In 2007, Eric Byrnes had a career year, cashed out with a huge contract and became the first white spokesman for Soul Glo. Shane Victorino had a productive year, but was injured, costing him just over twenty games. Eric Byrnes will invariably go before Shane Victorino in 2008 fantasy baseball drafts, but should he?
Let’s look at how dramatically different 2007 was for Eric Byrnes compared to other years. His seasonal averages are 85/19/68/.267/23. Last year his numbers were 103/21/83/.286/50. He had a career high in runs, RBIs, steals and bested his seasonal average of homers. So when it’s said he had a career year, it’s not an exaggeration. And if you’re just hoping to get at least steals from Byrnes, his previous high in steals was 25. Don’t get caught up in the perception that he’s on the rise. He was 31 last year. Sure, he hustles, but he always hustled and he didn’t always put up decent numbers. Maybe he finally feels like a part of organization with Arizona, but he was there in 2006 and he only stole 25 bases. Last year was a great year to have Byrnes, that doesn’t mean 2008 will be. Don’t compound your error of missing Byrnes last year by taking him this year.
Shane Victorino should be at the top of the Phillies lineup next year, which means 100 runs without blinking. His speed is obvious. Last year he had 37 steals in 131 games with only 4 times caught. His power is surprising and, in that ballpark, he’s good for 15 homers if he plays an entire year. His average is not a negative, after batting .285 combined in his first three years with the Phillies. He’s only 27. Just about the only thing Byrnes will definitely eclipse Victorino in is RBIs and that’s simply a result of where they will be batting in their respective lineup.
Finally, the most exciting thing about Victorino, he will be drafted after Byrnes in your league. Remember, always go for value over the name.