I like Tex as much as the next guy, but I think everyone needs to take a deep breath and come back to reality. The hype, hopes, and dreams have far exceeded any semblence of reality. Let's look at the actual numbers.
Tex posted 281-101-38-112 last year. Good numbers, to be sure, but nothing spectacular for a slugger. He was ranked 44th overall last year in espn's 5x5. (Note that this refers to ACTUAL RANKINGS for 2004, based on actual 2004 numbers, using the same 5x5 calculus that determined their fantasy value last year on a given team. These are not projections.) Barely ahead of Rollins. Yahoo had him ranked 50-something in 5x5. In fact, Tex was not even in the top 3 1Bs last year. Pujols, Helton, and Ortiz were considerably ahead of him, and he was not far ahead of Hafner and Sean Casey. Some other big sluggers at 1B, such as Delgado, were injured or had down years last year, or Tex might not have even been in the top 5 at 1B.
Let's put down the hype bong and look at Tex's numbers from 2004. He batted only 300 or more twice in 6 months. He batted 238 or less twice in the same six months (212 in May and 238 in September). Note that he ended the season with the rasberry 238 in September, so all this I hear about a "big slump" at the beginning of the year is misleading. He had a "big slump" at the end of the year too, apparently. So he "slumped" for 3 out of six months? How is that any different than having just 3 good months?
Let's look at his home/away splits. In 2004, he hit 298-18-64-49 at home but only 264-20-48-52 in a few more at-bats on the road. For his career, he's hit 298-37-130-100 in Arlington but an abyssmal 242-27-66-67 on the road. I find it hard to believe he'll improve his BA much beyond 280 with those sort of away numbers.
Let's also look at his HR totals. Other than a huge power spike in a single month (13-30 in July) his HR and RBI totals were considerably more pedestrian. Other than 13-30 in July, he never hit more than 7 in a month, and he hit 2, 3, and 5 HR in three months. So, if you take out that strange spike in power in July, you are left with 32-105 or so. A huge difference.
Please don't tell me he was hurt at the beginning of the year and blah, blah, blah. Injuries are a part of the game, and any time a player supposedly spends two months nursing an injury, that sends up some flags for me. It usually does for every other player as well, but somehow Tex gets a pass. Plus, he posted a pitiful 238 BA in September. Was he hurt then too? If so, I think the term "injury prone" applies. If not, then maybe you have to look at his better months with a little more skepticism.
We also have to look at his performance in 2003, which is much more in line with his so-called "slump" months in 2004 than with his better months.
And finally, to put things further in perspective, let's look at some of the players who finished AHEAD of Tex in 2004. There's Mora (20), Drew (31), Damon (32), Berkman (34), Young (35), and -- believe it or not -- Pavano (26). Where are these guys going in the draft? Drew and Damon will be lucky if they get drafted in the 7th or 8th. Pavano? He's not even in the top 100 in a lot of draft lists. And yet, every single one of them posted better numbers than Tex in 2004.
And Young? He's also very young, plays on the same great line-up as Tex, plays at a MUCH thinner position than Tex, finished considerably ahead of Tex in the rankings last year, and therefor in any rational draft he should be picked much EARLIER than Tex, no? So why then is he falling 2 or 3 rounds deeper into the draft? Why, pray tell? One word: HYPE.
Obviously, everyone is entitled to their own valuation of players. That's what makes fantasy baseball so fun and challenging. Personally, I think Tex is a hot player and expect big things from him. But the hype has exceeded the reality, IMO.
I am the Master. Don't question the Master. Just do what he says and be proud.