1. Alex Rodriguez, NYY $39
Keep in mind, first of all, that A-Rod may not qualify at 3B in all leagues until a few weeks into the season. But he will qualify in many fantasy leagues, and that makes him a top-choice at the position. His newfound versatility (also qualifying at shortstop, if you didn't know) makes him even more valuable. Imagine that.
Projection: .305 - 49 - 130 - 120 - 19
2. Eric Chavez, OAK $29
A slow start and a May swoon hindered Chavez' totals in 2003, but he still put together a fantastic all-around season. He loses protection in the lineup for 2004, but Oakland seems to think Jermaine Dye can handle the task. Chavez is only 26 and is still improving, in a walk year, look for big things.
Projection: .284 - 35 - 112 - 90 - 8
3. Troy Glaus,
A healthy Glaus will make any fantasy owner happy, as this guy has 40-homer potential any day of the week. With Vladimir Guerrero hanging around the lineup, Glaus is in a good position to return to the standard he set a few years ago.
Projection: .259 - 39 - 120 - 90 - 10
|Hank Blalock Has All The Makings of a Superstar|
If only Blalock could hit lefties like he hits righties. There was a 438 point difference in his OPS against pitchers of either hand, but Blalock still managed an excellent season in 2003. If he can improve against lefties even just a little, Blalock is an easy candidate to jump into the elite category.
Projection: .304 - 31 - 95 - 90 - 3
5. Corey Koskie, MIN $18
Coskie's a guy that most people don't take into consideration when thinking about third basemen for whatever reason. He's a steady performer and while he won't put up stats like some of the other guys on this list, he's a great player to have on your team.
Projection: .294 - 16 - 72 - 75 - 12
5. Bill Mueller, BOS $16
Mueller's coming off of a career year, so you have to expect some dropoff toward his averages. He's very unlikely to repeat as batting champion, but he likes hitting in Fenway, so don't drop your expectations down too far.
Projection: .295 - 16 - 80 - 76 - 1
7. Joe Randa, KC $12
Randa's steady, if unspectacular. What's good about him is that he goes through short bursts of hitting well over .300, so if you can catch the hot streaks, he'll be great for you. Timing that is tough obviously, so just play him full time and get what he gives you.
Projection: .290 - 13 - 80 - 78 - 2
8. Joe Crede, CWS $11
Crede finally showed off some of that 'potential' he's always been billed as having with a stellar second half. After the break, he hit .308 (including a .352 August) with 11 homeruns. We expect his power to keep developing as he matures (he turns 26 this season), so keep an eye on this one.
Projection: .270 - 23 - 82 - 70 - 0
|Eric Hinske Should Rebound Nicely|
Hinske suffered from one of the worst sophomore slumps in recent memory, losing 36 points off of his batting average and half of his homeruns. It didn't help that he missed around 35 games due to injury. In Toronto's stacked lineup, Hinske has every chance to succeed. Expect a good bounce-back season from the former rookie of the year.
Projection: .273 - 20 - 84 - 81 - 13
10. Scott Spiezio, SEA $8
Spiezio's level of production is definitely more acceptable when he's your team's third baseman, which he will be for Seattle this year. We've come to expect a certain level of power from Spiezio, but his average jumps all over the place.
Projection: .269 - 15 - 79 - 71 - 5
11. Desi Relaford, KC $8
Like Guillen, Relaford comes with extra positions for you to play with: outfield and second base. Tack on around 20 steals and everything else is gravy.
Projection: .274 - 7 - 51 - 75 - 18
12. Carlos Guillen, DET $7
You have to love a guy that qualifies at two shallow positions, and Guillen does just that with his shortstop eligibility. A solid hitter, Guillen won't win you a league, but he won't really hurt you either. He'll play full time in Detroit too, something that alone should help his numbers.
Projection: .271 - 9 - 64 - 79 - 4
13. Casey Blake, CLE $5
2003 was the first time Blake played in more than 19 games in one season, and he made the most of it. Those strikeouts are more than likely going to catch up to him however, but he's a potential sleeper if he can adjust.
Projection: .252 - 14 - 60 - 69 - 5
14. Eric Munson, DET $4
Munson clobbered 18 homeruns in just 99 games last season, but he was injured at the end of the year. In the revamped Detroit lineup, Munson has to be considered a sleeper for power totals, but be very leery of his batting average.
Projection: .249 - 22 - 60 - 52 - 2
Damian Rolls, TB $2
Rolls is a Devil Ray. By definition, you probably couldn't use him, but he's really not all that bad.
Projection: .259 - 9 - 49 - 60 - 14
16. Mark Bellhorn, BOS $1
New reports are indicating that Bellhorn won't see much playing time in Boston, but he does have enough games to qualify at 3B for fantasy leagues. Our advice: stay away from him anyway.
Projection: .255 - 8 - 40 - 50 - 3
Special Thanks to our in-house Fantasy expert, Mark Rubin, for his help with this report.