by Luke Kelley
This is a love-hate thing. Teammate combinations can bring pain, joy, and even mediocrity. But I love them anyway. I have had duos that have carried my whole team some weeks, and screwed my roster on others. I’ve made in season trades to set up a duo down the stretch to try to carry my team to the playoffs, and have had to break some up because the production wasn’t there. Some notable combos I’ve had in the past include Pujols and Holliday (’10), Longoria and Upton (‘09), Han Ram and Uggla, and a few years back I had the tough-when-healthy pair of Wright and Reyes.
An ideal twosome would have both power and speed, so you can cover all 5 categories. But you don’t have to be picky to find solid partners. The elite teams have multiple possibilities in this category: Yankees (Cano, Arod, Tex, and Jeter), Phillies (Howard, Utley, Rollins, and the Flyin’ Hawaiian), and even the Brew Crew (Braun, Fielder, and now Hart and Weeks).
These are my Top 5 Combos in new places for 2011 (that are reasonably draft-able):
1. Gonzalez/Crawford, BOS 2010 Stat Line: .303, 50 HR, 191 RBI, 197 R, 47 SB
Wow, this combo could be extremely dangerous. If they are within a couple lineup spots of each other just imagine: Crawford singles, steals 2nd, and Gonzalez lines a double off the Monster! However, this might be hard to pull off. I feel that the 9 or 10 slots would have to get lucky to do this, but I had to include this dynamic duo because of the potential (maybe substitute one for Youk who will be at 3B).
2. Hamilton/Beltre, TEX ’10 Line: .340, 60 HR, 202 RBI, 179 R, 10 SB
I know, I know. Beltre only hits in years he needs a new contract, but maybe that stops with Hamilton next to him. This wouldn’t be that hard to do in the draft, seeing how Beltre could slip a round lower than he’s valued. If you don’t select a 3B in the first few rounds and snag Hamilton, Beltre isn’t a bad way to go.
3 .Heyward/Uggla, ATL ’10 Line: .282, 51 HR, 177 RBI, 183 R, 15 SB
This one depends on a few things: Heyward avoiding a sophomore slump and Uggla getting comfy in his new park. I expect this team to do some damage. You might have to select this tandem in back-to-back rounds.
4. Dunn/Rios, CWS ’10 Line: .272, 59 HR, 191 RBI, 174 R, 34 SB
This might be my favorite. Dunn hits bombs and drives in a bunch of runs, and Rios does some of everything. With 38 HR from Dunn and 34 SB from Rios last year, this gruesome-twosome fits the power/speed traditional combo. If you don’t pick a 1B in the first two rounds, this could be a great pair.
5. Zimmerman/Werth, WAS ’10 Line: .302, 52 HR, 170 RBI, 191 R, 17 SB
Don’t forget about the Zimm! This guy has put in work the last few years. I know there is a lot of doubt about Jason this year, but stats don’t lie. Maybe he goes into Washington with a chip on his shoulder, and remembers how to swipe 20+ SB.