Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
The most elusive and valuable fantasy hitter is the one who combines both home run power and the speed to steal bases. Most times, to get the best-known of these guys, you have to pay a premium price.
If we define this player as one who hits 30-or-more home runs and steals 20-or-more bases, there were just two members of this exclusive "club' in 2008 - centerfielder Grady Sizemore (33 HR, 38 SB) and shortstop Hanley Ramirez (33 HR, 35 SB).
Last year, if you wanted either player, you paid a premium price. Ramirez cost you either the first or second overall pick (Pujols was the other option) and Sizemore was the sixth player off the board.
Neither player lived up to those lofty expectations.
Ramirez had a very good season (24 HR, 106 RBI, 27 SB, .342 batting average), but it wasn't the 35-35 fantasy owners were hoping for or paying for.
Sizemore owners were much less fortunate, as he played just 106 games, many of them at less than 100% strength (elbow) before shutting his season down around Labor Day. He ended up with 18 HR, 13 SB and a sorry .248 batting average.
There were, however, many more "members" of the "30-20" club in 2009 than in the previous year. Eight hitters; Mark Reynolds, Jayson Werth, Nelson Cruz, Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Braun, Chase Utley, Ian Kinsler and Curtis Granderson applied for and received entry into the "30-20" club.
Four other guys were very close or have done it in the past and should be considered in this group: Ramirez, Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Sizemore.
Position scarcity being what it is, shortstops Ramirez and Tulowitzki, and second basemen Utley and Kinsler will likely cost you the most on Draft Day. All will have to be picked in the top-15 as their ADP for 2010 are 2.0, 12.7, 4.8 and 15.7, respectively.
The three "least respected" of the 30-20 members are Jayson Werth (ADP 44.2), Curtis Granderson (50.6) and Nelson Cruz (68.3) which makes them "Best Bargain" candidates.
Werth is a key ingredient in the Phillies offense, as the sole right-handed power hitter protecting lefties Utley, Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez. He first arrived on the fantasy scene in 2008 and put together a stellar 36 HR, 99 RBI, 20 SB season in 2009. Unless contract worries get in the way, he's likely to match or exceed those numbers this season.
Granderson leaves the spacious, pitcher-friendly confines of Comerica Park in Detroit for hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium. Surrounded by Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Robinson Cano, Granderson should easily surpass his 91 run, 30 HR, 71 RBI, 20 SB totals of 2009 and should be a "steal" at No.50.
Cruz, who's name has been mentioned in some trade rumors, hit 33 HR and stole 20 bases last season. However, I would rate him the least reliable of the three because of his low batting average (.255 lifetime) and high strikeout total (118 in 462 AB). Still, as a sixth-round selection, I'd still be willing to take the gamble.
|Possible 2010 "30-20" Club members|