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3 UP

PLAYER PROJECTIONS 1 Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox

Pedroia is coming off an AL MVP season in which he hit 17 homers and stole 20 bases. And being in the Red Sox’s lineup ensures a high run total, too. 2 Jose Lopez, Mariners While stuck in the mess that is baseball in Seattle, Lopez had a solid year (.297, 17 home runs, 89 RBIs). And at only 25, he’s sure to improve. 3 Alexei Ramirez, White Sox If Ramirez can match his numbers from last year (.290, 21 home runs, 77 RBIs, 13 steals), he will be a solid early middleround pick for any fantasy team.

3 DOWN 1 Freddy Sanchez, Pirates

After batting .304 with 11 home runs in 2007, Sanchez’s stats declined across the board in ’08. 2 Robinson Cano, Yankees Cano took a big step back last season, hitting just .271 with 14 home runs and 72 RBIs. He’s no longer the “sure thing” everyone thought he was. 3 Mark Ellis, Athletics Ellis had right-shoulder surgery last season, and his statistics declined drastically from 2007 when he was healthy.

SLEEPERS If you neglected to jump on the wealth of second-base depth early in your draft, have no fear—there are plenty of young up-and-comers who could make waiting pay off. Kansas City’s Mike Aviles played more games at shortstop last year, but he’ll have second-base eligibility this season. Alexi Casilla had more than 100 hits and 50 RBIs Alexi in just 98 games for the Casilla Twins. Emilio Bonifacio is a speedster who stole 123 bases in three minor league seasons. He could be a sleeper source for steals depending on how the Marlins use him.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

2009 PROJ. VALUE

STAT PROJECTIONS HR RBI SB 20 83 28 19 80 20 11 53 42

Ian Kinsler Dustin Pedroia Brian Roberts

$30 $24 $20

R 107 112 106

Alexei Ramirez

$19 $15 $14 $14

84 64 85 82

22 5 13 16

83 42 74 75

16 10 5 2

.299 .318 .303 .281

$12 $10 $9 $9 $5

93 70 68 95 62

7 10 11 5 12

62 54 58 47 59

7 10 7 11 13

.321 .288 .316 .279 .252

$4 $3 $3 $3

57 52 68 54

5 4 7 4

50 42 57 37

6 8 4 6

.263 .284 .262 .269

Howie Kendrick Jose Lopez Robinson Cano Placido Polanco Alexi Casilla Mike Aviles Akinori Iwamura Mark Ellis Asdrubal Cabrera Joe Inglett Marco Scutaro Erick Aybar

AVG. .330 .333 .292

$1: Willie Bloomquist, Jamey Carroll, Mark Grudzielanek, Brendan Harris, Juan Uribe.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

2009 PROJ. VALUE

Chase Utley Brandon Phillips Dan Uggla Mark DeRosa Orlando Hudson Kelly Johnson Kazuo Matsui Rickie Weeks Jeff Baker Jeff Kent Felipe Lopez

STAT PROJECTIONS HR RBI SB 22 85 8 28 91 30

$30 $25

R 119 101

$23 $15 $15 $11 $10

100 86 72 85 72

30 18 10 13 5

95 78 47 66 31

5 6 7 10 24

.258 .280 .293 .289 .296

$10 $8 $6 $6

84 62 54 75

13 15 12 7

49 58 60 47

22 5 0 9

.238 .269 .278 .280

$5 $5 $4 $4 $3

53 50 49 47 51

11 11 3 2 5

55 52 31 33 44

1 3 14 15 2

.266 .281 .261 .272 .272

$3 $3 $3 $3

50 70 55 36

3 8 8 11

34 51 40 39

2 0 12 3

.300 .280 .263 .229

Ian Stewart Ronnie Belliard Luis Castillo Eugenio Velez Ray Durham Aaron Miles Freddy Sanchez Willie Harris Blake DeWitt

AVG. .306 .289

$2: Mark Antonelli, Clint Barmes, Mark Loretta; $1: Emilio Bonaficio , Emmanuel Burriss, Ronny Cedeno, Chris Coghlan, Damion Easley, Mike Fontenot, Kevin Frandsen, Edgar Gonzalez, Tadahito Iguchi, Adam Kennedy.

MEDICAL REPORT

(L TO R): BOB LEVERONE / SN; JAMES LANG / US PRESSWIRE

ASCENDING

The injury bug nipped a few of the position’s best last year, but none of the injuries are expected to carry over to the spring. Ian Kinsler missed the final six weeks of the season with a sports hernia. The injury doesn’t typically cause any long-term repercussions, but keep it in mind when you’re looking at his final stats from last year. Brandon Phillips was forced out of the final three weeks of 2008 with a broken finger. However, the injury shouldn’t be cause for concern in ’09. Howie Kendrick missed 24 of the last 30 games of the season with a strained hamstring, and sat out for the Angels earlier in the year because of the same injury. Kendrick seems to be hurt on a yearly basis (he has never played more than 92 games in a season), so remember that before picking him. Orlando Hudson was lost for the final two months of last season with a dislocated left wrist. He also missed time in ’07 because of thumb surgery, so take note of the two hand injuries during the past two seasons. However, Hudson has had plenty of time to recover from the injury and should be ready for 2009.

DESCENDING

INJURY CONCERN

SLEEPER

Mr. Consistency If you’re not into taking risks, then Brian Roberts is your man. Since 2005, Roberts has been a .296 hitter, averaging more than 12 home runs and 60 RBIs per year during that span. With the exception of Chase Utley, it’s tough to find another second baseman who has been as consistent for as long as Roberts. Not only does he produce year after year, Roberts also seems to improve with each season. He had a career year in 2005, so it wasn’t surprising to see his numbers dip in ’06. But since then, Roberts’ hits have gone up each year, as well as his extra-base knocks, which are important in points leagues. Roberts will likely put up solid numbers this year, as Baltimore had one of the more explosive offenses in baseball last season. Even if Aubrey Huff and Melvin Mora regress, Roberts will continue to do his part for your fantasy team. SN’s Fantasy Source baseball: www.sportingnews.com/fantasy/baseball

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12/8/08 12:11:28 PM

2009 Sporting News Fantasy Baseball pg. 2  

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