I’m a huge Grady Sizemore fan for so many reasons. His name is Sizemore, he runs, he hits, he beat Greg Oden to the punch, etc. Unfortunately, he isn’t so young anymore (just five months younger than me, putting him 28 in August). Until last year, Sizemore was incredible durable (he averaged 160 games from 2006 – 2008). During that same span he also averaged 28 HRs and 30 SBs. Battling injuries in 2009, he never really got started – still he managed 18 HRs and 13 SBs in only 106 games. Sizemore should be healthy in 2010, which should restore him to his second round worth. Given his age, he likely has at most five elite seasons left.
I think Justin Upton deserves special recognition, particularly since he’s so young (he’ll turn 23 in August). In just 138 games last year, Upton hit 26 HRs, scored 84 runs, knocked in 86 and stole 20 bases. He also managed a .300 AVE and a .366 OBP. Really, the only downside to Upton at this point is his health. While his health should certainly be accounted for (he missed 54 games in 2008 and 24 in 2009), his upside makes him a tempting draft pick. Typically, you don’t talk about upside with players ranked in the top 20 or so – given that most are at or near their peak performance. For this coming season, I think he could have a very similar year to a Miguel Cabrera – maybe a little worse average, but vastly more stolen bases. I ranked him around Holliday, Ichiro, and Crawford, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up being a more valuable fantasy player in 2010 and, obviously, beyond. He is just that good.
Carl Crawford is only one year older than Grady Sizemore. Aside from an injury shortened 2008, Crawford has averaged 50 SBs a year. Sure the power has never been at Sizemore’s level, but the increase in HRs makes him a tad more valuable than Sizemore. In addition, Crawford has shown an ability to hit for a higher average than Sizemore.
Why am I only comparing Crawford to Sizemore? Because, it’s pretty clear that if you’re drafting in a start-up keeper league you want Justin Upton over the other two. It’s a no brainer. This one is really rather simple, which is odd given that I am debating between three top 20 talents.
Keep: Justin Upton
Trade: Carl Crawford
Drop: Grady Sizemore
Reading this column guarantees that you will achieve fabulous wealth and success in your fantasy baseball league. That’s right, you guessed it: it’s time to debate Keep Trade or Drop (KTD).
While there are tons of player rankings available, they are all for 2010 and nothing more. So, if you are drafting in a start-up keeper league, how do you decide who to take? For example, if they’re both on the board, do you go for tried and true Carl Crawford, or do you roll the dice (but only barely) and select the slightly less proven Justin Upton. Read enough of these columns and you might just get your answer.
The KTD series focuses solely on giving keeper league advice. It poses the question: if you are in a keeper league, which player would you rather keep, which would you rather trade and which would you be forced to drop. Rarely is the decision easy to make, but it might just decide whether you compete and win your championship, not just this year, but for years down the road as well. It will also help you make a snap decision when three similar players are on the board and the clock is ticking.