Spring is in the air, ladies and gentlemen.
Maybe not here in Philadelphia, but most certainly in Florida and Arizona. And that can only mean one thing:
There are a million reasons to love the summer. And baseball is certainly near the top of the list.
Opening day is right around the corner, and that means fantasy baseball drafts are already getting underway. This year, we will be bringing you unprecedented prizes from FanDuel in one-day fantasy leagues.
How does a $25,000 prize pot for their first ever One-Day Grand Slam, taking place on Friday, April 1, sound? It's the world's biggest single-day fantasy baseball contest.
In the days leading up to the event, I will be giving positional rankings, but feel free to go ahead and sign up now. You can edit your team up to the last minute.
Since this is the first post of the season, we'll start off simple. Here is my list of my top ten players overall:
1. Albert Pujols (STL -- 1B) - Maybe the best baseball player I've ever seen. (Disclaimer: I am 24) He is not only a machine at the plate, putting up some of the most consistent numbers from year to year, but he is in a contract year. Nothing motivates big-leaguers more than the prospect of a lucrative deal. Look out for a big year from Pujols, and then you can watch him scream, "Show me the money!" all the way to the bank.
2. Joey Votto (CIN -- 1B) - Another first baseman from the NL Central. Anyone detecting a theme, here? Sure, there isn't a ton of great pitching in that division, especially with injuries to Adam Wainwright and Zack Greinke, and that will mean good things for Pujols and Votto. Votto was the MVP of the National League last year, and there is little reason to think that he won't be in the hunt for another after this season.
3. Robinson Cano (NYY -- 2B) - What can you say about Robinson Cano? He is a stud, and he hits in a lineup that is as top-heavy as any in the league. With the protection around in him the lineup, Cano is poised for a big season with the Bronx Bombers.
4. Hanley Ramirez (FLA -- SS) - Hanley struggled much of last season, and really hampered my lineups production. However, I am willing to forgive and forget. Without Dan Uggla in the lineup, look for Hanley to be forced to drive in more runs than usual. Also look for more steals from Ramirez, who had just 35 last season, after stealing 51 bases in each of his first two seasons.
5. Adrian Gonzalez (BOS -- 1B) - Fenway, Fenway, Fenway. Oh, and a short-porch at Yankee Stadium. Gonzalez, who came over from the Padres in the off-season, should murder the ball at Fenway Park, and with the lineup that surounds him, he will be knocking in runs left and right. With tremendous power numbers in one of the biggest parks in the league, look for Gonzalez to improve those numbers in the comfy confines of Fenway Park.
6. Ryan Braun (MIL -- OF) - Braun has proven to be a valuable player year after year. Like many other players on this list, his success is partially generated from hitting in a lineup that offers protection. With Prince Fielder and Corey Hart, Braun has that protection and should have another productive season.
7. Evan Longoria (TB -- 3B) - Out go Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena, in come Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon. Even though he has lost some of the firepower around him, Longoria can make things happen on his own.
8. Carl Crawford (BOS -- OF) - Now in Boston, Crawford will look to continue to be one of the best outfielders in the game. Be wary, though. Crawford just signed a monster deal with the Sox, and complacency could lead to slightly lower numbers.
9. Roy Halladay (PHI -- SP) - The front-man of the newly-founded Four Aces. There is no reason to think that Halladay won't chase another 20-win season. And just because pitchers only play every 5 games, that doesn't mean that those categories are any less valuable. Halladay will provide consistent numbers and can anchor your rotation. If I were you, I'd go after all four of the Phillies' aces. Why not?
10. Miguel Cabrera (DET -- OF) - His latest alcohol related incident has caused him to fall slightly down my rankings. He will be playing under extra scrutiny this year, and that could hurt him. Overall, though, Cabrera should be ready for another good season.
Don't forget to check out all the latest Phillies coverage from the Inquirer and Daily News on Philly.com. You can also download our new Pro Baseball 2011 App for all the latest news and most in-depth coverage, including app-exclusive content.
Matt Mullin is a sports producer at philly.com. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @matt_mullin.