As we continue evaluating the top 5 players for each team, we arrive at the Boston Red Sox.
1. Jacoby Ellsbury- I'm going against my personal beliefs here and going with Ellsbury as the top Red Sox player in 2010. Ellsbury's speed can vault him above the rest to one of the most valuable players in fantasy baseball. Ellsbury improved to a .301 batting average and improved his OPS by .041 points. If Ellsbury were to continue to develop, he could steal 70 bases again and be the same player he was in 2009.
2. Dustin Pedroia- This one is basically due to position scarcity. Pedroia will score around 110 runs and hit .300. Other than that, he won't excel in any other stat. Sure, he'll steal 15-20 bases, but he doesn't excel in any other stats. If you want a safe bet at 2B, Pedroia is probably one of the best options not to kill your team.
3. Kevin Youkilis- If you believe in paying a hefty price for a large amount of steals, Ellsbury is your man. Personally, I like guys who contribute in many categories as opposed to excelling in one category. While Ellsbury will steal at least 50 bases, hit .300 and could score 100 runs, Youk can hit 30+ HR, score 100 runs with 100+ RBI and a near .300+ average. Not only that, but Youkilis will be drafted several rounds later than Ellsbury (2nd or 3rd.)
4. Victor Martinez- As I mentioned about Pedroia, position scarcity plays a part in Victor Martinez being the number four option. Even with an abysmal 2008 season, Martinez has a career OPS of .837. Playing a full season in Boston will probably bump Martinez's totals to 20 HR, 80, runs, 100 RBI and .300 average. Those stats from a catcher are very attractive around the number 50 overall.
5. Jon Lester- After putting up a career high 9.96 K/9 and a 3.41, Lester will be drafted higher than Josh Beckett and John Lackey. Bill James seems to think Lester will regress to a 3.84 ERA and see his BB/9 increase from 2.82 and 2.83 in 2009 to 3.50 in 2010. James also thinks Lester's ERA will be very close to 4.00. While I'm not the expert James is, I don't think Lester's BB/9 increases that much. I can see his K/9 dropping but I still don't think it'll be enough to drop Lester below Beckett.
Sleeper alert: Adrian Beltre. Beltre apparently hates Safeco field and it's unfavorable left field bleachers. What's the first stadium that pops into your head as a righty favorable park? Fenway? Beltre will likely be coming at a discount because of his injury plagued season in 2009. If you're heading into the later rounds and you see Beltre there, I'd absolutely snag him. He has the ability to hit 25 home runs and in a lineup like that, he may have the ability to drive in 100 runs and score 85-90.