Fantasy Articles

Top Tier:

Travis Hafner (DH/1B): If stealing bases were something you could do by swinging a bat there is no doubt Hafner would be a five category player. Since running the bases is an unarmed part of the sport however you’ll just have to settle for looking at Hafner as one of the best 4 category players (.308-42-117-100-0) available in fantasy ball.

Victor Martinez (C): Catchers don’t come much better offensively than Martinez who boasts great average, good power, solid RBI and Runs totals and no speed whatsoever. Last season his numbers did fall off as he battled with several minor but nagging injuries – a rebound which exceeds last years numbers (.316-16-93-82-0) seems likely but may drag his dollar value or draft pick number down very slightly.

Second Tier

C.C. Sabathia (SP): Sabathia is a fantasy workhorse who always puts up solid numbers in terms of Wins, Strikeouts, ERA and WHIP. He’s not an elite pitcher but a solid choice for secondary numbers. There isn’t a lot of upside to him, but barring injury his downside is limited. The improved team offense might boost his Win totals a bit.

Jake Westbrook (SP): Westbrook still has a lot of upside but he looked decidedly average last season in every category but wins. He didn’t strike out many batters which is pretty much standard for him and a huge improvement is unlikely.

Grady Sizemore (OF): He can hit, he can steal, he can knock the ball out of the park, essentially he’s a light five tool player who has potential to be much more. Unfortunately since he hits at the top of the lineup his RBI totals will always be somewhat on the low side. You have to like his upside however since regular playing time helped him bloom into a 20-20 player last season and he’s shown signs that he could be a 25-25 or even 30-30 player in the not to distant future. Draft him thinking 20-20 and let anything else be cake. He’s similar to Bobby Abreu.

David Dellucci (OF): David seemed on the verge of a breakout a couple of years back but in the then crowded Texas outfield situation he (and several others) got lost and seemed to fade away. He’s got plenty of tools but his splits suggest he may be a platoon player this year. He’s the kind of player who’ll get overlooked and could be a worth a lot more than past numbers suggest.

Casey Blake (OF): Blake is one of those players who doesn’t get much in the way of fanfare but solidly and steadily has put up some solid numbers. He’ll be seeing time at right field, first base, and if Andy Marte flails as badly as he did last year, third base. A solid guy Blake is.

Third Tier

Cliff Lee (SP): Many fantasy players keep waiting for a break out season for Cliff, but for now what you see may well be what you get. He’s got better tools than last year’s numbers let on but I’d be concerned that his development has stalled. His win total should go up with an improved offense.

Ryan Garko (1B): Garko had an impressive debut in 2006 and put up more than respectable numbers for a rookie but since he only played in 50 games the sample size isn’t large enough to be an assurance of his success. Some growing pains are bound to crop up but he should put up solid numbers, just don’t project his numbers to be .290-45-145 based on those 50 games. A .280-25-90 is probably a more realistic goal for this year, if he gets the playing time.

Question Marks

Josh Barfield (2B): There is no question that Barfield has plenty of speed but what else does he offer? That being said his upside is tremendous and further development with age, and more protection in a AL lineup could boost his secondary numbers considerably. His OBP however shows too much in the way of inconsistency to consider him a sure thing.

Paul Byrd (SP): Byrd turned one solid year of baseball into a big contract and has never pitched that well again. He’s not likely to do it this year or in this division but there’s plenty of upside if you like a risky pick, or have a deep bench to stash him on. Personally I’d pass except in the deepest of leagues.

Andy Marte (3B): Marte is the third baseman of the future and the future will be coming to Cleveland this year. The only question really is if he opens the season with the team. It’s probable that he will and with tons of raw talent he could be a ROY candidate, but growing pains are definitely in the offing.