A friend of mine emailed me the other day asking for some draft-day advice/projections. What follows is my reply email, written off the top of my head while at work, so forgive me of some of the stats aren't 100% accurate. if some of these projections seem a bit generous, it's bc for the most part i chose to write about guys i'm prety high on this year.
My Projections for 2007:
Pujols: .340 50 HR 130 RBI 130 Runs 20 Steals.
Pujols strikes me as the type to want to add to his game and I bet he tries to swipe a few more bags this year. Plus he will be getting the bonds treatment this yr so he'll want to squeeze as much out of those walks as possible. Only reason RBIs are so low is bc I see close to 150 walks this yr. I think Pujols will take a significant leap forward this year and I also think he's the best hitter in MLB history.
Hafner: .305 40 HR 120 rbi 110 runs 0 stls
The key with haf is always health he seems to put up 35/110/.300 while missing 30-40 games a year. I cant predict if hell get hurt or not, but if he doesn't hes gonna put up even better #s than this. Haf has been top 3 in OPS for several years now, and hes in a far better lineup than pujols too. Come to think of it, pujols' lineup is total crap top to bottom.
Texiera: .280 44 HR 130 RBI 110 runs
Tex has no injury issues to speak of. I firmly believe the first half of last yr was a fluke. His BA was fine and his K/BB ratio remained in line. He was hitting a lot of doubles off the wall last yr (once he started slumping I watched about half his at-bats form then on). If 7 of those doubles travel 10 feet farther for HRs we're all taking tex in the top 10 again this yr. Plus his hitting coach found a glitch in his swing a few weeks before the break. Post break he put up 24 HR and 65 RBI - to me that's the true tex and that's what well see this year. Great lineup great park, young, no injuries. I love tex this yr.
Howard: .285 43 HR 125 RBI 110 runs
Howard is amazing, but last yr was his ceiling. It was pretty much the best 2nd season in MLB history. He hit .355 after the break - there is no danger of that happening again. He K'd about 180 times last year and his k rate has gottten even worse this spring. I can guarantee he doesn't hit above .285 this year unless he cuts down the Ks, which doesn't seem like it's happening any time soon. This spring he is banged up and slumping badly (which doesn't mean much), but my gut tells me we have already seen the best out of howard. Also he will be walked close to 150 times as well, cutting down his HR and RBI a ton. He is not in bonds/pujols league as a disciplined hitter to overcome the walks and every pitcher gunning for him. I again reiterate to trade him for Tex + upgrade. Also I don't like his fatness, I feel like I don't trust him to stay healthy as much as a tex or a holliday.
Reys: .285 22 HR 80 RBI 75 Steals 130 Runs
The only issue with reyes is his health. He is historically extremely injury prone. He is also a tad banged up this spring. He has publicly stated that he wants more than 65 steals this year. Sky is the limit. I have him as the clear #2 after pujols.
Carl Crawford: .300 25 HR 90 RBI 50 Steals 90 runs
CC also a bit of health issues, but not close to reyes. More like he gets banged up and doesn't steal for 2-3 weeks at a time. His main issue is his lineup (in fact, he had identical numbers to reyes last year, save for runs which are totally team dependent) which is much improved this year. Also, OF is much more scarce than SS this year in my opinion, making CC a top 5 player (I took him 6th).
Adrian Gonzalez: .300 27 HR 90 RBI 90 Runs 0 stls
A-gon is true pure hitter. He's not a big power guy but certainly has power. The only thing holding him back is that awful park. Anywhere else he's a 33 HR type of guy. But in roto you're gonna love his avg. Look for it to increase this year as he may even be a .310 type of hitter. Remember he's another example of a post-hype sleeper. I believe he went #1 overall about 6 yrs ago. You wont be sorry for taking him.
Prince fielder: .275 35 Hr 100 RBI 90 runs 8 stls
I love the prince this year. With c lee gone this is his team. He wore down toward the end of last yr otherwise hed have had his 35/100 season last year. The lineup is better than ppl think this year and im very very high on fielder this year. Roto though I almost like agon better bc of his good avg. but you gotta place fielder a full tier above A-gon.
Aramis: .305 40 HR 130 RBI 110 runs
As I mentioned earlier aramis was one of MLB's unluckiest hitters last year with bottom 10 BABIP. That lineup is top 3 in NL and that park is heaven for a hitter. Only issue with aram is he seems to go on vacation for first 2 months of the season, but in roto that doesn't really matter, as overall #s are what matter, so streakiness is ok.if these #s seem high, consider this: I've added .014 BA pts to account for his increased protection and his unlucky babip. I've added 17 runs due to the lineup, and 11 RBIs and 2 HR. The guy's k/bb ratio is phenomenal for a power hitter (50/63 last year). Only thing to be scared of is slight injury risk and the availability of cheaper alternatives this year.
Ryan Zimmerman: .310 22-25 HR 100 RBI 20 Stls 90 runs
My favorite player this year. I have him in all 3 leagues. Much like agon, the only thing holding him back is a crap lineup and an even crappier park. Ppl talk about his production dropping due to the loss of soriano, but soriano batted leadoff and hit 45 HR, so #1 he didn't protect zimm and #2 he wasn't a huge source of RBIs for zim (low walks, low BA, high HR - how often you think zim drove him in?). Zimmerman is david wright but in a crappy situation. I think his power surge is still 2 years away, esp. in that park, but he may surprise me.
Zambrano: 21 W 3.00 ERA 210 Ks 1.15 WHIP
Make no mistake about it. This is the year zambrano wins the cy young by a landslide. Already one of only 3 aces to stay in one piece every year (johan, oswalt, czam), zambrano was a stud last year while leading the MLB in walks!!! He is a total headcase and I think the BBs are mental. He is supremely motivated this yr in his contract year and Is looking to be highest paid pitcher in MLB (which he should be other than johan). He has publicly stated that he will win the cy young this year, which out of a headcase like him, makes me believe he actually will. 1.29 whip with 110 walks is an incredible accomplishment. Look for the walks to come down to earth and the whip to improve significantly. Already this spring his k/bb is much improved (check sportsline ST stats), which is pretty much the only stat that means anything to me in spring training (other than steals). Even if he doesn't keep his walks down he will still win 20 and the CY and it wont be close.
Peavy: 13 W 2.80 ERA 185 Ks 1.09 WHIP (170 innings)
Jake peavy and zambrano have the same talent level. Peavy has proven time and again, however that health is an issue. For this reason alone I would take czam over him every time. His team is also pretty crappy, which robs him of some wins, although he has probably the best bullpen in the NL and the best park. If you think he makes 34 starts (which I don't) then add another 40 innings and 45 Ks to his totals. Zambrano's durability and higher innings put him ahead of jake, but only johan puts up more quality on a per-inning basis than peavy.
Carpenter: 18 W 3.05 ERA 195 Ks 1.10 WHIP (220 innings)
I am not a huge fan of carp, but cant argue with NL's best pitcher (statistically) by far over the last 2 yrs on a great team. Early in his career he was an injury risk, but last 2 yrs speak for themselves. Given where carp has been going (#2 pitcher drafted), id much rather draft zamb or peavy. Both are better pitchers. What puts carp above them is consistency and wins. Zamb and peavy have their own risks (to whatever extent) whereas carp is the closest thing to johan in terms of a sure thing ace who'll get 18-20 wins. My advice is to pass on carp, but he's clearly #2 fantasy pitcher.
Sheets 12 W 3.05 ERA 165 Ks 0.99 WHIP (150 innings)
Sheet's K/9 and K/BB rank very close to the best in MLB history (http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/artic ... is-awesome
). I am a firm believer in his stuff, which is unreal. He is the only pitcher in baseball capable of beating johan in whip. He is of course an insane injury risk, but for what it's worth, some of his injuries last yr were not arm-related (he had some sort of infection) and he and trainers say he's healthier now than ever in his career. If there's one pitcher worth taking an injury risk on this year, its sheets. I like sheets over peavy this year, if only bc peavy will be a top 4 pitcher drafted, whereas sheets is more like top 15 drafted. Im assuming here that me misses about 10 starts - could easily be more, could easily be less. I promise you though, in 24 starts, these stats will happen if hes healthy in those starts. If he plays a full season you'll see santana type numbers without the wins (although 1- team is much improved so he may get some wins, 2- theres no chance he pitches 35 games).
Dave bush: 14 W 3.85 ERA 1.15 WHIP 160 Ks (220 innings)
Bush is no longer the best kept secret in fantasy. His sabermetric stats were off the charts last year. Bc of that all the fantasy sites are hyping him this yr and all of a sudden every idiot is drafting him thinking they are geniuses. The bottom line is that he has an above-average K rate and he doesn't walk anybody. That's a recipe for success in MLB. His saber stats say his ERA should be in the low 3s, but I think his lack of overwhelming stuff will keep him in the high 3s. Look long and hard at those #s (and I promise you that they will happen, barring injury) and tell me how many so-called "aces" are gonna beat that this yr.
Cole Hamels: 13 W 3.45 ERA 1.22 WHIP 180 Ks (160 Innings)
USS Cole Hamels. Of course he wont survive a full season, but that K/9 is for real (I believe it was best of any SP in MLB last yr if im not mistaken. kazmir may have been higher). he has a tendency to lose his head which affects his command, which is only reason whip is so high. He is also in a crappy park. He's on a great team though and should get some Ws when he plays. All told, he is likely too expensive this yr as everyone is hyping him. The time to have gotten him was last year off WW (which we both did if I recall).
Brett Myers 16 W 3.65 ERA 1.27 WHIP 200 Ks (210 IP)
Im very high on myers this year. Bad park, high walks, keep his era and whip relatively high, but he's on a good team, K's a ton and has some good yrs of experience under his belt. He's right around the point in his career when pitchers break out and I don't think he's an injury risk. Id certainly take him before hamels this year.
John Patterson: 10 W 3.25 ERA 1.13 WHIP 150 Ks (145 IP)
Another health risk (noticing a pattern here? Everyone's a risk except for maybe 5 guys). That park is $$$ for a pitcher and patterson is a true ace when healthy. The 10 wins might even be genrous on that team give the 24 starts that I project for him. But honestly look what he did as a rookie 2 yrs ago, how many pitchers have been that good that early? And its not like he was fooling people - he has legit nasty stuff and is a K per inings type of guy who posts nice whip numbers (rare these days). He is also healthy this spring and I would take a long look at him this yr.
Wont bother predicting stats bc young pitchers are a crapshoot. But grab as many of these guys as you can, and a couple will turn into gems:
Scott Olsen (walks are too high)
Ian Snell (a lot better than you think, and command is much improved this spring)
Tim Linecum (beginning season in AAA, but he'll be up pretty soon. TO me, he's the best pitching prospect in the NL this year. Consistently in the mid 90s, but he's only 5"10 so I worry about injuries. Here's a video of his delivery, pretty F-ed up, but intriguing nonetheless. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DeC8PSgm6M
DiceK (only a sleeper bc the hype is ridiculous and he wont be that good, but I have sen him pitch briefly and do believe he will actually be pretty good esp on that team)
Randy johnson (had a great outing on Sunday and put up johan-type numbers for 5 straight years before the last 2. just the possiblity is too intriguing. Don't discount the fact that hes in a MUUUUCH easier division now and is motivated after the last 2 crap seasons. Keep in mind in those "crap" seasons he still K'd a ton and his whip was still low. I can live with bad era before bad whip, personally)
Daniel cabrera (the only guy ive ever seen K 10 and BB 10 in the same game. His stuff is undeniable. He has potential to K 200 and BB 150. but he's still young and has a great pitching coach, it wouldn't be crazy to think he could turn it around. everyone forgets that randy johnson was K'ing 200+ and walking 140+ for several years before figuring things out and putting together one of the best 6-7 yr runs of all time.)
Valverde (2005 and 2nd half of 2006 he was a stud. Im not worried about 1st half of 06 performance being repeated, only worried about his injury history. Stuff is nasty. Team should be .500 this yr, should get 35 saves if healthy.)
Chris ray (love him. Baby BJ ryan)
Fuentes (gets no love, consistently a 2nd tier closer last 2 seasons. Rockies will compete this year, look for save totals to jump significantly)
Izzy (getting NO LOVE this yr. For what its worth, hes healthy at the moment and when he plays a full season is a perennial 40 saves, low era, ok whip, ok K closer)
Keep in mind this that these projections are not in any way scientific, but just random thoughts of mine. I'm very curious to hear what some of the experts here at the Cafe think about these projections. Am I nuts?