While I realize this is the obvious pick, I honestly believe Shelton has the best chance to be a long term star. Coming into this season many people were jumping on Shelton to potentially breakout this season, but I can assure you that no one saw THIS coming. After today's 0-4 performance, his numbers are still:
.583 AVG 5 HR 9 RBI 7 RUNS 0 SB
Also, without today's numbers, his OPS is 2.477 , a truly astounding stat.
Shelton is certainly a canidate to keep up this level of performance in the Detroit lineup, which features excellent hitters up and down with good power and excellent OBP. Figuring last seasons numbers where he hit 18 HR and 59 RBI with a 299 avg in 107 games and factoring in this seasons fiery start I could see Shelton posting:
35 HR 105 RBI 90 RUNS .305 AVG 0 SB and an OPS of 1.000 or higher.
With those numbers he is now a factor at the 1B position and could continue to get better from year to year as he is only 25 years old.
Sorry for the delay on my getting started, a test and an 8-page paper will do that...
It is true that Chris Shelton is having a great start to his season. I cannot deny that. However, i believe that the unexpected star with the most potential for this season is Jon Papelbon. With three saves, a 0 ERA, a 0.25 WHIP, and a K per IP just this week, Jon Papelbon is primed and ready to explode onto the scene this season.
Not more than a week ago, in this very cafe, people were stunned that Papelbon was even given the closer job over Keith Foulke who appeared to be ready for this season. Now it appears that Papelbon is truly becoming an unexpected star. He is taking over the job and isn't planning to let go of it anytime soon.
But aren't they going to put Papelbon in the rotation, you ask? Well, that may happen. But, it would be a shame because Papelbon has the potential to be one of the best closers Boston has seen in a very long time. With that team and with Foulke to show him the ropes, Papelbon could very well put up 40 or more saves with an era under 3 and a whip that won't get much higher than 1.
Furthermore, look at the numbers. Last season, in my 14 team league here at the cafe, 286 HR was 1st place in that category. It took 127 saves to get the 14 points in that one. I ask you, which one is more valuable? Shelton's 35 HR out of 286 or 40 Saves out of 127. Unquestionably, a 40 save closer is the one that can make a bigger difference, especially when you consider that there is a reason closers are such a hot commodity. There are no closers on the waiver wire unless their ERA is sky-high. Generally, you can find 1B with 20 HR, 70 RBI, 70 R, and a .275 BA. I ask you, what is more helpful to your fantasy team, the VORP of a 1B or the VORP of a stud closer when your next best option is always a middle tier reliever who will be lucky to keep his ERA under 3.5 and snipe 2 or 3 saves from his team's closer for an entire season?
People always say that you can find saves on the waiver wire after the draft. Well, Papelbon is the opportunity for saves off the waiver wire for this season.
Leyland said, "We thought we were getting a hell of a player, but Neifi simply did not perform well."
While Mr. Papelbon exploded onto the scene this past week, I think perhaps it is early to jump on his bandwagon. I can think of quite a few young studs that came out like gangbusters as Papelbon has, only to fall on their face. Also your mentioning of him possibly going to starter is a valid point.
There is a young man right now on the Phillies named Ryan Madson who was a stellar reliever and then Philly lost their closer to free agency. Shockingly they brought in an old closer, Tom Gordon, instead of giving the job to Madson, opting instead to put him in the rotation. It is clearly too early to gauge how successful this move will be, but it hurts the mans value nonetheless because of the unknown. I feel the same thing may happen to young Jonathan if he too is moved into a starting role as Boston seems to have planned.
While 40 saves of 127 is a much greater percentage than the 35 HR out of 286, their relative value is not even close to correctly represented by those stats. I wont even bother to try and properly compare the 2 because I feel this debate is not meant to have us compare the values of Shelton and Papelbon.
While Papelbon is a good example of finding a closer off the wire, he is not the ONLY one. Throughout the course of the season, past stats lead me to believe at least 6 more men will emerge from the unknown to become closers and succeed at doing so. There is a reason people wait so long to draft closers.....they really only truly lend themselves to one category, and their jobs are never a certainty. Papelbon has about as little security in his closer position at this point as anyone. While I am not a Keith Foulke supporter, I would be shocked if they pay him the big bucks to set up a rookie. Moving around from closer to reliever to starter to closer and so on may be very taxing on young Jonathan and in the end I think it will get the better of him.
The fact that Papelbon is in Boston and Shelton is in Detroit is really going to swing the star quality of each man as Papelbon will get tons of media attention and Shelton almost none, despite the fact that Shelton will have a much greater chance at success since he already has a full major league season of fine production under his belt, while Papelbon has a WEEK. To suggest that Papelbon will save 40 and become a star based on one week of play is insane, and personally I am not ready to commit to his excellence at this point.