By R.J. Anderson //
Biggest Surprise: David Freese
Acquired three years ago in the Jim Edmonds deal, Freese’s pedigree made him an iffy candidate to become a starting third baseman in the major leagues. He made a solid case this season, though, hitting .296/.361/.404. There’s not a ton of power in that line, which tends to make fans and fantasy baseball players antsy with expectations of sluggers at the corners. His four home runs will not fool anyone into thinking he’s the reincarnate of Scott Rolen, but the injuries might. Not a recommended keeper.
Biggest Bust: Felipe Lopez
Coming off one of the best seasons of his career, Lopez registered one of the worst. He played better in a brief stint with Boston, but was downright horrendous with the Cardinals. A .231/.310/.340 line looks nothing like what we’ve come to expect from the 30-year-old. Folks in the industry aren’t thrilled with his personality and that could keep him from securing a major league deal (let alone a starting job) this off-season. There’s a chance Lopez could enter 2011 as a utility player.
2011 Keeper Alert: Colby Rasmus
Lost in the hoopla of Rasmus vs. Tony LaRussa was the fact that Rasmus played very well and managed over 500 plate appearances while hitting .276/.361/.498 as a 23-year-old. That’s more plate appearances than Curtis Granderson received, and nobody is going to pass on Granderson because of it. Rasmus’ future is bright whether he’s in St. Louis or another major league city, but two things are for sure, he’s going to be in the majors in 2011 and he’s going to hit.
2011 Regression Alert: Matt Pagnozzi
No batter really over- or underperformed expectations; therefore, Pagnozzi’s .892 OPS in 44 plate appearances registers as the individual season which you should not buy into as being legitimate.
For more on Albert Pujols, check out Bloomberg Sports’ Fantasy Kits.