Yesterday, I did my 2009 All-Fantasy Bust Team. So of course, it’s only appropriate for me to do the 2009 All-Fantasy Breakout Team.
Let’s not beat around the bush. Here is the 2009 All-Fantasy Breakout Team sponsored by the Jose Lima Foundation…“There’s a one-year wonder in all of us.”
Billy Butler, Jason Bartlett, Adam Kennedy, Justin Upton, Ryan Franklin, Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Johnson, Heath Bell, Ben Zobrist
Catcher—Joe Mauer, .373/27/85
I know it’s hard to label Mauer as a breakout player because he has already established himself as one of the game’s best offensive catchers. However, Mauer has taken his game to another level in 2009.
Mauer has flirted with .400 at times this season and has already hit more homeruns this season (27) than he has in the last two seasons combined (16).
First Base—Kendry Morales, .306/30/98
Coming into this season, Morales had 12 HR’s with 45 RBI and a .249 avg. in 127 career games. This year Morales has 30 HR’s and 98 RBI in 136 games.
Morales is only 26 and should be a fixture on fantasy teams for years to come.
Second Base—Aaron Hill, .286/32/86
Hill missed the majority of the 2008 season with a concussion. Hill has come back with a solid 2009 season and has given fantasy owners a legitimate power source at second base.
Hill is only 27, so he should be coming into his own at the plate.
Shortstop—Marco Scutaro, .284/12/60/.381 with 13 SB’s
Until this year, Scutaro was a fantasy afterthought. Come to think of it, he was an afterthought to most major-league GM’s. I will just come out and say it—Scutaro was a scrub until this year.
Now, Scutaro is second in the majors in walks, and has provided owners with a solid average and OBP all year.
Third Base—Pablo Sandoval, .322/21/77
Sandoval has rewarded fantasy owners who followed him at the end of the 2008 season. In 2008, Sandoval hit .345 in 41 games for the San Francisco Giants.
Sandoval has been a fantasy beast in 2009 and at only 23-years-old, he should be a force in fantasy baseball for years to come.
Outfield—Nyjer Morgan, .307/3/39 with 42 SB’s
Coming into this year, Morgan was a 29-year-old career minor leaguer, who only had 293 career AB’s. This year, Morgan has blossomed into a legit fantasy contributor.
Morgan’s greatest asset is his speed and with 42 steals this season, he won fantasy owners the stolen base category many weeks.
Outfield—Michael Bourn, .294/3/35 with 57 SB’s.
Bourn always had the speed, but the issue has always been whether or not Bourn could hit at the major-league level. Coming into 2009, Bourn was a career .237 hitter with a .299 OBP.
Bourn in 2009 has answered his critiques. Bourn has more walks in 2009 than he had in his first three seasons combined. If he is walking more, it means he is getting on base more.
Bourn is tied for second amongst all outfielders in stolen bases with 57 and tied for fifth in runs with 90.
Outfield—Nelson Cruz, .266/32/71
Cruz was labeled as a classic “AAAA” player. A great minor league player, but never could do it at the major-league level. All Cruz has done in 2009 is give fantasy owners who have him 32 homeruns.
In his first four seasons with the Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers, Cruz hit a combined 22 homeruns.
Starting Pitcher—Zack Greinke, 13-8 with a 2.19 ERA
Greinke lost 17 games in 2005 and pitched in just three games in 2006. Those days are a distant memory for Greinke. In 2009, he is baseball’s best fantasy pitcher.
Greinke leads the majors in ERA, WHIP, and shutouts. He is also second in strikeouts with 216. Greinke should be a fantasy ace for here on out.
Starting Pitcher—Wandy Rodriguez, 13-10 with a 2.77 ERA
Rodriguez wasn’t even drafted in my fantasy draft. Now, he is a legit No. 2 pitcher in all fantasy formats.
Starting Pitcher—Scott Feldman, 16-5 with a 3.65 ERA
Coming into 2009, Feldman had a grand total of seven wins in four major-league seasons. Now, he leads the American League in winning percentage and is tied for third in the majors with 16 wins.
What were the odds of that at the beginning of the season? Five million to one?
Closer—David Aardsma, 35 saves with a 2.09 ERA
If Feldman was a surprise, then Aardsma is five surprises wrapped into one. Nostradamus couldn’t have predicted Aardsma’s season.
Aardsma didn’t have a single save or an ERA under four coming into 2009. Now Aardsma is having just as good a year as Joe Nathan, Jonathan Papelbon, and Jonathan Broxton.