Friday, February 22, 2008

Matt's Stats: Baseball Preview Edition

Trash talking is in full force with the Phillies and Mets this week, which makes it the perfect time to preview the shortstops for the 2008 Fantasy season!


1) Jose Reyes (SS - New York Mets) - Many may have Rollins coming off of the MVP award as the top ranked SS, but even after a big second half slump I still view Reyes as the top SS on the draft board. The reason for this is the SB category. Many drafters ignore that category even though it counts just as much as HR and RBI. Reyes totalled 78 SBs last year, 14 more then the next highest total. Taking HRs by comparison, 5 players were within 14 HRs of the MLB HR leader. Professor Reyes may not attempt as many steals this year after tiring out in the second half last year, but he should be a safe bet for 70 SBs if healthy during the season. Reyes also was 7th in the league in runs scored and hit a respectable .280 avg, making him an excellent first round pick. Take Reyes and be happy that you don't have to worry much about the SB category for the rest of the year.

2) Jimmy Rollins (SS - Philadelphia Phillies) - What more can you say about Rollins? He predicted victory last year in the NL East and backed it up with an MVP Season. He's a great player and for the first time should be considered an automatic first round pick. Rollins was second in the league in runs scored with 139 in 2007 and had an impressive 30 HR, 94 RBI, 41 SB, with a .296 avg. After accusing Beltran of plagiarism this week, expect another big season out of Rollins in 2008!

3) Hanley Ramirez (SS - Florida Marlins) - Ramirez may be a bit underrated playing in front of empty crowds in Florida, but don't over look him on draft day. In a position weak in fantasy stars, Ramirez is one of the best. After scoring 125 Runs, and hitting .332 with 29 HR, 81 RBI, 51 SB in his sophmore season, Ramirez projects as a late first round pick as he looks to only improve in 2008.

4) Troy Tulowitzki (SS - Colorado Rockies) - Tulowitzki had an impressive rookie campaign leading the Rockies to the National League Pennant. Tulowitzki hit .291 with 24 HR, 99 RBI, and 104 Runs scored in 2007. The only drawback with Tulowitzki is a real lack of ability to steal bases after having only 7 last year, while getting caught 6 times. Tulowitzki is the best of the second tier of shortstops and should be drafted sometime in the first five rounds on draft day.

5) Derek Jeter (SS - New York Yankees) - Jeter may not put up the statistics of the top 3 shortstops, but he is clearly one of the most consistent players at the position. He won't get an MVP award this year like ARod suggested this week, but a similar season to 2007 when he hit .322 with 102 Runs scored, 12 HR, 73 RBI, and 15 SB is pretty much a certainty. You know what you get when Jeter is on your Fantasy team and if you are looking for that consistency, Jeter makes an excellent pick on draft day.

Stay away from Miguel Tejada (SS - Houston Astros). He was once an MVP but that is a long time ago. Tejada may be on a new team, but the Mitchell Report and FBI investigations will bring a large distraction to both Tejada and his new team throughout the season. There are plenty of other shortstops around and it would not be recommended to go anywhere near Tejada on draft day.

That's all for now, stay tuned for the Outfield Preview next week. As always, if anyone has any questions specific to their teams or leagues, post them in the comments section and I will be happy to answer them in next week's column. Have a Great Weekend!!

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