A look at the surprise home run hitters of 2010, relative to their pre-season PECOTA forecasts.
On Tuesday night in Kansas City, Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista launched his major league-leading 26th home run, continuing one of the most unexpected power surges in recent memory. Long known as a journeyman with decent patience and a modicum of power, few expected Bautista at this stage of his career to suddenly turn into a long-ball machine. It’s always fun to see players suddenly show a propensity for the long ball—perhaps we identify with players who manage the baseball equivalent of the young Marty McFly balling up his fist and decking Biff with an unexpected haymaker.
Two speedsters join the Value Picks list, while "The Curse" claims yet another victim.
Alumni Update: Several ex-Value Picks again appear to be value picks, for the same reasons given originally. If the players listed here aren't available or don't fit a specific need, consider Mike Cameron, Carlos Guillen (whose value should shoot up even more when he qualifies as a second baseman), Will Venable (his elite speed should really shine now that the rough pitching matchups are behind the Padres), and even Carlos Gomez (who may continue to face playing time threats all season, but has the stolen base potential to keep him on the radar).
Status Quo: The Cubs have a “good problem”, with seemingly everyone on their roster hitting the cover off the ball, aside from the two guys who seemed the safest bets to do so before the season began. This results in nonsense like Jeff Baker getting a start in right field, and Xavier Nady getting increased playing time, including a start against righty Colby Lewis while Tyler Colvin waited on the bench to have a late-inning clutch double. With the starting three locked in place through 2011 (and that suddenly appears to be a very positive thing), Colvin will probably end up playing first base next year, when Derrek Lee is allowed to walk. In the meantime, the Cubs are likely trying to showcase Nady for a potential trade. It's all very frustrating for Tyler Colvin owners in fantasy baseball, but keep in mind that Lou Piniella is a notorious “hot hand” manager, and also that Alfonso Soriano hasn't had the best health record in recent seasons. Meanwhile, iIt was a big RBI week for Delmon Young. It should be noted, that – while it doesn't help him in fantasy baseball directly – he already has 12 walks in 2010, equally his 2009 total (posted in 416 PA).
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A farm system that is in no way deep can at least thrill Reds fans with the best prospect tandem in the game.
1. Homer Bailey, RHP
2. Jay Bruce, RF Very Good Prospects
3. Joey Votto, 1B Good Prospects
4. Drew Stubbs, CF
5. Johnny Cueto, RHP
6. Travis Wood, LHP
7. Sean Watson, LHP Average Prospects
8. Milton Loo, SS/3B
9. Chris Valaika, SS
10. Paul Janish, SS
It's not too early to look ahead to the 2006 Draft, which expects to have few position players taken in the first round.
It's only March, and the 2006 Major League Draft is nearly three months away, but it's never too early to check with the talent evaluators to get an early look at which players are gaining and slipping on early boards. The high-school season has barely begun for most teams, but the college season is six weeks in for some teams, offering plenty of opportunity for players to make an early impression. Overall, this year's talent is weaker than it's been in previous years, particularly among position players. "Last year, we had Alex Gordon, Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Braun," said one National League scout. "This year, there is just nothing in that class when it comes to college hitters." One American League front-office executive speculated that as many as 22 of the 30 first-round picks in June could be pitchers, while a scouting director remarked, "Even that number might be a little low." Again, it's early, and as a scout based on the East Coast put it, "We still have lots of times to see these guys. Somewhere between now and June, some guy will start exploding and everyone will suddenly be all over him . . . we just don't know who that guy is yet."