Alex Rodriguez – NYY
No one expects A-Rod to stay healthy this year. Bill James and Fans only project him to start 134 and 130 respectively, and Roto Champ is even more pessimistic, projecting him at a mere 470 PAs. There is always a chance that Alex will exceed these projected lines (you can’t predict baseball Suzyn!), but it appears that his downhill slide has indeed set in and he likely won’t come anywhere near the .420+ wOBA that he consistently posted earlier in his career. Regardless, Alex is still going to be productive at the plate, just not on an astronomical Rodriguez-type scale.
Brett Lawrie – TOR
Lawrie got a bit of major league playing time last season and this year he will be the Jays’ starting third baseman from the beginning. The 22-year old has some pop in his bat – he is projected to hit between 22 and 26 homers – and also has speed on the basepaths with projections in the 23-30 stolen base range. Fans should keep an eye out for Lawrie this season because he is likely to be one of the most exciting young players in the league.
Mark Reynolds – BAL
Reynolds’ projected stat lines aren’t intimidating, but last year he stepped up his offense against the Yankees. In 18 games he posted a line of .271/.333/.600 with 6 home runs, 5 doubles, 12 runs scored, and 14 RBI. Phew. Hopefully Yankees pitching will be able to keep Reynolds in check a bit better this year.
Evan Longoria – TAM
Longoria projects to continue with more of the same that we have seen from him since his first full MLB season in 2007. Rays fans can count on him for 30-35 home runs and 100+ RBI. And the rest of us can count on some tense moments when he steps to the plate against our teams in a close game.
Kevin Youkilis – BOS
The biggest news about Youkilis this offseason is the announcement that he is engaged to Tom Brady’s sister. Unexpected, eh? Despite having one of the ugliest batting stances I’ve ever seen, Youkilis consistently racks up plenty of hits, home runs, and RBI. Combine this with his plate discipline and penchant for taking walks, and it’s not surprising that he continues to be one of the best run producers in the stacked Red Sox lineup.