What are your picks for the five best all-around fantasy players offensively for the rest of 2004? Mine are:
1. A-Rod. I really think the aura of New York was a little overpowering at first. All these veterans needed time to mesh, and A-Rod has lately been showing signs of life. Considering his talent added with the quality players around him in the lineup, he will dominate the fantasy world by the end of the season.
2. Beltran. OK, let the arguements begin. I feel strongly about Beltran. No other player combines his multi-usefulness. He's just as strong a threat to belt a homer as he is to steal a base or hit for average. He's the total package and will be the cornerstone of fantasy baseball for a long time to come. He may overtake A-Rod at some point.
3. Pujols. He's a special combination of baseball talent who will be a force for a long time in the MLB. Been a little streaky at times, but as the Cardinals continue to gel more and more, so will Pujols' game improve. It helps that Pujols is eligible at both 1b and OF.
4. Vlad. Another all-around player who can carry a fantasy team in a number of categories. His production has been tempered some due to all the injuries around him. As the Angels get off the DL, he'll only improve with the increased protection in the order.
5. Bonds. One last spot and I neglect "studs" like Soriano, Delgado, etc.? Bonds is arguably one of the best players in baseball history. He may not steal bases like Beltran, but he can hit for average. Critics can argue all they want about steroids, but the Roids don't help his hand-eye coordination. Despite the recent hitting slump, it's unbelievable how incredible his batting average is despite the constant intentional walks he's dealt. The fact that he only gets around three pitches that are hittable in an average game keeps him a few notches below other players on this list, but by the end of the year, he will lead the league in batting average and possibly home runs. That's a true fantasy asset.
OK, ready for the firestorm of protest. No Soriano, you whine? There's a reason Steinbrenner was so willing to trade him. There was no hesitation when it came to the A-Rod deal. I know that A-Rod is superior, but Soriano's numbers should have made it a little harder for the Yanks to deal him. Soriano is someone who can get cold quickly and although he can help in several categories, he's not the consistent all-around threat of players like A-Rod and Beltran. The only thing that keeps Soriano high on many peoples' lists is his position. There aren't a lot of quality 2b out there -- and that does definitely increase Soriano's value. However, when you compare him to everyone across the board, I just can't rank him above my top five listed above.
Let it rip..[/u]