If You're Hardcore: Votto and Kennedy top list

Are you tired of columns telling you that the smart "pickups" each week are players who are already owned in your league ... and more often than not sold for real money at auction? If you're hardcore, then this is column is for you: real world pickups for deep AL- or NL-only leagues.


Joey Votto, 1B, Reds: A second-round pick in 2002, Votto had a disappointing 2005 in high Class A. He was promoted to Double-A in 2006 and rebounded to post career highs in almost every offensive category. Votto's doubles, and therefore his slugging percentage, were way down in his first exposure to Triple-A this year, but he impressively maintained all of his other skills. Votto has decent power, but it remains to be seen if he'll be a 30-home run guy in the majors or will top out closer to 20 homers. He's a patient hitter who will draw plenty of walks, but also strikes out a lot. He should be able to maintain a .280-ish batting average in the big leagues. Votto's defense is suspect, and although he is an excellent baserunner for a big guy, he can't be expected to rack up many steals. Overall, he's unlikely to display the power required to make him a star at first base, but he certainly profiles as a solid major league regular. The Reds will give Votto substantial playing time down the stretch, making him a solid pick in all leagues. Keeper leaguers should regard him as a major prize.