The first round of any fantasy draft is huge. There’s no surer way to ruin your fantasy season than to blow your first round pick on an under performing player, or one who ends up injured. At least that is conventional wisdom around most parts. However is it true when so many first round choices, year after year, fail to live up to expectations?
Here is a review of the first round for the National Fantasy Baseball Championship draft we did for our 2010 Annual Fantasy Baseball Magazine. How did our top-15 choices play out now that the 2010 season is complete (the NFBC’s main event is made up of 15-team leagues)?
One final note, in parenthesis is the ranking that each player finished the 2010 season with according to our Player Rater tool. If a player has “miss” after his name, he failed to finish in the top-50.
1- Albert Pujols (2nd)
In 10 years he has never, not once, failed to go at least .312-32-103-99. This year he was far better at .312-42-118-118-14.
2- Hanley Ramirez (11th)
He was a bit disappointing with just 21 homers an a mere .300 average, but he still went 20/30 while scoring more than 90 runs.
3- Alex Rodriguez (48th)
Potentially never has such a powerful season – 30 homers and 125 RBI – seemed so disappointing. A-Rod hit only .270, scored just 74 runs and stole a piddly four bags.
4- Ryan Braun (12th )
He failed to hit 30-homers for the first time with 25, but he still hit .304 with 103 RBI, 101 runs and 14 steals. He has been dynamic in his four year career.
5- Chase Utley – MISS
Injury limited him to 115 games, and the results was his first season with less than 22 homers, 93 RBI and 93 runs scored in six seasons (.275-16-65-75-13).
6- Mark Teixeira – MISS
He hit a terrible .136 in April and never really got on track finishing at .256 (career .286). He still was able to put up another 30-100 season though (33-108) while scoring 113 runs.
7- Miguel Cabrera (5th)
If not for Mr. Pujols, Mr. Cabrera would be seen by more fans for what he is – a player on his way to the Hall of Fame. Cabrera was second in the AL with a .328 average, third in homers with 38, and first in RBI with 126. Plus, he was my choice for the AL MVP (give Who is the AL MVP a read).
8- Matt Kemp – MISS
I predicted he would fall in 2009. I was just a year early. Kemp hit a poor .249, whiffed 170 times and was caught stealing 15 times as he had more than one run in with the coaching staff in L.A. He did have value though with 28 homers, 89 RBI and 82 runs scored.
9- Ryan Howard – (49th)
He hit 31 bombs with 108 RBI, but it was the first time in five years that he failed to go deep 45 times with 136 RBI.
10- Jacoby Ellsbury – MISS
The biggest bust of 2010 as he appeared in just 18 games.
11- Carl Crawford (3rd)
About to be a very rich man in free agency as he yet again was an all-around beast (.307-19-90-110-47).
12- Adrian Gonzalez (34th)
He plays in a terrible park for hitters, and did hit .298 with 31 homers, 101 RBI and 87 runs, but most were expecting more after he averaged 35 homers, 106 RBI and 98 runs the previous three seasons.
13- Prince Fielder – MISS
If I said Fielder hit 32 homers and scored 94 runs, you’d be nonplussed but pleased. However he slumped to .261 and drove in just 83 runs a year after platting a career best 141 runs so it was clearly a disappointing effort.
14- Ian Kinsler – MISS
I had the pick here, and I felt good about taking Mr. 30/30 with my first selection. Alas, his season was one of injury including that stubborn ankle issue that really held him down early in the year. A season of .286-9-45-73-15 is solid for a second sacker — if he was your 14th round pick, not the 14th player taken overall.
15- Evan Longoria (22nd)
Almost matched his draft day cost as he pushed his average up to .294 with 46 doubles, five triples and five steals (all career bests). He did produce a 3-year low in homers (22) while losing nine RBI (104) and four runs (96) from his ’09 effort.
Of these 15 guys, do you know how many returned first round value according to our Player Rater? The answer is a mere five: Braun, Cabrera, Crawford, Pujols and Ramirez.
All of this just goes to show you that the old adage that drafts are won or lost in the first round may not be true because I bet a whole bunch of people won leagues taking one of the 10 guys mentioned here who didn’t finish in the top-50 this season.
By Ray Flowers