Jose Bautista – TOR (131.3 Runs Created, -7.3 Runs Saved = 124.0 Total Runs Productivity)
Earned a long term contract by having the greatest fluke season in the last 50 years. An historic improvement over his previous career. Let’s get to what he can do… He’s a pretty good infielder and wasn’t very good as a right fielder. He MIGHT be able to stay around 30 homers for a couple of years. One fears for him, however, if he gets off to a really slow start in 2011 and it starts to get into his head around June.
Ichiro Suzuki – SEA (115.6 Runs Created, 5.8 Runs Saved = 121.4 Total Runs Productivity)
Fell off a little in 2010 and was still a remarkable hit machine. Still can fly, still can throw, still can slap singles all over the place. 3678 hits in professional baseball means he’s probably three to four years away from Pete Rose – and four to five years away from 3000 hits as a major leaguer, which would likely assure his place in the Hall of Fame, not that he should have a problem racing in there when he’s done. Can you tell that, at 37, he’s lost a step? I don’t see it.
Nelson Cruz – TEX (86.8 Runs Created, 25.9 Runs Saved = 112.7 Total Runs Productivity)
Imagine how good Cruz would have been had he played 154 games instead of 108. Totally capable of a 30 homer, 100 RBI season, batting well over .300, stealing 25 bases, and with eye popping defensive stats. 2010 season projected to 162 games, we’re talking 160 or more runs of value – MVP type numbers. Scary good.
Nick Swisher – NYY (95.9 Runs Created, 14.5 Runs Saved = 110.4 Total Runs Productivity)
A decent outfielder in a position where he’ll get a lot of fly balls because teams occasionally load up the lineup with guys who try to hit homers over his head. A decent power hitter who, if he played in Minnesota, might have stats that look like Jason Kubel’s instead. And yet, even after you adjust for things like that, he comes out looking like a VERY valuable player. He is.
Torii Hunter will be playing in right field for much of 2011 and had started that process at the end of 2010. As a right fielder, Hunter would likely be ranked right here (109.8 Total Runs Productivity).
Shin-Soo Choo – CLE (114.9 Runs Created, -7.2 Runs Saved = 107.7 Total Runs Productivity)
A truly impressive player; 20/20 club, with 90 RBI, .400+ OBP, though his defensive range fell off in 2010. Deserves a chance to play where people can see how good he really is. At the age where he could have a truly break-out season, so he might be worth eying in your fantasy draft.
Ben Zobrist – TB (79.9 Runs Created, 14.4 Runs Saved = 94.3 Total Runs Productivity)
His batting average fell way off, as did his power, in 2010 and yet he was STILL very productive because he can run, he drew 92 walks, and can play every position on the field except, perhaps, catcher. One of my favorite players, in part, because he’s the type of player I wished I could be when I was a little leaguer.
Nick Markakis – BAL (97.9 Runs Created, -7.1 Runs Saved = 90.8 Total Runs Productivity)
Durable player, below average range but a big arm, seems to be losing power though he hits a lot of doubles (45 in 2010). Has gone from a number three, four, or five hitter to a number two hitter. Like Choo, just turned 27, so this could be his big year.
Michael Cuddyer – MIN (88.9 Runs Created, 1.2 Runs Saved = 90.1 Total Runs Productivity)
The right fielder for the first half of the season, and the first baseman after Morneau went down to an injury. Actually played slightly better defensively as a first baseman, but wasn’t awful in the outfield either. Power fell off with the move to the new Target field and, when he turns 32 in March, will have reached the point in his career where he will leave his peak years and head into his decline phase.
Bobby Abreu – LAA (99.9 Runs Created, -13.3 Runs Saved = 86.6 Total Runs Productivity)
His batting average fell to .255, but he still created just shy of 100 runs. A defensive liability, so perhaps it’s time to become a DH. People see the stolen base numbers and assume he can cover ground in the outfield – until they see him try to cut off a fly ball. Is Abreu a Hall of Famer? Let the discussion begin.
Jason Kubel – MIN (73.4 Runs Created, -5.0 Runs Saved = 68.4 Total Runs Productivity)
A poor fielder, who is usually asked to DH, but had to play in the field more after Justin Morneau’s injury. He did the best he could and remains a productive player.
Brennan Boesch – DET (64.0 Runs Created, 4.0 Runs Saved = 68.0 Total Runs Productivity)
Also played in left field – nearly full time combined. He’s got mid-range power, can cover some ground, a bit better eye than Ryan Raburn. If nothing else, when the Tigers kept Damon or Ordonez as a DH, they had a young and mobile outfield. Damon is gone now, so both Raburn and Boesch will get 550 at bats rather than 400.
J.D. Drew – BOS (72.1 Runs Created, -7.0 Runs Saved = 65.1 Total Runs Productivity)
Still a productive player, despite a body that has never really been able to take a 150 game schedule, much less 162. Now 35 and in his decline phase, the Red Sox will need to be looking for his replacement.
I don’t know if you remember how his career started. When he came out of Florida State, he was the big deal – but he never signed when drafted in 1997 because he and the Phillies couldn’t agree as to the value of such a high draft pick (#2). After playing a year for free as a member of the St. Paul Saints, he was drafted again by the Cards and immediately became the top prospect in MLB. In his first cup of coffee, he hit .417 with five homers in 36 at bats. His rookie season was off, he never stayed healthy, and for a couple of years, he was a nomad. Only once has he hit .300, or hit 30 homers, or driven in 100 runs (okay, he also hit .323 but in only 109 games and wouldn’t have qualified for a batting title). And, he never did any of those in the same season. Considering how he was viewed then, and now looking back after playing in nearly 1500 games, he seems like a disappointment.
Magglio Ordonez – DET (58.9 Runs Created, -0.5 Runs Saved = 58.4 Total Runs Productivity)
Another player in his decline phase – missed half the 2010 season. Still hits when he’s in the lineup – and that near-league average defensive rating is a half-season accident. He’s not that good. Now 37, his career won’t long after he hits his 300th homer (he’s at 289). I just got done calling Drew a minor bust. Magglio hit 30 homers four times, cleared 100 RBIs seven times, and his career average is .312. I’ll miss him when he’s gone.
Carlos Quentin – CHI (70.3 Runs Created, -13.5 Runs Saved = 56.8 Total Runs Productivity)
Still has prodigious power, is losing his range. That being said, his 2010 season is exactly the kind of player he is. He hits about .250 with good power and has a decent idea of the strike zone. He is more like his 2010 season than his breakout 2008 season. At 28, he is still young enough to have slightly better seasons, but I wouldn’t be counting on .270 as much as just hoping for it.
David DeJesus – KC (60.4 Runs Created, -7.1 Runs Saved = 53.3 Total Runs Productivity)
As a hitter, a poor man’s Carl Crawford. Defensively, he plays well in left, but he was moved to right field in 2010. Injured his thumb, requiring surgery, crashing into the wall at Yankee Stadium. Will help the Oakland As next year, but is nearing the end of the peak phase of his career (31). It may take a couple of months to find what little power he has, and isn’t in a park where he can hit homers anyway.
Matt Joyce – TB (42.1 Runs Created, 4.9 Runs Saved = 47.0 Total Runs Productivity)
Plays a lot of right field because Ben Zobrist will play everywhere else to give someone a day off. Has some power, respects the strike zone, and is a solid defensive player. He could start for a lot of teams and be an immediate improvement.
Ryan Sweeney – OAK (41.2 Runs Created, 3.9 Runs Saved = 45.1 Total Runs Productivity)
Chronic knee pain required season ending surgery on his right knee, but his left knee isn’t always 100% either. A fourth outfielder type on a good team because he hits for a decent average, though with absolutely no power, can play both corner outfield positions well and, if necessary, won’t embarrass you in center – which reminds you of Greg Gross. Could be a pinch hitter for another decade, or more.
Andruw Jones – CHI (45.0 Runs Created, -5.7 Runs Saved = 39.3 Total Runs Productivity)
An old version of Carlos Quentin. I thought I would never write that, for sure.