Fantasy Baseball Drafts – The Case for #2

Mar 25, 2009

albert-pujols david-wright-jose-reyes
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It’s pretty common knowledge that Hanley Ramírez is going to be the #1 pick.  What’s not to like about him?  He has 30/30 potential at the shallow Shortstop position.  Once he’s plucked out of the draft pool, the question is what do you do with the second pick?  Not long ago, before a steroid scandal, a bad hip, an affair with an aging Pop star, a link to an infamous madam, the list goes on, that answer would have been simple.  Now that A-Rod and his tarnished image is on the shelf, three other names  (Albert Pujols, José Reyes, David Wright) rise to the surface.

Naturally Albert Pujols is going to generate some heavy consideration.  Why not?  The dude can mash.  He shrugged off an elbow scare last year to put up another monster year (.357, 100 R, 37 HR, 116 RBI).  His 1.115 OPS was the highest of his career.  While his numbers are amazing, his Run, HR, and RBI totals of the past two seasons make up the worst two-season stretch in his career.  He’s getting walked more.  He had a career high 104 BBs last year, which was up five from his previous career high set in 2007.  Aside from a minor dip in his production, the other main reason to pass on Pujols in the two-hole is his position.  He’s easily the best First Baseman in the league, but he isn’t ahead of his competition by leaps and bounds.  You have Lance Berkman, Mark Teixeira, Ryan Howard, Miguel Cabrera, Adrián González, Justin Morneau, and Prince Fielder to name a few.  While they aren’t Prince Albert, they’re close. 

That leads me to José Reyes.  He is part of a Big Three Shortstop group of the aforementioned Hanley Ramírez and Jimmy Rollins.  Reyes is rock solid, but he leaves you hanging in the HR, RBI, and Batting Average departments compared to Pujols and teammate David Wright.  He scores a lot of Runs, but he gets little (if any) separation from Pujols and Wright there.  He swipes a ton of bases, but I contend that they can be made up later.  I’d love to have Reyes on my fantasy team, but not before Pujols and Wright come off the board.

That leads me to David Wright.  He has averaged 106 Runs, 29 HRs, 112 RBI, 22 SBs, and .311 over the past four seasons.   His numbers have looked even better the past two years (114 R, 32 HRs, 116 RBI, 25 SBs, .313).  He has topped Pujols in Runs, RBI, and SBs without losing much in HRs or Average.  He has topped Reyes in HRs, RBI, and Average without losing much in Runs.  He doesn’t touch Reyes SBs, but he’s pretty good for a Third Basemen.  Which brings me to the second part of my argument.  With A-Rod hurt and Miguel Cabrera switching to 1B, Wright doesn’t really have any peers.  Kevin Youkilis and Aubrey Huff had great seasons, but I see them taking a step back.  Chipper Jones is solid, but he’ll turn 37 in a month and he hasn’t played 150 games since 2003.  Aramis Ramírez is real good, but he doesn’t score Runs or steal bases like Wright, and his HR, RBI, and BA numbers are slightly lower.  Evan Longoria has the potential to make the leap, but I see much lower R, SB, and BA for him.

This debate was sparked by the Rotoprofessor’s First Round Rankings.

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