Monday, January 23, 2006

The Fantasy Man talks "Closers of 2006" - Part 3 of 3

As promised, here is the 3rd and final installment of a 3-part series on the "Closers of 2006". I hope you have been able to take some of my insight and can use it successfully in your draft. So now, I will shut up and present to you ...... The Elite Closers of 2006! Barring any freak injuries, these are the guys you cannot go wrong with no matter what part of the draft you can get them!

Mariano Rivera, RP, NYY - What do I need to say that you don't already know? Rivera is the best plain and simple! Low WHIP and mucho K's and the Yankees will hand him the ball every time!
Fantasy Mans Advice: Make him your first choice at Closer if you decide to take one early. Pick him up in the 3rd round! ..... or he'll be gone by the 4th!

Brad Lidge, RP, HOU - Don't expect Lidge to feel too bad about the monster homerun he gave up to Pujols during the Wild Card series! If you remember, he did come back for a big save or two after the 'Stros beat the Cards later on in the playoffs....but then only to give up another homerun to Scott Podsednik (a guy who had 0 homeruns during the season! YIKES!) Lidge will be on top of his game this year in hopes to erase those very memories. Plus, the Astros project to be a pretty decent team and with the top notch pitching they have in Oswalt and Pettitte, look for Lidge to break the 35+ mark and over 100+ K's....again!
Fantasy Mans Advice: Follow the leader! If Mariano is gone, Lidge is your man! His K's make him a great option. Plus, remember that the post season doesn't count in fantasy baseball and you'll feel better!

Francisco Rodriquez, RP, LAA - 45 saves last year which was 2nd in the league should be obtainable again this year as K-Rod will once again be lights out! He converted 14 of 14 late in the season and should be on the rise again this year.
Fantasy Mans Advice: Me personally, I'd take K-rod over Lidge simply and only because of Lidge's misfortune in the postseason last year.... But thats just me! You'll be happy either way!

B.J. Ryan, RP, TOR - Ryan is unstoppable as a lefty closer and thats why Toronto is paying him the big bucks! He posted a low era and a lot of K's last season. Ryan will put himself into the elite this year and should notch over 35+ saves. The Bluejay pitching staff can be great and as long as they can get the ball to Ryan, he should have a sweet season.
Fantasy Mans Advice: The fact that the Bluejays will have to play the Yankees and the Red Sox a total of 36 times this season, I couldn't move Ryan ahead of Rodriquez or Lidge. Still an Elite closer this year!

Joe Nathan, RP, MIN - Back to back 40 save seasons means that Joe Nathan is an Elite! Although his era jumped a bit, his K's went up too and his WHIP decreased. Nathan can be had for much less than the above 4 and put up the same or even better numbers.
Fantasy Mans Advice: He may slip a bit to the middle rounds but don't let him slip too far if these other guys are off the board. Grab Nathan before Street, Cordero, Wagner or Jenks!

There you have it! The Elite Closers of 2006! I hope you get some use out of this 3 part series. I sure did and I'm the one who wrote it!

Enjoy your Tuesday!

The Fantasy Man ......OUT!

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Fantasy Man Show 3rd Podcast is up!

Check it out!!! Go to www.s39online.com to download the 3rd ever podcast of The Fantasy Man! We talk trades from the mail bag and who is this years Huston Street? Also, I talk about the secret to utilizing cheap closers!

Also, if you want you questions about trades, keepers and draft strategies answered on the next podcast, email me at fantasymanshow@aol.com or send a comment on this blog!

Fantasy Man ...OUT!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Fantasy Man Talks "Closers of 2006" Part 2....

Well, I hope the last post gave you fantasy sports nuts a good idea on how to find that "Diamond in the Ruff"! Doing it with a closer is the best way to do it so you can save your early round picks on more important stud players. My way and my theory is something that works for me, if I can find that special bargain closer and I am confidant that this year it can be done with Chris Ray, Travis Bowyer and Chad Orvella. Will all three work out? Realistically, probably not! But yes, it is possible. Its about good planning and a lot of luck!

Since this is the part 2 of a three part series, today I want to talk about the "middle of the pack" guys. These are the closers who can be great but can also struggle. These are closers who may have question marks but can still give you the stats you need. These are middle to late round closers and not quite your automatic 40 save studs but have the potential to be 40 save studs. You are not going to select any of these guys within the first four rounds, I don't care what any fantasy magazine or website says. Will some of these guys break out, absolutely! Will some falter, absolutely! Will some disappoint, you can count on it! Will some of these guys do the exact opposite of what I say here, absolutely! Will some of these guys be picked in the first 4 rounds, probably! So with that being said...here we go (in my order from best to worst)......

1. Huston Street, RP, OAK - I know I know I treated him like God in my last post. I don't have Street into Elite status yet because in reality, he has still only given us one half of a season. Spectacular he was, but thats the reason he is not yet considered elite.
Fantasy Mans Advice: He will be after this year! Keeper leagues, grab him while he may still be cheap! If you have morons in your league...he will be!

2. Billy Wagner, RP, NYM - Billy had a career year for Philly last year even in a hitter's park with 38 saves and 87 K's. He's a Fireballer that never walks anyone! As long as he stays healthy, he'll be at the top of the pack in closers and may even have a 40+ save year with the Mets. But the reason I have Wagner after Street...no, not because the Fantasy Mag does, its because Wagner is now a Met. Yes, the Mets look good this year and yes, Shea is a good park for pitchers. But the fact is, the Mets either have a great year, or they are a disappointment. Although the roster on paper as of now is sweet, just be careful.....its something to think about.
Fantasy Mans Advice: Despite being a Met, he's worth a pick in the middle rounds even before Street. Just depends on how much you like the Mets I guess!....and I don't!

3. Trevor Hoffman, RP, SD - Hoffman is still a stud at 38. His fastball only tops around 90mph but he has a change-up to die for! With over 40 saves the last 2 years and the pitcher park he is in, expect 40 more. He also gets you a nice WHIP and a K per inning.
Fantasy Mans Advice: Its up to you who to take. If Hoffmans available and the best closer out there in the mid rounds and in your mind, dont hesitate but he certainly comes cheaper than the elite because he only plays for San Diego!

4. Bobby Jenks, RP, CWS - I have to rank Jenks a little higher than most. He came out of nowhere to help the Sox win a World Series. There's no doubt that Chicago found their closer of the future. He throws 100mph heat and with a full season will probably hit over 100 K's for a team that will compete again this year.
Fantasy Mans Advice: Grab him cheap in Keeper leagues but remember, he's not an unknown anymore. He will rank up higher this year because of his post-season coverage. A great pick if you get him, but don't wait too long!

5. Jason Isringhausen, RP, STL - Izzy stays up on my list because he is closing for the Cards so his opportunities should be plentiful. However, he is not as high on my list because he is very injuy prone and last year he was a scary sight in the 9th. His walk rate jumped and every inning reminded me of Armando Benitez when he was with the Mets......cover your eyes and hope for the best!
Fantasy Man Advice: Still a top closer when healthy and on a good team! If these other guys are gone, still a good choice as your top closer!

6. Francisco Cordero, RP, TEX - Here's a guy with nasty stuff, the problem last year was that Texas did not win enough and his opportunities were few and far between. That could possibly explain why his ERA jumped and his saves were down. With a revamped pitching staff in Arlington, Cordero's value could rise again. Definitely still a top 10 closer.
Fantasy Mans Advice: I think this year Texas will put it together now that they got Millwood and Eaton and have some sweet rookie pitchers coming up too. I'd take a chance on Cordero who'll regain his 40+ save status!

7. Chad Cordero, RP, WAS - Cordero had a breakout season thanks in part to an enormous pitchers park and the fact that the Nationals always kept the game close with their lack of offense. Expect much of the same this year for this 24 year old but 47 saves may be unrealistic. 35 - 40, yes, 45+, probably not but possible. It depends on the rest of the team.
Fantasy Mans Advice: Can be absolutely Lights OUT! Soon to be Elite!

8. Armando Benitez, RP, SF - Benitez ripped up his hamstring last year early and didnt return until August, which was still early. His ERA jumped but he had 15 saves after his return. He blew a few saves as he always does but he can still blow away hitters. He's not normally injury prone and should be fine this year. Benitez is always a scary thought and makes you want to cover your eyes, but he can rack up saves quicker than anybody. San Fran will be a mediocre team so look for Benitez to get a lot of opportunities.
Fantasy Mans Advice: He's below the elite only because he is Armando Benitez. He was fantastic in 2004 but his reputation from Shea overshadows. If you can grab him late, which you probably can, you'll be happy. He's a top closer with a bad rep that everyone will forget about or shy away from at draft day. Grab him and cover your eyes, I plan too!

9. Bob Wickman, RP, CLE - Wickman had a great comeback year last year with 45 saves, a career high! Now this year, the Indians project to compete so I am betting on Wickman having another fine year with atleast 35+ saves.
Fantasy Mans Advice: He's not "Lights out" but he works and gets the job done. He's getting up there in age but definitely has some gas left in the tank. Expect an injury free season.

11. Eric Gagne, RP, LAD - I probably should rank him higher but his elbow surgery last year knocks him down. However, he can still be devastating and should be healthy for the start of this season. Consider Gagne to be a nice value pick. Unless you have idiots in your league, Gagne shouldn't be anywhere near the first closers to go. Should be a nice bargain pick.
Fantasy Mans Advice: The answer to your question is yes, I would take Gagne before both Cordero's, Izzy, Benitez and Wickman. I should have ranked him higher but just not sure exactly what we'll get. Since its still early in the off season, we're not quite sure what kind of shape Gagne is in. If he looks good in spring training, feel free to move him near the top of this list! I won't be mad!

The rest of the pack.....
All of these guys are basically Young guys waiting in the wings, emergency picks, late rounders, and definitely bring some risk!

Derrick Turnbow - Should probably be in the list above but that would mean I'd have to knock someone off...but who? Turnbow can be a sweet pick up but remember, he plays in Milwaukee. Despite being on this list down here. He's a decent pick up and could be a sleeper for 35+ saves.
Kieth Foulke - Should be healthy but doesnt overpower anymore and is losing his touch. Could lose his job to Craig Hansen. Had surgies on both knees towards the end of last season.
Todd Jones - Not elite but may be good for 30+ saves in Detroit. He's old and you can do better.
Eddie Guardado - Needs surgery. Can still be "Everyday Eddie" but his health is an issue...look for a breakdown at some point if he doesnt get the surgery.
Tom Gordon - New home in Philly finally as a closer. He could be a sleeper or a bust depending on if your a Yankee fan or not like I am... so I say bust! But, Philly will be good this year so look for Gordon to probably save atleast 30 if he hangs around all year.
Ryan Dempster - He's a wild card but made a nice transition last year from being a starter. if given the chance, he could be a sleeper for 35+ saves.
Octavio Dotel - Now a set up man for the Yankees. Not much value for saves but great value as an extra set up man.
Brandon Lyon - Looks like Jose Valverde will get the nod this year.
Jose Valverde - First year starting as closer, small ballpark, could be good but expect growing pains and Greg Aquino still around. Not a good situation.
Danny Baez - Traded to the Dodgers so unless Gagne gets hurt, Baez doesn't have much value.
Brian Fuentes - two words.... Coors Field!
Mike McDougal - The Royals Suck! But he will probably start the season as the primary closer.
Kyle Farnsworth - Also now setting up for the Yankees. Could get a chance to close if Rivera gets hurt.
Miguel Batista - Look for Batista to go back to the rotation in Arizona.
Mike Timlin - Garbage
Dustin Hermanson - Garbage
Todd Coffey - Could close for the Reds but with Ryan Wagner lurking and the fact that Cincinnati is tiny, I wouldn't waste a pick.
Chad Orvella - See last post. Primary guy in Tampa. Stash Away!
Chris Ray - See last post. Could be primary to start season. Stash Away!
Travis Bowyer - See last post. Could be primary to start season. Stash Away!
Craig Hansen - Could take Keith Foulke's job in Boston by All Start break. Stash Away!

Some Set Up guys or Young ones to think about who could either fill in nicely for injured closers or just waiting in the wings.....I wouldn't waste picks on these but I'd surely read up on them....
Ryan Madson in Philly
Ryan Wagner in Cincy
Jesse Crain in Minny
Scott Linebrink in SD
Brandon League in Toronto

And that's all she wrote folks.....
Part 3 coming sometime in the next few days! We'll talk about the Elite!!!

ALSO..... Stay tuned for The Fantasy Man Show on Friday when the Fantasy Man reaches into the mail bag to answer your questions on his 3rd ever Podcast! You can download the first 2 Podcasts for free on iTunes or by going to www.s39online.com

Feel free to ask The Fantasy Man your questions on trades, keepers and draft strategies to be read on the next Podcast on Friday. Email those questions to FantasyManShow@aol.com

Fantasy Man.......OUT!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Fantasy Man Talks "Closers of 2006" - Part 1

Filling your Fantasy team with stud closers can literally make or break your team! Some say that since closers are only one-dimensional, you can do better if you just skip the entire category all together. The Fantasy Man says..... Thats a load of crap!

The saves category can and will make or break your team. Below is 4 step process to playing the "saves game". Make sure you pay attention to what I did because if you plan correctly, you can suddenly find a way to climb the charts half way through the season and spark your team into the money like I did last year...here's how....take my team for example.

Step 1: Study! - Last year I did my fair share of studying. I play in an auction style keeper league for $200 a year which is quite competitive. My goal was to find a cheap source of saves towards the end of the draft when I had a low mount of cap money left. The object here is to find the ultimate bargain, the needle in the haystack, and then sit back and wait!. Last year's "Ultimate Bargain".....Huston Street! And the rest is history!

Step 2: Study some more! As your studying, look to see who is on the fast track to making it to the majors or who has a shot to close this year. With Street for example, in some of the early mags, writers raved about this guy just coming out of college and predicted he was going to close by the All-Star break but the problem was he was held back by Oaklands current closer, Octavio Dotel. So try to examine all the current closers, their set up men, and then the prospects lurking not too far behind. See what everyone is saying. As we all know, Dotel went down with a season ending injury and Street, although stuggled a bit a first, came on strong for the entire second half.

Step 3: Get that cheap player! As for my team, the lowest bid we can put on a player during an auction draft in my personal league is $.20 cents. We have a $55 budget and a 23 man active roster. Its the equivalent to a $1 player in $260 cap leagues. So what I did was I saved spots on my roster for cheap .20 players that I could bid on when no one else had any money left. When I threw out "Huston Street....20 cents!" Everyone looked at me like it was my first day playing Fantasy Baseball. "Who the hell is that?" someone asked. "Dont worry who he is, but he'll be closing in Oakland by July", I said. I also grabbed Brandon League who was in the same situation in Toronto for $.20. But Miguel Batista played well and Brandon League couldnt keep up. So out of the two gambles I took, Street panned out great and is my saves anchor as a keeper on every team I own going into this season. So Step 3 is to take the gamble, wait until the end of the draft, and then strike it rich when everyone leasts expects it. Then, if you have a reserve/bench draft, I drafted other pitchers with value to use until my cheapies are ready.

Step 4: Take a look at these potential Closers who could either make it out of spring training as the primary closer or make it out there at some point in the season. The list is short...but pay attention....

Chris Ray, Balt - in 40 innings last year, Ray had 43 K's in his first stint in the Majors. He's coasted through the minors so far and with BJ Ryan shipped off to Toronto, all that stands in his face is Jorge Julio, who my friends, is not the option Balimore is looking to give the ball too. Assuming he has a normal spring, currently expect Ray to be the primary closer in Baltimore. Look to scoop him up in the late rounds. However, the word is out on Ray, so make sure you grab him in a timely fashion.

Travis Bowyer, FLA - Same idea as Ray with the Innings/K's ratio but with a little less major league experience with only 9.2 innings pitched. However, with the Marlins firesale this off season, Bowyer is currently the penciled in closer. He has an upper 90's fast ball and could be a K machine. Expect growing pains but is he is someone to stash away until the break.

Chad Orvella, TB - Goodbye Danny Baez, Hello Chad Orvella! Although no Tampa player is ever attractive in Fantasy Baseball, this year could be a decent year for the Rays. That means that new tentative closer, Chad Orvella, could turn some heads. In his brief stint in the majors last year he posted 50 innings and 43 k's...not bad! But with Baez shipped out to LA, that leaves the door wide open for Orvella who has a strong arm, fastball, slider and a nasty Change up. He is the guy of this years draft that people may say..."Who the hell is this guy?" Grab him and stash him for later.

Step 5: Lastly, as I did, watch your team climb the charts in July and August when you put your new star closer in the lineup. Then, collect that prize money. Its the single best way to vulture points midway through the season, but like I said, you have to Plan and Study!!! Last year, in May, I was in dead last, in July, my team sparked and I was lingering in 6th and 7th. In the last 2 months, when I put Street in with my other 2 closers (Benitez, who I had stashed all year because he was hurt and Lidge who I acquired in a trade), I ended up in 3rd and in the money thanks to my rise in the saves category.

Now, here's the deal. I am NOT saying you should wait until the end of the draft and then get these guys. What I am saying is you dont necessarily have to waste a 3 or 4th round pick on a Brad Lidge or a Mariano Rivera when you can get an Armando Benitez and a Bobby Jenks in the later rounds and then grab some insurance with the guys I listed above. My thing is that I do not like to give up in saves. Assuming you have a normal team, you can stay competitive with 2 closers for the first half then we desperate measures call halfway through the year and Chris Ray is suddenly on fire, feel free to bench your weakest starting pitcher and start your hidden gem, your ultimate weapon, your secret saves guy!

Part 2: We'll go over this years Stud Closers
Part 3: The rest of the bunch!

The Fantasy Man....OUT!

Be sure to catch the The Fantasy Man Show and my next Podcast on iTunes. You can also download it at www.s39online.com

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Studs to Watch of 2006

I'm calling it now, 2006 is the year of the "young guy"! No question there are a few players out there who are totally going to rip this game up this season. These players are the players that everyone is going to hope they slip in the draft, but the fact is.... they won't! Due to the lack of talent at certain positions, some of these guys will fly off the shelves before you can say "wait, what round are we in?" The following players, in no particular order, although young and plenty to prove, are still must haves on any fantasy team. Score 2 or 3 of these guys and your all set. I have picked out a few so lets begin....

1. Feliz Hernandez, SP, Seattle
Felix is probably the most exciting player in the fantasy draft world this year. Just 18 years old, he is considered a pitching phenom! He's got a heater and gets K's o' plenty. He'll even rack up innings for you if they are counted. He is already the Seattle ace and should be for years to come. Grab him now and keep him for next year. But don't get too crazy, take these factors into consideration...... First, he is still only 18 and has a lot to learn. Second, he pitched a ton of innings the second half of last year. Third, his team stinks. Still, if you can grab him in the middle rounds, snatch him up!

2. Chase Utley, 2B, Philadelphia
Another guy who had a tremendous first full season technically although he wasn't a full time starter until the second half when the Phillies traded away his roadblock in Placido Polanco. Utley came out with a vengence with a .291 avg, 28hr, 105 rbi and 16 sb. Expect everyone of those numbers to increase and even expect 100+ runs as well. Total, I expect .300, 30hr, 115 rbi, and another 15 sb's. He's the next Jeff Kent in a great lineup and argueably the top 2Bman in the league next to Alfonso Soriano....in just his 2nd full season. He'll definitely be gone by the end of the 2nd round.

3. Grady Sizemore, OF, Cleveland
Sizemore will be the next 5 tool player every team must have. He got off to a rocky start in his rookie season but bounced back with a bang finishing .289, 22hr, 81rbi, 111 runs, and 22 sb with a total of 640 at bats. Thats a lot of at bats and he should have no problem reaching that total again this year. Obviously, we can expect his power to go up a bit as he matures and I would also expect a .300+ average. He'll keep running too. Once the big boppers are off the board, probably somewhere in the late 2nd and 3rd round might be a good time to grab this go-getter! Also, remember he will be hitting in a healthy monster lineup this year.

4. Jhonny Peralta, SS, Cleveland
Here's a guy who plays the in a position that is weak this year, Short Stop, when he really should be playing a corner position. A combination of this guys power and size will make him the 2nd or 3rd top SS in the league this year. If they are saying this guy should be a 3rd baseman, then you know he has some serious power. After Tejada and Jeter, the SS position this year is weak. I would expect to get Peralta at half the price of Jeter and put up better power numbers. Think about that. Expect all of his numbers to increase. 25hr/100 rbi is not totally out of the question and he should be hitting 3rd in the Cleveland lineup. If he's out there, go get 'em!

5. Jorge Cantu, 2B/3B, Tampa Bay
Here's a guy who doesn't get the recognition he deserves because he plays in Tampa. Last year he quietly amassed 28 hr and 117 rbi with at .286 average. Not bad for a guy who had to split time the first half of the year. He also made himself eligible at 3B in fantasy leagues too. So a versatile guy who has some nice power. I'm sure Tampa will continue to suck, but look for Cantu to shine this year!

6. Rickie Weeks, 2B, Milwaukee
Weeks has been projected to be a fantasy stud with his combination of speed and power at the 2nd base position. Although last year he had a somewhat low average, he still projects to be a .300 hitter. Look for Weeks to bat atleast 2nd in the Milwaukee lineup and watch his numbers increase in his first full season. He may struggle early but should pick it up nicely by mid season. Expect .285, 20+hr, 85 rbi, 30sb. A nice pick in the mid rounds if Utley, Soriano, and Cantu are gone.

7. Huston Street, Closer, Oakland
Street came on in the second half last year as Octavio Dotel fell to injury. Street struggled for playing time at first when Oakland struggled to get him in the game but he showed some real promise the second half with his low 1.72 era, 23 saves and 72 K's in only 78 innings. If Oakland is good this year which they project to be, watch out, Street may save 40+ games and possibly accumulate 100+ strikeouts!


There you have it......there are even a few other players I could have mentioned, but these 7 are seven of the most exciting players in the draft. Get 'em while they're hot!

Next: Friday
- The Fantasy Man Show - Podcast #2 .... as the Fantasy Man dips into the mail bag!
- The Fantasy Man will rank the 12 best Fantasy Closers

Also, check out "The Fantasy Man Show" 2nd Podcast available to download on Friday here and at http://www.s39online.com

You may also email your Fantasy Baseball questions to be answered on the next Podcast at FantasyManShow@aol.com

Fantasy Man....OUT!

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Fantasy Man details the Top 12 picks of your Fantasy Baseball Draft!

No Bullsh*t here, let's begin! These are the top 12 picks ranked by The Fantasy Man himself as he believes these are the "best available 12"..... in a traditional snake style draft...

1. Alex Rodriquez, 3B, New York Yankees
A-Rod is A-Rod! Plain and simple. Year after year A-Rod puts up impeccable numbers and even manages to steal a few bases in between. He'll be hitting in the number 3 slot this year in front of table setters Derek Jeter and new Leadoff man Johnny Damon so you can expect mucho RBI's. Expect .315, 40hr, 130+rbi, 100+ runs and 15-2sb. Actually, expect these numbers to be a bit higher, but I just didn't want to get too crazy. A-Rod will be hitting in the middle of what some experts call "The Most Dangerous Lineup of All Time"!
Fantasy Mans Advice: Pray you get the first pick!!!

2. Albert Pujols, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
**See above! Pujols projects to put up about the same numbers as A-Rod, if not better! Also, last year he found a way to steal 16 bases. Look for Pujols to continue to run and expect about 15 Sb's. In only his 6th year, this man has amassed 201 Home Runs, 621 RBI's, and 629 Runs. Thats unbelievable and he's only 26!

Fantasy Mans Advice: See my advice for A-Rod!!! But feel good with the 2nd pick as well.

3. Vladimir Guerrero, OF, Los Angeles Angels
Vlad's numbers dipped a bit last year but even then, he was still an elite fantasy contributor. Look for Vlad to bounce back to his normal production less the stolen bases. Although Vlad is always considered a stolen base threat, expect approximately 15 steals again this year. He is still a very dangerous hitter and projects to be a .320, 35hr, 100+rbi guy. His power will be there but a weak Angel lineup could decrease his runs and rbi's a bit.
Fantasy Mans Advice: I just can't put Vlad lower on the list, just can't. He will definitely go top 5 in your draft. He should be healthy this year and increase on last years numbers. Just don't get caught up in the SB hype, you'll be disappointed.

4. Mark Teixiera, 1B, Texas Rangers
Another young one who has made a huge splash in the majors. Tex is the new face for power of the 21st century! After this season, and maybe even now, he is and will be mentioned in the same sentences as the Pujols' and the A-Rod's! Although he doesn't steal bases, Tex has MONSTER POWER and talent. He's the guy you can trade away a pick just to get that 3rd pick to make sure you get him. Some people may rank him lower and be true to the veterans, but its a mistake! This guy is the real deal. Expect his average to increase and expect .300, 45hr, 120+rbi. He hits in a Whiffle Ball park in Arlington and has a great supporting offense.
Fantasy Man Advice: If he's available when its your turn, don't hesitate...Pull the trigger! Or, trade up and get that #3 pick!

5.Bobby Abreu, OF, Philadelphia Phillies
I moved Abreu down only because he is getting older, 32 to be exact. Last year his number slightly declined in every category believe it or not, but his stolen base total stayed consistent and that's why Abreu is number 5 on the list. Expect the same numbers as last year with about 25 - 30 stolen bases, .290 avg, 25 - 30 hr, 100 rbi.
Fantasy Man Advice: I'm personally not an Abreu fan. He will get you the numbers, but if you are looking for more excitement, pass him up this early in the draft a take a shot at the next two below!

6. Manny Ramirez, OF, Boston Red Sox
Unbelievable Power, Established Professional Hitter, a must have on your Fantasy Team. Thats what his resume should say. At first thought, you would expect me to say that Manny's numbers would drop a bit this year. Yes, his 45hr's were tied for his highest ever, but his rbi's were only his 3rd highest. The question is, is there room for upside for Manny? The answer is yes! Now, he loses his table setter to the Yankees but should have Mark Loretta hitting in front of him in the 2 slot which isn't a bad situation either. Somehow though, last year he had 20 less hits than the year before but increased his HR and RBI totals dramatically. Look for the same this year. Expect .290, 40+, 120+, 1 stolen base!
Fantasy Mans Advice: What do you need me to say...he's Manny!

7. David Ortiz, 1B/DH, Boston Red Sox
See Manny Ramirez. They will put up virtually identical numbers. They are the most feared 3/4 pair in baseball. He probably has reached his ceiling but still expect .290, 40+hr, 120+rbi and yes, 1 stolen base! He absolutely terrorizes the Yankees and gets too play them atleast 18 times so take that into consideration.
Fantasy mans Advice: Take your pick, Manny or David!

8. Johan Santana, P, Minnesota Twins
Have to throw a pitcher in here somewhere and this is where I made Johan fit. Easily can be a higher pick but I myself am a fan of a stud hitter first, then pitching thus an 8th place ranking. But Johan is a stud, virtually unhittable while most likely leading the league in K's and an absolutely low ERA and WHIP. He is your ultimate fantasy pitcher! Expect 18-20 wins, 200 + K's and a 2.50 era.
Fantasy Mans Advice: Will definitely give you top flight fantasy numbers and is worth a first round pick. He was unhittable the 2nd half of last season!

9. Derrek Lee, 1B, Chicago Cubs
Lee's production last year lifted him up into the "fantasy elite". He put up career highs in runs, hr's, and rbi's while still stealing his usual 15 bases. Look for his numbers to remain about the same but keep in mind that Lee's numbers could possibly take a slight hit as it is possible that he hit a ceiling and the Cubbies might not be as good this year. Still expect .300, 35+hr, 110 rbi's, 15sb.
Fantasy Mans Advice: Still a dangerous hitter turning 31. I personally pick youth over veteran, but Lee does it all which makes him tough to pass up. Just look at his past numbers, at age 30 last year, he had career year numbers wise and was far from his averages....and thats a scary thought. The potential/power is there..... but I'm just not sure if he is 100% for real. I am 92% ...lol

10. Lance Berkman, 1B/OF, Houston Astros
Berk is my favorite pick this year. 23 of his 24 home runs came after june 1st. He missed all of April with an injury that he is totally healed from. Came back in May and took some time to get going but once that second half hit, I hope you had Lance on your team. I traded for him in July! Thank you Lance! He single handedly put me in the money last year. This year, expect Berk to capitalize on last years second half success. I expect .300, 35hr, 120rbi hitting in another Whiffle Ball park in Houston and in a pretty decent lineup.
Fantasy Mans Advice: I rank him a bit higher because we know he will put up the nice numbers. He hits in a hitters park and still has something to prove! ....and he's only turning 30 and just entering his prime! He should also be 1B/OF eligible.

11. Miguel Cabrera, 3B/OF, Florida Marlins
Capable of putting up Pujols like numbers. Has the talent and has the power! Unfortunately, he might not have the team and thats why he slides down to #11. However, don't read into this whole "he has no protection" stuff! Cabrera will have no trouble putting up a nice high average and hit for lots of power. I "still" expect .320+, 35hr, 110rbi. Remember, he will still only be 23 so he has major upside and room for improvement. He should also be eligible at 3B and OF.
Fantasy mans Advice: Don't let this guy slip into the second round! If you pick someone else here and he is still available, hope he lands in you lap for your next pick which should be only 3 picks away.

12. Miquel Tejada, SS, Baltimore Orioles
Its hard to believe that I am mentioning Miquel Tejada and #12 in the same sentence. But believe it! Look at this list, can anyone explain who on this list I should put Tejada in front of??? Exactly. However, Tejada is owed his due. He has immense talent at a shallow SS position. Miggy suffered a bit of a decline in power numbers last year but a rise in average as the Baltimore offense never really developed the way everyone had hoped. Look for his numbers to bounce back up and expect .300, 30+, 100+.
Fantasy Mans Advice: He's still the top power SS in the game. Grab Tejada here at #12 and then choose the next top flight pitcher! See the list below.

There you have it! The Fantasy Mans Top 12 Fantasy Baseball picks for the 2006 season. Remember, these are my rankings based on my own research, experience, and gut. Draft at your own risk! Below, you will find a list of second rounders. Again, these are the best available after round 1. Be sure to grab one of these guys on the way back and you will have yourself atleast 2 fantasy studs after the first 2 rounds.......
in no particular order
** Indicates a potential first rounder

Roy Halladay**
Carlos Zambrano
Mark Prior
Rich Harden
Roy Oswalt**
Chase Utley
Paul Konerko
Victor Martinez
Andruw Jones
Carl Crawford**
Ichiro Suzuki
Adam Dunn
David Wright
Travis Hafner

What's Next: Wednesday
-2006's NYS....New Young Studs. The Fantasy Man will take a peek at this years studs to watch!
- What are all of these different style fantasy baseball leagues and which one should I play?

Also Wednesday, look for our first PODCAST to download here and at iTunes!

The Fantasy Man.....OUT!

The Fantasy Man is Back BABY!!!

That's right Fantasy Sports Addicts and Lovers, the Fantasy Man is back with a bang! Its a new year and with every new year comes with New Year's Resolutions. Well, my resolution is to make One Million Dollars! Okay okay I mean, One-Hundred Million Dollars!

I plan on hitting up this fantasy baseball blog with my mumbo jumbo on trades, waiver wire pickups, prospects and anything and everything that has to to with fantasy baseball and helping YOU draft and manage a successful fantasy baseball team! My biggest feature will be answering your emails and questions and dishing out my advice!

You might wonder, what makes me so high and mighty that I can give anyone fantasy baseball advice. Well, to start, your right...I am a nobody. I work a normal 45 hour work week, have credit card bills up the wazoo, a cell phone bill, insurance, car payments...yada yada yada! However, I do have a lovely Fiance and I drive a Honda. But there is one thing that I do know, and thats my fantasy baseball knowledge. I have been participating in fantasy leagues for 5 years not just in baseball, but also in football as well. I have also particpiated in Fantasy Basketball, Hockey, Soccer, Golf, and NASCAR Racing to name a few. ....but those bore me! Baseball and Football is my Cream of the Crop!

So I am here to help you. "Let me help you! Help me......help you!" Does anyone know where that quote is from? If you guessed Jerry Mcquire, your correct! Anyway, fantasy sports advice can be hard to come by, especially for free! So I have decided to help the fantasy cause! I plan to provide plenty of free fantasy baseball advice this winter, spring, summer and fall at no cost to you! In return, I ask that you check out my blog, respond to articles and have fun with it! I also ask that you check out my "Podcasts" as soon as I get them up and running which should be downloadable from this blog and from iTunes for now.

That's it! Just show me you care, and I will provide you with hot fantasy baseball tips and a fun, slick sarcasm that only some may enjoy but all will love!

So come back and check out this blog. Feel free to post question, comments, suggestions...etc. In the meantime, I am going to figure out how to make these podcast thingies work and make this blog more attractive.

Join the Fantasy Man....the water's warm!

Fantasy Man....OUT!