Hey folks. Sorry I haven't posted for awhile. Orioles' spring training has had my full attention, but I'm back in the cold now. Anyway, I didn't have too many quibbles with Dave's outfield rankings. I'd probably take Manny Ramirez above Bobby Abreu at the top. Got to see Manny a bit in Florida and he looks the same as always, like he can roll out of bed and hit booming home runs to all fields. Must be nice to be that good. Anyway, I think his production numbers set him apart, though Abreu's all-around game is nothing to sneeze at.
After the top few guys, I tend to wait a bit to fill my outfield slots in a draft because the position is so deep with productive hitters. Look for the guys who don't bowl you over in any category but help you across the board. I'm thinking Coco Crisp (who's also looking great in Florida), Matt Holliday and Randy Winn. Those guys are often undervalued compared to sluggers like, say, Pat Burrell. I'd also probably rank Juan Pierre a little higher than Dave because he's one of a handful of proven speed commodities. But we know Dave is no fan of steals.
Looking down the list, I'd probably bump Jeremy Hermida and Brad Wilkerson about 10 spots up. Hermida could be one of those all-around guys immediately, and I think Wilkerson will return to 2004 form in Texas (while Alfonso Soriano refuses to play in D.C.)
Guys on his list I'm not so fond of include Andruw Jones, Grady Sizemore, Jeff Francoeur and Rocco Baldelli. The first three are good but slightly overvalued right now. Baldelli is coming off an injury and has never shown the plate discipline needed to hit consistently in the majors. So he has to convince me.
So much for the outfielders. Had my first draft of the spring on Sunday night against some other media types. We were using a weird points system. Hitters for example count total bases, walks and steals but lose points for strikeouts and failed stolen base attempts. If you play in a league like that, remember to covert your projections to the particular system, because it can spit out radically different values than we're used to. Mark Kotsay, for example, ranked as an elite player in the format. And remember that in points leagues, categories don't matter. Just total points. You could have an offense without any speed and do fine.
One final point for leagues that require you to roster a designated hitter. Guys like David Ortiz and Travis Hafner qualify only at dh. But plenty of others like Jason Giambi, Aubrey Huff and Jonny Gomes also qualify. So don't freak if Ortiz and Hafner go off the board early.
Happy drafting this week and next.