and decline in batting average (.332, .292, .282, .275) are concerning, however. He will begin the season on the DL with no timetable for his return.
82. Aaron Hill (2B—Tor): Lowest BABIP (.196) in at least 40 years and fifth-highest fly-ball rate (54.2 percent) last season yielded embarrassing .205 batting average. Assuming he makes the necessary adjustments at the plate, 25 HRs and a .270 batting clip are reasonable.
83. Mariano Rivera (RP—NYY): Only truly reliable closer, averaging 40 saves over the last 14 seasons. He’s posted an ERA under 2.00 in seven of the last eight years, and his cutter (16.7 runs above average) shows no signs of slowing down, as it was third-best in the majors last season.
84. Brandon Phillips (2B—Cin): Declining HR/FB rates and stolen base efficiency means he’s no longer a lock to post 20 HRs and 20 steals. Based on his current 33 ADP on Mock Draft Central, and 37 Yahoo! Composite ranking, the soon-to-be 31-year-0ld is vastly overrated.
85. B.J. Upton (OF—TB): One of only two players to steal 40 bases in each of the last three seasons. Increasing home run total is encouraging, but declining contact rate and batting average, in addition to soaring strikeout rate raises concern. Still, the 26-year-old is a 20/40/.250 threat.
86. Mark Reynolds (3B—Bal): One of eight players to hit more than 100 home runs over the last three seasons, but embarrassing strikeout rate (39.5 percent since 2008) and paltry batting average (.198 in ‘10, .234 since ‘08) limit his fantasy value. Yet power/speed combo at the hot corner cannot be ignored. In a loaded Baltimore lineup at the hitter-friendly Camden Yards, 35/100/10/.245 is likely.
87. Chris Young (OF—Ari): Improved batting eye (.257 batting average , 11.1 walk rate in ‘10) fueled near-30/30 season. Twenty-five HRs and 25 steals are reasonable again, though he’s unlikely to top a .260 batting average.
88. Jayson Werth (OF—Was): Last year’s ridiculous home/road splits suggest he won’t fare as well at the neutral Nationals Park in a less-potent lineup.
89. Vladimir Guerrero (OF—Bal): Career numbers at Camden Yards (23 runs, nine HRs, 30 RBI, .333/.400/.611 in 126 at-bats) suggest the move from Arlington won’t hurt his value much. Surprising durability (at least 520 at-bats in six of the last seven seasons) indicates he’s capable of his seventh season of 27 HRs, 90 RBI and a .300 batting average in the last eight years.
90. Brian Wilson (RP—SF): Has improved ERA, WHIP, K/9, BB/9 and contact rate each of last three years, and set career-high with 48 saves last season. A recent oblique strain, however, will likely force him to start the season on the DL.
91. Carlos Marmol (RP—ChC): 2010 Strikeout total (138) was higher than that of 10 starters with 200-plus innings. Strikeout rate (15.99) was highest among both starters and relievers in at least 40 years. Regression to the mean, however, is likely.
92. Pedro Alvarez (3B—Pit): Sixteen HRs in just 347 at-bats last season. Strikeout rate (34.3 percent) and contact rate (69.7 percent) are concerning. Still, the overweight and under-conditioned 24-year-old is capable of 30 HRs and a .260 average as the Pirates cleanup hitter.
93. Ben Zobrist (1B, 2B, OF—TB): Advanced batting eye (14.0 percent walk rate) and fly-ball rate (38.1 percent) remained intact last year, but deflated HR/FB rate (6.0 percent) and unfortunate BABIP (.273) kept him from repeating 2009 line: 91 runs, 27 HRs, 91 RBI, 17 steals and a .297 batting average.
94. Nick Markakis (OF—Bal): Despite disappointing 2010 (12 HRs, 60 RBI in 709 PA), he ranks 18th in runs (94 per season), 19th in batting average (.299) and 24th in RBI (90 per season) among qualified batters since 2007. Strikeout rate is on the decline, while his contact rate is up. At age 27, 2011 is the first of his prime years.
95. Colby Rasmus (OF—STL): Increased HRs, steals, walk rate and batting average from rookie season to 2010. Substantial drop in contact rate and rising strikeout rate, however, will limit his value going forward. Spot in Cardinals’ order in front of Pujols should yield 90 runs, but 30-HR, 10-steal potential won’t be reached without improved plate discipline.
96. Curtis Granderson (OF—NYY): Elevated fly-ball rates (49.3, 47.2) and deflated BABIP (.275, .277) over last two seasons have led to more power (30, 24 HRs), but less-than-appealing batting averages (.249, .247). Mechanical adjustment last August yielded 14 HRs with 34 RBI in the last 48 games.
97. Mike Stanton (OF—Fla): 110 HRs over three levels in last three years (including 22 in 359 at-bats with the Marlins last season) . Light-tower power makes 21-year-old a valuable keeper/dynasty league asset, though he should produce now too; 30-35 HRs are reasonable given 600 PAs.
98. Max Scherzer (SP—Det): 2.46 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 9.26 K/9, 3.16 BB/9 in 153 2/3 innings following mid-May demotion last season. 2010 BABIP (.297) and LOB rate (74.9 percent) confirm legitimacy of this. The 26-year-old is a No. 2 starter in 2011.
99. Joakim Soria (RP—KC): Set career-highs in saves (43), strikeout rate (9.73) and walk rate (2.19) last season. He also posted the fifth-lowest ERA (1.78) among full-time closers. His xFIP (2.99) suggests a regression may be due in 2011, but there’s no reason to believe he won’t produce as a top-five closer.
100. Heath Bell (RP – SD): Most saves since 2009 (89). Fifth-best strikeout rate among full-time starters in 2010 (11.06). Major improvement in ERA over last three seasons (1.93 in ‘10), but slight regression looms.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: FANTASY BASEBALL INSIDERS
Fantasy Baseball Insiders’ 2011 Big Board:
- Top 50 Fantasy Baseball Projections
- Nos. 51-60: Jimenez, Verlander, Carpenter or Sabathia?
- Nos. 61-70: Weaver, Haren or Latos?
- Nos. 71-80: Young, McGehee or Ramirez?
- Nos. 81-90: Upton, Young or Werth?
- Nos. 91-100: Markakis, Rasmus or Granderson?
2011 Position Rankings:
Latest from Fantasy Baseball Insiders:
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- Sleeper Alert: Danny Espinosa
- The Enigma That Is Russell Martin
- 2011 MLB Team-By-Team Spring Training Injury Report
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