|Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft|
Projected First Round with Commentary
January 30, 2009 JunkyardJake.Com
#1 David Wright, NY Mets, 3B
David Wright is certainly not the most popular #1 choice, but the reason we think he is worthy of such lofty status is based on his five category production, his durability and consistency, his surrounding cast and the fact that at just 26, he is entering his prime. These of course should be the primary considerations when picking any player at #1, and it seems that Wright conforms to the formula as well as any player this year.
#2 Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins, SS
Hanley Ramirez will go #1 in many drafts, and for damn good reason, as he represents that very rare middle infielder that offers 30 HR/50 SB potential. Ramirez is a little light in the RBI department, with 67 last season, and his stolen bases dropped from 51 in 2007 to 35 in 2008, but that's about as critical as you can get about the Marlins offensive sparkplug..
#3 Jose Reyes, NY Mets, SS
Jose Reyes does not provide the power numbers of Hanley Ramirez, and a fair projection for him is probably around 15, or approximately half of what we might see out of Ramirez. He does represent a more consistent stolen base threat however, and has swiped at least 56 bases over the past four years. So long as he can maintain an average in the .285 to .300 area, he should continue to be an elite fantasy player.
#4 Alex Rodrigez, NY Yankees, 3B
You obviously have to respect Alex Rodriguez's illustrious career of producing silly numbers since about 1996, but the only caution here is that he showed some signs of slowing down last year as he dropped from 54 HRs and 156 RBIs in 2007, to 35 HRs and 103 RBIs last year.
#5 Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals, 1B
So much for the elbow injury that was supposed to slow him down last year, as Pujols proceeded to belt 37 HRs to go along with his amazing .357 average. You can't expect more than 5-8 SBs out of Pujols, but assuming that there are no adverse effects from his October elbow surgery, he is a clear top-5 pick in any format.
#6 Matt Holliday, Oakland A's, OF
This draft spot for Holliday is based on the assumption that he can deliver at a pace commensurate with his production levels over the past three seasons with the Rockies. Of course, Holliday is with the A's now, so he has some risk associated with him, but if you believe that 30 HRs and 25 SBs with a .320 average is still a strong possibiity, this is where he should be drafted.
#7 Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies, 1B
It would be nice to see Howard get his average back near the .300 mark, but there is no denying his ability to help carry your team in the homerun and RBI categories. He should once again provide about 50 homeruns, with 140-150 RBIs in the Phillies potent lineup, and assuming a modest increase in batting average to about .275, he is a great #7 pick.
#8 Grady Sizemore, Cleveland Indians, OF
Although Grady Sizemore's average dropped 9 points to .268 in 2008, he was able to boost his HRs from 24 to 33, and his stolen bases (38), as well as RBIs (90) were career highs. Sizemore's unique fantasy value is based on his power/speed combination, and at 26, he should be entering the peak years of his career.
#9 Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers, 1B
In his first season with the Tigers Miguel Cabrera started off slow in 2008, hitting only 10 HRs thru June. He managed to turn it up a few notches in the last three months of the season however, hitting .303 with 26 HRs and 79 RBIs over this span, and should make a very safe 1st round pick in 2009 by virtue of his high power, RBI production and batting average potential.
#10 Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers, 3B
We kindof suspected that Ryan Braun's rookie season was a little too good to be true, afterall, his 34 HRs and 97 RBIs over 113 games in 2007 suggested that he could hit about 48 HRs and 139 RBIs over a full 162 game season. He ended up with 37 HRs and 106 RBIs over 151 games in 2008, so Braun is no mirage. Enhancing his fantasy appeal, Braun also seems to have consistent 15 stolen base potential, so there should be no reservations about snagging him in the 1st round.
#11 Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers, OF
Well, we finally got to see what Josh Hamilton could over a full season in the majors, and the results were impressive. Of course it took Hamilton long enough to make it out of the minors due to injuries and general indiscretions, and the risk here is that Hamilton is just a shooting star. However, it's hard to believe that any player can hit 32 HRs with 130 RBIs by accident, and remember Hamilton was the #1 overall pick in 1999, so many scouts were expecting Hamilton to already have a couple seasons like 2008 at this point in his career.
#12 Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies, 2B
Chase Utley can be such an asset to your fantasy team, that he deserves 1st round consideration in any draft. When healthy, he can generally be counted on for 25-30 HRs, around 100 RBIs, a .300 average, and even 10 stolen bases. Of course, we need to be a little cautious about Utley in 2009 as he recovers from offseason hip surgery. but the latest prognosis still calls for the standout second baseman to be ready on Opening Day.