Skeptics Say: Bonifacio emerged last season on the strength of a 26-game hitting streak. During that time Bonifacio hit .390, but aside from that he was a .275 hitter. That's still better than every season of his career, but probably not good enough to be a top 100 or even a top 125 pick. Before last year Bonifacio had played in over 100 games only once in parts of four seasons. He's hardly proven after one good year, and now that Jose Reyes is an automatic in the lineup when healthy, Bonifacio won't get much time to overcome any potential trouble he has early in the season.
Peer Comparison: The discripancy between Tristan Cockcroft's rankings and those of CBS is huge. Cockcroft believes Bonifacio's 2011 season was a fluke, but CBS thinks it is essentially who he is. I also agree with CBS. Check out these four players numbers in 2011:
Player A: 78 R 5 HR 36 RBI 40 SB .296 AVG
Player B: 68 R 8 HR 49 RBI 25 SB .253 AVG
Player C: 59 R 7 HR 54 RBI 4 SB . 299 AVG
Player D: 61 R 2 HR 40 RBI 23 SB .245 AVG
The players are Bonifacio, Ian Desmond, Marco Scutaro, and Jason Bartlett in that order. All three of the players were easily worse than Emilio last year, but also ahead of him in Cockcroft's preseason outlook.
Lineup Outlook: Bonifacio played in 97 games as the leadoff hitter last season. Take the under on that number, but he will still get about a months worth of games as the leadoff guy. Reyes has missed an average of 64 games the last three seasons, and the hamstring injury is bound to flair up now that his contract motivation has evaporated.
That said, when Reyes is in the lineup, it's possible that Bonifacio could hit right in the middle of Reyes and Hanley Ramirez. That would be ideal, but Omar Infante was the number two hitter in 110 games last year. Run scoring opportunities are up in the air for Bonifacio next season.
What They're Saying: CBS Sportsline: #8 Shortstop; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #20 Shortstop & Not Ranked in Top 250; RotoChamp: #87 Overall
Projection: There should be a slight downgrade in his BABIP and there's a ton of variability (lineup, playing time, position eligibility) in play. Overall though, this is a guy that plays shortstop and has many reasons that he could be again.
80 R 3 HR 41 RBI 34 SB .280 AVG .346 OBP .724 OPS