Alfonso Soriano, OF (CHC): Out of the big boys, I like Alfonso Soriano. Yeah - I know what that sounds like. But the point here is he is a bit undervalued. Everybody expected the world out of Soriano last year, but players often struggle in the first year of a big contract. Dude still hit 33 home runs and had 19 steals - his season wasn't that bad! He also dealt with a knee injury.
Here's the key here: if the Chicago Cubs can acquire Brian Roberts or if they move Kosuke Fukudome to the top of the order, Soriano will be moved to a more run-productive slot. Soriano had roughly 15-20 solo home runs and if more batters get in front of him, his RBI stats will improve. With a healthy knee, his steals should also improve. Just remember where you drafted him last year - he is being taken later this year but might approach the production we expected last year.
Lance Berkman, OF (HOU): A lot of people remember the sluggish first half of the season that Lance Berkman had, but my advice is that you quickly forget it. He mashed 19 home runs in the second half and should have a monster season this year.
With Michael Bourn and Kaz Matsui at the top of the order, the Astros have injected much more speed into their order. They've also protected Berkman with another bat, Miguel Tejada. Berkman should be coming to the plate with runners on base more frequently this year.
The other key factor here is that the Astros have virtually no pitching (aside from Roy Oswalt) and they will have to outscore their opponents to win. The Astros have been scoring in bunches in spring training, so don't hesitate to nab Berkman.
Josh Hamilton, OF (TEX): If you want to roll the dice, take a shot with Josh Hamilton. He's at the hitter-friendly Ballpark in Arlington, which has treated many hitters kindly. He's batted over .500 in spring training and had a stretch where he reached base 13 consecutive times. With him slotted to hit third or fourth for the Rangers, expect some solid production out of the former first overall pick.
Pat Burrell, OF (PHI): Pat Burrell isn't particularly flashy in the fantasy world, but when it comes to power, he is fairly consistent. He's averaged 28 home runs per season throughout his career. Why I like him even more this season is that he is in a contract season. He's batting fifth in the lineup behind Ryan Howard, which means he should see some pitches after the opposing team walks Howard. With money on the line, expect him to approach career numbers.
Michael Bourn, OF (HOU): The plan is to slot Michael Bourn at the top of the Astros order, let him hit and let him run. Bourn has phenomenal speed and has also shown some pop this spring (slugging .511). He already has seven steals this spring, which gives you a solid indication of what he is going to do for you. Not many people are paying attention to him, which allows you to get steals and runs on the cheap.
Austin Kearns, OF (WAS): A cursory glance at Austin Kearns' stats tells you that he is a mediocre fantasy outfielder. But once you fully examine his stats, you might realize he is a diamond in the rough. Kearns looked like he was ready for a full-fledged breakout as a member of the Cincinnati Reds, but when he was relegated to pitcher-friendly RFK Stadium in a trade, his value plummeted. The Nationals now move to a hitter-friendly ballpark and nobody should benefit more than Kearns. He hit .228 at home, but batted .301 on the road. He's also 27-years old, which is the prime-time age in fantasy baseball.