By Zach Steinhorn
in fantasy baseball is as much about unproven rookies as it is about
established stars. Why? Because you don’t have to spend an early-round draft
pick on a guy with little to no big league experience. As we head towards the
finish line of the 2010 fantasy season, you can bet that all teams still in
contention have at least one breakout rookie on their roster. The time has come
to present the 2010 All-Rookie fantasy team. We’ll cover the infielders today
and move on to outfielders and pitchers on Thursday.
We all predicted
a bright big league future for Posey, but few could have expected the San
Francisco backstop to ascend to elite catcher status this quickly. For some
reason, the Giants decided to keep their top prospect down in the Minors until
late-May, but once he got the call it didn’t take long for him to make his
mark. Posey’s batting average has yet to dip below .289 this season and his
performance in July (.417 AVG 7 HR 24 RBI) was flat out ridiculous. Project his
stats over a full 162 game schedule and you’ve got 24 homers and 104 RBIs to go
along with a .321 average. Pretty good. Buster will head into next year as a
clear-cut top 5 fantasy catcher, and keeper league owners must be salivating
over the thought of having him on their squad for years to come.
stat line (.279 AVG 18 HR 78 RBI) doesn’t exactly jump out at you,
let’s note that Gaby went undrafted in the vast majority of mixed leagues, so
to get this kind of production off the waiver wire cannot be overlooked.
Sanchez’s 16 home runs in just 85 Minor League games last season suggests room
for improvement in the power department, and considering the depth at the first
base position, there’s a good chance he falls to the very late rounds in drafts
next spring. 20-25 homers and a solid average in the 22nd round.
What’s not to like?
I’ll be honest,
even though he did appear in 17 games for the Pirates in ’09, I had no idea who
Walker was when he got called up by Pittsburgh towards the end of May. I would
soon find out. The 25-year-old kicked off his big league season with a bang,
recording multiple hits in six of his first 10 games. He’s been a mainstay in
the Pirates’ lineup ever since, and has even earned a spot on most fantasy
rosters as a quality option at the weak-hitting second base position. Walker
will surely be a tempting choice come draft day 2011, but be careful not to
overrate him. A very high .349 BABIP points towards a regression in the average
department. Don’t be surprised if by this time next year, we’re categorizing
Walker as more of an NL-only choice than a viable mixed league starter.
league owners will probably want to aim higher than Desmond when drafting their
starting shortstop next season. That said, the 25-year-old will make for an
intriguing late-round option. While Desmond doesn’t profile as much of a power
threat right now (just 10 homers so far this season), his ability on the
basepaths (16 steals in 142 games) combined with a steady average is certainly
worthy of attention. Factor in Desmond’s considerable improvement in the second
half (.312 AVG since the All-Star break as opposed to .255 AVG before the
Midsummer Classic) and we’re looking at a player who still has plenty of room
to grow. I can see him develop into a consistent 15 home run, 20 stolen base
guy as soon as 2011.
Johnson plays both football and baseball? No, this is the other Chris Johnson,
the one who, after dominating at Triple-A this year to the tune of a .329
average and eight homers in 38 games, took his talents to the Majors and didn’t
miss a beat. Johnson batted .374 with four home runs and 19 RBIs in 30 games
from June 22 through the end of July, piecing together a 14-game hitting streak
in the process. A 16 RBI month of August followed, and it became clear that
Houston had found its third baseman of the present and future. Not only will Johnson
be a popular NL-only draft target come 2011, there’s a good chance he’ll
maintain mixed league value.
Check back in on
Thursday for the rest of the 2010 All-Rookie Team.