Friday, August 29, 2008

2009 1B Rankings Explanation

So yesterday I posted the rankings you see below. I got an email from a Fantasy Man reader wondering why I had ranked certain players the way I did. I thought it was a great email and a good question to post here. I figured instead of explaining to one guy, I might as well explain it to everyone. So here it is, and thank you to the guy who sent me the email...

Question: Mike, I am usually a big believer in your rankings, but some of this is just crazy talk. How do you have Conor Jackson so high? Yes, he is batting .298 (and I guess the 8 SBs are good), but he only has 12 HRs and 68 RBIs. Is that a breakout season??? As a Jackson owner this year, I’m not so convinced. I think that he is more in the category of the high average/low power first baseman of the Casey Kotchman/James Loney variety. And I find the Giambi/Delgado rankings really low. Giambi seems to be doing what he always does – on pace for another 30+ HR season. I can’t believe that he won’t end up next season as someone’s starting 1b or DH. Same with Delgado. I will take the 30+ HR slugger at first over the around .300 BA first baseman every day of the week.

FM Response: This is what I love about doing rankings this early!.... and this is why no one else does them this early!! These rankings will probably change over the course of the Winter but right now it's a starting point.

You mention Connor Jackson being so high, that he is of the "Casey Kotchman/James Loney variety". Well, I have Jackson ranked right next to both of them so not sure what you mean there. Yes, I guess I can move Votto up a few spots and I probably will once I see his final stats.

With Giambi and Delgado....lets not get too crazy here. While both have been great this year, they are both older, both slowing down, and right now we have no idea where they will be next year. That has gone into my thinking here. Jackson has so much room to grow (if he can), Giambi and Delgado are on their last legs. Same with Thome, Konerko is a platooner now, Huff is always risky. This was my biggest debate when putting this together..... do I rank the young guys with potential higher or lower than the established guys who are risky with power and low averages? I went with the younger guys, always do!


So that was the email I sent back. Thinking about it a bit more, Giambi is always hurt and Delgado has had these two monster slumps in two years. I mean yes, Giambi and Delgado can both hit 30HR with any team, but it will cost you in batting average and you are likely to only get in the 80 - 90 RBI range as well. It's not like you can expect 30/100+ and that's assuming they stay healthy.

Another way to look at it as I think more about this.... In April and May this season both Giambi and Delgado were atrocious at the plate. I can't imagine your team doing well those first two months. Then, maybe you'd trade them or when you've had enough in mid June, you finally drop one and by that time if the rest of your team stunk, you're already giving up on your team. By season's end now, Giambi and Delgado may both finish with 30+ HR, but both of them effected me big time in 3 of the 8 leagues I played in this year. One of those leagues, a Fantasy Man league, I dropped Delgado at the end of June. Not smart on my end but I had had enough. In another league, I traded Giambi for Wladimir Balentein at the end of May or so and then Giambi got hot. Call it bad luck on my end but I don't want to have to be put in that situation with older players next year. I normally stay away from these guys like Carlos Delgado, Jason Giambi, Jim Thome, Aubrey Huff, etc., but they were solid values at the time I drafted them and they didn't pay off.

Point is, me personally, I don't go by the rankings of the major companies because most of the time they just get their rankings from each other and make some minor changes. I like to make rankings based on who I would pick in a draft over someone else and personally, I'd pick Jackson, Kotchman, Loney, Votto, etc., over these older guys strictly for the added batting average and the upside and the fact that they stay relatively healthy. Plus, looking back over the last 3 years or so, how inconsistent has guys like Delgado, Giambi, Thome, and Huff been? That's my point!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Fantasy Man's 2009 First Base 1B Rankings

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2009 Fantasy Baseball First Base 1B Rankings
Albert Pujols - Doesn't look like the elbow is that big a deal...
Miguel Cabrera - Terrible 1st half hampered numbers, now maybe a bargain late 1st round early 2nd
Ryan Howard - Looks like he'll be an AVG killer but HR/RBI potential is still late 1st round material
Prince Fielder - Big slump in 1st half hampered numbers in 2008, bounce back year with respectable power numbers
Mark Teixiera - In front of A-Rod he'll be ridiculous in 2009!
Lance Berkman - When he's hot, he's unbelieveable but when he's cold, fugettaboutit
Adrian Gonzalez - You could justify moving AGone up with Prince/Tex/Howard
David Ortiz - What can you expect with Manny gone? DH Only eligible, always available late 3rd round/early 4th
Justin Morneau - Steady contributor, you may not get the .320+ AVG but solid all around
Kevin Youkilis - This guy gets better every year, potential MVP in 2009
Carlos Pena - Big second half player it seems with 35+HR power
Derek Lee - Solid all round but don't expect 40+HR
Garrett Atkins - What happened in 2008?
Chris Davis - I love the keeper potential of Davis, may be over-hyped on draft day, normally would be an 8th-12th rounder
Joey Votto - Primed for a potentially huge break out
Carlos Delgado - Same as Giambi but I don't see a 35+HR year
Aubrey Huff - He was surprisingly solid in 2008 but his past numbers blow, so its tough to feel a repeat
James Loney - Doesn't appear to be a power guy, you're looking at about 15 dingers with an AVG close to .300
Connor Jackson - Great break out season, not sure if he's a repeater or if there is more to break out
Casey Kotchman - Same as Loney
Jason Giambi - If he plays everyday, 25/90 is not out of the question

Hank Blalock - If he can stay healthy, he'll be a huge comeback player
Travis Hafner - I don't know what to expect, maybe a comeback year? More of the same? Wait until after the 14th round
Billy Butler - Hasn't shown the power or that top AVG that he showed in the minors so he could bust out at any time
Chad Tracy - Solid all around player who could be a .285/20/80 guy if he had 500AB...which will be tough
Paul Konerko - Could be a sweet bargain late in drafts as he struggled in 2008
Jim Thome - Only as a DH but still has 30+HR power, low BA, high OBP
Lyle Overbay - I think the .300/20/100/100/10 days are gone but he's a solid AL Only/End of the draft guy
Ryan Garko - Big second half might have boosted him back into respectability
Nick Swisher - AVG killer but only a bench guy if he stays with the Yanks
Adam LaRoche - Usually a second half player

Mike Jacobs - 30+ HR power but also an AVG Killer
Daric Barton - Lacks power but still young enough to increase production in 2009
Todd Helton - Its possible he turns into a platoon player, gets traded, or retires
Jeff Baker - Has potential if the Rox can find a place for him
Kevin Millar - Solid AL Only contributor
Ronnie Belliard - NL Only
Travis Ishikawa - Low end NL Only
Bryan LaHair - Has 20+ HR potential but will kill AVG
Ross Gload - A part-time player but usually gets more time in 2nd half
Jeremy Reed - Will have 1B/OF eligibiity

Keep an eye on:
Matt LaPorta, MIL - May have OF eligibility and will be the top prospect going into 2009
Kila Ka’ahue, KC - Will be unleashed by mid-season, he's the next Ryan Howard type!

Nick Evans, NYM - Could take over if Mets pass on resigning Delgado or nabbing Tex

Saturday, August 23, 2008

2009 Fantasy Baseball Catchers Rankings

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Update: 1/30/09
I switched around my top 4 rankings here. I'm still a fan of a .320+ Joe Mauer but I think Brian McCann at 24 years old has a lot more upside and the power while still having the ability to hit .300. So it now goes......

2009 Mixed League Catchers Rankings

Brian McCann, ATL - He's only 24!!! .300/25/100 projected and could realistically be your #1 catcher in 2009
Russell Martin, LAD - He could have 3B eligibility which is awesome, expecting .290/20-25/90/10 with a bit more upside
Joe Mauer, MIN - Mauer could be #1 for the .300+BA/100R potential, I don't think Mauer will produce the big power we want
Geovany Soto, CHC - 25+HR power and a .280+BA would be sweet from Soto in 2009 with potential for more
Victor Martinez, CLE - Should bounce back to .300/20/100 type numbers after an injury-plagued 2008
Ryan Doumit, PIT - Nice break out in '08 but lineup stinks, still better than most on the board anyway with .300/20+ upside

Bengie Molina, SF - SF making an effort to sign some players but molina ia a lock for .280/20
Matt Wieters, BAL - Tore up the minors last year, could be a .300/20+/100 type eventually, grab as a keeper
Chris Ianetta, COL - Nice young player with .300/20+ potential in Coors, still unproven though
Kelly Shoppach, CLE - If V-Mart moves top 1B, Shoppach has 25+HR upside
Yadier Molina, STL - An injury risk but can hit .300+ and never strikes out!

Jorge Posada, NYY - May only get about 100-125 games behind the plate, so who knows how many AB's, expect at least 400

Dioner Navarro, TB - The jury is still out as to whether or not Navarro is for real or not, not much power but .280+ BA potential
Kurt Suzuki, OAK - See Dioner Navarro but with OBP skills and more upside
Jeff Clement, SEA - Could easily be a star, 20+HR power but K's way too much
Mike Napoli, LAA - 20+HR power but low BA
Taylor Teagarden, TEX - Penciled in as the starter, has .300+ potential with some power, grab as a keeper
Max Ramirez, TEX - Tore up AAA last season, has .300/20+ potential, he's reminds me of a Geovany Soto type
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, TEX - Same as Clement but we're still waiting, an injury risk
A.J. Pierzynski, CWS - a solid AL only option or #2 in mixed leagues, always ends up on the wire at some point though

Ramon Hernandez, BAL - Matt Weiters looks for real in BAL so Hernandez could be elsewhere in 2009, waiver wire material
Gerald Laird, DET - Now with a full-time job in Detroit, if healthy, could be a .280/15/70 hitter
Ivan Rodriguez, FA - Depends where he ends up but he could be a .280/10/60 guy and a solid second catcher
Chris Snyder, ARI - D-Backs trying to trade Montero, so more AB's for Snyder means 20+HR potential but w/a low BA
Jesus Flores, WAS - Might be able to sustain a .280+ BA
Carlos Ruiz, PHI - Not much of a hitter but could slightly increase numbers in 2009, there is upside here as a 2nd catcher
J.R. Towles, HOU - Has BA & OBP potential if he can get himself back on track, still young with upside
Angel Salome, MIL - Top minor league hitting catcher could push Jason kendall by mid-season.
Brandon Inge, DET - Has 15+HR power but an even lower BA potential than Napoli
Jason Varitek, BOS - Could bounce back a bit after a horrible season, so .275/15/75 is possible
John Baker, FLA - Not proven, sported a low BA in 2008, leave for NL Only or the waiver wire

Lou Palmisano, HOU - If Towles doesn't get it done, he'll open the door for this guy who has 15+ HR powerJason Kendall, MIL - Good real life player but un-useful in fantasy
Jeff Mathis, LAA - Has some potential in AL Only if Napoli gets hurt

Miguel Montero, ARI - If the D-Backs trade him, could be a starter somewhere with .280/15+ potential
John Buck, KC - Has 15+HR power
Jose Molina, NYY - Not much o a hitter but will start 40-60 games so he might be a low end AL only guy

The rest of this list is reserved for AL or NL Only leagues and none hold any real fantasy value at this point
Miguel Olivo

Gregg Zaun
Ramon Castro
Yorvit Torrealba
Paul Lo Duca

Paul Bako
Kenji Johjima
Rod Barajas
Mike Rivera
Brian Schneider
Javier Valentin
Josh Bard

Nick Hundley
Luke Carlin
Mike Redmond
Jason LaRue

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Chris Davis, TEX - 2009 Fantasy Baseball Keeper of the Year?

So your fantasy team blows and you're stuck at the bottom of the standings with five or so of your leagues cheapest but most valuable keepers! Is one of them 1B/3B Chris Davis of the Texas Rangers?

Davis is a monster in size and fantasy terms. He's only 22 years old and stands at 6'4", 235lbs. When you look at Davis stand at the plate or when you see him swing the bat, he has such command and such a powerful swing its ridiculous! He tore up Double A and Triple A earlier this season and while his batting average and his on base percentage isn't the greatest, this guy certainly has the talent and the immense power potential we fantasy managers search for. Here is a look at his 2008 stats so far this season....

Majors - .270/11/32 with a .310 OBP in 163 AB as of Saturday, August 16.
Triple A - .333/10/31/2SB with a .401 OBP in 111 AB
Double A - .333/13/42/5SB with a .376 OBP in 186 AB

The one knock on Davis is that he is prone to the strikeout, but being the he's only 22 and only in his third full season in the minors or majors, it appears like he's has the talent to be a major league star. The question is however.... Is he a Ryan Howard or Adam Dunn with the K's, or will he keep the strikeouts to a minimum? In Single A in 2006, Davis had 386 AB in Bakersfield with 123 K's but, he had 115 hits and batted .298 with 24 HR and 93 RBI. What this tells me is that despite the insanely high K total, the guy was still hitting! In 2007 in Double A, Davis struck only 27 times in 109 AB, almost 25% of the time, and still batted .294.

Also, in 2006 in Single A, Davis hit 24 HR in 386 AB which could have translated into about 30-35 HR with 500+AB. Looking at what Davis has done this year with 23 HR in the minors and 11 so far this year, that's 34 HR in 460 AB. Imagine what another 100+ AB could bring?

Think about what Milwaukee Brewer Ryan Braun did in 2007. Braun hit .324 with 34 HR in 451 AB in the majors and hit another 10 HR in Nashville before he was called up in May in 117 AB. So that's 44 HR in 568 total AB. Think Davis can match that HR total in 2008 while keeping that average above .270 in the majors? I sure do!

Look, Chris Davis is a beast, he's only 22, and if you watch any of his at bats whether on television or live at the ball park, you can just see with your own eyes that the guy has command at the plate....despite the K's! I look at Davis as a Ryan Braun type potential with a lower batting average. Then again, Braun is only hitting .300 exactly as of Sunday after hitting around .275 most of the season before getting hot in the second half. What I am saying here is if Braun didn't stay hot, your looking at twins!

On draft day going into 2009, while everyone is salivating over Braun in the late first round of your fantasy baseball draft, you can probably snag Davis somewhere in rounds 4-7 or later and feel good about it. You'll pay through the nose for Braun while potentially getting close to the same stats for Davis. This means, if you can plan it right and hold off, you can go for a steals/runs/AVG guy like Reyes in the first, or a Holliday, or an Utley instead of Braun, and then save Davis for later in the draft. The fact that he's so young, didn't come with the Ryan Braun, Hanley Ramirez, B.J. Upton type hype, he should end up slipping in drafts further than he should. Chris Davis' power potential is immense, and that is why I am writing this article now!

Now is the time to educate yourselves on Chris Davis, the way I told you to educate yourselves on Nate McLouth last November. Davis will be a guy you'll want to hoard all to yourself for the next few years in your keeper leagues. I have already made sure I have Davis secured on 3 of my 4 keeper money leagues, so you should too.

Here is a link to my latest podcast, so you could see what I said about Davis a week ago...

I know its still early, but I want to be one of the first to jump on the Chris Davis bandwagon. If you think I'm full of it, that's fine, but I'm telling you right now...... I have seen this kid hit. He's going to be a fantasy stud! It's just a feeling I have. I have been wrong about some in the past, and I have been correct too. Davis is a pretty safe bet to make the team out of spring training in 2009 with the potential to easily hit 30-35+ HR! You can take that to the bank!

Fantasy Man ..... OUT!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Fantasy Man's Minor League Awareness Program

The Fantasy Man's Minor League Awareness Program:
Updated 8.01.08

These stats are their minor league stats to date…
The Next Wave of Prospects:

Matt LaPorta - .288, 20 HR, 66 RBI in AA MIL - .212, 1 HR, 7 RBI in AA CLE
Mathew Gamel - .349, 16 HR, 84 RBI, 6 SB .409 OBP in AA
David Price – 5 games, 2.20 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 38 K, in 45 IP in AA - 4 games, 1.82 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 37 K, 34 IP in HiA – There is talk he could come up and pitch in bullpen!
Andrew McCutchen - .274, 9HR, 40RBI, 27SB
Fernando Martinez - .292, 5 HR, 25 RBI, 5 SB (He was hurt for a while, only 19 yrs. old)
Cameron Maybin – .265, 12 HR, 38 RBI, 17 SB in AA
Colby Rasmus – .249, 11HR, 36 RBI, 17 SB
Matt Wieters - .365, 6 HR, 27 RBI in AA - .345, 15 HR, 40 RBI in HiA
Reid Brignac - .254, 9HR, 43RBI, 4SB – BACK TO MINORS!
Rick Porcello – 2.83 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 60K in 105 IP in HiA – He could rise fast!
Tyler Colvin - .236, 9 HR, 56 RBI, 7 SB

5 Players with NASTY Numbers
Francisco Liriano –
3.28 ERA, 118 IP, 113 K, 1.13 WHIP – JUST CALLED UP!!!
David Purcey, SP, TOR – 26yr., 117 IP, 121K, 2.69ERA, 1.12WHIP
Brandon Wood – .293, 24HR, 59RBI, 4 SB – Could be back soon!
Nelson Cruz – .342, 37 HR, 98 RBI, 24 SB – Great player to stash!
Dallas McPherson - .302, 39 HR, 86 RBI, 13 SB – Great player to stash!

These guys still worth watching:
Nate Schierholtz -
.314, 15 HR, 65 RBI, 9 SB
Josh Fields – Batting .248, 9 HR, 30RBI, 5 SB – CALLED UP to replace Crede
Matt Antonelli –Batting .196, 3HR, 28RBI, 4SB
Brent Clevlen - .298, 19 HR, 71 RBI, 6 SB in AAA
Joe Koshansky - .277, 20 HR, 84 RBI in AAA

Prospects YOU Need To Keep Tabs On!!!!!
Neil Walker, 3B, PIT - .232, 14HR, 62RBI – Can we say…Pablo Alvarez!
Matthew Brown, 3B, LAA – 25yr., .326, 21HR, 67RBI – Blocked by Brandon Wood
Mike Carp, 1B, NYM – 21yr., .303, 12HR, 56RBI
Nick Evans, 1B, NYM – 22yr., .311, 14HR, 53RBI – Batted .286, 15HR, 54RBI in 2007 – CALLED UP!
Wes Hodges, 3B, CLE – 23yr., .300, 13HR, 80RBI, 2SB – Batted .288, 15HR, 71RBI in 2007
Lou Marson, C, PHI – 22 yr. old, .319, 5 HR, 46 RBI, 3 SB in AA
Wilkin Ramirez, OF, DET – 22 yr.old, .301, 13 HR, 43 RBI, 19 SB in AA – Just promoted to AAA
Nolan Reimold, OF, BAL – 24 yr. old - .289, 18 HR, 60 RBI, 7 SB in AA

Its simple. Each week I will update these stats and we can keep tabs on the prospects. I will add names and delete names as they come and go so be sure you are paying attention.....I don't want you to miss out on the next big thing! Of course, there will always be players I am missing, but these are the players that I am personally keeping tabs on.....