|2006 Fantasy Baseball Awards Part IV||| Print ||
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on October 19, 2006
This is the fourth article in a four-part series. The first was my All Bust Team, the second my Big Surprise Team, and my third was my Did You Hear about Him Team. This final article names my Best Fantasy Season Team. These are the players that I nominate to being the most valuable overall at positions they qualified.
C Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins - This was an extremely difficult choice for me, because I wanted to nominate a player from my favorite team, Brian McCann. The Braves' catcher hit for only 14 points less, but outdid Mauer in home runs and RBI's. Alas, I picked Mauer because he hit .347 and scored 86 times vs. McCann's 61. Hopefully, McCann will have this spot next year.
1B Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals - Does there even need to be an explanation? Prince Albert finished the season the number one rated player in Yahoo fantasy in standard, 5x5 leagues. I'm pretty sure he finished as the number one rated player in every other league, too. The Cardinals' first baseman hit 49 homers and drove in 137, while stealing bases and washing cars in the parking lot between innings.
2B Alfonso Soriano, Washington Nationals - Behold the power of a free agent season. Alfonso Soriano is well on his way to earning a pretty penny on the market next season, and it'll probably come from the Cubs or Red Sox. However, in 2006, the left fielder who qualified at second base became the fourth member of the 40-40 club, taking 46 deep and swiping 41. He also showed amazing patience at the plate, and I'm betting that's a big reason why he did so well.
SS Jose Reyes, New York Mets - It was a really tough decision between Reyes and Derek Jeter, but the Yankees' captain and AL MVP lost out by a smidge. The biggest reason was that Reyes led the Major Leagues in stolen bases with 64, thirty more than Jeter. If you take a look at his numbers from last season and this season, you're going to be asking yourself two big questions: 1) Where did he find that power? and 2) How did he actually become patient at the plate?
3B Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees - Miguel Cabrera of the Florida Marlins actually ranked better on Yahoo's fantasy rater, but I'll take Rodriguez's stats any day of the week. The only category where Cabrera outranked his higher-paid counterpart was batting average, and that 49-point difference was huge. However, the power numbers and steals easily belong to Rodriguez.
(I just want to preface that the next three picks, all for my superstar outfield, was very difficult, probably the hardest of the entire list. Jermaine Dye, Carlos Lee, and Vladimir Guerrero all deserve my apologies.)
OF Matt Holliday, Colorado Rockies - Holliday finished the regular season showing critics why he belonged on U.S.A.'s World Baseball Classic roster. A .326/34/110 campaign sometimes does that for you. His stats were surely Coors inflated, but we don't care about that here. The only thing that matters are numbers, and Holliday definitely put those up. Hopefully, there are a lot of people noticing.
OF Carlos Beltran, New York Mets - This was the Carlos Beltran the New York Mets were chasing not so long ago. He finished the year with 41 homers and 116 RBI's, but also stole 18 bases. That is quite a drastic improvement from last year. In one of my fantasy leagues, he didn't go drafted until early third round. And it was me who got him.
OF Lance Berkman, Houston Astros - I nominate Berkman for the Greatest Fantasy Season No One Talks about Award. He'd win that in a landslide. The Astros' now first baseman hit .315 with 45 homers and 136 RBI's. It certainly looks like he's back from knee surgery. Next year, you better be prepared to take this guy early, because Berkman is back to the form he previously showed.
SP Johan Santana, Minnesota Twins - This is about as obvious as the Albert Pujols pick. The Twins' staff ace struck out 29 more than the nearest competitor, tied for the league-lead in wins, and led the Majors in E.R.A. That could be considered the pitching crown. I'm going to go out on a limb and say he's the best pitcher in the Major Leagues.
CL Joe Nathan, Minnesota Twins - No, I did not forget about Mariano Rivera or Jonathan Papelbon. Joe Nathan was my best closer this year. Even though he "only" finished eighth in saves, the Twins' closer secured 7 wins, a 0.79 W.H.I.P, and an AMAZING 95 K's in 68.1 innings. The Giants traded this guy for A.J. Pierzynski?