Ryan Howard – If you’ve seen Howard lately you’ve noticed that he has slimmed down quite a bit in the offseason. Hopefully the hard work he put in during the offseason will help him avoid another slow start. If you are concerned that Howard lost some of his power when he dropped the lbs; don’t be, he already has 5 HRs in 31 at bats.
Carlos Delgado – It is nearly impossible to get this guy out right now; he is getting on base 75% of the time. The veteran first baseman will be 37 this year but don’t discriminate! Delgado could be a top 10 fantasy first baseman in 2009.
Skip Schumaker – The move to second base improved Skip’s fantasy value. He should be taken as a late round flier but he could end up being your starting 2B, if you don’t draft an elite player at that position.
Dan Uggla – Uggla has terrific power but he struggles to put the ball in play. He leads the league with 15 strikeouts in only 35 at bats. That is an alarmingly high rate even at this point.
Jose Reyes – There has been some talk that Reyes may bat in the three spot for the Mets this year. I personally don’t think that is the right move to make, not because Reyes doesn’t have the tools to be a number three hitter but because I think the Mets offense will be better served with Reyes leading off and Luis Castilla batting in the eight hole. Regardless Reyes is the second best fantasy shortstop and the difference being Hanley and Jose is slight.
Andy Laroche – The Pirates have plenty of young talent at this position but Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker better try their luck in the outfield. Adam’s younger brother could have a breakout year in 2009.
Ryan Zimmerman – Zimmerman is still a good option at this position. The 24 year old never got back to his rookie year number but he is still young. Take him in the later rounds and you could get top 6 production out of him.
Jayson Werth – The lanky RF ended up in Charlie’s dog house when he showed up for spring training “not ready to play.” He has been battling some shoulder problems but if he stays healthy for an entire season he could be a 30 – 30 guy.
Ryan Braun – He may be the best OF in the NL. He is listed as day to day due to soreness in his side. Check back for updates, but it doesn’t appear to be too serious right now.
Manny Ramirez – Manny is expected to miss at least a week due to a tweaked hamstring. He is a freak of nature and I would definitely take him with a late first round/early second round pick. When motivated he will put up incredible numbers.
Derek Lowe – The veteran RHP is moving back east, away from the “pitcher friendly” NL West. Luckily, for the Braves this guy knows how to pitch and I expect him to have another solid year. He is one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball and would be a terrific #3.
Barry Zito – Stay away, this guy can’t get the job done. He struggles with his control and when he does throw it in the strike zone he gets hit hard.
Josh Johnson – I am a huge fan of Josh Johnson. I know he is coming off of some serious injuries but his arm looks better than ever. Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco are pitchers I would love to have on my staff.
Yovani Gallardo – The Brewer’s ace could be ready to be a fantasy ace. Again, his health is a concern.
Cole Hamels – Yikes, elbow soreness!?! That is not cool. Hopefully, it is just some inflammation but this situation needs to be monitored closely.
Chris Carpenter – The Cardinals love what they are seeing from Carpenter so far. I hope he can take the ball every fifth day, but I’m not willing to take that risk. If he stays healthy he could be a huge impact player.