One of the heavier, if not most important, positions to fill in your rotisserie are at the infield corners, where there is an abundance of talent that allows for several different strategies to be successfully employed. With that being said, here is my list of Top 10 corner infielders in the American league.
1. Cabrera, Miguel - After a fairly pedestrian 1st half in his Tigers debut season, M-Cab really heated up in the 2nd half, as he became more familiar with AL pitchers. Being in the big leagues for 6 full seasons at the age of 25 is an amazing feat, and will reward his owners with power, average, and RBI out the ears.
PROJECTION: .322 AVG // 36 HR // 125 RBI // 0 SB
2. Morneau, Justin - Cutting down on his K rate from 2007 while improving his walks, he is entering his age 28 season, and I expect a breakout season from the Twinkie.
PROJECTION: .310 AVG // 38 HR // 130 RBI // 1 SB
2A. Teixeira, Mark - Signing in NY will give him a ton of RBI chances, and I see him as the type that can withstand the pressures of playing in the Big Apple. Additionally, Big Teix is the last of the Top Tier of corner infielders. Also, I think that based on his display in ANA last year, the adjustment to the American League has already taken place, so Teix should be expected to be just fine in terms of adjustments. However, he hasn't hit 40 HR in over 3 years, so factor that into your decision as well.
PROJECTION: .290 AVG // 34 HR // 110 RBI // 1 SB
3. Youkilis, Kevin - Eligible at 3b and 1b, this adds a bit of value to the Greek God of Walks bottom line. Expect an OBP near .400 to go along with 25+ HR. He stands out as a guy who will be steady as she goes without ever being flashy.
PROJECTION: .302 AVG // 26 HR // 110 RBI // 2 SB
4. Longoria, Evan - Having lived down the "Is Eva related to you", this young stud will cost you highly, perhaps as much as a 3rd round pick, or in auctions, $30+. However, with Pat Burrell now in TB backing him up, expect more of Mr. Longoria's excellence in 2009.
PROJECTION: .291 AVG // 29 HR // 95 RBI // 15 SB
5. Rodriguez, Alex - Well, all the drama, with the hip surgery and the 'roids, still leaves Mr. Rodriguez as a solid option. The recovery of his hip to the surgery will dictate a much lower SB total, more than likely in the 5 range, which really lowers his value when also factoring in he will probably be hardpressed to get 475 ABs this year.
PROJECTION: .293 AVG // 26 HR // 95 RBI // 6 SB
6. Aubrey Huff - Career year last year, but with Mr. Markakis, and Brian Roberts hitting in front of him, he has plenty of opportunites to drive in runs. Expect more of the same in '09 from the former Ray.
PROJECTION: .279 AVG // 21 HR // 100 RBI // 2 SB
7. Chone Figgins - The speed demon is ready to bounce back from an injury riddled season in '08. At the top of the Angels lineup, he will be counted on to run a lot and I expect a 35-45 SB ype sesaon, with better power numbers than last year. So if oyu are looking for a guy who could surprise and be undervalued come draft day, look at Figgins, as he mY lao qualify at 2b, depending on your league settings.
PROJECTION: .287 AVG // 6 HR // 48 RBI // 38 SB
8. Chris Davis - Opportunity presented itself to Mr. Davis last year in the form of a Hank Blalock injury, and what did he do? He turned a temporary callup into a permanent gig, hitting .285 and going yard 17 times in 255 ABs. That is what you call S-W-E-E-T. Pencil him in for 25+ HRs and 85+ RBI and you'l be on track.
PROJECTION: .271 AVG // 29 HR // 92 RBI // 0 SB
9. Carlos Pena - Almost 100 walks and an OBP of .377 to go with 31 HRs is a down year? Sign me up. He could do wonders if his BABIP ticks upwards to the .300 range. But really, 30+ HR and 100+ RBI is why he's getting paid.
PROJECTION: .259 AVG // 30 HR // 98 RBI // 0 SB
10. Mike Jacobs - Does he steal bases? No. Does he get on base a lot? No. But in fantasy, we always, always measure the almighty HR. And that is why Jacobs makes this list. Once a highly touted prospect, he turned in a powerpacked season last year, going yard 32 times. Expect more of the same in KC, but also know that he doesn't offer much else. So like a fine wine to go with that great meal, make sure your roster has the balance necessary to offset any drag on average Mr. Jacobs is sure to bring to the table.
PROJECTION: .249 AVG // 30 HR // 87 RBI // 1 SB
Well, there it is. My AL-only top 10 1st and 3rd basemen. Hope this stirs some controversy and some comments.