Friday, April 11, 2008

Week 1 Poll Results - Top Producing OF

So, our first baseball poll of the season focused on 4 OF prospects. OK, I'll admit that you really can't call Fukudome a "prospect", but he is technically a rookie, and it's always difficult to predict how foreign players with a track record of success overseas will produce in the majors.

The Question:
What outfielder will have the most productive season?

The Results:
Adam Jones - Orioles - 4 votes or 13%
Cameron Maybin - Marlins - 1 vote or 3%
Justin Upton - Diamondbacks - 9 votes or 30%
Kosuke Fukodome - Cubs - 16 votes or 53%

Let's start with Maybin - obviously he's now in AA, although he's hitting the crap out of the ball. He is certainly the CF of the future for the Marlins (maybe as soon as this season), but he won't get enough time in the majors this season to outproduce the other guys on this list.

Adam Jones, the jewel of the Eric Bedard trade, is the current starting CF for the Orioles. His talent made the team say goodbye to the talented but inconsistent Corey Patterson (who is doing quite well for the Reds thus far). Jones still hasn't shown consistent power yet in the majors, but he hit 25 HR last season in AAA (in only 420 AB) at the tender age of 21, so be patient. He will likely put up double digit steals this season, to go along with about 10-15 HR. Watch out for a big season from him in 2-3 years.

Justin Upton of the Diamondbacks is off to a huge start in 2008; hitting near .400 with 3 HR already. He is currently the youngest player in the majors, more than one year younger than the second youngest, Phil Hughes. He is immensely talented, and some would argue that he has more potential & upside than his older brother (who is already a star), BJ Upton. Be aware that he'll have ups and downs this season, but the RF spot is all his, and he's a stud who has the potential to have an incredible career. I don't think a 25-25 season this year is out of the question, but I'm going to stay conservative & predict 21 HR & 25 Steals.

And now we come to Fukudome, the 30 year old rookie from Japan. He has started on fire for the Cubs this season, putting up a line of .371 Avg/1 HR/6 RBI/2 SB. He's hitting in the heart of the Cubs lineup, and he's showing a great eye at the plate along with some consistency early on. I still can't say he'll outproduce Upton this season, but Kosuke should have a solid year & he likely won't hurt you anywhere. Keep in mind (especially if you're in a keeper league) that Upton's upside is much higher, even if Fukudome ends up outproducing him this season.

Thanks again for your participation in our first poll of the year! The newest poll is now posted (to the right); What pitcher will end up having the most productive season?

-Dice K
-Ben Sheets
-Rich Harden
-Johnny Cueto

These guys all have their question marks, but I'm curious to get the popular vote on who the masses think will be the best; especially after Cueto's incredible start to the season (13.1 IP/3 ER/6 H/0 BB/18K). Could he have the type of impact this season that Francisco Liriano had two years ago? Only time will tell.

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