40-Man Roster Fantasy Rankings

Editors Note: This article was orginally written in mid-January, so some of the predictions may have already been forecast. For updates on each of these players, check out their player profile for the latest news.

Pitchers

Matt Belisle - RHP Grade: I
Matt gets an incomplete b/c we don't even know that he will make the Major League roster. If he does, he will be nothing more than a middle-reliever. Don't mess with him this season.

Jung Bong – LHP Grade: D
Bong should make the Opening Day roster as a middle reliever/spot starter. He isn't worth a look at this point for your fantasy team.

Paul Byrd – RHP Grade: B
Paul should be good for 11-14 wins as the #4 starter for a loaded Atlanta rotation. Don't take him too high based on last year's success though, look for him later in your draft. He should be a good #4 fantasy starter.

Joseph Dawley – RHP Grade: I
Same as with Belisle, more than likely he will begin the year in the minor. He doesn't warrant a spot on your fantasy team.

John Ennis – RHP Grade: D
He may make the team as one of the 2 open spots in the bullpen, but don't expect too much from him this season. Leave him alone.

Brett Evert – RHP Grade: I
Brett is going to be in the minor for most, if not all of the year. He should not be touched this season, look for him in 05.

Kevin Gryboski – RHP Grade: D
Kevin will be one of the 6th/7th inning guys for the Braves. He may garner a few holds. If you're in a standard 5x5 league don't mess with him. Holds don't count in that type league.

Mike Hampton – LHP Grade: B
Mike should rebound from 2 off seasons up in Colorado. He should be good for 12-16 wins. He should be a solid #4 fantasy starter.

Roberto Hernandez – RHP Grade: C
Roberto will be good for Holds in a non-standard league, and he also should have a low ERA. Not really worth a spot on your 5x5 fantasy team. He will be the late innings set-up man, and the back up closer is something was to happen to Smoltz.

Trey Hodges – RHP Grade: D
He has as good a shot as any of getting one of the open spots in the bullpen. He may make a few spots starts, but don't expect too much. Leave him alone for now.

Darren Holmes – RHP Grade: C
Darren will not repeat his feats of last season, and should have a significantly higher ERA. He will not do it again. Don't mess with him, even in non-standard leagues.

Ray King – LHP Grade: C
Ray will be the top Lefty out of the pen, and should post some solid holds number with an ERA around 2. He will be good in non-standard leagues.

Greg Maddux – RHP Grade: A
Maddux should be good for around 15 wins, with an ERA around 3. He had some injury problem last season, and hopefully he won't experience those again this year. He should be an excellent #2 fantasy starter.

Jason Marquis – RHP Grade: C
Jason should have a better season than he did last year. He should lower his ERA and add to his win total. Remember this will only be his 2nd full season in the majors, so he is just getting into the swing of things. Don't expect him to be a top fantasy starter right away though.

Russ Ortiz – RHP Grade: B
Russ should be good for 16-18 wins, and an ERA at about 3.40. He should be a solid #3 fantasy starter.

Andy Pratt – LHP Grade: I
I seriously doubt Andy will make the Major League roster out of spring training, but if he does it will only be as a middle reliever. Stay away from him.

Horacio Ramirez – LHP Grade: D
Horacio has the chance to be a #3 starter in the Major leagues. He is a lefty, so that will definitely get him more looks, but don't look for anything major from him this season. 2004 will be his year.

John Smoltz – RHP Grade: A
If John has any kind of year like he had last season he will def be worth a 2-3 round pick in your fantasy draft. He should again accumulate 45-50 saves with an ERA at about 3.00. He is very deserving of a high round pick.

Chris Spurling – RHP Grade: D
Spurling has the chance to be a middle reliever out of the pen for the Braves, but he has lots of competition. This Rule IV pick will most likely start the season at Richmond. Don't mess with him right now.

Billy Sylvester – RHP Grade: I
Once a highly regarded closer prospect, Billy had an off season last year, and needs to rebound to maintain his Top Prospect status in the Braves system. He doesn't deserve a spot on your roster this season.

Mike Venafro – LHP Grade: C
Mike will be a middle reliever for the Braves out of the pen. The #2 lefty for the Club, He should get about 20 holds, and is worth a spot on your non-Standard league team.

Chris Waters – LHP Grade: I
Waters should be in Richmond this season, and can only help his cause by pitching well there. He doesn't have many fantasy implications this season. Stay away from him.

Hitters

Henry Blanco – C Grade: D
Henry is a great defensive catcher, but too bad those stats don't count in the fantasy world. If Javy is traded, or hurt, Blanco will become the starter. He is capable of hitting for an OK average, but doesn't have much power. I wouldn't mess with him right now.

Johnny Estrada – C Grade: F
Once an Uber prospect in the Phillies system, Estrada now appears to be more like Crash Davis. He should spend this season in AAA. He would get the call if Javy or Blanco goes down.

Javy Lopez – C Grade: C
At one point in his career Javy was an All-Star catcher capable of hitting 30 homers and driving in 100 runs. Apparently, those days are behind him. There have been reports that he is in the best shape of his life and is ready to play for a contact, well, he needs to. He could be a capable fantasy starter if he can hit for power again. Wait a month or so to see if he comes to life.

Wilson Betemit – 3B/SS Grade: C
Wilson is the top position player prospect in the Braves minor league system. He has a chance to make the team as a back up infielder or as the starter at 3rd or 2nd. Most likely he will start the year in AAA, and get the call once an injury occurs. If he earns a starting spot he has the chance to be a valuable fantasy player, as he is a 5-tool prospect.

Vinny Castilla – 3B Grade: F
Vinny is no longer capable of performing at a major league level. He can play defense, and that is it. He will not be the starter; Mark Derosa is expected to be the starter at 3rd. Vinny will at best be a late inning defensive replacement at 3rd. Leave him alone. He in no way deserves a spot on a fantasy team.

Mark Derosa – 3B/SS/2nd Grade: C
Mark is not a power hitter, but he can hit for average, with 60-70 RBI's. Not a fantasy starter.

Robert Fick – 1st/OF/C Grade: B
Fick is an excellent hitter; he just needs to raise his average. His power numbers should drop, as the Ted is a more pitching oriented park, but his RBI's should improve, as he has a better lineup in front of him. He will bat 6th and should hit 20 homers and drive in 100 runs. Take him in about the 6th round.

Matt Franco – Util Grade: D
Franco will be a pinch hitter for the Braves, and is not worth a roster spot.

Rafael Furcal – SS Grade: B
If Furcal can raise his average and OBP he should be a solid fantasy starter. He is capable of hitting 7-8 home runs, with 60 RBI and 30 steals. If he can do that he will be a #1 SS.

Marcus Giles – 2nd Grade: C
Marcus has to prove he can hit at a major league level. He has come up with some big hits in his short major league career. He needs to get on base, and prove that he can be a successful major leaguer.

Nick Green – 2nd Grade: I
Nick will be in the minors this season, and is not a fantasy factor.

Mike Hessman – 1st/3rd Grade: D
Mike has a chance to make the Big League roster as a backup 1st baseman/3rd baseman. Similar to the role Wes Helms played last season. Not a fantasy factor at this point.

Adam LaRoche – 1st Grade: I
Adam will not be in the Majors this season, but he is the future first baseman of the team.

Cory Aldridge – OF Grade: I
Aldridge will be in the minors again this season. He has a chance to he the 4th OF on the team, but that position should be given to Darren Bragg.

Andruw Jones – OF Grade: A
If Andruw can finally go a season without a long slump he will be a top-notch fantasy outfielder. He should still hit 30 homers, with an average around .280, and 100 RBI.

Chipper Jones – OF/3rd Grade: A
Chipper should rebound from an off-season last year and should hit extremely well. We all know Chipper is capable of 45 homers, and 110 RBI with an average around .310. He should do that this season.

Ryan Langerhans – OF Grade: D
Ryan should be in the minors this season, but he has a chance to be the 4th OF this year. He is in essentially the same situation as Cory Aldridge.

Gary Sheffield – OF Grade: A
Gary has adjusted to Atlanta, and should now have a great season. He is playing for a contract, and should return to the All-Star form he is capable of. Expect about 40 homers, 110 RBI, and a .300 average from Gary. He will be a great fantasy outfielder.

These are just my opinions, and expectations. I hope this helps with your drafting of Braves players. Good Luck with your fantasy team in 2003!

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