Sunday, February 07, 2010

Top 20 NL Only League Hitters

One might say.... why write an article on the top 20 "hitters" in the National League? We know these guys are either great or almost great so let's focus our attentions elsewhere. I have probably done that along the way myself. But think about an auction draft, the top 20 all go for high draft dollars (in most cases, higher than market value because of the lack of impact players) and in a traditional draft your lucky if one of these hitters makes it to the 3rd round. So there's a lot at stake with these players. You need to understand these players strengths and weaknesses just like the sleepers and every other player in the draft. I have broken the top 20 hitters into 2 groups the "elite" and "almost there".

The Elite:
These 7 NL Hitters, barring any setbacks, we know they will have big years. Here are those players in ranking order....

Albert Pujols - I mean, what else is there to say. The guy is a monster and he is probably the most consistent player in all of Roto. In his 9 year career the lowest amount of HR he had in a season is 32, RBI are 103, Runs are 99 and average is .314. It seems like that elbow issue that came up a couple of years ago that scared people is okay. Only negative I will say is don't count on 16 steals again. Maybe he will do it again but plan for around 8.

Hanley Ramirez - One of two players to go 20HR/20SB the last three years consecutively in the NL. The days of him stealing 50 are probably over but he should be knocking at the door on a 30HR, 100+RBI, 100+R, 25-30 SB and a very high average every year (career .316 hitter). Just turned 26.

Ryan Braun - It shouldn't be this easy to become a stud. In 3 years as a starting player Braun is a 30HR, 100+RBI, 100+R, 20SB and .300 hitter. Wouldn't be surprising if one day he is number one on this list.  Just turned 26.

Chase Utley - Best line I heard about him is that Utley plays like his hair is on fire. He plays with such intensity which means he tries to get everything out of every AB. Have to love that from your roto player. Similar to Braun's numbers but at 2B.

Matt Kemp - At less pop than Braun & Utley but double the steals. Just turned 25.

Matt Holliday - Keep in mind that 1st half in Oakland hurt his numbers last year. Should be a guy who goes 30+HR, 100+RBI, 100+R, 15 to 20 SB and is a career .318 hitter.

Ryan Howard - If he can hit close to .280, he'd be a monster. The 8 steals last year was a nice little bonus. Monster Power in a Bam Box.

Almost There:
These guys are either on the verge of making the elite or are really good hitters just one step below. This is to close to call on rankings so I just listed them in alphabetical order.

Andre Ethier - He may just stay on the 2nd tier list his whole career as a low $30 dollar player, won't get any SB's but if he can hit around .300 like he did in 08 instead of .272 in 09 then maybe he will be knocking on the door of the elite list.

Prince Fielder - Love 2007 & 2009, it's just 2008 wasn't on the same level as those years. Need to see a big year in 2010 and then we can put him on the elite list.

Adrian Gonzalez - If he played in any other NL park other than Citi Field he probably be on the elite list. The concern here is Gonzalez has 2 years left on his contract with SD and then he becomes a free agent. If SD is out of it come July, I am sure they will listen to trade offers. If Gonzalez gets traded to the AL during the year, how does your league handle that? This is a concern in an NL only league.

Brandon Phillips - Remember how I said Hanley was one of only 2 NL players to go at least 20HR & 20SB the last 3 years, Phillips is the other hitter to do that. Like Ethier, probably won't ever make it to the elite level and probably won't do 30-30 again like he did in 2007 but he can be a $30 player for the next few years and at 2B.

Jose Reyes - Oh boy this is a tough one. If Reyes is 100% he is a 60SB guy. Does anyone know the answer to that question? His 60 steals is what sets him apart. Because he is good in HR & RBI & Avg and strong in runs but it's the steals. If you are going to take on risk with a player there should be a bit of a discount. Meaning don't pay for Reyes on draft day if the price is based on him getting 60 steals.

Mark Reynolds - I have to see it again and then we will put him on the elite list. Obviously when you K like he does he raises some concern and want to see him hit .260 again instead of .239. I would say given his other numbers .250 is fine. A little concerned that out of no where he became a SB guy. Is this a 1 year wonder. Basically don't pay based on his 2009 numbers.

Jimmy Rollins - Just turned 31 and his steals fell from 47 to 31 last year. Also the average and his OBP were not good. He may now be a 30 SB guy due to his age and in that lineup in that ballpark he may not have to feel he needs to steal as much. His MVP season in 2007 is a thing of the past. Can still be a low $30 player.

Pablo Sandoval - He can flat out hit. Plays in a big ball park & doesn't currently play with any other great hitters. Those 2 facts will hurt his overall numbers in 2010. But still will get you a high average with really good power and position flexibility.

Troy Tulowitzki - Showed that 2008 was a sophomore slump I think. Again a little concerned like Reynolds with SB's that came out of now where.

Justin Upton - I remember reading about Justin Upton when he got called up and scouts where saying the question isn't whether he will be a top 5 player in MLB, the question is when. We saw that last year with his performance. He just turned 22 late in the season. This guy could challenge very quickly the #1 spot in the NL as a hitter.

Jayson Werth - He is a gamer. Average is a push but love the 20 steals in back to back seasons and in that lineup and in that ballpark will hit 30HR and knock on the door of 100 R & RBI. Only has 1 year left on his contract and then becomes a free agent. Good chance Philly uses their money else where and let Dominic Brown take his place in 2011.

David Wright - Everyone got hurt, let the ballpark get in his head and pressed last year. He is a gap hitter so while I think the HR will come back (10 HR last year) I think he will be closer to 20HR than 30HR. Love the average & speed.

Ryan Zimmerman - He doesn't get SB's but with the lack of a supporting cast has emerged as a solid 30HR, 100 R & RBI guy who hit around .290 last year. Just turned 25.

NL King - C.Lizza

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