2011 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Old Faces in New Places

Crawford has gotten off to a slow start in 2011.

Every year in this crazy world of professional sports, some huge free agent acquisition goes down, or someone gets picked up off waivers and we wonder how that player could even look in another uniform. Think of Drew Brees playing for the San Diego Chargers before he went to the New Orleans Saints, or even Johnny Damon signing with the Yankees in 06, which I thought was the craziest thing ever, especially after being so popular with the Boston Red Sox and supposedly hating the Yankees. What about all those so-called bloody games and brutal series’ they had together? Anyway, it’s hard to imagine seeing certain players in different uniforms, but it happens every year and we always wonder how it’s all going to pan out for the new team and player.

 

So far in the young 2011 regular season, things are not panning out quite as I would have expected—for the most part at least. I can’t get too ahead of myself here because I know that

 

even if a player has been on a week and a half long hitting streak to open the season, then that might be all it is—just a

hitting streak and not some omen as for what’s to come for the entirety of the regular season. Baseball is a streaky sport, but we can’t help but pass some of that good ole, early, regular season judgment, can we?

Carl Crawford: Crawford is obviously off to a bad start. He has never been traded to another major league team, so maybe the new surroundings and experience of the whole, “new team thing” maybe getting to him, who knows? Carl Crawford hasn’t had a start to the season this bad in his entire career! Is it time to panic? Of course not—Crawford is a good enough player that he will figure out whatever it is that he’s doing wrong and get it fixed. The BoSox aren’t paying him the big bucks to come over there and stink up the place, no, he’s too good and too fast for that. Crawford is a baller and he’ll get it turned around in due time. To all my fellow fantasy heads, remember, patience is a virtue, just wait him out, your category index will thank you later!

Adrian Gonzalez: Gonzalez is off to a nice start with his new team. He is hitting a solid .286, which should climb, and is also scoring runs. I was a little nervous in drafting Adrian Gonzalez because of the whole shoulder thing, but it looks like it’s not bothering him at all. When it comes to surgery and injuries, I’m always scared of re-aggravation, but so far, so good. He’s stroking the ball to all fields and already looks as though he’s won over the hearts of the Boston faithful. I wonder how many RBI doubles he’ll punch off that green monster wall out there in left field by the time it’s all said and done? Or better yet, how many pull shot home runs he’ll collect over there by the pesky pole out in right? Boston’s tiny field should be a fun place for him to play.

Adam Dunn: Dunn was hitting .286 until he went down with that appendectomy. He got his first home run with the White Sox out the way nice and early on opening day. That gave fans much reason to be optimistic about their new acquisition. He should be fine once he returns.

Victor Martinez: Victor Martinez is off to a solid start. Already with two home runs and seven RBI. V-Mart crushes the ball and usually gets good contact. That’s exactly what Detroit is paying him to do—to come in there and get that bat head through the zone and drive in those runs. Leyland loves the guys that can drive in the runs, so V-Mart should most definitely see plenty of at bats this year—never mind him playing DH.

Adam LaRoche: LaRoche is off to a slow start. The good thing here is considering he struck out 172 times last year in 2010, at least his K’s aren’t through the roof to go along with the .179 batting average—it could be worse. LaRoche should pick it up in due time. If you can handle the struggling average, keep him in your lineup and hope to catch him on a hot week.

Miguel Tejada: I have to admit, Miguel Tejada is looking good slapping the ball around in a Giants uniform. He always makes good, solid contact and seems to be fitting in very well in that San Francisco lineup. The season is still young, and there is much more to happen, but if he can stay healthy, he should be in line for yet another, near-full season of productive baseball, like he always manages to do.

Jayson Werth: As a ball player, I love Jayson Werth to death. He has helped power me to numerous fantasy gold medals in leagues of at least 14 teams (all checking managers), but that was then and this is now. I shied away from him in drafts this year, not because his talent was just going to decide to suddenly drop off, but because he was going to be with the Washington Nationals and not the Philadelphia Phillies—big difference there! In D.C., he doesn’t have as much protection in the lineup and not as many threats around him as he had playing in Philly. Right now in the young season it’s showing with a sub .200 average to go along with only one rib eye steak and one home run. Werth is one of my personal favorites, so hopefully he gets it right, but I wouldn’t expect him to match what he was doing in Philadelphia.

Vladimir Guerrero: Vlad started the year out kind of slow but then started to pick it up about midway through the second week of the season. With all that protection and talent he’s got around him in that Oriole lineup, he should put up a solid year. He looks comfortable up at the plate and is swinging away at anything that comes close—for the fences of course. Showalter’s got the birds playing some good baseball right now, so I wouldn’t even be surprised if he puts up better numbers than he did last year playing for the potent and run hungry Texas Rangers.

Rajai Davis: Davis is off to a horribly slow start. Here is another one of the players I like, but just isn’t showing up from a fantasy perspective. He’s a great talent with good hitting ability and terrific speed, but constantly crossing out of the lineup for sore ankle issues doesn’t see to it that you’re winning your matchup in convincing fashion. He’s already missed several games and that really gets to be an annoyance–any 2008 Chipper Jones owners here? I don’t care how high of an average you hit for, if I can’t trust to play you because I’m scared you’re going to pull up lame running to first, then what good do you do me–especially in a weekly lineup league, where players are stuck in the starting lineup for the entire week. All that crossing out of the lineup might help out in your k department, but certainly not in many others. If Rajai Davis can get his ankle taken care of once and for all, I see big things for him this year in Toronto. There’s just something about that turf field that makes me see tons of base hit singles, runs and stolen bases for Mr. Davis in 2011—health permitting of course!

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