It’s months away, and you’re likely either (a) intensely watching the playoffs, (b) knee deep in fantasy football or (C) all excited about fantasy hockey or basketball, but it’s never too early to look ahead. So, and I’m sure this list will change innumerable times before the actual 2011 drafting season is upon us, in honor of my Review: First Round, 2010 article in which I looked back at the top-15 choices in a National Fantasy Baseball Championship draft from the just completed season, here is my early projection of what the first round of a 2011 draft might look like.
15- Alex Rodriguez
He’s hit at least 30 homers with 100 RBI in each of the past 13 seasons, and that is the longest streak in MLB history. He’s the Yankee I think will go in the first round over Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira.
14- Evan Longoria
Entering his fourth season, his career bests in the 5×5 categories would result in a .294-33-113-100-15 line.
13- David Wright
Rebounded from a disastrous 2009 to go .283-29-103-87-19. Wright has hit 25 homers with 100 RBI, 85 runs and 15 steals in five of the last six years.
12- Josh Hamilton
I wouldn’t take him this early, he’s still a big health risk in my eyes, but he did lead baseball with a .359 average, and he has hit 30 homers with 100 RBI in two of the past three seasons.
11- Chase Utley
An injury limited him to 115 games, but there is no reason to think that he won’t be able to go .285-25-90-100-15 yet again in 2011.
10- Adam Wainwright
Over the past two years Wainwright has 39 victories (2nd in baseball), a 2.53 ERA (2nd), 425 Ks (7th), 3.48 K/BB (10th) and 463.1 IP (6th).
9- Roy Halladay
Lets look at Halladay’s numbers the past two years – 38 wins (3rd), 2.61 ERA (3rd), 427 Ks (6th), 6.57 K/BB (1st) and 489.2 IP (1st). Barely a difference between him and Wainwright.
8- Troy Tulowitzki
He appeared in only 60 games in the second half but still hit .323 with 18 homers, 61 RBI an a 1.020 OPS. Dude is a star.
7- Joey Votto
The likely NL MVP was second in the NL in batting average (.324), third in homers (37), third in RBI (113) and first in OPS (1.024).
6- Miguel Cabrera
His numbers are a near carbon copy of Votto’s (.328-38-126 with a 1.042 OPS) though Miggy gets the nod as the higher selection because he has done it for longer. Amazingly, Cabrera is only five months older.
5- Carlos Gonzalez
He was flipping amazing in ’10 (.336-34-117-111-26), but he must learn how to hit on the road (.289-8-41 with a .775 OPS).
4- Carl Crawford
If we remove the 2008 season, CC has gone at least .301-11-68-89-46 in each of the past five seasons.
3- Hanley Ramirez
He disappointed some after a monstrous 2009 (.342-24-106-101-27) as he produced a 5×5 line of “only” .300-21-76-92-32.
2- Ryan Braun
I’ve got the sneaking suspicion that we haven’t seen the best from him yet, and that is saying something when you consider that his 162 game average is .307-36-118-111-18.
1- Albert Pujols
Until someone dethrones the king, he remains my choice as the top selection. There isn’t a more consistently excellent option in the game – period.
By Ray Flowers
Tags: Adam Wainwright, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Carl Crawford, Carlos Gonzalez, Chase Utley, David Wright, Evan Longoria, Hanley Ramirez, Joey Votto, Josh Hamilton, Mark Teixeira, Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Roy Halladay, Ryan Braun, Troy Tulowitzki