April 2, 2010

WFS: NL East

This is the last edition of a series of articles I will be writing, where I pick out three players in each division of the majors and tell you whether I think they will be a Win, Fail or Sleeper in the 2010 campaign. The Win player will be a high pick (1st 5-6 rounds) that I think will reward you with quality, if not excellent production. The Fail player will be one who, you guessed it, will fail to meet expectations, and the sleeper is self explanatory.

Win: Ryan Zimmerman 3B, Washington Nationals (ADP: 34.84)
Let's play a quick game of which third baseman would you rather have!

Player A 2009 Stats: 100/33/113/9/.281, 24 Years Old
Player B 2009 Stats: 110/33/106/2/.292, 25 Years Old

Seems pretty even. Now what if I said that the Player B could be had 2 full rounds later in your draft? Well that would certainly make the lack of 7 SBs seem like a pretty minuscule difference. That's what happens when guys like Evan Longoria (aka Player A) get on the cover of MLB 2K10 and Ryan Zimmerman gets hidden in Washington. This ADP discrepancy is derived more from Zimmerman's anonymity than Longoria's stardom. Both of these guys should be early second rounders, since they provide elite power numbers from a position that is very shallow. I mean the fact that some people have to start Chipper Jones should give you some urgency to draft a third baseman early. There's really no statistics that point to a regression from Zimmerman, so he should make a real steal in the 3rd round.

Fail: Carlos Beltran OF, New York Mets (ADP: 93.62)
When I started sifting through the ADPs of the players in the NL East, I figured with the Mets and Nats both residing here that this would be the easiest portion of the article to fill. Amazingly enough, I found the majority of the guys on these bad, bad teams to be going right about where they should. In the end it came down to Beltran, Jose Reyes and Johan, three injury prone guys from the same team. I decided to leave Reyes alone since there is still so much unknown with his condition, and say what you will about Johan, but he was still pretty impressive last year in limited play. That left me with Beltran, who still played a relatively good game in 2009, but his age and position scare me. When guys who will give you guaranteed numbers are going nearby (see: Ibanez, Raul and Hunter, Torii) it is hard to justify spending a pick on Beltran when he might only play half the season. Even if he were to play the whole year, you could argue that playing in CitiField would only make his numbers fairly even with the aforementioned guys who don't come with so much risk. Beltran was a total stud back in his Royal days, but I just don't see him being in the shape that he needs to be to warrant a 10th round pick. Go with one of the younger guys on the upswing in their careers, like McLouth and McCutchen and leave the injury risk for another owner.

Sleeper: J.A. Happ SP, Philadelphia Phillies (ADP: 259.92)
It would be really easy to take advantage of the fact that Mock Draft Central has Jason Heyward with an ADP of 205.46, and I have too much respect for you guys to do that to you. Instead, I'm going to go with one of the big surprises from last year, who still isn't getting much love. J.A. Happ is moving permanently into the rotation of one of the best teams in baseball, behind a guy so intelligent in the game that they nicknamed him Doc. While Happ's win total and ERA were out of this world, his K rate left something to be desired. What makes this okay though, is that he posted a very impressive 10.07 K/9 in his final AAA year before being called up. He has shown he can strike out a hefty amount of batters, so as he gains more experience his major league total should rise as well. There's really no doubt in my mind that his ERA will come back down to Earth, since its pretty hard to improve on 2.93 without being an ace. But, while that number goes down, his win total should go up to somewhere in the 15-17 range, since he has such a high powered offense behind him. If you are like me and save a few slots towards the end of your rotation for sleeper starters there aren't many other guys in the 250 range that I would pick over Happ and his potential.