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Fantasy Baseball 2012: Having Fun with ZIPS

Every year, fantasy writers publish position rankings and offer their opinions on players who could outperform their draft round and other players who will underperform their draft round. Basically, offering their bounce back and bust candidates to help fantasy owners figure out who they should and should not draft on draft day.

And every year, at least one or two first round picks will bust. Last season, Hanley Ramirez was a big first round bust. So was Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford. I am sure it will happen again this year. One of the 10-12 first round picks will be a bust, or underperform for one reason or another.

On Tuesday, Dan Szymborski from ESPN and Baseball Think Factory, penned a piece discussing some players who will outperformed projections last season and who he thinks will struggle to put up the same numbers in 2012. His list includes 3 sure-fire first round picks, and I will post just his projections for these three players, and ask that you tell me who you would prefer in 2012. Deal?

Player A: 16 HRs, 62 RBI, 40 SBs, .290-.345-.457

Player B: 36 HRs, 88 RBI, .273-.408-.566

Player C: 31 HRs, 104 RBI, 32 SBs, .280-.348-.503

I have been pretty outspoken about all three players I listed above, and all three will be first round or early second round picks this season. Who would you rather have in 2012?

The names of the players after the jump:

Player A: Jacoby Ellsbury

Player B: Jose Bautista

Player C: Matt Kemp

I have to say that I think Dan's projections for each of these players is fairly close to where I would project them. I have a feeling Ellsbury could steal a few more bags this season and driving in a few more run, especially in the Red Sox lineup, but I don't see him hitting 30 home runs ever again.

I have mentioned, possibly in a chat or in my reader favorite Bold Predictions for 2012 article, that I think Jose Bautista will hit under 40 home runs this season. He hit 54 in 2010 and followed that with a 43 home run season in 2011. He also had a career high BABIP and BA, so they should regress some resulting in less than 40 home runs this season.

I don't have to say much about Kemp that I haven't already said, but I do think he can put up another 30-30 season in 2012. But is Dan's projection really a down year for Kemp? I think it is still first round worthy.

That leads to the question, based on Dan's projections for each hitter, which is worthy of a first round pick? I tend to think that Kemp is the only one of the three. Here is another comparison for you, using ZIPS projections:

Jose Bautista: 36 HRs, 88 RBI, .273-.408-.566

Mike Stanton: 37 HRs, 97 RBI, .267-.361-.549

Maybe Stanton as a 2nd round pick isn't so bad after all. Either that, or Bautista isn't worthy of a first round pick this season.