Best Case: Bryce Harper
He carries this underachieving Nationals team to the World Series and because of his talent and charisma he becomes the most recognized face in baseball…or a more recognized face in baseball. Instead of crashing into walls, he bursts through them like the Hulk. With literally nothing capable of stopping Bryce Hulk he’s able to fulfill his potential and swat 40 HRs and swipe 20 bases. He becomes one of the youngest players, he’s only 21, since, well, Mike Trout to develop and destroy pitchers so quickly. This also makes the current comparisons of the two players finally appropriate. Harper sparks the rest of the Nationals lineup to produce at his high level and he’s easily able to drive in 110 runs. He starts dating a supermodel and people finally stop asking him “clown questions”. The future of baseball has arrived.
Worst Case: Bryce Harper
Turns out walls have become sentient beings and start running into him. His knee issues from last year still linger and he can never quite find his power, barely getting 20 HRs as he doesn’t play a full season again. The Nationals offense disappoints like always and lack of line up production causes his counting stats to hover around mediocre and boring statlines. New skipper Matt Williams embraces the Moneyball persona and discourages stolen bases, causing Bryce to only steal 5 bases. People continue to praise Harper despite the down year and you can’t even get a discount on him the following year. He starts dating a regular model. The future always seems to be next year, but you were stuck with him for this one.
Best Case: Crush Davis
Chris Davis plays the entire year like he did in the 1st half of 2013. He manages to get 55 HRs and over 150 RBIs while keeping his batting average in the .290 range. He still strikes out over 200 times again, which is higher than 30% of his at bats. That doesn’t matter as he proves he can easily maintain a BABIP of .340, similar to what he managed in 2012 as well. He’s not a fluke, he’s just a more mature player with guaranteed playing time, and he’s been a great/amazing player in Baltimore. Even if he falls back to 2012 counting numbers, he’s still worth the end of the 1st draft price tag for the potential of 40+ HRs. Camden Yards forgives a lot of mistakes, but Crush Davis doesn’t forgive pitcher’s mistakes. He’s turning the magical age of 27, which is usually the prime for hitters, and if he can repeat last years numbers he’s a bona fide 1st round selection.
Worst Case: Chris Davis
Davis’s trouble against lefties continues and maybe even worsens. In 217 at bats against lefties last season he had 74 strikeouts, a batting average of .235, and an OBP of .289. Which is unstartable and borderline undraftable in 12 team leagues. Why should you pick Chris Davis in the 1st round when I could pick Jay Bruce several rounds later? Pitchers started to figure him out last year and they aren’t gonna be offering this guy any meatball pitches and he won’t have any good pitches in the strike zone to crush. Post all star break in 241 at bats he sported a 33/16/45/4/.245 statline. His numbers look suspiciously like Adam Dunn’s 2nd half numbers of 238 at bats 34/16/44/0/.223…albeit this is when Dunn was continually having 40 HR seasons, but even Adam Dunn was never 1st round material during that time. Chris Davis becomes the next Adam Dunn where he’s either HR or bust, making him a bust 1st round selection.
Best Case: Hanley Ramirez
He remains healthy all season and produces like he did last year and during his early years with the Marlins. In only 304 at bats last year, Hanley had 20 HRs and 10 SB, so if he had twice the at bats he’d have twice the production (or at least much better) than last year. Even if he cannot keep up with the superhuman pace he was setting last year, as long as he gets a full season of at bats he should approach 30 HRs and 20 SBs levels. Did I mention he’s a SS? Batting around the Dodger lineup of Puig, Crawford, Gonzo, and a healthy Matt Kemp, Hanley’s counting stats are buoyed by this stud filled lineup. This guy is a couple years removed from being the most valuable fantasy player in the game and he did with the Marlins. The sky’s the limit with Hanley.
Worst Case: Hanley Ramirez
He gets injured. Even if he doesn’t get injured, last year’s numbers, especially batting average, will not happen again. He swung more and hit everything. Pitchers adjust and Hanley will swing at everything not hit everything. In 2012 he had a batting average of .257. The year before that it was .243. A batting average of .345 isn’t happening again. He should manage 20 HRS if he can bat most of the season. I mean he only had one injury plagued sub 20 HR season. But if your impressed with 20 HRs at your SS position then just draft JJ Hardy. The speed that he had in his early years with Miami suddenly returns to him during his age 30 season…even though he hasn’t stolen more than 20 bases since 2010. I mean players get faster as they age right? With his new found speed he injures himself trying to steal a base. Hanley is batting in the heart of a line up with Boston’s overpriced leftovers, rookie sensation Puig (who’s due to regress as well), and a Matt Kemp who may never be fully healthy again…in Dodger stadium, which heavily favors pitchers. He sported a BABIP 30 points higher than his career norm, which is inflated from his younger days as a Marline, and worst case scenario could just mean returning back to normal levels. If the sky’s the limit for Hanley, Mike Trout’s walking on the moon.
Best Case: BJ Upton
You spend your last round pick on a guy who hit 28 HRs and 31SBs a year ago. And it’s not like he can do any worse this year right?
Worst Case: BJ Upton
He somehow does worse this year. Drop him, he costed nothing. You’re a Braves fan and have to watch BJ play for you everyday. He also manages to disguise himself as his younger brother so you’re forced to helplessly watch a Braves lineup with 2 BJ Uptons and Dan Uggla. Welcome to hell.