|ESPN.com: 2004||[Print without images]|
1. Albert Pujols, StL
2. Todd Helton, Col
3. Carlos Delgado, Tor
4. Jim Thome, Phi
5. Jason Giambi, NYY
6. Jeff Bagwell, Hou
7. Richie Sexson, Ari
8. Aubrey Huff, TB
9. Derrek Lee, ChC
10. Frank Thomas, CWS
11. Mike Sweeney, KC
12. Mark Teixeira, Tex
13. Phil Nevin, SD
25. Jay Gibbons, Bal
CREAM OF THE CROP
Surprisingly, the NY Yankees Jason Giambi did not finish among the top five first base-eligible players on the FLB '03 Player Rater. 1B-eligible Albert Pujols topped the list followed by perrenial Colorado masher Todd Helton. As for Giambi, he finished with the lowest BA of his career (.250) and his lowest RBI total since '97 (107). Here is a look at the rest of the non-Giambi top five:
|FLB '03 PLAYER RATER -- TOP 5 FIRST BASEMEN|
|Albert Pujols, StL||.359||43||124||137||5||7.48|
|Todd Helton, Col||.358||33||117||135||0||5.81|
|Carlos Delgado, Tor||.302||42||145||117||0||4.83|
|Jim Thome, Phi||.266||47||131||111||0||3.32|
|Jeff Bagwell, Hou||.278||39||100||109||11||2.88|
Who are the players poised to take their game to the next level? Well, these are the players that I'll be highlighting on my draft lists:
1. Mark Teixeira, Tex: 26 HR debut should translate to 30-35 in '04.
2. Nick Johnson, Mon: Out of Giambi shadow. Owns 1B in Montreal.
3. Craig Wilson, Pit: 14 HR, .978 OPS after break. Will be a regular.
When you're looking for later-round catching help, target these diamonds in the rough:
1. Adam Dunn, Cin: After '03 crash, 35-HR, 10 SB will come cheap.
2. Brad Fullmer, Tex: Likely 500 AB's should = .285, 20 HR, 80 RBI.
3. Darin Erstad, Ana: Will start at 1B. No OF means less injuries.
Rookie 1B Lyle Overbay, Travis Hafner and Ken Harvey failed to make a fantasy impact in '03. And there may not be a difference maker among the '04 crop, either. Of them, only Atlanta's Adam LaRoche enters the spring as the favorite to be a regular. Realistically, if you are in a ML draft, you should not hear the name of a rookie 1B called. But, as an FYI, here is the list of the top three '04 prospects:
1. Justin Morneau, Min: Big power, sweet swing, still learning.
2. Adam LaRoche, Atl: Line-driver with BA potential.
3. Larry Broadway, Mon: Only if N. Johnson gets hurt.
Based upon where they are likely to be drafted, these players are good candidates to disappoint fantasy owners:
1. Edgar Martinez, Sea: 41; At this point, 25+ DNP's likely.
2. Raul Ibanez, Sea: .208 BA vs. AL West (not Seattle) in '03.
3. John Olerud, Sea: What little power he had is gone.