Since both my fantasy and reality teams are now well out of the race, my thoughts drift to the possible rankings for 2008. Seems that there will be a fair amount of movement at the top of the draft next year, including a new #1 player (although he’s a familiar face there to be sure) and new pressure from fast risers Hanley Ramirez and Ryan Braun.
Hmmm… here’s my projection for the top 20 fantasy players for 2008. Please note that I chose deliberately not to include any RP. Personally, I just don’t think there are any closers who merit top 20 picks next year—even in Rotisserie leagues. The position is just far too unpredictable, and there really isn’t a clear ace going forward.
1) Alex Rodriguez – He takes over the top spot after his transcendent 2008. I don’t think he’s going to be slowing down for quite awhile either.
2) Albert Pujols – There was only one candidate for this slot. Even in a down season, he anchors every category except steals. Alex and Albert are head and shoulders above the rest in my opinion.
3) Hanley Ramirez – The biggest mover in this years draft. 30 HR and 50 SB from a SS? Get outta here!
4) Jose Reyes – Got a bit outclassed by Hanley in 2007, but still the best source of pure speed in the game. These two SS could duel for the top spot in a few short years.
5) David Wright – My vote for NL MVP this year. Still so young, and surprisingly well-rounded as an offensive player. Can be the cornerstone for your team, and has the potential to up his power numbers even more.
6) Johan Santana – Best pitcher in baseball, hands down. Like Pujols on offense, the worst case scenario here (barring injury) is a solid baseline for your pitching staff all year long.
7) Miguel Cabrera – The Florida chubster is amazingly still just in his early 20s. Due for a Pujols-esque season one of these years, but can he keep off the weight?
8) Chase Utley – Injury derailed an amazing season, but his final stats will still look good. There’s no one else close to him at 2B.
9) Grady Sizemore – Lack of flashy numbers in one category can fool you into sleeping on this guy. Consistently puts up solid numbers in every possible area. He’s still young, and has the type of offensive game that ages well. Solid first round choice.
10) Ryan Howard – Were you worried after his April? You shouldn’t have been. He’ll give you at least three more years like his 2008, if not better.
11) Prince Fielder – Close call between him and Howard. I worry about his long-term health and think he has slightly less upside than Ryan. Otherwise, it’s almost a dead heat.
12) Carlos Beltran – Don’t forget him. Still only 30 years old, he seems to always alternate between average seasons and eye-popping ones. Guess what he’s due for in 2008?
13) Jake Peavy – Think Johan Santana but in the NL where there are more easy outs because the pitchers hit, too. He’ll solidify your pitching across the board.
14) Matt Holliday – The humidor doesn’t make much of a difference when a guy hits .330. Imagine if… oh never mind. Just take him in the second round. You won’t be sorry.
15) Ryan Braun – Perhaps the most difficult player to place in the top 20. If we could be sure he’ll do it again, he would be top 10.
16) Jimmy Rollins – He’ll always be a free swinger. Then again, he also seems to make contact most of the time. The steals are nice, too.
17) Brandon Phillips – All he needs to do is keep these numbers up for a few years, and he’s easily a top 10 pick. He’s clearly the #2 2B and it isn’t really close. Could he take another step forward to 40-40? He’ll be 27 next year…
18) Russell Martin – Edges out Mauer and Martinez for the “top catcher” mantle. Can a chunky guy who squats for 140 games a year keep stealing bases like that? Stay tuned.
19) Carl Crawford – He just never seems to take that next step does he? Still, 15 HR and 60 SB will keep him in the top 20 for the next few years at least.
20) B.J Upton – Because I love his name, Bossman edges out a cast of thousands for the 20th spot. Oh yeah, the 20-20-.300 line with multiple position eligibility sure doesn’t hurt his case either.
Honorable mention (in no particular order): Alfonso Soriano, Joe Mauer, Victor Martinez, Derek Jeter, Miguel Tejada, Mark Teixeira, Travis Hafner, Adam Dunn, Justin Morneau, Troy Tulowitzki, Vlad Guerrero, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Magglio Ordonez, Ichiro Suzuki, Lance Berkman.
What do you all think?