The Cincinnati Reds play in a ballpark that is the most conducive to power in the Major Leagues, surpassing Coors Field last season. That means guys who can only provide power, like Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr., are knocked up a couple of notches, as well as the players who score runs in front of them. However, pitchers, notably Eric Milton, who give up lots of home runs are never worth owning. Of course, I doubt you’d own Milton anyway.
The Reds don’t have anyone here.
OF Adam “Get ’er” Dunn – To say that Dunn is a huge guy would be to understate his stature. With a big-time body -- 6-6, 275 -- comes light-tower power. Last year, Dunn clubbed 40 long balls and drove in 92 runs. He nearly scored 100 and stole a few bases. What’s keeping him from being in the top tier? His atrocious batting average, that’s what. If your team’s average can handle it -- and last year mine couldn’t -- add him for the power and pray for a .250 average.
2B/OF Ryan Freel – If you want consistency, this is your guy. For the last three years, this utility star has stolen 37, 36, and 37 bases. Count on him to reach that level once again. Next, he’ll score a ton of runs hitting at the top of a very powerful lineup. His only drawback is a serious lack of power. His career high in homers is 8 and RBIs is 28. Expect a decent batting average and love that multi-position eligibility. I haven’t not drafted him yet!
SP Aaron Harang – This guy struck out the most hitters in the National League last year, and he’s getting drafted as late as the tenth round in some drafts? That’s ridiculous! Harang won 16 games last year, had a good ERA, and put together a decent WHIP. It’s a requirement that you take him in the eighth round, around guys like Jeremy Bonderman and John Lackey. Harang is that good.
2B Brandon Phillips – Given the every day job in Cincinnati, Phillips broke out at the beginning of the summer before cooling off towards the end. The only reason he’s worth owning is the lack of depth at second base, the second shallowest position on the diamond. Phillips should hit another 15 homers, steal 20-25 bases, and score plenty of runs next year. That’s Ian Kinsler, who is being forgotten on draft day but still holds a ton of value.
C David Ross – Many fantasy drafts don’t have this backstop going until the late rounds or even at all, but take a look at what he did last year: .255/21/52 with a decent on base percentage. While I don’t really like guys that strike out that often, I’m going to make an exception here. Project Ross to hit around .260, but with 25 homers and 70 RBIs. That’s Jorge Posada for much less in auction drafts.
SP Bronson Arroyo – Once hitters adjusted to Arroyo’s stuff in the American League, they begin to hit him. His ERA jumped half a run going from 2004 to 2005. Expect a slight increase in 2007 from the 3.29 to, say, 3.90 or 4.00. He should still win a fair number of games, say, 12-15 and strike out a large number of hitters. There are also concerns as to how his arm will rebound after 240 innings pitched, a career high.
3B Edwin Encarnacion – This third baseman was well on his way to becoming a candidate for the second tier, but an injury limited his ABs. Bet on him to stay healthy and have a breakout campaign. That would normally rank him higher, but third base has become a very deep position. We should see .270/20/90 with 80 runs scored a couple of stolen bases. In other words, a Ryan Zimmerman no one talks about.
RP David Weathers/Mike Stanton – These are the two guys who will be sharing time as closer in Cincinnati. That may change before Opening Day, due to the presence of talented guys like Bill Bray and Todd Coffey. Both Stanton and Weathers closed games out last year, and it’s hard to choose who will come out on top. But if I had to make one guess, it’s Weathers who gets the most opportunities.
OF Ken Griffey Jr. – I know this question is getting old, but is he going to stay healthy? We’ve asked that about Griffey the past few seasons, and he still did miss 53 games last year. The answer to that question seems to be no, but if you draft him, you could be getting 25 homers and 80 runs driven in. It’s such a shame to see his career wind down like this.
OF Josh Hamilton – I know Hamilton is over his cocaine addiction. He’s kicked that dangerous vice. The only thing this outfielder does now is dip tobacco. There should be no question concerning things in his troubled past. What you should wonder about is his playing time, or the lack thereof, the previous few seasons. He only got 15 ABs last year and none the previous two. Big league pitchers are going to be very challenging, but if he gets the every day job, you can expect 10 homers, 20 bags, and a .250 average. I’m cheering from him, but his lack of experience is against him.
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