The Texas Rangers finished second in the A.L. West in 2008, though only with a 79-83 record. The Rangers lack quality pitching but they still have good hitters and a friendly hitter’s ball park which should provide for some good fantasy numbers. Here then are the top five Rangers to take in a 2009 fantasy baseball draft.
Josh Hamilton (OF)
Josh Hamilton was the feel good story of 2008. The former first pick overall (1999) put up MVP type numbers last year, along with a prodigious display of power during the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game. Hamilton put up 32 homers, 130 RBI’s and a .304 average, and occasionally stole a base or two. In most fantasy drafts, Hamilton will be a top 10 pick, and one who may be able to exceed the lofty numbers he put up last season. Look for a +35 HR, +125 RBI year in 2009.
Ian Kinsler (2B)
Ian Kinsler was in the midst of spectacular season when he went on the DL with a sports hernia, making him miss the last six weeks of the 2008 season. The injury should not affect his 2009 numbers, and Kinsler should be a fantastic option in fantasy baseball this year. Limited to 121 games last season, Kinsler produced 18 homers, 26 stolen bases and 102 runs, while hitting .319. If you miss out on Chase Utley at second, grab Kinsler, the difference should be minimal. Kinsler should go in the first five rounds of your fantasy draft.
Michael Young (SS/3B)
Michael Young is no longer the fantasy star he was a few years back when he was stringing together five straight seasons with over 200 hits and a .300 average. Having said that, he is still a good option at shortstop and a decent one at third base. Last year he posted a .282 average, with 12 homers and 82 RBI’s, modest numbers which he augmented with 102 runs and 10 steals. Look for Young in the mid rounds of the draft.
David Murphy (OF)
A former 1st round draft pick, Murphy put up decent numbers (15 homers, 74 RBIs in only 108 games) in an injured shorten 2008, and is poised for a breakout season in 2009. He plays at a hitters park and that should help him post +20 homer +100 RBI numbers this season. Murphy should slide under the radar in most leagues, and if he falls to you late in the draft, take him, he has sleeper potential.
Hank Blalock (DH)
Hank Blalock is a high risk, high reward pick. Once a great prospect with a stellar minor league track record, Blalock was off to a decent major league career from 2003-2005. Injuries the last two season should scare off most potential fantasy baseball suitors, but Blalock still has the potential to put together a .300/25/100 season. If he slides by all other owners, roll the die on him late in the draft.