Friday, December 10, 2010

NL King - Who will be the Carlos Gonzalez of 2011?

Every year we scour the magazines, the websites, the television searching for the best, most undervalued, ready to break out player available in the draft!  You want the next Carlos Gonzalez?  This article is to focus on players who are not currently considered elite fantasy players but after 2011 could be one of the top hitters in the NL. Carlos Gonzalez rise in 2010 to become one of the best fantasy players in all of MLB doesn't happen often. While many people were high on Gonzalez for 2010, keep in mind all Gonzalez really had under his belt in the majors in a positive way was a strong second half in 2009 with the Rockies. Keep in mind Carlos Gonzalez final numbers in 2009 were 13HR, 29RBI, 53R, 16SB and .284 BA before last years monster season. Let's look at the candidates....

The Contenders:
Andrew McCutchen
Opening Day Age - 24
2010 Stats: 16HR, 56RBI, 94R, 33SB, .286 Avg in 570 AB's
McCutchen followed up his rookie season with a strong campaign. In both years McCutchen has been in the big leagues, he has had a .286 Batting Average with a .365 On Base Percentage. Solid numbers for a young player and if the Pirates were any good McCutchen easily would break 100 runs easily. I can see McCutchen this season getting a little better which could mean final numbers of 20HR, 100R, 40SB and a .300 Avg with 70 RBI's. That's elite. Odds to Become Elite Hitter: 2 to 1

Jay BruceOpening Day Age - 24
2010 Stats: 25HR, 70RBI, 80R, 5SB, .281 Avg in 509 AB
Bruce in his 3rd major league season made a lot of improvements last year. His K's per AB's went down (still struck out 136 times), he walked a little bit more and on top of that had his best numbers across the board. Keep in mind when Bruce was a prospect heading into the 08 season he was the #1 prospect in all of MLB. Bruce also plays in a bam box. The time could be right for Bruce to emerge next year as an elite fantasy player however he will only give you a modest amount of steals. Odds to Become Elite Hitter: 3 to 1

Hunter Pence
Opening Day Age - 28
2010 Stats: 25HR, 91RBI, 93R, 18SB, .282 Avg in 614 AB
After Pence's rookie season I think a lot of people thought he would become an elite hitter. Currently Pence is sitting on the next tier and odds are he will stay there. Don't get me wrong, he had strong numbers last year across the board and he has been a very consistent player each year in the majors and also has avoided the injury bug. The main reason I don't think Pence will break through to that elite group is he just isn't disciplined enough at the plate. Having said that a little bit of improvement in plate discipline and technique on stealing bases and Pence could put up elite numbers next year. Pence also is in the prime age for a break out year. Odds to Become Elite Hitter: 7 to 1

Drew Stubbs
Opening Day Age - 26
2010 Stats: 22HR, 77RBI, 91R, 30SB, .255 Avg in 514 AB
For Stubbs, like Pence, it's about plate discipline but much more so. Stubbs struck out 168 times last year which is a ridiculous amount. Stubbs has power & speed and plays in a bam box. Sounds like a winning formula. If Stubbs can make adjustments and be more disciplined at the plate he can become an elite hitter with his tools. That is a big ..... if.  Odds to Become Elite Hitter: 10 to 1
Next In Line:
Buster PoseyOpening Day Age - 24
2010 Stats: 18HR, 67RBI, 58R, 0SB, .305 Avg in 406 AB
The lack of speed and the ballpark Posey plays in probably means he is the 2nd tier of NL hitters for years to come. Still pretty darn good. Odds to Become Elite Hitter: 12 to 1

Colby Rasmus
Opening Day Age - 24
2010 Stats: 23HR, 66RBI, 85R, 12SB, .276 Avg in 464 AB
Strong numbers considering less than 500 AB's but 148 K's in 534 PA is concerning in terms of taking the next big step. Also having a frosty relationship with La Russa can't help. Odds to Become Elite: 15 to 1

Chris YoungOpening Day Age - 27
2010 Stats: 27HR, 91RBI, 94R, 28 SB, .257 Avg in 584 AB
Love his power and speed but he strikes out a ton and he is a lifetime .241 hitter. Young is entering his prime and the ball does fly in Arizona however. Odds to become Elite Hitter: 20 to 1

Long Shots:
Starlin Castro
Opening Day Age - 21
2010 Stats: 3HR, 41RBI, 53R, 10SB's, .300 Avg in 463 AB
Probably won't be in 2011 due to his age but Castro could become as good as Andrew McCutchen is now but at the SS position.

Ian Stewart
Opening Day Age - 26
2010 Stats: 18HR, 61RBI, 54R, 5SB, .256 Avg in 386 AB's, love the power but his K's are through the roof. Also no longer qualifies for 2B.

Cameron Maybin
Opening Day Age
2010 Stats: 8HR, 28RBI, 46R, 9SB, .234 Avg in 291 AB
Has 5 tool ability but once again the K's and now will be playing in Yellow Stone

NL King - C.Lizza

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