Soriano a top-five pick?

Alfonso Soriano has been injury prone, particularly in the last two seasons.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself." said Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his March 1933 inaugural address. It's fear which keeps us from drafting Alfonso Soriano as a top-five selection.

Fear of injury.

Soriano has all the physical tools to be every bit as good as the current best fantasy player, at least in my opinion - Florida shortstop Hanley Ramirez.

But the difference between the two is that Ramirez plays almost everyday while Soriano has been injury prone, particularly in the last two seasons.

Since coming to the big leagues in 2006, Ramirez has played 465 out of a possible 486 games. Meanwhile, Soriano has played 403. He missed 27 games in 2007 (hamstring) and last year missed a whopping 53 games when he made two trips to the DL - in April with a calf injury and in June after breaking a finger.

As a fantasy owner, you can't have your superstar, the team's anchor, sitting on the sidelines.

However, when Soriano has played, he has been every bit equal to Ramirez.

So the question is - do you take a chance or miss out when someone else is willing to take the gamble.

You also have to weigh the effect of not leading off. The Cubs seemed determined this season to bat Soriano in the middle of the lineup instead of at the top. This would cause him to lose a few at bats and possible slow down his running game with clogged base paths. However, it would give him more opportunities to knock in runs.

"I want to work hard and play 162 games this year," said Soriano at the recent Cubs Convention. "My legs feel good. I want to be the same guy I used to be three or four years ago."

Soriano's ADP in 2008 was 13.45, meaning he was an early second-round selection. Coming off a year in which he played only 109 games, hit less than 30 HRs and stole less than 20 bases, I believe you can draft him as a second- round pick despite his first-round talent because those owners who go strictly "by the numbers" will overlook him.

Don't pick him in the top-five, but do make sure you get him on your team this season. He's going to have a big statistical year.

Per game average -

Soriano
Runs Hits HR RBI SB SLG
0.724 1.19 0.267 0.595 0.112 0.552


Ramirez
Runs Hits HR RBI SB SLG
0.793 1.23 0.169 0.445 0.294 0.527
Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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