Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Baseball's top commodities...

I'm not a huge baseball fan, but it sure does fill the months between hockey season and football season. Plus, the Brewers are finally rid of Bud Selig and his family and, here's a shocker, instantly they stop sucking.

An article today on named the top 50 commodities in baseball right now... Interesting understaking and worth a read. Between this article and SI's baseball preview issue, I've got enough tailgating conversation to last at least 3 games..

Some highlights...

48. Prince Fielder, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers (22)You can excuse Fielder if he looked a bit nervous during his first dozen at-bats this season -- much has been expected of the not-so-little Prince since he started swatting home runs into the Tiger Stadium overhang while taking batting practice with his daddy at the age of 12. Fielder combines as much raw power potential as any prospect in the game with a refined hitting approach, going the other way and using the count to his advantage. Given his bubbly build, he's likely to be a better player in his 20s than his 30s, but he could easily be at 200 home runs and counting before he deposits his first free agency paycheck.
(I saw this kid play for two years in the minors, as Nashville, the Brewers farm team, were in the same conference as the New Orleans Zephyrs , first Houston, now Washington's farm team. He was ridiculous at 19. At 22 he's finally managing his bulk --he's shaped exactly like Daddy Cecil --and they're working with him at 1st base. So far, so good, is all I have to say...)

44. Ben Sheets, P, Milwaukee Brewers (27)Speaking of injury problems, Sheets' recurring back issues following very heavy workloads in 2003 and 2004 were enough to have us demote him 10 slots from where he'd deserve to rank based on his statistical record alone. Good numbers for Brewers fans: 264, 32. Those were, respectively, the number of strikeouts and walks that Sheets had in 2004. Bad numbers for Brewers fans: 49, 13. Those were, respectively, the uniform numbers of Teddy Higuera and Jeff D'Amico.
(Ben Sheets has some great stats, but he's looking like Milwaukee's Mark Prior. Tons of potential and an inability to stay healthy. He's either going to become an idol or he's going to end up as one more crappy Milwaukee pitcher that flashes then thankfully fades into oblivion.)

38. Lance Berkman, 1B-OF, Houston Astros (30)Little-known fact: While Minute Maid Park is a fine home for right-handed hitters, it depresses the numbers of lefties to the tune of 10 to 15 percent, roughly comparable to RFK Stadium or PETCO Park. In other words, Berkman, who takes most of his at-bats (and does the vast majority of his damage) from the port side of home plate, is chronically underrated everywhere outside of the Houston Metroplex. Not that he needs much sympathy: Berkman's career OPS of .973 is the 17th highest in baseball history entering this season.
(I feel like this is a low rating for Berkman. He's got some serious bat power and seems to be the quiet leader of the Astros team. He's interesting to watch in person. He more swaggers than walks and I swear his whole head moves with whatever it is he's chewing in his mouth.)

24. Justin Upton, OF-SS, Arizona Diamondbacks (18)Only two recent high school products have been talked about with the same can't-miss praise as Justin Upton. Those players are Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez. Could Upton turn out to be baseball's version of Kwame Brown or Ryan Leaf? Perhaps. But the Diamondbacks, a canny organization, were willing to stake big bucks on Upton's pedigree, agreeing to a record $6.1 million signing bonus. And Upton did nothing but impress during his first professional at-bats in spring training, hitting .500/.563/.857 over parts of eight games. This ranking might seem awfully high for a player with such a limited track record -- but we could find a dozen major league personnel men who would tell you that we've ranked Upton too low.

13. Derrek Lee, 1B, Chicago Cubs (30)The Cubs' self-image always has depended greatly on the presence of a superstar hitter -- first Ernie Banks, then Ryne Sandberg, then Sammy Sosa. And so it was appropriate that the very year that Sosa was run out of town was the year that Derrek Lee emerged. Lee, in fact, turned out to be a better representative of the City of Big Shoulders than Sosa ever was: confident but not flamboyant, well-rounded, never misses a day of work. Those same characteristics ought to ensure that Lee provides plenty of value to the Cubs over the course of his new $70 million deal
(In my opinion, one of the most consistantly dominant hitters in the league over the past 3-5 seasons. Absolutely stellar to watch live.)

5. Johan Santana
4. Miguel Cabrera
3. A-Rod
2. David Wright
1. Albert Pujols

For the record, Jeter was at #21.

Sorry, here's the link

1 comment:


hey where is the link to the story. I looked on SI's website, but I hate navigating that thing. Thanks