A Look Towards ’08
Please project the following players stats for 2008:
2) Mike Jacobs
3) Ryan Braun
4) Jason Bay
5) Prince Fielder
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Now that I know what your favorite movie is, I can answer your question! Ramirez is obviously on the decline, but a “declining” Manny is still very valuable. Figure .285-26-90 for 2008. This is of course assuming he’ll be healthy for close to a full season.
Mike Jacobs was a popular preseason sleeper pick, and although he has shown flashes of production, Jacobs remains far too inconsistent to be viewed as an everyday fantasy starter. Playing in spacious Dolphin Stadium doesn’t help. If he goes 275-22-75 next year, consider it a solid season.
Every time I see Ryan Braun’s name following “HR” in the box score (which seems like every day), my only question is how high will this guy go in drafts next spring. I’m not sure if a half season of brilliance is enough to place him in the top two rounds, but considering Felix Hernandez’s draft position in 2006 (only 12 big league starts in ’05) and where Alex Gordon was taken this year (no prior major league experience), it’s pretty clear that owners tend to overvalue these young emerging stars. The difference with Braun is that he’s played in the majors for over three months now! I still expect pitchers to eventually adjust to Braun. That’s not to say a .300 average with 35 homers and 110 RBI is out of the question for ’08.
Perhaps there’s no bigger fantasy dud this year than Jason Bay. Though the power numbers aren’t terrible, they’re very disappointing for a player selected no later than the end of the second round in most drafts. And Bay’s .253 average is easily the worst single season mark of his career. Bay’s previous low was .282. So what does all this mean for 2008? I expect a rebound in the neighborhood of .290-32-100. Don’t let one bad season scare you away!
As for Fielder, it’s hard to believe the kid’s only 23 years old. He’s already a monster. Fielder’s shown great patience at the plate, with a strikeout to walk ratio of 105 to 70. This is a very good sign for a guy who could easily approach .280-50-125 next season.
Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com