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2011 Fantasy Baseball Big Board, Nos. 41-50: Clayton Kershaw, Cole Hamels or Zack Greinke?

Mon, Feb 21, 2011

Big Board, Player Projections

Our 2011 fantasy baseball projections will be released one-by-one until the top 100 players have been revealed. These rankings consider past achievements, current performance and expected future results based on standard 5×5 H2H settings.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve announced the top 50 players on our 2011 big board. To help keep these rankings easy to find, we’re recapping the 41-50 group in one short post. Click on each player’s name for a more in-depth analysis, including 2011 projections!

Check out our 2011 big board (1-10) here.

Check out our 2011 big board (11-20) here.

Check out our 2011 big board (21-30) here.

Check out our 2011 big board (31-40) here.

No. 41: Clayton Kershaw (SP – LAD) - Youngest of 45 pitchers that logged 200-plus innings in 2010. Of that group, only Lincecum, Lester and Weaver posted a strikeout rate better than Kershaw’s (9.34). His age-21 (2009) and age-22 (2010) seasons show he’s well ahead of where Felix Hernandez was at the same ages.

No. 42: Alex Rios (OF – ChW) - Once an unreliable, over-hyped player now has four consecutive seasons of at least 567 at-bats. His three-year averages (81 runs, 18 HRs, 79 RBI, 30 SBs, .275 BA) support his 89/21/88/34/.284 2010 campaign and prove he’s one of the most dynamic fantasy outfielders in a loaded White Sox lineup.

No. 43: Brian McCann (C – Atl) - Only catcher to have hit 20 HRs in each of the last three seasons. Entering his age-27 season in a stacked Braves lineup could lead to first career 100 RBI season.

No. 44: Drew Stubbs (OF – Cin) – Quietly posted a 22-HR, 30-steal season that went unmatched in 2010. Rare combination of “above-average raw power, and plus-plus speed” – according to Baseball America – makes him a 30-HR/40-steal candidate likely batting near the top of a loaded Reds lineup in 2011.

No. 45: Ichiro Suzuki (OF – Sea) - Has averaged 39 steals over the last five seasons and has hit .350 twice in the last four. Additions of Cust, Olivo to the Seattle lineup and expected emergence of Smoak, Ackley should help Ichiro score 100 runs in 2010.

No. 46: Andre Ethier (OF – LAD) - Broken finger that sidelined him for two weeks last season wasn’t 100 percent until September, but he still posted 23 HRs, 82 RBI, .292 BA line. Little protection in the Dodgers’ lineup, and will be counted on to carry the offense with Matt Kemp.

No. 47: Martin Prado (2B – Atl) - Highest batting average among second basemen since 2008 (.307). 15 HRs, 100 runs in 2010 despite playing only 140 games thanks to a finger injury in August. Entering his age-27 season as the Braves’ leadoff man with second base, third base and outfield eligibility.

No. 48: Cole Hamels (SP – Phi) – Only eight pitchers since 2007 (min. 800 IP) have lower ERA than his total of 3.44. Ranked second among qualified starters last year in contact rate, swinging strike rate, and 10th in strikeout rate. Clearly best No. 4 starter in the majors; should lead to career high in wins this season.

No. 49: Zack Greinke (SP – Mil) – Wide range of ERAs (3.47, 2.16, 4.17) and K/9 (7.40, 9.50, 8.14) in last three seasons. 2010 LOB rate (65.3 percent), FIP (3.34) and xFIP (3.76) indicate he was better than 4.17 ERA.  Numbers against N.L. since 2008 (7-2, 3.39 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 8.23 K/9, 1.57 BB/9) suggest forthcoming success in Milwaukee.

No. 50: Jimmy Rollins (SS – Phi) – Low BABIPs and injuries have hindered last two seasons. Three-year averages (75 runs, 13 HRs, 59 RBI, 32 SBs, .258) remain impressive (given position) despite low batting average.

The top 60 on our 2011 Big Board will be announced in the coming days as we continue our journey to rank the top 100 players!

Image courtesy of: Michael G. Baron

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