Top 50 Fantasy Players on Draft Day

Let start off by saying that stats aren’t everything. While ranking the players for draft day we need to take more than just raw data into account. The other important figures that should come into our decision include position depth, division, stadium, and teammates which all come into effect. Besides ranking the players I have ranked my position by importance, the higher the rank means the positions has little depth and it is important to grab them earlier then later, and the lower rankings having more options and security for the position. The number next to the position translates to the number of quality players for each position. Note; I always recommend taking the top players in the first and or second round regardless of position.

1.)  Short Stop (5)

2.)  Catcher (5)

3.)  3rd Base (7) – Power with the top 5, but then HR’s become hard to come by for this power position

4.)  Starting Pitcher (22) – Top heavy

5.)  2nd Base (9) – More depth than any other year

6.)  1st Base (11) – 5 in the top 14

7.)  Relief Pitcher (15)

8.)  Outfielder (40)

1.) Albert Pujols – (1B) Cardinals: Undoubtedly the overall #1 pick Albert Pujols comes into the 2010 season with a career.334 BA, averaging 42 HR’s, 129 RBI’s, 124 Runs, and 94 BB’s in nine seasons with the Cardinals. Pujols recently did an interview with the media saying “he feel’s better then he has since 2001,” when Pujols was a rookie.  He now has more protection in front of him and behind him with the resigning of Matt Holliday since 2006 when he set career highs in RBI’s, HR’s and Slug %. Look for Pujols to continue his dominance streak. #1 100%.

2.) Hanley Ramirez – (SS) – Marlins: Due to the scarcity of the position Hanley Ramirez moves up to the #2 position in this draft. Though not the most overwhelming stats Hanley certainly leads all SS in the fantasy world. With career numbers that of .315- 27-85-40, Hanley set career highs in HR’s, RBI’s, Avg, OBP%, Slug%, and OPS% in 2009. Expect another career year from this SS who is just now coming into his prime.

3.) Tim Lincecum – (SP) – Giants: Where and when you draft a pitcher is up to you but Tim Lincecum is as sure as a bet in pitching as Albert Pujols is in hitting. In just two Major League seasons Tim Lincecum is emerging as the most complete pitchers. Posting a Sub 2.99 ERA in his career, Lincecum looks to add a third consecutive year with at least 260+ strikeouts and looks to become only the 3rd pitcher in Major League history (Randy Johnson & Greg Maddux) to win 3 straight Cy Young Awards and he only stands to get better with age.

4.) Alex Rodriguez – (3B) – Yankees: After battling a tumultuous start to the 2009 campaign, plagued by injuries and now infamous steroid scandal Alex Rodriguez looks to have a big year in 2010. After he returned to the newly renovated Yankee lineup and stadium, Arod hit only .235 in May and June with some believing his rein as the top 3rd baseman was over, but following the midseason classic, Arod returned to his form hitting over .325 over the three months. A full season at the new Yankee stadium will pay dividends for Arod this year and he will climb back to the top just like he did on our list.

5.) Joe Mauer – (C) – Twins: Don’t let anyone fool you, this guy is a top 10 pick. Just like the case of Hanley Ramirez, Mauer plays one of the scarcest positions and some would say the least impactful position in the fantasy world. Though this may be true, this is how you win your fantasy leagues. Behind Mauer, catchers are going in rounds 4-13, and you’ll only find 2 guys going in rounds 4-7, this is a major drop off in reliable catchers so to lock down a hard position and fill it with arguable one of the two best hitters in baseball would be a very smart move. Mauer hit an amazing .365 with 28 HR’s even while missing the first month of the season. Though he will be in a new park, Mauer still has the potential to hit 25+ HR’s this year, following a large trend of hitters not reaching their full power till deeper into their career. Mauer could be the smartest move you make on draft day.

6.) Ryan Braun – (OF) – Brewers: Putting up numbers in your first three seasons similar to that of Albert Pujols is saying something. Braun is becoming the best 5-tool player for the OF and maybe even the Majors now. If it weren’t for the depth of his position Braun would certainly be a candidate for the overall #1 pick. Brauns HR’s were down to 32 HR last year; however, he should drastically improve in this category in 2010 along with his walk rate (57 BB in 635 AB) and his OBP%. Braun is looking at a season where he could hit .320-40-120-20. Keep an eye out on draft day for this Hall of Famer in the making.

7.) Prince Fielder – (1B) – Brewers: The next three picks can go either way, some people like one over the other. Fielder leads the pack because of the rise in his offensive abilities, he posted a .412 OBP% better than the other two by about 30 points. Also it seems Teixeira and Howard have hit their ceilings in the HR category, Fielder looks to match or even improve his HR total from last years total of 46 HR. With his average on the rise Prince Fielder is now one of the most dangerous hitters in Majors.

8.) Mark Teixeira – (1B) – Yankees: Yet another powerful 1st baseman makes the top ten list here. Mark Teixeira is a dangerous hitter in a dangerous lineup. With the addition of Curtis Granderson and Nick Johnson, there will be plenty of people in scoring position for Teix to drive in this year. Teix’s HR rate should either match or improve in the HR friendly Yankee Stadium now that he is comfortable with it. Teixeira has been one of the more reliable players in the fantasy world and will be a solid pick on draft day.

9.) Ryan Howard – (1B) – Phillies: You get what you pay for here, with consistent numbers over the last four years of at least 45 HR’s, 135 RBI, and 94 Runs. Ryan Howard is one of the safest picks in the draft. Howard falls down to number 9 on the list because of the depth of his position. It is truly close between Howard, Fielder, and Teixeira but Howard is behind both because of a sub par average and an OBP% that brings up the tail end of the three. Howard is a lock for another big year, and with talented players all around him Howard could improve in all categories this year.

10.) Chase Utley – (2B) – Phillies: Chase Utley rounds out the top ten. Besides being a five tool player, Utley is the first 2nd baseman to appear on the list. What was once a soft position is now strong with the emergence of some young talent and the durability of a few crafty veterans. Utley has been a consistent .300-30-100-20 player and will likely be even better than that this year. Look for him to go as high as number 3 in some drafts, but again the depth along with other players putting up better numbers drops him down to number 10 on this list.

11.) Evan Longoria – (3B) – Rays:

12.) Matt Kemp – (OF) – Dodgers:

13.) Felix Hernandez – (SP) – Mariners:

14.) Miguel Cabrera^ – (1B) – Tigers: Off the field issues have some people worried and he may fall a bit on draft day, this could be a risky pick.

15.) Jose Reyes** – (SS) – Mets: After being injured for all of 2009 Jose Reyes looks to return to top form and regain his top five draft position. The new Citi Field will help Reyes leg out extra base hits. May be one of the steals in 2010 draft.

16.) Matt Holliday – (OF) – Cardinals:

17.) Roy Halladay – (SP) – Phillies:

18.) David Wright – (3B) – Mets: With Citi Field’s wall cut in half Wright looks to improve in the power categories

19.) Zack Greinke – (SP) – Royals:

20.) Justin Verlander – (SP) – Tigers:

21.) Adam Wainwright – (SP) – Cardinals:

22.) Carl Crawford – (OF) – Rays:

23.) Jon Lester** – (SP) – Red Sox: Lester is a potential 18/19 game winner with huge strikeout capability. This young lefty is just coming into his prime.

24.) Troy Tulowitzki (SS) – Rockies:

25.) Grady Sizemore^ – (OF) – Indians: After missing a large portion of 2009 with chronic injuries that persisted even while he was playing. Sizemore had groin and elbow surgery this offseason but says he is ready for spring training. If he can stay healthy Sizemore is a 30-30 player, if the injuries subside him again, it may be another long year for this Cleveland Indians outfielder.

26.) C.C. Sabathia – (SP) – Yankees:

27.) Ryan Zimmerman (3B) – Nationals:

28.) Justin Morneau (1B) – Twins:

29.) Adrian Gonzalez – (1B) – Padres:

30.) Justin Upton**- (OF) – Diamondbacks: His position doesn’t help him much in big board rankings, but Upton is a five tool player; expect his numbers to be similar to that of Matt Kemp.

31.) Jacoby Ellsbury – (OF) – Red Sox:

32.) Dan Haren – (SP) – Diamondbacks:

33.) Cliff Lee – (SP) – Mariners: New Year New team.

34.) Dustin Pedroia – (2B) – Red Sox: Will look to improve on HR total (15)

35.) Victor Martinez – (C) – Red Sox: Second best catcher on the board.

36.) Curtis Granderson – (OF) – Yankees:

37.) Chris Carpenter – (SP) – Cardinals:

38.) Jason Bay – (OF) – Mets:

39.) Jimmy Rollins – (SS) – Phillies:

40.) Mark Reynolds – (3B/1B) – Diamondbacks:

41.) Ben Zobrist^ – (2B/SS/OF) – Rays: Unproven. Sophomore slump could be in future, if not, his versatility puts him here.

42.) Yovani Gallardo – (SP) – Brewers:

43.) Aaron Hill^ –(2B) – Blue Jays: 17% of his fly balls went for HR’s last year while others players average about 10%, this will probably take a hit along with a younger Blue Jays team

44.) Joey Votto^ – (1B) – Reds: Votto missed more than a month last season due to anxiety disorder. In a recent interview Votto said he is not fully recovered from his anxiety but is taking it one step at a time. Again this could be a risky pick based upon recent history of MLB players with anxiety.

45.) Josh Johnson – (SP) – Marlins:

46.) Kevin Youkilis – (1B/3B) – Red Sox:

47.) Derek Jeter – (SS) – Yankees:

48.) Johan Santana^ – (SP) – Mets: Santana wasn’t the same after the injury to his arm, if he returns to his former self he will be a steal, but the injuries for now drop him down to 48

49.) Nick Markakis – (OF) – Orioles:

50.) Clayton Kershaw**- (SP) – Dodgers: IP goes from 160 to 200. 2nd full year of pitching and expect to see his name for the CY Young race. 7th Best K/9 Ratio in MLB and under a 0.99 ERA in the months of June and July.

^Injury/May take a stat hit

**Breakout Players – Players that will dramatically improve on stats.