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The biggest thing happening pre-draft at the OF position is that Bryce Harper is racing up the rankings. If you thought Harper's hype as rookie knew no limits, a whole new standard is being set for his second season. I was in a fantasy draft this week where someone predicted he will run away with the NL MVP trophy.
The interesting thing is that all the hype doesn't seem so outlandish, as there is very little separating Harper from 2012 AL Rookie of the Year and 2013 No.1 fantasy pick Mike Trout.
I'm buying in - I originally had Harper as my No. 22 overall picks and No. 9 among outfielders, but I now have him seventh at his position and No. 17 overall.
1. Mike Trout. Brilliant all around and a better supporting cast this year. Prediction: .330 BA/40 HR/100 RBIs/40 SBs/140 Runs.
2. Ryan Braun. I had him ranked third until a week ago; now I'm giving him the edge over the No. 3 man based on projected HRs and OPS.
3. Andrew McCutchen. A good bet for 30/30, which might push him ahead of Braun by the end of the season.
4. Carlos Gonzalez. Only thing keeping him from being in the top 3 is that he might be a stretch to reach 30 HRs, but has all the same tools.
5. Matt Kemp. I'm wavering on Kemp, and could feel good about ranking him as high as No. 2 on this list, but he failed to deliver on massive hype last year.
6. Giancarlo Stanton. 50-HR potential, but somewhat one-dimensional unless he gets traded - then, watch out.
7. Bryce Harper. I could easily seem him going 30/30, with the added benefit of double-digit triples and maybe 40 doubles.
8. Jose Bautista. I have a soft spot for him, and think he could hit over 40 HRs and score 100-plus runs for perhaps the top AL team.
9. Justin Upton. A huge spring is arguing for a higher ranking, though I'm still sore from over-valuing him last year.
10. B.J. Upton. The surer bet of the Upton brothers should break 30 HRs, and has the potential for 40 SBs.
11. Josh Hamilton. I'm iffy on him being able to achieve Texas-like numbers in L.A., but he should drive in and score plenty.
12. Yoenis Cespedes. Another threat in every offensive category, flying under the radar because of injuries last year.
13. Jason Heyward. Should benefit from the Upton brothers presence in the lineup.
14. Adam Jones. Mini-MVP year in 2012, and could rise from this ranking if he gets on a 100-RBI pace.
15. Jacoby Ellsbury. Hard to trust with injury-riddled past, but has the tools to fill many stat categories.
16. Jay Bruce. A lot of people love him, and he certainly has 40 HR/100 RBI stuff, but BA in the .250s leaves me wanting more.
17. Adrian Gonzalez. Back in the division where he did the most damage, and won't be pressured to be the star.
18. Allen Craig. The Pujols of the immediate future for the Cardinals is an RBI machine.
19. Matt Holliday. Hasn't broken 30 HRs since 2007, but very consistent RBI and BA producer.
20. Ben Zobrist. If you miss out on the top five OFs but still want a guy who does everything, he's the bargain version.
21. Alex Rios. Looking good in the World Baseball Classic, and seems to have finally found a consistent hitting stroke last year.
22. Desmond Jennings. Started pathetically in 2012 and finished strong; could steal 50 bases if he gets on, with at least 20 HRs.
23. Shin Soo Choo. I expect him to continue rebounding from a poor 2011, and his new home could help him to more than 25 HRs.
24. Michael Bourn. Will be interesting to see how he adjusts to the AL, but he gets on base almost every day and could steal 50, with double-digit triples.
25. Alex Gordon. Dropped from 23 HRs to 14 last year, but eye-popping 51 doubles is the key to his ranking here.
26. Carlos Gomez. Unexpected HR binge late last season to go with great spead makes him look like a 20/40 candidate.
27. Carlos Beltran. 32 HRs and 97 RBIs in 2012 should be worth more, but at 36 it may be hard to match those numbers.
28. Austin Jackson. A bit of a sleeper here - a .300 hitter who could reach 20 HRs and has the speed for more than 20 SBs and double-digit triples.
29. Shane Victorino. Good home park for him to pile up extra-base hits and the occasional inside-the-park HR. A little higher BA could help him break 50 SBs.
30. Carl Crawford. A former top five overall pick has fallen far, but probably will start the season close to healthy, and could end up being a draft steal this deep.
Christian Yelich: Tearing it up this spring with five HRs and almost a .400 BA. Will start the season on the farm, but a nice draft-late-and-wait option.
Ichiro Suzuki: He's being skipped in a lot of drafts, but could have a late-career resurgence in New York with double-digit HRs and 30-plus SBs.
Alfonso Soriano: Found his way back to 32 HRs and 108 RBIs for a 101-loss team last year. Imagine if he gets traded, or the Cubs manage to be just a 90-loss team.
Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.
Those ensnared in the current criminal case - which alleges that they paid for their children to get spots on the sports teams of big-name schools - couldn't have succeeded if the college admissions process wasn't already biased toward wealthier families.Continue reading "College Admission Scandal Grew Out Of A System Already Rigged With 'Side Doors'" »
Posted on Mar 15, 2019