So yesterday I posted the rankings you see below. I got an email from a Fantasy Man reader wondering why I had ranked certain players the way I did. I thought it was a great email and a good question to post here. I figured instead of explaining to one guy, I might as well explain it to everyone. So here it is, and thank you to the guy who sent me the email...
Question: Mike, I am usually a big believer in your rankings, but some of this is just crazy talk. How do you have Conor Jackson so high? Yes, he is batting .298 (and I guess the 8 SBs are good), but he only has 12 HRs and 68 RBIs. Is that a breakout season??? As a Jackson owner this year, I’m not so convinced. I think that he is more in the category of the high average/low power first baseman of the Casey Kotchman/James Loney variety. And I find the Giambi/Delgado rankings really low. Giambi seems to be doing what he always does – on pace for another 30+ HR season. I can’t believe that he won’t end up next season as someone’s starting 1b or DH. Same with Delgado. I will take the 30+ HR slugger at first over the around .300 BA first baseman every day of the week.
FM Response: This is what I love about doing rankings this early!.... and this is why no one else does them this early!! These rankings will probably change over the course of the Winter but right now it's a starting point.
You mention Connor Jackson being so high, that he is of the "Casey Kotchman/James Loney variety". Well, I have Jackson ranked right next to both of them so not sure what you mean there. Yes, I guess I can move Votto up a few spots and I probably will once I see his final stats.
With Giambi and Delgado....lets not get too crazy here. While both have been great this year, they are both older, both slowing down, and right now we have no idea where they will be next year. That has gone into my thinking here. Jackson has so much room to grow (if he can), Giambi and Delgado are on their last legs. Same with Thome, Konerko is a platooner now, Huff is always risky. This was my biggest debate when putting this together..... do I rank the young guys with potential higher or lower than the established guys who are risky with power and low averages? I went with the younger guys, always do!
So that was the email I sent back. Thinking about it a bit more, Giambi is always hurt and Delgado has had these two monster slumps in two years. I mean yes, Giambi and Delgado can both hit 30HR with any team, but it will cost you in batting average and you are likely to only get in the 80 - 90 RBI range as well. It's not like you can expect 30/100+ and that's assuming they stay healthy.
Another way to look at it as I think more about this.... In April and May this season both Giambi and Delgado were atrocious at the plate. I can't imagine your team doing well those first two months. Then, maybe you'd trade them or when you've had enough in mid June, you finally drop one and by that time if the rest of your team stunk, you're already giving up on your team. By season's end now, Giambi and Delgado may both finish with 30+ HR, but both of them effected me big time in 3 of the 8 leagues I played in this year. One of those leagues, a Fantasy Man league, I dropped Delgado at the end of June. Not smart on my end but I had had enough. In another league, I traded Giambi for Wladimir Balentein at the end of May or so and then Giambi got hot. Call it bad luck on my end but I don't want to have to be put in that situation with older players next year. I normally stay away from these guys like Carlos Delgado, Jason Giambi, Jim Thome, Aubrey Huff, etc., but they were solid values at the time I drafted them and they didn't pay off.
Point is, me personally, I don't go by the rankings of the major companies because most of the time they just get their rankings from each other and make some minor changes. I like to make rankings based on who I would pick in a draft over someone else and personally, I'd pick Jackson, Kotchman, Loney, Votto, etc., over these older guys strictly for the added batting average and the upside and the fact that they stay relatively healthy. Plus, looking back over the last 3 years or so, how inconsistent has guys like Delgado, Giambi, Thome, and Huff been? That's my point!