The Top 15 SOM Rookies of 2001 and Players who weren't carded in the 2000 SOM Baseball set! 

            This is a list of the top 15 rookies or players who weren’t carded in 2000. All of them are on Brass teams so you can forget about trying to draft them. The top 2 are the rookie of the years in each league and Ichiro won the MVP in the AL.. We’ll see how well they do this year with some of them in their sophomore season. 

1. Albert Pujols, DOB 1-16-80, Status: Leftfield, St. Louis Cardinals, Bats: R:
I see Pujols as a 3b-3e34, 1b-3e25 and a lf/rf-3(0)e12. I figure that the Cardinals winning gave him a shot at 3's all around. I know the Cardinals are talking about Polanco taking over at LF full time in 2002 and Pujols at 3rd but I would switch the two of them. There is no question about Pujols hitting ability. The 47 doubles, 37 home runs, 130 RBI, .329 BA and .403 OBP makes this possibly the best rookie season of all time. He’s only 21 years old and it hard to imagine how he could get any better.

2. Ichrio Suzuki, DOB 10-22-73, Status: Rightfield, Seattle Mariners, Bats: L: He batted .350 with 56 steals. He led the Seattle team all year as they won 116 games. He quieted all the skeptics who weren’t sure if a Japanese position player could make it in MLB. He’s projected to be a rf-1(-5)e1! Ichiro is a great outfielder and he deserved the Gold Glove award. I still wouldn't vote him the MVP award over Jason Giambi. Suzuki is a clutch hitter and came through in many tough situations.

3. Roy Oswalt, DOB 8-29-77, Status: Starting Pitcher, Houston Astros, Throws: R: At 24 years old, Oswalt became the stopper on the Astros pitching staff with a 14-3 record. He K’d 144 in 141.2 innings allowing only 24 walks. Oswalt’s groin injury hurt the Astros chances badly in the playoffs vs the Braves. Oswalt only allowed 3 steal attempts, of which one was caught, and that should give him a great hold on rating. The Astros' rookie pitchers must be learning the hitters fast with a catcher like Ausmus there to guide them. The only drawback to Oswalt is that he is pitching in Enron Field though it doesn't seem to have bothered him yet.

4. Adam Dunn, DOB 11-9-79, Status: Rightfield, Cincinnati Reds, Bats: L: He is only 22 years old. Dunn is a lefty home run hitter who will take a walk and that instantly puts him way up there in Strat-O-Matic value. This guy looks like he’s the real deal and 40 home runs is easily within reach since he had 19 in only 66 games in 2001 In 2001, with the stats from the majors and the minors totaled together, he hit 51 home runs and had 127 RBIs.

5. Josh Beckett, DOB 5-15-80, Status: Starting Pitcher, Florida Marlins, Throws: R: Beckett had four starts and only pitched 24 innings so he will only have a computer card. The Marlins limited him to just 6 innings per start and he missed one start in the middle of those with a blister. Beckett didn't seem overwhelmed or nervous at all facing the Cubs and Sosa. He just did his thing out there and you can just tell that he is going to be great. Beckett has the stuff to be awesome and he has the quiet confidence to make it even more effective.

6. CC Sabathia, DOB 7-21-80, Status: Starting Pitcher, Cleveland Indians, Throws: L: Sabathia is 21 years old and a lefty starter who racked up 171 K’s in 180.1 innings. Sabathia doesn’t give up many hits and when he gets over his control problems (95 walks), he’s going to be one tough pitcher and it's not like he isn't tough now.  He reminds me of Sid Fernandez.

7. Tom ‘Flash’ Gordon, DOB 11-18-67, Status: Closer, Chicago Cubs, Throws: R: Gordon is just 33 years old and he had a big year for the Cubs. I say only 33 because it seems like he has been around for a long time. He’ll have one of the better closer cards in the next set and he is on this list because he wasn’t carded last year. The Cubs lost Gordon for the end of the season and it killed their chances for a playoff spot. Gordon will be given as much time as needed to come along slowly in 2002 and he is the closer for the Cubs unless he can't do it physically.

8. Ben Sheets, DOB 7-18-78, Status: Starting Pitcher, Milwaukee Brewers, Throws: R: Sheets is only 23 years old. He got pounded by lefty batters in 2001. I still like his future as a starter with the Brewers. He was 11-10 in 25 starts and only walked 48 in 151.1 innings. That’s not too bad for the Brewers. He’ll be better in 2002. There were a lot of good games in those 151.1 innings.

9. Doug Mientkiewicz, DOB 6-19-74, Status: First base, Minnesota Twins, Bats: L: Everyone waited all year for Mientkiewicz to slump and lose the .300 batting average. He ended up at .306 with 39 doubles and 15 home runs. He is 27 years old and the best defensive first baseman in baseball. The one weak area is that he only hit 15 homers. The Twins need more production than that out of first base but overall, it was a great year. He’s not a home run hitter but he can drive in more runs if the Twins can get more runners on base. He is almost a clone of JT Snow, on a full year, when you look at the stats.

10. Bud Smith, DOB 10-23-79, Status: Starting Pitcher, St. Louis Cardinals, Throws: L: Smith is only 22 years old and he had a solid year starting 14 games for the Cardinals. Smith pitched 84.2 innings while striking out 59 while allowing 24 walks. He'll be a starter reliever, a backwards lefty the only negative about him is a possible +3 hold on rating. He will be in the rotation all year in 2002 and he has the potential to put up some even better numbers.

11. Joel Pineiro, DOB 9-25-78, Status: Starting Pitcher, Seattle Mariners, Throws: R: He is only 23 years old and he’ll be in the rotation in 2002. He pitched well for the Mariners in 75.1 innings going 6-2 while starting and relieving. RHBs only batted .150 against him.

12. Josh Towers, DOB 2-26-77, Status: Starting Pitcher, Baltimore Orioles, Throws: R: Towers is 24 years old and he has great control. He got hit his second time around the league but the 16 walks in 140.1 innings is impressive. I can see him improving quickly just because his control is so good. A full year in the rotation and a starting job in spring training can only make him better.

13. Carlos Pena, DOB 5-17-78, Status: First Base/DH, Texas Rangers, Bats: L: Pena is just 23 years old, he is a LHB, and is projected to be a 1b-4e20. He’s got a great swing and he is going to play full time in 2002.. He's going to be a player who has some strong strat cards.

14. Juan Uribe, DOB 7-22-80, Status: Shortstop, Colorado Rockies, Bats: R: Only 21 years old he got thrown into the line-up in Colorado and played much better than expected. As a rookie Uribe batted .300 with 15 doubles, 11 triples and 8 home runs. He won’t walk or steal much. He’s good enough to be a ss-2 and is almost a clone of Neifi Perez. He's got the same situation in 2002: No competition at short stop, a manager who likes defense and the full time job is all his as long as his defense holds up.

15. Juan Cruz, DOB 10-15-80, Status: Starting Pitcher, Chicago Cubs, Throws: R: He was 3-1 in 8 starts and had some players comparing him to Pedro Martinez. He is going to rack up the K’s in the future. Cruz had 39 K's in 44.2 innings. I see Cruz settling in as the Cubs #3 starter behind Wood and Lieber.