With the 2010 MLB season upon us, fantasy baseball notes are constantly being updated, erased, and updated again! If you are continually finding yourself re-ordering your fantasy baseball rankings every five minutes, then put your eraser down, throw your paper away, and use this list for this season’s top 10 picks!
#1. Albert Pujols (St. Louis Cardinals)
Pujols is a no-brainer. He produces gigantic numbers in every category . . . anyone that thinks he may start to slow down should take note that he tied his career high in stolen bases last season with 16! Top that with 47 homeruns and 135 RBIs last season and there is no question that Pujols is showing NO signs of slowing down right now! He’s barely 30 years old—he’s probably got another 7 or 8 solid years in him at the very least! Not only is he simply the greatest hitter in baseball right now, but he is RELIABLE, which is absolutely vital to the health of your fantasy baseball team! A stud player does you no good when he spends several weeks on the disabled list! In 7 of his 9 seasons, he has played 154 or more games!
#2. Hanley Ramirez (Florida Marlins)
His role as leadoff hitter was changed last season, which undoubtedly threw his game off a bit . . . or did it? He was still able to generate career highs in RBIs (106), batting average (.342), and on base percentage (.410). His stolen bases were lower than average (27), but that number will more than likely go back up no matter where he bats in the order. Plus, with Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins both having down years last season, Hanley appears to be the only reliable shortstop left!
#3. Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees)
Even in a season where he had only 444 at bats, A-Rod was still able to muster 30 homers, 100 RBIs, and an OBP of .402 last year. Give him a full season this year and he will build those numbers even higher. He is a proven stud and he bats in a stud-filled lineup where nobody can pitch around him . . . he’s money in the bank!
#4. Chase Utley (Philadelphia Phillies)
Guys like Kinsler, Pedroia, and Uggla can all put up hefty numbers, but there is no doubt who the most consistent fantasy 2nd baseman is . . . Chase Utley! Throw in the fact that he plays in a hitter-friendly park and bats in a lineup that is nearly as dangerous as the Yankees’ lineup, he is sure to establish another outstanding season and meet/exceed the 100-30-100 plateau, as well as earn an OBP of around .400.
#5. Joe Mauer (Minnesota Twins)
What?? Take a catcher as your #5 pick? You must be crazy . . . CRAZY SMART, that is! Most people would not even think of taking Mauer as the #5 overall pick, as there are a handful of hitters below who will more than likely produce bigger numbers than him. Keep in mind, though, there are not any other catchers, other than Victor Martinez, that even come close to the same level as him! If you take Mauer early, you will still have time to pick up other very reputable hitters in later rounds. If you don’t take Mauer early, then who will be your catcher? Kurt Suzuki? Mike Napoli? An aging and ailing Jorge Posada? You gain an incredible advantage over your competition by having a catcher than can generate nearly 30 homers, 100 RBIs, 100 runs, over 520 at-bats (which is rare for catchers) and an astounding on-base percentage of over .440! Take Mauer early! You won’t regret it!
#6. Mark Teixeira (New York Yankees)
If you can overcome a typical slow start by this stud, then your team will be in prime position to be a top contender. Last season, he barely hit .200 in April and knocked in only 10 RBIs. He obviously found his groove, though, as he ended up with 39 homers and 122 RBIs to end the season. Maybe this will be the year that he starts a season like he ended the previous season? Oh, and he bats within a lethal New York Yankee lineup . . . that never hurts, either!
#7. Prince Fielder (Milwaukee Brewers)
Fielder has lost some of his fame due to the emergence of Ryan Braun, but make no mistake about it, the Prince is still the KING in Milwaukee! Last season, he set career highs in hits (177), RBIs (141), OBP (.412), walks (110), and batting average (.299). Oh, he even attained his career high in triples—three! If Prince continues this trend into the 2010 season, he could very easily end up being a top 3 fantasy player this year! If those career highs don’t impress you, then take note that he played all 162 games last season! Add to that fact that he only missed a total 11 games in the previous 3 seasons and you got yourself a guy who is going to be with you every step of the way!
#8. David Wright (New York Mets)
Wright put up some numbers that were quite lower than expected last season, especially in the homerun department, as he only jacked 10 over the fence all season, and had a mere 72 RBIs! Consider that a fluke season! With 27 steals, 88 runs, a BA of .307, and an OBP of nearly .400, last season wasn’t a total disappointment, and either will the 2010 season. Expect his numbers to go up in every single category. Several sites have him ranked outside the top ten this year—do yourself a favor and ignore them! With a healthy Jose Reyes, an emerging Angel Pagan, and the addition of Jason Bay, Wright will once again have some dangerous weapons to work with!
#9. Ryan Howard (Philadelphia Phillies)
You’d be a fool to ignore 45 homeruns and 141 RBIs. Normally, those kinds of numbers warrant a top 5 pick in the first round, but Howard struggled with OBP (.360) and of course, he is weak in the stolen base department. The other downfall with Howard is that he is often feast or famine on a weekly basis, which can be both hurtful and helpful in a league where you play weekly matchups. If you are just playing in a league that is more “roto” style and focuses more on yearly overall stats, then I would push him up a couple spots. But if not, I would aim for a more consistent player that can produce for you on any given week.
#10. Victor Martinez (Boston Red Sox)
What? Another catcher? Are you kidding? Nope, this is no joke! Martinez came back to life last season and put up very respectable numbers for the catcher position, hitting 23 homers and knocking in a 108 runs. Aside from his OBP of .381, his stats mirrored Joe Mauer’s very nicely. Taking Martinez early is the same logic as taking Mauer early. They are the cream of the crop for catchers and will give you a tremendous advantage. The only other catcher that may come close to putting up similar numbers is Matt Wieters of Baltimore, but he is far too inexperienced to take a gamble on this early in the draft. Victor blew away all other catchers with total at-bats, as he had 588! Getting nearly 600 at-bats as a catcher is nearly unheard of for a catcher, thanks in large part to the option of utilizing the DH position on a day off from catching in the American League!
Utilize this top 10 ranking to the best of your ability and you will be off to a stellar start in your 2010 fantasy baseball draft! Best of luck! Play ball!
*all statistics were obtained from Yahoo Sports