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One-Year Wonders and Wondering About Griffey...
March 23, 2002

Fantasy draft day is right around the corner for many, and the biggest question is always "What do I do with one year wonders?"  Will Bret Boone continue his torrid hitting in 2002 or will he become this year's version of Richard Hidalgo?  In Boone's case, I think it's obvious that he cannot repeat last year's performance, but he should be able to post respectable numbers.  Roberto Alomar is still the head of the class at second base, but beyond that the position is questionable.  Kent is normally a solid pick but his broken wrist will slow him down in the early going.  That leaves players like Durham, Soriano, Biggio, Castillo, and Vidro, and none of them stand out compared to Boone.  Expect Boone to be the 2nd or 3rd second baseman selected and to finish with the 4th best stats at that position.

Another typical problem facing a fantasy owner is the unknown variable of young, talented pitching.  Hurlers like Zito and Mulder have already matured and are primed for stardom, but what about those pitchers who showed flashes of brilliance despite their lack of experience.  Namely, Josh Beckett, Juan Cruz, Mark Buehrle, Roy Oswalt, and Bud Smith will all be drafted highly but only a few will meet expectations.  It's the nature of the game.  Not every talented pitcher is successful the next time around.  Who is this year's sophomore star?  I'm putting my money on Oswalt because of his power and command.  Beckett is wild, Cruz is frail (down to 153 pounds), Buehrle does nothing great (just many things good), and Smith is inconsistent.  Still, these guys might be worth taking a chance on to fill out the bottom part of your rotation.  Just don't follow the hype and draft them too early.

Other players to watch are the proven players coming off a bad year.  Bonds was drafted in the 4th round in my fantasy league last year and look what he did.  The player to watch this year is Ken Griffey Jr.  Junior had nagging injuries most of last year and never found his power stroke.  His average has declined over the years and will probably fall out of the 1st couple rounds in most leagues.  If you can snag him in the 3rd or 4th round, consider yourself lucky.  Griffey will be back on track in 2002.

Good luck in your draft this year and don't forget to get a Rockies player on your squad no matter how bad he may seem.  They're always better than their talent.  Look at Neifi Perez since he left.