Welcome back to another exhilarating episode of Breakouts, Sleepers, and Busts. In case you missed our other drama filled coverage, here's a look at the Catchers - First basemen - Second basemen - and Shortstop.
In last week’s episode, Rustyn confronted Jon about his secret love affair with Alcides Escobar; insisting HE was his one true fan!
Tab decided to comes to terms with his secret affinity with cows, and his utter love with the Cabrera kids, and Mike uncovered the shocking truth about Derek Jeter’s possible over-value sending him in a tailspin of drunken fury, and sleepless nights.
Meanwhile, Ray was busy dreaming of delusions that Eric Aybar would finally make an ultimate push as an elite lead-off hitter; a notion that actually holds more water than the diapers he was so accustomed to wearing.
Will the gang stumble upon fantasy gold this week? Will Jose Reyes’ thyroid be the next issue in a long line of sudden ailments, and will the site’s administrator discover the shocking truth about his crack team of writers ( they all just love fresh scones and tea in the morning)?
All this and more will be answered right now in this week’s episode. (Sponsored by fans of The Bill Bixby Fan Club—Jon Schuman President).
Rustyn Rose: (Mayor of tiny town, master of the original B.C. Rich Seagull)
Breakout: Ian Stewart, COL – Others may not be as high on Stewart this year as I am. I think a full year in Denver will see him put up fairly solid numbers; about 90 Runs and RBIs, with 30 dingers. The plus is his 2nd base eligibility. Not any speed here, but it’s the power you want. The concern is his average. Can he become more patient at the plate. I think he’ll go up and down with that but his BA should be somewhere between .260 - .270. Not rock star heights, but neither is Mark Reynolds, and he’s ranked much higher.
Bust: Chipper Jones, ATL – This is a tough call to make for many reasons. The Chipper has been about as consistent as they come for years, but I think at this point the only thing you can count on him for moving forward is a .300+ average over and 125-135 games played. He won’t hurt you, but a rebound from last year’s drop off is not likely.
Sleeper: Alex Gordon, KC – Gordon has been the poster child for fantasy disappointment for a few seasons now, yet the promise is there. The Royals are sticking with him, and he could make a nice late steal. Remember, Ryan Zimmerman took a few years to finally bring his promise to fruition.
Tab Bamford: (They say he counts sheep in his sleep, while doing yoga in his dreams – fascinating!)
Breakout: Mark Teahen, CHW: Teahen is playing in hitter friendly US Cellular Field on Chicago's south side now, and will get a chance (for the first time in his career) to play one position every day without the pressure of being an uber prospect looming over his head. With minimal pressure and consistency, he could be a nice surprise.
Bust: Jhonny Peralta, CLE: Peralta? A bust? Really? Yes, trust me.
Sleeper: Scott Rolen, CIN: Rolen's interesting because he'll be the old man with no pressure in a potent young lineup, and a hitter-friendly park in Cincy. Expecting 30 home runs would be a mistake, but a solid 20-25 with 75-80 RBI wouldn't seem out of the question.
Mike Sholty: (Forget Tommy Boy, Mike DID sell a ketchup Popsicle to a woman in white gloves!)
Breakout: Brandon Wood, LAA: Brandon Wood has been jerked around from the minors to the majors a lot, but hopefully he can land a starting gig. If he can, look for him to be a big source of HR and RBI while maybe hurting your avg a little.
Sleeper: David Freese, STL: Brandon Wood and David Freese both have different stories but both are great late round choices in drafts. David Freese probably would have made a big bang last year if it wasn't for his injury. He's 27 years old now and ready to tear up the majors. I think he can have a .300+ avg with 25 HR if he gets regular at bats.
Bust: Chipper Jones, ATL: It's obvious why I'd pick Chipper Jones as a bust. His production has been dropping in recent years, and he is practically an old man at 38 years old. People are sometimes drafting him in the same rounds that Ryan Zimmerman goes, and that is just terrible. Chipper might put up some numbers, but definitely not numbers worth his draft position. You know what you are getting here folks, good batting average and ho-hum in the other four hitter categories.
Jon Schuman: (“You shouldn’t have done that, he’s just a boy.”)
Breakout: Gordon Beckham, CHW: The kid is going to be a superstar. Expect a big step forward in 2010 as he makes his rise to the top of the heap. He is a great target on draft day. Will qualify at 2B shortly after the season starts as well!
Bust: Mark Reynolds, ARI: He strikes out way too much to repeat his 2009 performance. I am calling for a drop a big drop in batting average, as well as a dip in homeruns and stolen bases. He is way too much of a risk to take that early in your draft.
Sleeper: David Freese, STL: Freese has a solid bat, and should play every day in St. Louis since the Cards really lack any other options. He could surprise a lot of people with his production, and won't require a huge investment, making him a nice target.
Ray Tannock: (He really does wear his sunglasses at night.)
Breakout: Andy LaRoche, PIT: LaRoche finished 2009 with a bang hitting 5 HRs and 18 RBI in September and that could be insight as to what’s to come. Surrounded by some really good speed, and with his sophomore year now behind him (I say 2009 is his sophomore year since it was the first time he played an entire season) one has to wonder if this is the year the 26 year old finally breaks out; the chances are pretty good.
Bust: Pedro Feliz, HOU: If you draft Pedro Feliz, you should really have your head checked. He has been on the decline for a while now, and that was when he was in Philly; a hitter friendly park. Now in Houston you can be sure to see a significant decline in his fantasy numbers.
Sleeper: Mat Gamel, MIL: There’s a lot of mystery as to whether or not Gamel will be called up to take over at third, but the chances are very high. The only thing standing in his way is his defense, which, is said to be vastly improved from a year ago.
Remember, this is the same guy who hit .242/.338/.422 with 5 HRs, 20 RBIs, in only 128 AB. He is also the coveted additional left handed bat the Brew Crew are in need of.
Tune in next week, when Rustyn goes one on one with the outfield, and Scoob and the gang get caught up in another hair raising mystery.
Check out these other great articles by the Fantasyknuckleheads staff.
Sholty's Drafting Advice - Vampires in MLB? - Do Baseball Parks Really Matter? - Julius Peppers Gets How Much Money? - Position Worth: Is It Worth the Hype?