The consensus will be to take Albert Pujols with the top spot in fantasy baseball drafts. I agree with that, but the debate for the second pick could be a myriad of players. Most people will take Hanley Ramirez with the second pick mainly because of position scarcity, and many owners are intent on building up the middle infield position early since it lacks depth. I understand the sentiment, but if I have the No. 2 pick I take Miguel Cabrera.
It's hard to pass on a shortstop like Ramirez, who can hit more than 20 homers, steal 30 bases and add a .300 average. There are some concerns with Ramirez, though. After hitting 33 home runs in 2008, the number has dipped to 24 in 2009 and 21 in 2010. The reason for the decline in power was he hit way more groundballs with a 51 percent rate last season resulting in a 32.7 percent fly ball rate.
The stolen bases also have been declining. After 51 stolen bases in two consecutive seasons, Ramirez has 37, 27 and 32 stolen bases and hasn’t been running as often with 42 attempts last season and 35 in 2009.
I don't buy the argument to pass on Cabrera just because first base is very deep. He hit .328 with 111 runs, 38 home runs, 126 RBIs, a .420 on-base percentage and a 1.042 OPS in 2010. Ideally, I’d like to get a five-category player, but Cabrera is just about a lock to be elite in four categories, There are enough stolen bases throughout the draft to tackle the category later on.
Cabrera turns 28 on April 18 and is in his prime. It sounds crazy, but Cabrera could actually be better. He improved his walk rate to 13.7 percent and his fly ball rate to 41.7 percent. I want the best player available with the second pick and it’s Cabrera for me. The only category Ramirez will surely beat Cabrera is stolen bases. Cabrera gets the edge in the other four categories and positional scarcity isn’t enough for me to draft Ramirez.