Thursday, March 31, 2011

Audacious Predictions...Mark Em' Down Anyway


World Series: Boston Red Sox over Milwaukee Brewers
NL Bombshell:  Giants finish at.500
AL Bombshell:  Yankees miss playoffs
NL MVP: Ryan Braun
AL MVP: Adrian Gonzalez
NL Cy Young: Yovani Gallardo
AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez
NL Rookie of the Year: Brandon Belt
AL Rookie of the Year: Tsuyoshi Nishioka
NL Surprise Player: Bill Hall
AL Surprise Player: Billy Butler
NL Round 1-2 Busts: David Wright
AL Round 1-2 Busts: Nelson Cruz
NL Over Hyped/Under Achiever: Mat Latos
AL Over Hyped/Under Achiever: Elvis Andrus
NL Comeback Player of the year: Chipper Jones
AL Comeback Player of the Year: Magglio Ordóñez
First Manager Fired: Jim Riggleman
Crazy Prediction: 3 way tie in AL Central between White Sox, Twins, and Tigers. Huge controversy on who should play who first and where to decide Division winner.
First Player Arrested after Opening Day: Nyjer Morgan
That's 20 predictions for the season...lets hear yours...get the most right and I will give you credit and let your voice be heard here at the start of next season. You will also be given a moniker of your choice. Submit Predictions Here

Don't Be This Guy

Don't be this guy...use the tools at your disposal!!
Play Ball!!
Today is the day. Opening Day…Spring weather…time to watch Baseball Tonight every night (twice). Time to realize my Cubs will be out of it by Cinco de Mayo.  That time of year to think, talk, write, argue, analyze, criticize, study, evaluate, cheer, moan, cuss, eat, drink and sleep Baseball. I have done what I can to help all of you and I appreciate you stopping by and visiting my humble site. Like I said a couple of months ago, I started this site on a very cold January morning because I missed Baseball. I’ve had a blast researching and posting my thoughts these last couple of months. I enjoy the feedback from all of you and your continued support.  Without all of you this site would be meaningless.  So remember, stay active in your league and use the tools at your disposal…if not my site pick some of your favorites and support them.  
Thanks,
Brett
A big thanks to a great DJ and radio man for use of this pic...Jeff Strange WKHY.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fix My Team...Returning From Injury

I just did my live draft last night; we have the standard Yahoo structure with only 1 utility spot and no CI or MI positions.  Max of 9 total pitchers.  It is also a keeper league with 2 roster spots for prospects.  I was the 11th pick.  H2H scoring, 12 categories (Offense – R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, OBP.  Pitching W, L, SV, K, ERA, WHIP)
1)      Alex Rodriguez
2)      Mark Teixeira
3)      Clayton Kershaw
4)      Ian Kinsler
5)      Jacoby Ellsbury (Maybe a reach but I believe he has a huge year)
6)      Mike Stanton
7)      Josh Hamilton (keeper from last year)
8)      Gio Gonzalez
9)      Carlos Gonzalez (keeper from last year)
10)     John Axford
11)     Rafael Furcal
12)     Matt Thornton
13)     John Danks
14)     Stephen Strasburg (I know it was early but the chance to keep him as a 13th round next year doesn’t scare me; already on my DL)
15)     Jeremy Hellickson (keeper from last year)
16)     Gordon Beckham (insurance for Kinsler)
17)     Ryan Raburn (Actually already traded him for Mike Aviles which is insurance for Furcal)
18)     Mike Trout (#1 prospect couldn’t let him pass)
19)     Kurt Suzuki (my weakest starter IMO)
20)     David Price (keeper from last year)
21)     Alex Gordon
22)     Manny Banuelos (#2 prospect; love his upside)
23)     Lance Berkman (Like that he will hit in the heart of the Cards lineup and get OF elig soon)
24)     Brandon Beachy
I am 1 pitcher short due to taking Strasburg but will put him in 1 of 2 DL spots once I can and pick someone up.  Was thinking of picking up Webb and putting him on the DL and then going after someone like Travis Wood.
So how did I do?  Any advice on what to look to upgrade or players to pick up once Strasburg is moved?  I think the “Fix my Team” is one of the best options on a fantasy site yet!
Thanks!
Jason


After reading your inquiry Jason and studying your draft I will be aligning your team as follows:
C-SUZUKI
1B-TEIXEIRIA
2B-KINSLER
3B-RODRIGUEZ
SS-FURCAL
OF-ELLSBURY, GONZALEZ, HAMILTON, STANTON
UTIL-BERKMAN
SP-KERSHAW, GONZALEZ, PRICE, DANKS, HELLICKSON, BEACHY, STRASSBURG
RP-AXFORD, THORNTON,
BENCH-GORDON, AVILES, BECKHAM
PROSPECTS-TROUT, BANUELOS
Jason you have assembled a very solid team. Your biggest concerns will be durability of a majority of your players. You have a core group that has been often injured. I talked about FURCAL here and the sitting of RODROGUEZ on certain days here. Remember KINSLER, ELLSBURY, HAMILTON, BERKMAN, even GORDON are all coming off serious injuries and should be monitored accordingly. If they can all stay healthy and have career averages across all counting fantasy categories you will be fine offensively. Do not expect Furcal, Kinsler and Ellsbury to run as often in the past. If they do not keep you completive in the SB category, look to acquire any lead-off hitter who is producing in SB and R. I would keep Rajai Davis on your radar and start some dialog with his team’s manager.  Look to insert someone into your UTIL slot if Berkman comes out of the gate slow because LaRussa will not play an aging veteran who is not producing.  Use your UTIL spot to bolster any category you may be struggling with. As for your bench, be ready to kick Alex Gordon to the curb if he shows no power in KC. The Royals have a deep outfield bench and Gordon will lose playing time quick. The advantage to Gordon is his 3B eligibility. He can be inserted into your line-up when A-Rod sits. I would highly recommend signing another C for your bench. Keep an eye on Ianetta in Colorado. Nice source of power at home and a good play when he is hitting in Coors Field. Ryan Doumit may be sliding back into catching in Pittsburgh due to Snyder’s new injury. Remember Doumit has both C and OF eligibility.
Your SP staff is lead by future CY Winner Kershaw. Look for big year here. He has 2 dominate pitches and will get numerous starts against the Pads and Snakes…could be easy 8 Wins there alone.  Gonzalez is getting great reviews from other baseball people outside of Oakland. Another situation where he plays in weak Division and a great pitchers park.  Danks will get a ton of R support that he has lacked in the past and could vault to the ace of the White Sox staff. Price and Hellickson both pitch in the feared AL EAST as you know. They have shown excellent peripheral numbers fantasy wise but I still shy away from SP in that division. I would stream those two against any teams besides the Yanks and Red Sox. Don’t let those two teams blow up your ERA if you do not need too.
If you can swing an additional RP I would go for it. Do not rely on just being in the middle of the road and hoping to complete in Saves when you could dominate the league. I would put together a package to move Strasburg for elite Closer, a lead-off hitter with speed or a multi-position guy that can fill any voids due to injury.  Yes, Strasburg is elite but you will get no production this year and they will not rush him back next year. Look to move him now and go for this year’s title. With your limited bench and DL space you may be placing injured players on your bench if Strasburg blocks your DL spot.
Thanks for the question…now go win your league.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fix My Team...Needs A Closer


I just did my live draft last night; I noticed we had similar draft strategies in a few of your previous articles so I am curious to see your opinions.  We have the standard Yahoo structure with only 1 utility spot and no CI or MI positions.  Max of 9 total pitchers.  It is also a keeper league with 2 roster spots for prospects.  I was the 7th pick.  H2H scoring, 12 categories (Offense – R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, OBP.  Pitching W, L, SV, K, ERA, WHIP)
1)      Troy Tulowitzki (keeper from last year)
2)      Kevin Youkilis
3)      Dan Uggla
4)      Alex Rios (may have been a reach)
5)      Cole Hamels
6)      Yovani Gallardo
7)      Roy Oswalt
8)      Brett Gardner (small reach but had to have him)
9)      Shaun Marcum
10)     Jose Valverde
11)     Tim Hudson
12)     Brad Lidge
13)     Jorge Posada
14)     Brandon Morrow (keeper from last year)
15)     Jose Bautista (keeper from last year)
16)     Adam Wainwright (Strasberg went 3 picks in front of me and felt my P was solid so far so I could handle the one less drafted position player until I can put him on the DL.)
17)     Bryce Harper (also may have went early but Trout was already taken and a run was imminent)
18)     Austin Jackson
19)     Marco Scutaro
20)     Michael Morse
21)     Derek Holland
22)     Magglio Ordonez
23)     Dustin Ackley
24)     Jarrod Saltamacchia
I am 1 position player short due to taking Wainwright but will put him in 1 of 2 DL spots once I can and pick someone up. 
So how did I do?  Only my 2nd year playing Fantasy Baseball but spent a lot of time in the off season on websites like yours and felt much better going into this draft!  Any advice on what to look to upgrade or players to pick up once Wainwright is moved?  I think the “Fix my Team” is one of the best options on a fantasy site yet!
Please reply all so this goes to my personal email also.
Thanks!
Josh


After reading your inquiry and studying your draft I will be aligning your team as follows:
C-POSADA
1B-YOUK
2B-UGGLA
3B-BAUTISTA
SS-TULO
OF-RIOS, JACKSON.MAGGS, GRADNER
UTIL-MORSE
SP-MORROW, HAMELS, GALLARDO, OSWALT, MARCUM, HUDSON, HOLLAND, WAINRIGHT
RP-VALVERDE, LIDGE
BENCH-SALTY, SUCTURO
PROSPECTS-HARPER, ACKLEY
By far your strongest asset is your SP staff. With a majority of your staff being aces from the NL, you will dominate your league in ERA, be among the leaders in Ks and also WHIP.  Be aware that Morrow will start the season on the DL and of course Wainright’s out for the season.  With only 2 DL spots available you may want to trade off Wainright to a team without a good SP keeper for next year.  Look for a front line closer. With that said let’s examine your RP.  You need help quick. Lidge will start the season on the DL and may not be back for awhile. That leaves you with only the above average Valverde. Stash Lidge on the DL and pick up Jose Contreras for the time being. You do not want to get buried in Saves so early in the year. Check your waiver wire for opening day closers that may still be available. Others to consider are Brandon League in Seattle, Sergio Romo in SF if Wilson doesn’t break camp for opening day and Jon Rauch until Toronto decides who will close. Those 3 can all be fill-ins for the time being. With Lidge going to the DL you need 2 more RP.
From the offensive side we will take it position by position. At C Posada is a great pick. He will DH a majority of the time and may see the most ABs he has seen in a few years. One trick I like to have in Daily Leagues is to have my main C on an East coast team so you know early in the night if he is starting. If not, you plug in your West coast back-up. This way you never lose games at the C position like most teams do.  At 1B I am guessing many teams used the Keepers at this position. Youk isn’t a top line power 1B but he is more than serviceable. He may lose a few ABs this year batting 5th or 6th but will still produce. Going around the horn, you have the best power hitting player at 2B in the NL, no problems there unless he reverts back to hitting 240 for average. With Bautista at 3B do not expect the 54 HR season again. If he can get over 30 you are still solid. Tulo is arguably the best SS in baseball. You have a potential 110-140 HR infield with 400+ RBI. No speed here but that’s not a problem.
Your OF is anchored by one of my favorites in Rios. He can be one of the few 25/25 guys this year, plus he has Dunn and Konerko hitting behind him. Expect a great year from Rios. Next is Jackson; Lots and lots of Runs here plus 30 SB potential. If he can cut down on his strike outs he will be All-Star caliber. I own both Rios and Jackson on many teams this year. Gardner will be the speed guy you need to complete in SB all year, look for 50+ SB and 100R if he bats lead-off. Maggs is getting older but is a career .304 hitter. If he stays healthy could have a big year for a 37 year old. 
My take is you are above average in HR and RBI…not elite but up in the pack. Nice balance of batting averages no real killer but not a lot over 300 either.  You did secure one of the top 3 base stealers in the game so you are solid in that category. I really like the Run potential of this team. You have players from teams that are going to score as often as Charlie Sheen.
I plugged Morse into your U spot. Even though he is having a huge Spring I am not sold on him. Scutaro on your bench does nothing for me and could be out of a job in 2 months.  Let Morse establish himself and then move him for a player that can help your weakest category come Memorial Day. I would drop Scutaro and pick up a player with multi-multi-position eligibility. Someone like Infante, Uribe, Huff, or Sean Rodriguez.
Your biggest weakness is your Closer situation followed by a bench without much position flexibility. In daily leagues you want flex players that can be inserted into any hole in your line up if someone has the night off. Do not be afraid to trade away one of your SP for a package consisting of an elite Closer and maybe a Ben Zobrist type…a position player who will play every day with multi-position eligibility. One more piece of advice, do not hesitate to trade away one of your SP, this could free up room and you could still stream a 2 start SP each week from the wire.
Thanks for the question Josh…now go win your league.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Best Of The Rest...AL 5th SP


This group consists of former aces, guys with a last chance, and hyped rookies. Many of the guys are definitely worth a flier or spot starts in the right match-ups.  Remember these guys may not get used until week 2 of the season or even a bit later, but they do have fantasy relevance. Some are owned as high as 85% (Hellickson) some middle of the road 55% (Peavy), and some rooks 22% (Pineda). Keep these guys on your radar, so come early May, you can pounce when needed.
AL EAST
Freddy Garcia –New York
Chris Tillman-Baltimore
Jeremy Hellickson –Tampa Bay
Kyle Drabek -Toronto

AL CENTRAL
Jake Peavy -Chicago
Josh Tomlin -Cleveland
Brad Penny -Detroit
Scott Baker -Minnesota
Vin Mazzaro –Kansas City

AL WEST
Scott Kazmir –Anaheim

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Best Of The Rest...NL 5th SP


I posted earlier this week all the players starting the season on the DL. Many of you who own the Greinkes and Latos’ of the world should know about available, viable options to replace your aces. The 5th starters for each team are available for fill- in duty until your aces return. When I talk about a fifth starter, I mean the guy taking the fifth turn in the rotation. The guy who gets bumped because of off days and maybe has to move up a spot or two because of injuries and who probably won’t pitch in the postseason if everyone’s healthy. Most of these players will not get a stat until week two (game 9) on most rosters. So look for the right match-up if you plan to use a 5th SP in the early going. There are some interesting names to consider here and others to completely avoid.
NL CENTRAL
Charlie Morton Pittsburgh
Kyle McClellan St. Louis
 Chris Narveson Milwaukee
 Andrew Cashner Chicago
Mike Leake Cincinnati

NL EAST
 Tom Gorzleanny Washington
 Brandon Beachy Atlanta
 Joe Blanton Philadelphia
 Chris Capuano New York

NL WEST
Esmil Rogers Colorado
Wade LeBlanc  San Diego
 Aaron Heilman Arizona
Madison Bumgarner San Francisco
Jon Garland Los Angeles

Friday, March 25, 2011

Best Of The Rest...Missing Pieces


Yesterday we revealed everyone that will be starting the season on the DL. Today we look at replacements for your players heading to the pines for a 15 day stint. These players are all starters with no real competition for playing time. Some will be batting lead-off, some batting clean-up, some with multi position eligibility. They all can be contributors in at least one category for your fantasy teams. The best part these players are only owned in 10%-35% of all Yahoo leagues. So when Grady starts the season on the DL grab Bourjols for some quick cheap steals, when Utley is still hurting slide in Peralta for HR or former BA Champ Sanchez for support. Here are the best of the rest.

CATCHER

Russell Martin 

J.P. Arencibia 

Chris Iannetta 

Yadier Molina 

A.J. Pierzynski 



INFIELDER ELIGIBILITY

Reid Brignac 

Jhonny Peralta 

Mitch Moreland 

Michael Morse

Alcides Escobar 

Ryan Theriot 

Danny Valencia 

Justin Smoak 

Chase Headley 

Chris Johnson 

Alex Gordon 

J.J. Hardy 

Matt LaPorta 

Erick Aybar 

Freddy Sánchez 

Kila Ka'aihue 

Edwin Encarnación 

Jason Bartlett 

Will Venable 



OUTFIELD ELIGIBILITY

Matt LaPorta 

Alex Gordon 

Johnny Damon 

Nate McLouth 

Jonny Gomes 

Josh Willingham 

J.D. Drew 

Peter Bourjos 

David DeJesús 

Tyler Colvin 

Hideki Matsui 

David Murphy 



UTILITY

Jim Thome 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The LD (Low Down) on the DL


Only way Utley will be taking gounders in April


With the season just a week away, teams have to come to terms with who they will be placing on the DL to start the season. This information is as important to the MLB team as it is to the Fantasy Manager. Being prepared for this information gives the Fantasy Manager time to scoop up replacements that are currently on waivers. That frenzy will begin early next week. I wish I had an exact time that the Fantasy Sites will label a player on the DL. Believe me, I have tried to gather that info from many sources but it’s like a National Security secret for some reason. Anyway, be prepared to pounce once it is official. I have gathered all the players that will/could…but mostly will start the season on the DL. One that surprised me was Hellickson…saw it in the St. Pete Times.  I’m sure this is just some type of gamesmanship, or management ploy to save Hellickson until the Rays 9th game of the season when they actually need a 5th starter . Still it is info you need. I have listed all players that are expected to return sometime this season. Omitted are the Wainright’s and Strasburg’s who had TJ surgery. Here is your info.
PITCHERS:
Scott Feldman
Nate Robertson
David Aardsma
Joe Beimel
Rich Harden
Johan Santana
Manny Parra
Joel Pineiro
Joe Thatcher
Jake Peavy
Scott Olsen
JP Howell
Jeremy Hellickson
Scott Downs
Zach Duke
Justin Duchscherer
Aaron Cook
Wandy Rodriguez
Jason Castro
Johnny Cueto
Brandon Webb
Andrew Bailey
Shaun Marcum
Vincent Padilla

Zack Greinke
Jon Garland
Frank Francisco
Brandon Morrow
Brian Wilson
Jason Donald



CATCHERS:
Jon Jaso
Miguel Olivo
Jason Kendall
Francisco Cervelli
Jonathan Lucroy



INFIELDERS:
Kendrys Morales
Chase Utley
Derrek Lee
Kyle Blanks
Brian Roberts
Casey Blake
Carlos Guillen
Jeff Keppinger
Mat Gamel
Justin Morneau
Adam Rosales
Nick Punto
Aaron Hill



OUTFIELDERS:
Carlos Beltran
Curtis Granderson

Cody Ross
Grady Sizemore
Corey Hart
Domonic Brown
Scott Podsednik

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Position Uncertainty AL


These positions will have competition, platoons, new eligibility for players and a chance for someone to shine. From these positions we might find the next Drew Stubbs (not a starter on Opening Day 2010) or Ryan Rayburn who started at 5 different positions last year. These will not be players I am endorsing or expecting you to draft but ones who should be on your radar or watch list. We all know that once someone is given that chance at starting they may never look back. We will revisit this post through spring training and keep a dynamic perspective about each position. Today the American League.
AL EAST
Toronto-3B: The Jays have of course Edwin Encarnación and José Bautista to man the position.
Tampa Bay-1B: Currently the Rays have Dan Johnson penciled in on the depth chart. He has both 1B and 3B eligibility and hits from the left side. Super utility man Ben Zobrist could see time at first as well but will man 2B and RF. The loser of the most playing time will be Sean Rodriguez.
Boston –SS: Jed Lowrie views himself as an everyday shortstop, and with his performance during the final two months of last season, he may have a case. But the Red Sox value his versatility as a switch-hitter capable of playing every infield position. Marco Scutoro could be sent away via trade sometime soon.
New York-RF: Curtis Granderson has a strained oblique and may miss the start of the season. If so pencil in Andruw Jones.
Baltimore-LF: Luke Scott has the opening day job but has to continue to fend off both Nolan Reimold and Felix Pie.
AL CENTRAL
Chicago-3B: Three players are still vying for time at this one position. Though Brent Morel has been given the opening day start he still could be a liability on offense. The ageless Omar Vizquel & steady Mark Teahen will both be on this team out of spring training and could slide into the 3B job by early May.
Cleveland-OF: While it's expected that Grady  Sizemore will begin the season on the disabled list, club officials are hopeful he will be activated at some point in the early weeks of the season.  Then there is Michael Brantley who hits from the left and has speed and will start in CF in Sizemores absence. Look for Austin Kearns to starting in left and then platoon with Brantley after Sizemore returns.
Detroit-LF&2B: The Motorcity has two super utility guys, Don Kelly has 1B, 3B and OF eligibility while hitting from the left side and Ryan Raburn with 2B and OF eligibility hitting from the right. Raburn will get the nod in left and Will Rhymes will start at 2B until Carlos Guillén returns from injury. This could change with Rayburn moving back to 2B if Rhymes falters.
Kansas City-All 3 OF: The Royals will keep 5 OF. Melky Cabrera whose spring batting average is .500 (22-for-44) has secured the starting spot over Lorenzo Cain. The others:  Alex Gordon, Gregor Blanco, Mitch Maier, and Jeff Francoeur will battle for time. It is a make or break April/May for Gordon…produce or be banished.
Minnesota-SS: With the departure of J.J. Hardy to Baltimore the door is was open between switch hitting Alexi Casilla and former 1st round pick Trevor Plouffe. The door slammed quickly on Plouffe. Japanese hitting champ Tsuyoshi Nishioka will be the opening day 2B while batting 2nd.
AL WEST
Angels-3B: Does Brandon Wood ever meet his potential or do they revert back to the ex-Royal Alberto Callaspo at 3B? Wood was also considered as a fill in until Kendrys returns but that has been put on hold due to the fantastic and powerful spring of Mark Trumbo.
Oakland-INF: They have Mark Ellis who has only twice played in more than 120 games in his career or lefty hitting Eric Sogard. The utility infielder could see 2-3 starts a week and Adam Rosales should be considered too. With his multi-position eligibility he is a good one to keep on your radar in daily H2H leagues.
Seattle-2B: A good battle brewing for the opening day start here. There is super prospect Dustin Ackley has freakish power for his size and the newly acquired Brendan Ryan has the early nod.
Texas-DH: The DH in Arlington could change daily as long as Michael Young is still on the team. Include Mike Napoli and Taylor Teagarden in the mix too.