Wednesday, I wrote about the ten players I’m keeping a close eye on this season. Or, rather, the first eight. In the spirit of creating this list in a way that enables us to follow along together, I opened up the last two spots for commenters’ nominations. The original eight were:
You guys did a great job suggesting players to be included on the list. For the last two spots, I tried very hard not to replicate the type of players above–i.e., I’m very interested in how David Ortiz does, but he has very similar questions to those facing Manny Ramirez. I’m also trying to not load up on players from the same team, though it was very hard not to pick Miguel Tejada, Matt Wieters, Russell Martin, or Clayton Kershaw. The last two spots on the Stock Watch go to:
9. David Wright
2009: .307/.390/.447 (144 games)
2010 projection: .305/.391/.502 (149 games)
This is a cliche choice, but a fun one nonetheless. While Wright wasn’t nearly as bad last year as the worrymongers might suggest–a player who posts 3.5 WAR in a very down year can play for me any day–it’ll be fun to see if the power switch can get flipped back to the “on” setting. Slugging .447 makes Wright a very, very good player. Venturing into (or very close to) .300/.400/.500 gets him into superstar territory. And while we know UZR is subject to pretty wide fluctuation on a year-to-year basis, the stat just can’t decide if Wright’s above- or below-average. While Wright’s 2010 won’t be career-defining in the way that Brandon Wood‘s will be, it will certainly tell us a great deal what to expect from the Mets’ third baseman going forward.
10. Yovani Gallardo
2009: 3.97 FIP (185.2 innings)
2010 projection: 3.62 FIP (145 innings)
Uber-prospect? Check. Bizarre injury? Check. Gigantic leap in innings pitched? Check. Chance to be among the game’s best? Check. I love the idea of tracking Gallardo through 2010. There’s no questioning his talent; there aren’t too many 23-year-old pitchers striking out 204 batters in 185.2 innings. Granted, Gallardo does give up his share of walks (4.46) and home runs (1.02) per nine innings, but those numbers don’t necessarily portend doom. If he’s FIPping to the tune of 3.97 with those blemishes, imagine how good he can be if he improves those figures while still striking out over a batter per inning. What’s more, every pitch he throws with regularity is above-average. Combining his age, stuff, performance, and injury history produces a player I’m very excited to watch closely in 2010.
If your suggested player didn’t make the cut, fret not. I’ve kept all the submissions and recorded their CHONE projections. It’s quite possible one of the players on the list will miss extended time in 2010, and I’m grateful to have a stable of players ready to insert in the stock watch. Thanks for all the nominations, and we’ll check back in on these guys as the season progresses.