Placido Polanco: It has been a typical season for Polanco, moderate power in the form of 30 doubles and 10 home runs, a little bit of speed, 7 steals, poor plate patience, 5% BB%, and outstanding contact skills, 93%. The three-year downward trend in his batting average, 2007/2008/2009 batting averages’ .341/.307/.284, can easily be explained by a downward trend in his BHIP%, .299/.270/.226. His contact skills are so good that even with a depressed BHIP% and moderate power, he is still not hurting you in the batting average category. He will be 35 years of age at the beginning of 2010, but his skills aren’t showing any signs of erosion, so he is a good bet to hit for a higher average next year.
J.D. Drew: At the age of 33, Drew’s power is still elite, 21 home runs and 28 doubles in 434 AB, while the rest of his skills have remained relatively stable, 2007/2008/2009 BB%’s 15%/18%/16%, Ct%’s 78%/78%/75%, and FB%’s 37%/40%/40%. If you can put up with the games missed here and there, Drew should have another good power season ahead of him in 2010. He is more valuable in daily transactions leagues, where can at least get someone else in your lineup when he misses a game or two at a time.
Brett Gardner: Despite limited action, 229 AB, Gardner is showing serious speed, 23 steals in 28 attempts. With a 10% BB% and a 50% GB%, he has skills to take advantage of his speed. However the only thing holding him back from being an effective full-time player is his contact skills, 84% Ct%. If he could get that up in the 87% to 88% range, he would be very valuable to the Yankees and in fantasy baseball. If he continues with the improving trend, 2007/2008 Ct%’s 76%/84%, it could happen in 2010.
Brandon League: While League improved his skills, 2008/2009 K/9’s 6.3/9.3, BB/9’s 4.1/2.5, and GB%’s 67%/56%, you wouldn’t know it by looking at the big jump in his ERA, 2.17/4.88. There is a simple explanation, as he enjoyed great luck in 2008 and rotten luck in 2009, 2008/2009 Strand Rates’ 85%/65% and BHIP%’s .257/.313. League will be 27 years old by opening day next and possesses closer-worthy skills, so don’t be surprised if he becomes the Jays’ stopper at some point in 2010.
Joe Smith: While the Indians view Chris Perez as the future closer, Smith is making an argument with his skills, 7.9 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, and a 55% GB%, that he has the goods to handle the job. If he can make further gains in his control in 2010, 2007/2008/2009 BB%’s 4.3/4.4/3.4, Smith could be one to watch next year.
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