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For Better, For Worse (cont.)

Posted: Thursday February 15, 2007 1:38PM; Updated: Thursday February 15, 2007 1:38PM
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By Tony Finn, Special to SI.com, SportsGrumblings.com

For Worse

Will Dan Uggla's September fade carry over into 2007?
Will Dan Uggla's September fade carry over into 2007?
Chuck Solomon/SI
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1. Dan Uggla, 2B, Florida
Uggla set a major league record for most home runs (27) by a rookie second baseman en route to a third place finish in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting. He was also the first Rule 5 selection to make the All-Star Game in the same season he was drafted. While Uggla's overall numbers were quite impressive for a second baseman (.282-27-90-105-6), his second-half struggles present a puzzle for owners attempting to validate the young Marlins metric trends. Uggla was only a .276 career minor league hitter and his lowly second-half numbers last year (.256-14-39 with 72K/24BB) along with his .232 average over the final 29 games is cause for concern. You can make a case that his rookie season was an overachievement, even a fluke. The shortage of quality fantasy second baseman will make Uggla an early-round selection in most formats, which could be a major error.

2. Chad Tracy, 3B, Arizona
Tracy had his prime-time success earlier than most of his major league brethren. He compiled career bests in '05 before disappointing owners last season. While he hits in a favorable park, his surrounding cast in Arizona is suspect, so don't expect career numbers this summer. The Diamondbacks are extremely young in the field, and while the unit as a whole offers potential, inconsistency will be the one word that best describes this team, and Tracy, at season's end.

3. Corey Patterson, OF, Baltimore
Patterson is a versatile hitter who can find the outfield alleys, bunt for base hits and hit for power. By taking his first steps last year towards being more selective at the plate he also had his best season. His strikeouts dropped from 168 in 2004 to a respectable 94 in 2006, but this appears to be more of an aberration than trend. His 44 combined walks over the past two seasons contradict the positive strikeout reduction. Patterson will once again have his 15 minutes, but after what should be considered a rebirth from his breakout season of 2004 -- his average draft position likely won't equate to his true Roto value.

4. Bobby Crosby, SS, Oakland
Following his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2004, Crosby has played just 180 games over the past two seasons. Plus there is still a question mark as to whether the run-producing shortstop will be ready for Opening Day. His offseason training regiment was slowed because of fractured vertebrae, and his injury history, along with a chronic back ailment, is discouraging. Crosby has the tools to be a 20-homer threat but is just as likely to miss a chunk of games to injuries.

5. Ryan Shealy, 1B, Kansas City
Shealy manhandled minor league pitching while in the Rockies' farm system. But he doesn't have much major league experience with Todd Helton blocking the way. That will be a hindrance in his first full season. Shealy was productive in 51 games with the Royals after being dealt at the trade deadline. Six of his seven home runs came in the clutch, and his .301 average with runners in scoring position is a strong indicator he could be a solid fantasy option in the near future.

6. Felipe Lopez, SS, Washington
Lopez hit .274-11-52 last season playing both in Cincinnati and Washington. While owners enjoyed his 44 steals of a year ago -- the .291 average, 23 home runs and 85 RBIs he registered in 2005 as a full-time Red isn't attainable playing half of his games at RFK.

Honorable Mention

Adrian Beltre, 3B, Seattle: He will never reproduce the 2004 numbers he recorded while in L.A. Blame it, perhaps, on the absence of juice and the decaffeinated espresso in Seattle.

Jason Botts, DH, Texas: Any time a player has to enter prime time as a designated hitter, he is far too dispensable to be counted on.

Austin Kearns, OF, Washington: Like Felipe Lopez, the move from GAB to RFK retards his fantasy value.

Ryan Langerhans, OF, Atlanta: The young outfielder has shown he has pop in his bat, but more he has never been consistent enough to earn an everyday role. After hitting .296 in April last year, he followed with an unimpressive .225 (55-for-244) the rest of the season and found himself serving as a reserve.

Remember, reactive approaches can only get you so far. Proactive approaches are what will make you a legend. "It don't mean a thing if you don't win that bling."

Tony Finn is the Senior Editor for Baseball at Sports Grumblings, a fantasy sports hub offering articles, advice, player rankings, forums and more. Visit Sports Grumblings today and get on the path to DOMINATING your league!

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