Another day, another Jose Bautista home run. With 49 now on the season, he has definitely vaulted himself much higher for next year. A preliminary look at 3B for next year leads me to this top 10:
1) Evan Longoria - Does everything, and now steals more bases than ever before as well. Probably top 15 overall
2) David Wright - He has rebounded nicely this year, and I think he'll continue it next season.
3) Ryan Zimmerman - Steady as they come, this is the first player where we don't see a lot of speed.
4) Jose Bautista - I don't think he hits 50 homers next year, but I think 30-35 is definitely a possibility
5) Alex Rodriguez - He doesn't run anymore, and hasn't hit for as high of an average as he used to either.
6) Adrian Beltre - This is really dependent on where he goes in free agency, but I think he could be higher if he stays in Boston.
7) Casey McGehee - Another solid player, he's going to give you a .280+ batting average and 20+ homers.
8) Martin Prado - A high batting average, and a bit of pop. Not a lot of concerns for me about him for 2011.
9) Aramis Ramirez - Probably has the best chance to jump higher than this rank next year, but the health concerns are still there for me.
10) Mark Reynolds - There's always the power, but the batting average is going to kill you every time. I don't think he returns to stealing nearly as many bases as he did in 2009.
Where does Justin Verlander belong for 2011? He had another great start last night, throwing a complete game and striking out 8 while allowing just 3 earned runs. He now sits at 3.46 for ERA on the season, and has 17 wins to go with his 198 strikeouts. To me, he seems like he should be in the top 20 for sure, and possibly the top 15 as well.
Danny Valencia hit a crucial 3 run home run last night, and it got me thinking about what he could do next season. He's currently hitting .340 on the season, but has also had a BABIP of .379 on the season, and is likely to regress next year. He's more of an AL-only type play, as he's never shown he can hit for power. But he could be a high average, 10+ homer type in deeper leagues.
Someone needs to tell Troy Tulowitzki it isn't this easy. He hit 2 more homeruns last night, bringing him to 26 homeruns and 88 RBI on the season. And these are in spite of missing almost 40 games on the season. One of the ESPN guys mentioned that if he could stay healthy, he would rank him ahead of Hanley Ramirez for next year, but it seems really unlikely that he'd be able to stay healthy for a full season. He profiles as a top-20 player for me, and the #2 shortstop for sure.
Carlos Lee has been hitting well of late, and his numbers are mostly approaching his standard season. He hit his 23rd homerun of the season, and has 86 runs batted in as well. The batting average is rising, now up to .249, and did hit .288 in the month of August. He has been a bit unlucky this season, as his BABIP is almost 50 points lower than his career numbers.