Dustin Pedroia took home the AL MVP award Tuesday, and thus closes the 2008 awards season.
Pedroia may be one of the more surprising most valuable players in recent memory. Not that he was undeserving by any means. At the beginning of the year, very few fantasy owners thought he was a starting fantasy second baseman, let alone an MVP-caliber player.
Despite having garnered hardware in two consecutive seasons (he was AL Rookie of the Year in 2007), Pedroia will remain a candidate for the most undervalued fantasy player in 2009.
The perception remains that Pedroia is not a superstar, yet a look at his stats speaks to the contrary. He hit .326 in 2008 with 17 home runs, 83 runs batted in, 20 steals and an AL-leading 118 runs scored.
Would you like to know how many second baseman hit even .300 with 15 home runs and 100 runs scored? How about two – Ian Kinsler and Dustin Pedroia. No second baseman is more well-rounded then Pedroia, and there is no doubt Pedroia is a top-5 second baseman in 2008.
If Pedroia runs the risk of being undervalued in 2009, AL Cy Young Winner Cliff Lee runs the risk of being overvalued. Lee simply had a career year in 2008, going 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA and 170 strikeouts in taking home AL Cy Young honors.
Lee has been an up-and-down pitcher throughout his career. His performance in 2008 was simply incredible not just for him, but for any pitcher. Only Ron Guidry has had a higher winning percentage of pitchers who have won at least 20 games in the last 75 years.
Lee has probably figured something out and will be a good starter in 2009. Expecting him to be anything more than a 16-game winner with a 3.50 ERA is mere folly.
The other award winners this season warrant mention:
- Albert Pujols, the NL MVP, is the best first baseman in baseball, fantasy or otherwise. He was our 2008 Fantasy MVP and should be in every fantsy owner’s top three heading into ’09.
- Rookies of the Year Geovany Soto and Evan Longoria were great for fantasy owners in 2008, many of whom drafted the them in the latter half of the draft. Such a bargain will be hard to come by for these two in 2009, as both will rightfully be considered among the elite at their positions.
- The same holds true for NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, who can probably improve in ’09. He had next to no run support and was not helped out by his bullpen. He could easily surpass his 2008 win total of 17 next year, making him even more valuable. His 2.62 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 265 strikeouts should place him in the top trio of fantasy pitchers in 2009.