In 2009, the #1 overall pick in fantasy baseball drafts was Florida Marlins' SS Hanley Ramirez on the strength of his 30/30 ability, a promotion to the third spot in the Marlins' order and SS eligibility. While a 329/393/515 stat line from SS is nothing to complain about, Ramirez has single digit HRs (8) and single digit SBs (9) with just 60% of the season remaining. That is hardly deserving of a #1 overall selection.
The question for 2010 is whether any player will step forward and become a consensus #1 overall selection. If performances are equal, then position scarcity makes sense as the tie-breaker. For that reason, St. Louis Cardinals' 1B Albert Pujols doesn't get the amount of support as the #1 overall selection. As great as he is, he still plays a position with a lot of depth. Mark Teixeira, Justin Morneau, Adrian Gonzalez, Lance Berkman, etc offer viable substitutes.
At 2B, Ian Kinsler of the Texas Rangers looks to be emerging as the elite player at the position thanks to an increase in power to go with double digit stolen bases. So far this season, he has done what Hanley Ramirez hasn't with double digit HRs (17) and double digit SBs (11). Only an injury history and unreliable track record of AVG keep him from being ahead of Philadelphia Phillies' 2B Chase Utley, who does not possess Kinsler's 20+ SB ability but does consistently hit for AVG and power.
Thrid base possesses several 1st round candidates. David Wright of the New York Mets was a consensus Top 5 selection, but his precipitious drop in HRs and an unfriendly home ballpark will prevent a return there in 2010 - no matter how many bases he steals. The New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez will likely take Wright's place and could be headed towards #1 overall. A dark horse 3B is Tampa Bay Ray Evan Longoria., but a lack of double digit SBs and track record will hold him back.
Despite a .436 June AVG, Minnesota Twins' catcher Joe Mauer will not creep much higher than the turn in the first round. His position makes him a textbook argument for position scarcity, and I expect to see him as a trendly late 1st round/early 2nd round pick being paired with a middle infielder. Even if Mauer wins an unprecedented thrid batting title as a catcher and hits 25 HRs, I think his injury combined with the wear of his position will prevent a full-throttled application of postion scarcity theory that should have him #1 overall.
Who is likely to emerge as the consensus #1 overall draftpick in 2010 fantasy baseball drafts?
1B Albert Pujols: consistent excellence outweighs postional scarcity (104 votes)
2B Ian Kinsler: A 30/30 middle infielder cannot be ignored (11 votes)
SS Hanley Ramirez: See Kinsler with a better AVG (19 votes)
3B Alex Rodriguez: See Albert Pujols at a slightly scarcer postion (13 votes)
C Joe Mauer: Ichiro-like AVG, 25 HRs and a catcher. Shandler will have the guts. I will, too. (21 votes)
168 total votes