Friday, February 29, 2008

My Latest Pitching Staff via Auction Draft

Let me tell you, there is nothing better than a four and a half hour fantasy baseball auction draft! In my snake drafts, I really try to grab 2-3 top notch starting piters and two top 10 closers. However, in an auction league, I can use a LIMA plan type of strategy and walk away with a pitching staff just as good or potentially better than every team in the draft itself.

Now, I don't need to go into to much detail because as you will see, the values I got some of these pitchers for is ridiculously undervalued compared to my Top 300 Auction Values posted in the draft guide and other auction values posted on various sites and magazines. But, if you just sit and wait a bit and be patient, this is a rotation you can potentially end up with for $93. I know the LIMA Plan calls for only $60 but there were some bargains here in the top 20 I just couldn't pass up. Here is what I got...

My Pitching Staff

1. Aaron Harang $17.00
2. John Smoltz $13.00
3. Roy Oswalt $14.00
4. John Maine $6.00
5. Rich Hill $9.00
6. Matt Cain $8.00

7. Rich Harden $3.00

8. Brad Lidge $10.00
9. Francisco Cordero $13.00


My only real risk is Harden who is actually feeling good and throwing great in camp at this time, but I'll take that with a grain of salt. This is a fantastic staff with the bottom four SP's to all potentially have huge breakout years. Even if they match what they did last year, I'll be in great shape. Harden is obviously the wild card here.

With the closers, Papelbon flew of the board for $27 and with most of the other top 10 going for $15 or more, I felt like Lidge and Cordero were decent values for their potential. And yes, I think Lidge will be fine this year despite his recent injury set back. Actually, I am thankful because that lowered his valued for this draft as he'd probably go for $15 with the way these guys were bidding.


Point is, with some patience, if everyone goes crazy for the star players, just like everyone did in this auction draft, there will be bargains along the way about halfway through the auction. I blew my wad on A-Rod and Ryan Howard, who were the first two thrown out, so I just sat back after that and picked up bargains. You can see the Auction Results Here and you'll see my team is highlighted.

Take a look at the draft results and look at the prices of the top 20 Starting Pitchers (Not in any particular order)....
Johan Santana

Jake Peavy
Brandon Webb
Erik Bedard
Josh Beckett
Justin Verlander
Scott Kazmir* $16

C.C. Sabathia
Cole Hamels

Carlos Zambrano
Dan Haren

John Lackey
Felix Hernandez* $17
Aaron Harang* $17
Chris Young* $9
John Smoltz* $13

Roy Oswalt* $14
Roy Halladay* $17
Daisuke Matsuzaka* $17
Fausto Carmona*$19
--------------------------------
Javier Vazquez ..... who could arguably be in this top 20.... $9


So look, if everyone is going nuts spending $25+ on guys like Beckett, Bedard, Webb and Sabathia and most of the top 20 Goes between $15-$23.....you should expect some nice bargains from the middle tier guys.....
Matt Cain

Rich Hill
Yovani Gallardo
Tim Lincecum
Chad Billingsley
James Shields

.....just to name a few who you can probably steal at $8-$11 which in some cases end up being normal prices, and they are normal because people always tend to go nuts for the top notch guys..... so I just wanted to point this out.

For $30-$40 you can get two-three top notch guys using this example (Harang, Smoltz, Young) and fill out the rest with good young talent with upside at the end of the draft.

So try it. Get the hitting you want but wait on some of these top 20 pitchers who come out later in the auction. Save $40 for 3 bargain guys, spend $20 on closers (opt for Soria who was $1 for example) and maybe another $10-$15 for cheapies with upside and you can still come out with a killer staff. Save maybe $90 for pitching and you can steal some real bargains like I did with runining hitting. I still ended up drafting over 300+ HR and well over 170+ SB potentially with $ $167 and $83 of that was spent on two players... A-Rod and Howard! That's being savvy. Here is what I ended up with. Potentially great but a lot of upside I am depending on.....


My Offense

C- Ryan Doumit
C- Chris Snyder
1B - Ryan Howard

2B - Felipe Lopez
3B - Alex Rodriguez
SS - Carlos Guillen
MI - Julio Lugo
CI - Justin Morneau
OF - Jacoby Ellsbury
OF - Josh Hamilton

OF - Shane Victorino
OF - Matt Kemp
OF - Josh Fields
UT - Edwin Encarnacion

We still have a slow reserve draft and so far I have Carlos Gomez on the bench.


What do you guys think? Good strategy? Decent team?

FM

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fantasy Man's Fantasy Baseball Basics

I just had a random thought. I was thinking about some of my strategies that I use in every league I play and I thought I would put all of them into a simple and basic format for everyone to look at. Now, lately I have been so bogged down with strategies for this year and tips and advice and everything that goes into preparing for a successful 2008 fantasy baseball season, that I never just listed my personal favorites that I use each and every year. This is a look at my personal fantasy bible, so here goes...... in order of importance....

1. My Philosophy: "You gotta be in it, to win it"! This also means you need to "Know when to fold'em". Basically, I am dedicated from beginning to end....unless my team totally sucks at the beginning of September. You can't give up at the end of May. A few trades, some luck off the waiver wire, and a few turn-arounds from slumping players could truly boost your team a few slots in the standings. Last season, I was in dead last at the end of May, made a few trades between then and the deadline in August and ended up winning the league by a landslide and cashing at about $1200+ for first place. You can do it, don't get discouraged by a slow start.

2. As you have read, my main strategy is "Drafting for Categories" early in the draft which means that I don't give a hoot about "Position Scarcity". In my 5x5 leagues, I am loading up on 1B, 3B, and OF's that provide me with 35+HR power in the first 4 rounds of a 10-14 team draft. 40+ HR power potential is what is more scarce than a .300/15/75/10 potential middle infielder late in the draft! 40+HR power is also more scarce late in the draft than say ... 30+ potential SB's.

3. Plenty of solid MI's(2B & SS) after the 15th rounds or for under $5 in the auction with "UPSIDE".... Drew, Hill, Greene, Hudson, Peralta, F. Lopez, J. Lopez, to name a few and the reason the "Position Scarcity"is useless to me.

4. Same goes for Catchers....I am looking at Towles, Doumit, Suzuki, Snyder, Yadier Molina and John Buck late in drafts this year...and the same goes every year....no Catchers before round 16!

5. I love 2-3 solid top-notch starting pitchers and two top 12 closers. Taking a closer like Todd Jones or Joe Borowski will get you 40 saves each maybe, but will kill your ERA/WHIP. DON'T DRAFT A CLOSER JUST FOR THE SAVES! There are other experts/analysts who will tell you to just get the saves! But if you draft mediocre starting pitching and then you draft high ERA?WHIP closers...you're busted! Never spend more than $15 on a closer. If you have to settle for Marano Rivera and Francisco Cordero or Brad Lidge instead of J.J. Putz and Jon Papelbon, then so be it. Or, just wait until the end of an auction and grab Joakim Soria or Rafael Soriano for under $9.

6. You will NEVER see me punt a category!......EVER!!!! Why start the season in the hole?


7. Late in a draft or auction, I always opt for a younger player with more upside.
Example: In the 23rd round of a 12 team draft, I'd rather take a risk on Kevin Slowey (SP, MIN) who has immense upside and is young yet still unproven over an established veteran like Tom Glavine or Greg Maddux who are certainly pitchers I can trust, but just don't provide the exciting upside and the opportunity to really help your fantasy team with a break out.

8. Don't get #7 confused. At the end of the draft, you don't necessarily want to draft all rookies or prospects with potential. This year you could draft Jay Bruce, Colby Rasmus and Carlos Gomez and feel like a king but its possible all start the season in AAA or start out slumping. Try to mix good solid guys that play everyday late in the draft with some of these potential break out stars.

9. These young prospects are great for the second half. 2007's top prospects going into draft day were Braun, Gallardo and Lincecum. All were up by mid-season and all were fantastic. This year its Joba Chamberlain, Evan Longoria, Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Carlos Gomez, Cameron Maybin, Ian Kennedy and Colby Rasmus for starters. In leagues with a bench, its smart to draft a few of these guys...not all of them.

10. When you have a bench, if you draft injury prone players, make sure you handcuff them with a player with upside at the esame position on your bench. So if you draft Rich Harden or Ben Sheets, make sure you hand cuff with some upside like Kevin Slowey, Jon Lester, or Zack Greinke.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

The Fantasy Man's 2008 Relief Pitchers Rankings

The Fantasy Man's 2008 Relief Pitchers RP Rankings Updated 2.25.08

Jonathon Papelbon, BOS - Easily top 5 and will lead closers in SV's, K's, ERA, and WHIP
J.J. Putz, SEA - Can rack up 40+ saves with the best of them, he's solid, and potential to lead all closers in K's
Joe Nathan, MIN - Its just a matter of preference in these top 6 but the Twins don't project to be that good
Francisco Rodriguez, LAA - Does it all, saves, K's, ERA, WHIP
Mariano Rivera, NYY - When the Yanks were hot, Mariano was hot, still the best in the game but K's are dwindling
Bobby Jenks, CWS - Big step up in 2007 as his biggest problem, consistency, was never a problem in '07
Jose Valverde, HOU - Saves leader in 2007 and should have an easy and dependable chance at 40+ again
Takashi Saito, LAD - A top notch dependable closer but with Broxton breathing down his neck, Torre's known over use of the bullpen, and Saito's potentially bad shoulder could mean trouble in '08.
Francisco Cordero, CIN - Should rack up a nice 1st half but be careful of the second half skid
Billy Wagner, NYM - Susceptible to the blown save and Shea is a tough place to pitch, should be better overall than '07
Brad Lidge, PHI - Who knows what this guy will do, knee surgery this spring but should be ready close to opening day
Trevor Hoffman, SD - Getting older but still effective while 40+ saves is almost a guarantee
Manny Corpas, COL - Definitely 40+ save potential, great stuff, fantastic team
Rafael Soriano, ATL - Now that he gets to start the season as Closer, he could be a 35+ SV guy
Joakim Soria, KC - Take a look at his K's per IP and then look at his WHIP....not bad at all, but 40 saves will be tough in KC
Jason Isringhausen, STL - Just a solid, all-around closer who tends to be a bit injury prone
Huston Street, OAK - Elbow is hanging on by a thread so be careful but if deemed healthy, he is a great option as a #2
Chad Cordero, WAS - Not a bad option but his team stinks and few opportunities could frustrate you
Matt Capps, PIT - Team stinks but he's decent and could rack up 30+
Kevin Gregg, FLA - Finished the year admirably so is probably the closer by default but should post solid K numbers
Brandon Lyons, ARI - The Valverde trade to Houston opens the door for Lyons
Eric Gagne, MIL - I'm not a fan, too injury-prone but could be effective this late in the draft, don't stretch for him
Todd Jones, DET - Expect 35+ saves with an ERA over 4, a WHIP over 1.30 and not a lot of K's
Joe Borowski, CLE - Pretty much the same as Jones but other relievers could take over (i.e Rafael Perez or Jensen Lewis)
Brian Wilson, SF - Currently listed as the teams closer and could be a nice sleeper late in drafts
Jeremy Accardo, TOR - Should fill in nicely and don't be surprised if Ryan doesn't get his job back right away
Troy Percival, TB - He's ranked low w/ a possibility of being unseated by one of the young guys, namely Jeff Neimann
Carlos Marmol, CHC - Its still a big mystery but Marmol is the smart choice
George Sherrill, BAL - At this point the lefty is listed as the closer and its his job to lose
Rafael Betancourt, CLE - I wouldn't be surprised if he steals the job from an ineffective Borowski at some point
Derrick Turnbow, MIL - Could eventually steal the job from Gagne once Gagne gets hurt

Super Sleeper Profile: Boof Bonser, SP, MIN, and more on the Minnesota OF Situation

The Fantasy Man is back after a short weekend hiatus! I have been tracking some players who are super sleepers and I wanted to throw this guy out there.... Boof Bonser, SP, MIN...

Lately, in the last few drafts I have done, I have found myself gravitating towards Bonser. Once some of my late sleepers are gone like Tom Gorzelanny, Jon Lester and Kevin Slowey, I seem to be taking Bonser in the late late rounds because I know he possesses knockout stuff!

In 2007, Bonser went 8-12, 136 K, 5.10ERA, 1.53WHIP in 173 IP. Obviously, that's not very appetizing but he's 26 entering the 2008 season, its his 3rd year, and he was once thought of a better prospect than Francisco Liriano as a matter of fact. Bonser was absolutely terrible late in the season but the Twins still like him! This article also mentions that Bonser is feeling great and has trimmed down a bit!

At this point, Bonser has to battle with Scott Baker and Prospect Phillip Humber. Baker will probably get that 4th spot and I really think Humber will be the one who misses out as he has not impressed anyone yet in his short major league career. This is why Bonser is a super sleeper. He has a battle on his hands but he's nearing the magical age of 27 and his 3rd season in which most say a starting pitcher will show signs of a break out and as I mentioned before, he does have that knock out stuff. Also, coming into camp a bit trimmer and healthier is a big plus as well.

Its no secret that the terrible ERA and the horrendous WHIP mixed in with the fact that he was taken out of the rotation in September and his 2nd half was atrocious........these are all the factors that make Bonser a fantastic "super" sleeper because no one is paying attention to him. He is most likely available on the waiver wire and someone I'd personally take a chance on or stash on my bench over guys like Tom Glavine, Jeff Suppan, Bartolo Colon, Mike Mussina, etc....

I'm not even here offering up any statistical evidence that he will be a better pitcher in '08, but with two years under his belt and the fact that Minnesota was terrible last year, I can see the upside that Bonser possesses. I will however offer this..... with the exception of 2003 and a short stint in triple-A in 2006, Bonser had more K's than innings pitched in each of his minor league seasons. If that's not an indicator, I don't know what is!

In 1995, Mariano Rivera started 10 games, 68 IP, with an 5.51ERA and a 1.51WHIP! I am not comparing Bonser to Mariano! But give Bonser the benefit of the doubt, chalk up these last two seasons as terrible and open your mind to the future! If he is terrible and we find out he wasn't worth a late round flier or a buck at the auction, you guys can scream at me at the end of the season.....deal?

Here is the lastest article that mentions Bonser! Also, Ron Gardenhire mentioned that he is moving Delmon Young to Leftfield and Mike Cuddyer will stay in Rightfield. That could only mean one thing.....welcome to the Carlos Gomez era. Obviously the Twins are leaving CF whide open for Gomez, his natural position. I am assuming that Craig Monroe will not be playing Centerfield!

FM

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Fantasy Man's 2008 Outfield Rankings

The Fantasy Man's 2008 Outfield OF Rankings Updated 2.20.08


Tier 1
Matt Holliday, COL - .330+ AVG, 35+ HR, 10+ SB should easily be attainable again
Alfonso Soriano, CHC - The potential of 40/40 makes Soriano tough to pass up in the 1st round
Carlos Beltran, NYM - Expect at least .275/30+/100+/20SB which is 1st round material in the 2nd or 3rd round
Grady Sizemore, CLE - .300/30HR/30SB/90RBI/120R and 600+AB potential but most likely a .280-.290 hitter
Carl Crawford, TB - 50+ SB/.300AVG/100+R but still most likely won't reach the 25HR plateau
Vladimir Guerrero, LAA - Speed and power starting to decline but he's still better than most , should top 30HR this year
Carlos Lee, HOU - Matt Holliday numbers minus 30-40 points in average in the late 2nd/early 3rd

Lance Berkman, HOU - Should have a better year than last with the new and improved lineup

Tier 2
B.J. Upton, TB - .300/20/20 likely but 30/30 possible
Alex Rios, TOR - .300/25/20/100/100 potential, big frame, moving to the 3rd slot in the order
Ichiro Suzuki, SEA - Draft for AVG/R/SB (.320+/100+/40+)
Eric Byrnes, ARI - .280+/25+/50+ potential but I don't think he steals 50 again
Hunter Pence, HOU - .322/17/69 in 456AB which means .320/25/90/15SB with 600AB, if he bats 5th expect 100+RBI
Curtis Granderson, DET - Expect .300/20/20/80/100 again with more upside
Magglio Ordonez, DET - Should come back down to earth in '08 but still a .300+/25+/100+ hitter
Bobby Abreu, NYY - Power and speed decreasing but .280+/15HR/20SB/100RBI should be easy to attain

Torii Hunter, LAA - Better protection in LAA lineup could mean an increased average and sight increase in power numbers
Manny Ramirez, BOS - If he can stay healthy he'll be a great value pick and that means 500+AB
Adam Dunn, CIN - Expect 35+/100 with low average but .380+OBP
Nick Markakis, BAL - Could be mentioned in the same class as Wright/Sizemore/Utley by season's end, has all the tools
Chris Young, ARI - 30/30 potential is there but his average could be a killer, hopes for .275 would make Young a great pick
Andruw Jones, LAD - Terrible 2007 will make Jones a bargain in the 7th-10th rounds
Brad Hawpe, COL - a quiet .300/25/100 hitter
Corey Hart, MIL - .295/24/23 in 505AB means a potential 30/30 with 600AB
Hideki Matsui, NYY - If he can stay on the field he's a .300/25/100 player
Delmon Young, MIN - Another 600+AB with potential of .300/20/100/100/10
Jeff Francouer, ATL - Only 24 and w/ another 600+AB we should see .290/30/100 as he bulked up over the winter
Vernon Wells, TOR - Disappointing year should make Wells a bargain on draft day
Shane Victorino, PHI - If he didn't get hurt, he would have been a 40+SB player, so expect the same in '08

Tier 3
Ken Griffey Jr., CIN - If he can stay on the field he could hit 35+HR/100RBI but getting old
Jason Bay, PIT - Team stinks but the 30/30 potential days are over, still has 30+HR potential but your looking at a .275AVG
Jermaine Dye, CWS - 25+HR potential but after a great '06 and a disappointing '07, who knows what to expect...
Juan Pierre, LAD - An easy .300 with 50SB's again but could lose some AB's with a crowded OF
Nick Swisher, OAK - Disappointing power totals in 2007 should make Swisher a bargain on draft day
Johnny Damon, NYY - Disappointing overall season could make Damon a bargain, I wouldn't worry about playing time
Matt Kemp, LAD - Hit .342/10/42/10 in 292AB
Mark Teahen, KC - Potential for .300/15/15/100 is there but thus far he's been way too inconsistent, should be cheap
Aaron Rowand, SF - .300/20/90 is a solid projection but has a terrible offensive supporting cast
Kosuke Fukodome, CHC - Always a risk when dealing with Japanese players
Raul Ibanez, SEA - Slumped in 1st half but tore it up in the 2nd half, expect a consistent year and .290/20/100 again
Josh Hamilton, TEX - .292/19/47 in only 298AB, a full season of 500+AB could mean .290/35+/100 in Texas
Jeremy Hermida, FLA - Could be a super sleeper with .300/20/20 potential
Josh Fields, CWS - 23 HR in 373AB could mean a potential 35+ with 600+AB
Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS - Should steal the CF job from Coco Crisp and could eventually be a .300/15/40 player
Pat Burrell, PHI - 30+HR potential but can be exposed to long painful slumps
Rick Ankiel, STL - .275/25+HR power, will probably hit behind Pujols
Melky Cabrera, NYY - 580AB should make Melky a .285/15/85/15SB player everyday in CF
J.D. Drew, BOS - The potential .300/20/100/100/20 days are gone, expect a slight increase from 2007
Garret Anderson, LAA - Acquisition of Hunter makes Anderson a DH which hopefully will keep him a healthy RBI machine
Mike Cuddyer, MIN - Potential for .300/20/100 is still there but .285/20/85 is probably more a reality
Jose Guillen, KC - a serviceable .290/20/95, will miss the first 15 games because of suspension

Willy Tavares, COL - If he's a full timer he has .300/40+SB potential

Tier 4
Austin Kearns, WAS -
He's just simply mediocre with 25+ Power potential
Ryan Freel, CIN - SB sleeper if he can stay healthy
Chris Duncan, STL - 25+HR potential if he's healthy
Jayson Werth, PHI - has .290/20/20 potential if he gets the chance to play full-time over Geoff Jenkins
Moises Alou, NYM - 500+ AB should net you .320+/20/85 but staying on the field is a problem along with his older age
Josh Willingham, FLA - Expect .270/20/80
Franklin Gutierrez, CLE - Solid 2nd half play will probably solidify a full-time OF job with .285/20/80 potential
Jack Cust, OAK - 30/100 potential but expect an average under .280 as a DH
Wily Mo Pena, WAS - 40+HR power with a low average and a ton of strikeouts, its all or nothing, think Adam Dunn
Lastings Milledge, WAS - A trade to WAS makes Milledge an instant starter but he's a risk
Nate McLouth, PIT - A good spring could unseat Chris Duffy with 20/30 potential, should be a nice super sleeeper

Gary Matthews Jr., LAA - 20/20 potential, may not be considered Full-time" because of Hunter but will end up with 500+AB
Mike Cameron, MIL- .270.20/20 year in and year out

David DeJesus, KC - .280/10/70 potential, serviceable with upside
Jason Kubel, MIN - 500AB should give him a chance to hit .290/20+/80+, he'll be the primary DH
Dave Roberts, SF - 30+SB potential year after year but he's always hurt
Luke Scott, BAL - Was a disappointment last year but has all the tools and could be a sleeper

Tier 5
Cameron Maybin, FLA - A good spring will solidify him as a full-timer for the Marlins and potential is through the roof
Justin Upton, ARI - Should nail down a starting job with a good spring, 20HR/90RBI potential
Felix Pie, CHC - Blessed with all the tools but last year display was a disappointment making Pie a nice sleeper for '08
Carlos Gomez, MIN - 6'4" 190lb will probably start in minors. He has eventual 30/30 potential

Adam Jones, BAL - Should take over CF in 2008 with a good spring
Wladimir Balentien, SEA - Could steal an OF spot with Jones gone making him a nice sleeper
Matt Diaz, ATL - Possible .300 potential
Rocco Baldelli, TB - Could come back as a DH if deemed healthy...which is a huge risk but potential for a high reward
Jerry Owens, CWS - 32 SB in 356AB in '07, 500+AB could mean 50+
Rajai Davis, SF - 22SB in 190 AB make him a 50+ SB potential player, not much power
Mark Kotsay, ATL- Not so sure he can stay healthy


The Rest
Luis Gonzalez, FLA - Could get a chance if Maybin falters
Reggie Willits, LAA - Probably 5th on Angel depth chart now, 500AB though has 40+SB potential, no power, could be traded
Milton Bradley, TEX - Tough to say what to expect at this time, but expect some type of injury again in 2008
Coco Crisp, BOS - Could be traded to make room for Ellsbury but a starter somewhere else
Brian Giles, SD - .280AVG but power/speed is gone
Jim Edmonds, SD - 450AB will be tough but can hit you 20+HR
Ross Gload, KC - Full-time play could make Gload a very serviceable player with a touch of upside

Juan Rivera, LAA - Will need a quality spring to get consideration
Tony Gywnn Jr., MIL - Will have to beat out Geoff Jenkins
Shannon Stewart, OAK - Serviceable for AL only leagues
Geoff Jenkins, PHI - Will have to compete for AB with Werth
Xavier Nady, PIT - Can never stay healthy but 450AB good for 20HR
Andre Ethier, LAD - 4th on depth chart behind Jones, Pierre and Kemp
Chris Burke, COL - Could be called on again to play 2B and could be a sleeper with 20/20 potential
Brad Wilkerson, SEA- Good for 20+HR but thats about it
Ryan Church, NYM - Serviceable
Jacque Jones, DET - If Maybin is a bust, Jones will play everyday in LF
Chris Duffy, PIT - I expect the same "bust" type of season but does have 30+SB sleeper potential if he beats out McLouth
Randy Winn, SF - You'll get the same serviceable stats assuming he plays full-time
Brandon Jones, ATL - Could get a shot if Anduw Jones plays elsewhere but will have to compete with Josh Anderson







Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Fantasy Man's 2008 Starting Pitchers Rankings

The Fantasy Man's 2008 Starting Pitchers Rankings Updated 2.19.08

Keep in mind, these are the guys worth drafting in a normal 10-14 team league, give or take a few....

Johan Santana, NYM – The Mets turn him into a possible 20 game winner
Jake Peavy, SD – Will be hard to top last years numbers but matching them with 20 wins won’t be
Brandon Webb, ARI - Probably a safer and more durable pick that Peavy with 200+K potential
Josh Beckett, BOS - He’ll always be an injury risk but should capitalize on last seasons breakout
Erik Bedard, SEA – A lot of hype, 200+K potential, now in a pitchers park, but be careful of the injury risk
Cole Hamels, PHI - The injury risk is there but potential for 20/200/200 (W/K/IP)

C.C. Sabathia, CLE – He’s a 6’7 monster, intimidating, great stuff, great team
John Lackey, LAA - Solid, durable, and getting better. Expect 180-200K, 3.20 ERA, 1.20 WHIP or better
Dan Haren, ARI – More hype, terrible 2nd half but now in ARI on a better team, could be best season yet
Justin Verlander, DET – Will rank in top 10 by seasons end, 20/200/200 potential
Aaron Harang, CIN – 20/200/200 capable and team considerably better than last season
Carlos Zambrano, CHC – ’07 was a down year but it would be a mistake to downgrade him in ‘08

Scott Kazmir, TB – If only he pitched for NY or BOS, K’s are for real, Rays better so expect 15+ wins
Felix Hernandez, SEA - Entering his 3rd full season which indicates a possible breakout. Is this the year?

Chris Young, SD – He’s a monster, great stuff, can easily out-pitch all these guys if he can stay healthy
Roy Oswalt, HOU - Not sure how he ranks lower, still a top SP, team considerably better, nice Sleeper
Roy Halladay, TOR – He’s no longer the 200K guy it seems, but tops in W/ERA/WHIP/IP
Fausto Carmona, CLE – Could rank near the top 10 by seasons end, he’s for real and expect K’s to soar
John Smoltz, ATL – Getting older but still effective and actually, 20/200/200 is a slight possibility
Daisuke Matsuzaka, BOS – Will be better in ’08 in every category, 20/200/200 potential
Javier Vazquez, CWS – 18/200/200 potential and under the radar
Rich Hill, CHC – I expect a better year with 200K & 15+ wins and a WHIP under 1.20
Matt Cain, SF – Pitching for the Giants will hurt win totals, but 14/3.20/1.20/180+ possible

Jered Weaver, LAA - Will be solid overall and can be had after the 15th round, W/WHIP/ERA/K all sweet
James Shields, TB – Should be right there with Kazmir but much better WHIP and a few less K’s
Brad Penny, LAD – Can be had after the 12th rd. and provide 18/3.00/150/1.25
A.J. Burnett, TOR – Expect a few missed starts but when he does pitch, he’s gold
Kelvim Escobar, LAA –A ton of potential, I’m not sold on durability, will miss time at start of season

Chein-Ming Wang, NYY – 20 Win capability, low K totals, ERA under 4 and 1.20 WHIP
Ben Sheets, MIL – The ultimate injury risk, pick if desperate but he’ll be great for low WHIP & high K’s
Adam Wainwright, STL – 2nd half was awesome, expect an even better year all around, keeper potential
Yovani Gallardo, MIL – See Wainwright but could be top 20 by seasons end, may not be ready for opening day
Tim Lincecum, SF – See Gallardo but Giants will hold him back from winning more than 12-15
Philip Hughes, NYY - See Gallardo but he’s got size and Roger Clemens(w/o the ‘roids) stuff, 180IP cap?
Chad Billingsley, LAD – Great stuff and could be Dodgers Ace by seasons end, 200K potential late in draft
Francisco Liriano, MIN – Mr. Hype, I’d be careful, still yet to prove himself and re-adjust after injury, might be capped at 180IP
Brett Myers, PHI – A huge injury risk with 200K potential, think Ben Sheets
Jeff Francis, COL – This could be the year to draft Rocky pitchers late, enough experience to break out
Ian Snell, PIT – Has more K potential and star stuff than Gorzelanny

Derek Lowe, LAD – A poor man’s Brandon Webb and a Chein-Ming Wang with less wins & K's
Tim Hudson, ATL – Should be solid overall but I just don’t trust him
John Maine, NYM – Expect a quality season, at least 15/3.70/1.25/190 but much better is possible
Ted Lilly, CHC – Cubs look to make a run this year but Lilly is #3 as far as potential in Chicago
Oliver Perez, NYM – I like Perez to capitalize on last years success, 200K+ potential with a better WHIP
Pedro Martinez, NYM – Should be the same Pedro but could be a 5-6 IP per game guy
Andy Pettitte, NYY – Best value in the draft or steal of the draft in or after the 16th
Dustin McGowan, TOR –2nd half for this guy was great, he’ll jump up to top 25 by season’s end, sleeper , AL East hurts value

Barry Zito, SF – See Pettitte, plus with all that money spent on him, he has to perform better, nice sleeper
Joba Chamberlain, NYY – Ton of potential, will go much higher than Pettitte in drafts, could land in bullpen, will cap at 150IP
Ian Kennedy, NYY – Doesn’t have the K potential of Joba or Hughes but is less risky, great stuff, possible inning cap at 180?
Joe Blanton, OAK – solid and durable but he’s like a 6th-9th starter on your team
Jeremy Bonderman, DET – Has potential to be an ace but down year last year hurt his value, a bit risky
Tom Gorzelanny, PIT – I love the upside here and he will be better in ‘08

Rich Harden, OAK – Think Ben Sheets, Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, ton of potential, will miss games, looks good so far in spring
Mark Buehrle, CWS – Another great pick late who no one will think about because he lacks K potential
Randy Johnson, ARI – K/IP last year when he did play, expect to miss a few but can still hurl
Zack Greinke, KC – Nice upside here if picked late, don’t jump on him too early, he’s still in KC
Curt Schilling, BOS – Shoulder issues could force him to miss all of 2008 or retire
Jon Lester, BOS – A ton of upside and will start over Bucholz
Clay Bucholz, BOS - Rookie phenom will land the 5th spot if Schilling is deemed injured
Kevin Slowey, MIN – One of my favorite sleepers, look at his starts in September…fantastic
Boof Bonser, MIN - Has knockout stuff, last year's bad numbers make Bonser a super duper sleeper
Dontrelle Willis, DET – He’s risky, new league, terrible year last year but should be cheap on draft day
Gil Meche, KC – Serviceable stuff with K potential but KC blows and he’s inconsistent
Jason Schmidt, LAD – Big potential but can’t stay on the field
Matt Garza, TB – Who knows what upside is but Wins will lack in Tampa as a 3rd starter
Ubaldo Jimenez, COL – Monster size, mind blowing stuff, big time sleeper even in Colorado
Kenny Rogers, DET- Serviceable
Greg Maddux, SD – Servcieable, nice WHIP
Tom Glavine, ATL - Serviceable
Bronson Arroyo, CIN – Last season was horrendous, I don’t trust him but 2008 could be better, young with upside
Shaun Marcum, TOR – Has upside here, good WHIP, decent K’s
Chris Capuano, MIL - I think he makes the rotation out of spring training

Jeremy Guthrie, BAL – Has upside but Baltimore will be a stinker
Daniel Cabrera, BAL - Monster size, electric stuff but hasnt been able to put it all together
Bartolo Colon, LAA - Comeback year? Will most likely have trouble staying healthy
John Patterson, WAS - He's got the Ben Sheets, Rich Harden, Mark Prior bug...loads of talent but super brittle
Shawn Hill, WAS – Potential to be a leader in ERA/WHIP
Jon Garland, LAA – Still young with potential, new team might help
Jake Westbrook, CLE - a poor man's Derek Lowe but could offer some wins/ERA/WHIP help

Chuck James, ATL – Young with upside, should see an increase in all around stats
Jair Jurrjens, ATL - Young, great stuff, hard thrower could surprise with the 5th spot in rotation, the braves love him
Mike Hampton, ATL - A quality spring will almost assure Hampton a spot in the rotation

Jeff Suppan, MIL - Servcieable but not much upside
Hiroki Kuroda, LAD - Pitchers from Japan are always to risky in first season no matter what
Noah Lowry, SF – Serviceable and with the Giants stinking, take as a late round flier or leave for the wire
Adam Loewen, BAL - Moster size, great stuff, missed all of last year with an injury, is slated to be #3 but could end up #1
Sergio Mitre, FLA - Great stuff and the new ace in Florida, should have a quite but fine year, super cheap on draft day
Carlos Villanueva, MIL - Its either Villanueva or Parra...., both have great stuff and are young

Manny Parra, MIL - Its either Villanueva or Parra, both have great stuff and are young
Aaron Laffey, CLE - currently listed as the #5 but could see competition from Cliff Lee and Adam Miller

Franklin Morales, COL – Only 21, huge upside
Brian Bannister, KC – Serviceable, good WHIP but KC might not win much
Scott Olsen, FLA -
If he can put it together, he is a super sleeper
Mark Prior, SD - Why not take a shot as a flier late in the draft?? The Padres did and gave him a one year deal!
Chris Carpenter, STL - I'm thinking August! Draft for $1.00 in deep keeper leagues and stash away!
Jose Contreras, CWS - Too inconsistent for my liking
Mark Mulder, STL - Coming back from injury, high risk/high reward
Orlando Hernandez, NYM - If he's healthy, he's gold, handcuff with Mike Pelfrey
Randy Wolf, SD - Huge injury risk but will eat innings and grab a few wins
Mike Pelfrey, NYM - Grab and stash Pelfrey

Jason Bergmann, WAS - Young and serviceable
Andrew Miller, FLA - Could potentially become ace in FLA
Kyle Kendrick, PHI - has potential, young, will have to beat out Kris Benson

Tyler Clippard, WAS - Only 22, if he gets a chance, he could be solid, super sleeper if he makes the team out of spring
John Danks, CWS - Danks is young and has a ton of upside, could be a nice cheap sleeper
Anthoney Reyes, STL - Second time around could be much better, lots of upside
Gio Gonzalez, OAK - Has big time K potential, great rookie sleeper option
Justin Duchscherer, OAK - could be a surprise sleeper in the rotation this season but will probably have his innings capped
Micah Owings, ARI -
This guy can hit, but he won't strike too many out
Rick VandenHurk, FLA - Monster size, good minor league numbers, has K potential
Dave Bush, MIL - Can this guy put it together?
Jason Marquis, CHC -
Serviceable
Joel Piniero, STL - Barely mediocre
Steve Trachsel, BAL - Instant waiver wire material, innings eater so gets cheap wins
Kris Benson, PHI - Will battle for the 5th spot with Kyle Kendrick

Jamie Moyer, PHI - Please don't draft him, good pitcher in real life but useless in fantasy
Justin Germano, SD - lacks K potential

Matt Chico, WAS - Has some potential, young, but Washington doesn't project to be great
Kyle Davies, KC - Still young, nice size, good stuff, super super duper sleeper if he can stay healthy
Tim Wakefield, BOS - will start, should be serviceable and a cheap source of wins

Hayden Penn, BAL - will need a good spring to make the 5th spot
Paul Bryd, CLE - eh, nothing exciting, I'd rather go for a top-notch reliever
Gavin Floyd, CWS - Is this the year he puts it together?

Nate Robertson, DET - Could be serviceable, but could lose his job to Virgil Vasquez
Joe Saunders, LAA - Could be serviceable but lacks K's
Ryan Dempster, CHC - Starter, closer, and now starter again.... I just don't see it
Adam Eaton, PHI - Can't stay healthy
Andy Sonnanstine, TB - Fantastic upside and potential but TB hurts his value

Edwin Jackson, TB - Sometimes brilliant, sometimes awful, but still young and has upside
Doug Davis, ARI - See Jamie Moyer, Davis had that oe good year, don't waste a pick

Miguel Batista, SEA - Serviceable
Jarrod Washburn, SEA - Serviceable
Carlos Silva, SEA - Lacks K potential but has low WHIP potential, innings eater so 10+ wins possible
Kevin Millwood, TEX - Ace in Texas but he's been terrible last few years
Vicente Padilla, TEX - Has more potential than Millwood but he's an injury risk and has also been terrible
Brandon McCarthy, TEX - Once compared to Jack McDowell, he's a sleeper if he can put it all together
Kason Gabbard, TEX - eh, nothing exciting here
Jason Jennings, TEX - He's okay, but certainly could end up the ace of the staff and still have crappy numbers
Jesse Litsch, TOR - Could lose out to Gustavo Chacin or Casey Janssen depending on what happens with B.J. Ryan
Josh Hammel, TB - Young, has potential but no room in rotation
J.P. Howell, TB - Young, has potential but no room in rotation
Ervin Santana, LAA - Probably wont make the rotation if everyone is healthy...and Escobar is a question mark
Troy Patton, BAL - Will need to beat out Hayden Penn and Garret Olsen
Garret Olsen, BAL - Will need to beat out Hayden Penn and Troy Patton
Jorge De La Rosa, KC - Waiver wire material
Chad Gaudin, OAK - Waiver wire material


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

An Interesting Email Question About Snake Draft Frustrations

The Email:
Ok, so I’m trying to use your Snake Draft Approach For Experienced Players. I like the thought, but there is one slight problem I’ve experienced. I took the 8th spot in the draft. So 1st round came, got Matt Holliday for power/sb, next round, took Brandon Phillips, next round, took Justin Morneau, next round came and it was either power – Adam Dunn, or SP – Brandon Webb or Erik Bedard. I took the power with Dunn. So by the time it came back around to me, I missed the top SP run, as well as the top RP run. So at my 5th pick, I had the option of Dan Haren (best SP available) or Carlos Pena, and I took Pena. None of the top closers were left, etc. Then in round 6, Scott Kazmir, Aaron Harang were gone, as well as Takashi Saito, so I ended up taking Chone Figgins. So I got a ton of power, some close to 100 bags, but absolutely no closers and no good pitchers. So what approach do you take when you miss those SP and RP runs, decide to wait on pitching and load up on good bats, or do you still take best available at the SP, RP, SP at 4-6? I know every draft is different and you never know what’s gonna happen, but I completely got screwed. Even if I took Webb instead of Dunn, I’d still only have Webb as my only SP. Thoughts?

Fantasy Man's Response:
You ever hear of the LIMA Plan??? Go to my draft guide when you get a chance and look at the tool labeled A Lima Plan For You. The LIMA plan basically says you use $200 of the $260 you'd have in an auction draft for Hitters, $60 for Pitchers. I took it a step further and translated that into a snake draft. So maybe the first 10 picks, you draft hitters. What makes this strategy do-able is that pitching is insanely deep this year. ...

Now, in every draft I have done this year, these are the worst pitchers(meaning, the last) I have drafted.... Kevin, Slowey, Jon Lester, Tom Gorzelanny, Adam Wainwright, Barry Zito, Andy Pettitte, Ian Kennedy, Zack Greinke, Chris Capuano.... my #7, 8, 9 pitchers on my starting active rosters consistently contain these guys. What do they all have in common?? They all have upside, young (except Pettitte), and havent peaked in their careers yet.

Point is, you can go all hitters in the first 10 rounds, take 3 SP's of Cain, Rich Hill, Gallardo (out at least 4 weeks), Lincecum, Joba, Billingsley, Shields, Wang, Burnett in the next three rounds and in 14/15 take the last two RP's on the board... maybe Brian Wilson, Brandon Lyons, Troy Percival, Todd Jones, George Sherrill, Eric Gagne, Kevin Gregg, etc.... so there is some potential there. You can also grab and stash Rafael Betancourt late who might eventually take over for Joe Borowski. In the end, rounds 11-22 of a 12 team draft could potentially look like this......

11 - Matt Cain
12 - Rich Hill
13 - Chad Billingsley
14 - Kevin Gregg
15 - Brandon Lyons
16 - Hitter
17 - Hitter
18 - Jon Lester
19 - Barry Zito
20 - Randy Johnson
21 - Rafael Betancourt
22 - Hitter
23 - Hitter

Turns out, you could have a decent pitching staff with monster upside. Then you fill those hitters spots with upside with guys like Casey Kotchman, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Felipe Lopez, Aaron Hill, Chris Duncan, and maybe a couple of catchers with upside.....Chris Snyder, Ryan Doumit, Kurt Zuzuki, John Buck, Yadier Molina, etc.

So don't get down when a draft gets out of hand like that. Pitching is so deep that youcan literally recover from anything later in teh draft if you make the right upside picks...



FM

The Fantasy Man's 2008 Third Base Rankings

The Fantasy Man's 2008 Fantasy Baseball Third Base 3B Rankings Updated 2.18.08


Tier 1
Alex Rodriguez, NYY - Ummm, the best!.... expect no less than .290/40/120/120/20
Miguel Cabrera, DET - .320+ AVG, 30+ HR, 100+ RBI, 100 R. Durable, Intelligent, still young, lost 20lbs, insane lineup
David Wright, NYM - See Miguel Cabrera and then add 20+ SB
Ryan Braun, MIL - Unbelievable! .324/34/97 in 451 AB, add another 150+ AB and you have MVP #'s

Tier 2
Aramis Ramirez, CHC - His power was a no show but he was super consistent and kept his AVG above .300
Chone Figgins, LAA - Almost a lock for 50+ SB, 100 R, .290+ AVG
Garrett Atkins, COL - You will see no less than .300/20/100
Chipper Jones, ATL - If he can get 500+ AB again, he's top flight! His injury proneness knocks him down a bit
Mike Lowell, BOS - Consistent, should retain most of his numbers in 2008
Ryan Zimmerman, WAS - Needs to get his AVG above .285+ to move up this list...the rest is there

Tier 3
Josh Fields, CWS - Project his numbers over a full season and your looking at a 35+ HR guy with OF versatility
Kevin Kouzmanoff, SD - A .332 minor league hitter, slumped in the first half, hit .333 w/ .386 OBP in 2nd half
Edwin Encarnacion, CIN - Labeled as a sleeper, stunk all year until late Aug/Sept when he was AWESOME!!
Adrian Beltre, SEA - You'll get the normal... .275, 20+ HR, 90 RBI ...ish....
Alex Gordon, KC - You'll see an improvement from the disappointing 2007 rookie season
Evan Longoria, TB - .299, 26HR, 95RBI, 97R, 4SB, .402OBP in his first full combined minor league season
Kevin Youkilis, BOS - Played 13 games at 3B, lacks 20+ HR power but contibutes AVG/R/OBP
Hank Blalock, TEX - Heated up after his return from injury, a great late round sleeper value pick
Ty Wiggington, HOU - Seems to like Houston, smaller park could mean his best year yet but don't get too crazy


Tier 4
Troy Glaus, STL - If he can stay on the field, he's a 30+ HR/90+ RBI guy
Joe Crede, CWS - Coming back from a back injury, has 25+ HR potential , could be traded to make room for Fields
Scott Rolen, STL - if healthy, a big if.... he's a .290+/20+ HR player..... "if"...
Eric Chavez, OAK - I just don't trust him but he's worth a sleeper flier pick
Mark DeRosa, CHC - Qualifies at 2B, 3B & OF, expect the same overall numbers in 2008
Mark Reynolds, ARI - This guy can hit and if he gets the starting 3B job out of the spring, he'll boost production
Aubrey Huff, BAL - Better year in Baltimore. Good for 15-20 HR, .275ish AVG
Casey Blake, CLE - Serviceable player who will contribute an early season hot streak, better for AL Only
Akinori Iwamura, TB - Hot start early then fizzled out. Could move to 2B to make room for Longoria
Pedro Feliz, PHI - Starting 3B in Philly makes him a candidate for 25+HR in that small park
Nomar Garciaparra, LAD - A definite injury waiting to happen, but a great value pick after the 12th round
Melvin Mora, BAL - Same ole production as usual with 8-12 stolen bases
Yuniel Escobar, ATL - Qualifies at 2B, SS & 3B, lacks power but .300+ AVG possible, sleeper candidate

The Rest
Maicer Izturis, LAA - Good solid singles hitter, good contact, better for H2H AL Only leagues
Jose A. Bautista, FLA - A bit of a coming out in 07, look for a slight increase in production, NL Only sleeper
Andy LaRoche, LAD - Has a shot to start at 3B with a good spring but has been a dud so far
Brandon Wood, LAA - Probably won't start in 2008 unless he's traded
Brandon Inge, DET - Came back to earth with only 14 HR but his .236 AVG keeps Inge a low end option
Greg Dobbs, PHI - Nice utility player in NL only leagues
Marco Scutaro, TOR - 10 games at 2B, 13 in OF and rest at SS/3B
Jeff Keppinger, CIN - Played 13 games at 3B but is blocked by the emergence of Edwin Encarnacion
Nick Punto, MIN - Qualifies at 2B, SS & 3B, could contribute 20+ SB but a .210 in '07 doesn't say much
Scott Moore, BAL - Showed he has some talent in short stint. No room with Mora at 3B but maybe in the OF?
Rich Aurilia, SF - Serviceable utility player if he plays
Scott Spiezio, STL - Same as Aurilia

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Fantasy Man's 2008 Shortstop Rankings

The Fantasy Man's 2008 Shortstop SS Rankings Updated 2.18.08

Tier 1
Hanley Ramirez, FLA
- Better than Reyes in all categories except SB in which he still had 51
Jose Reyes, NYM - 2nd half was disappointing, but imagine a consistent year
Jimmy Rollins, PHI - Won't be 30/40 again, more like 20/40 but still top tier fantasy player

Tier 2
Troy Tulowitszki, COL
- Will be one of '08 most hyped, more power than Jeter but much less AVG/OBP/SB
Derek Jeter, NYY - His numbers are not as good as his normal draft position year after year, but he's super reliable
Carlos Guillen, DET - All category fantasy player but faded down the stretch, an injury risk, 1B/SS eligibility
Michael Young, TEX - only 10-15 HR/10 SB power/speed but draft for AVG and RBI
Miguel Tejada, HOU - Down year because of injury and the crack down on steroids, has legal problems to deal with
Rafael Furcal, LAD - Down year, injuries, should bounce back strong with 15+ HR and 30+ SB
Edgar Renteria, DET - Now a Tiger, solid all around, should hit .300 again

Tier 3
J.J. Hardy, MIL - Huge 1st half, mediocre 2nd, his overall '07 numbers seem on target
Orlando Cabrera, CWS - More of a .280 hitter than a .330 hitter, move to new team could hurt average
Khalil Greene, SD - If he gets AVG up and cuts down K's, could have .275/30/100 potential
Julio Lugo, BOS - Terrible slump in '07 hurt numbers but he still has 30+ SB potential , always available late
Stephen Drew, ARI - Heated up in September and ripped up the post-season
Felipe Lopez, WAS - Still young enough to get it together, has 20/20 potential if he can
Aaron Hill, TOR - Tore up April/May, only 25, has upside, 20+HR potential, nice sleeper pick
Jhonny Peralta, CLE - Inconsistent but has potential 30+ HR potential

Tier 4
Ryan Theriot, CHC - 20+ SB potential, has .280 potential
Yunel Escobar, ATL - Looks like a .300+ hitter if given a full-time chance, which isn't likely
Brandon Wood, LAA - Now w/ OCabrera gone, could hit 15+HR with 450AB if he makes team out of spring
Erick Aybar, LAA - If Wood doesn't get the job, it could go to Aybar, if not, we're looking at Figgins or Izturis
Tony F. Pena, KC - Royals seem committed to Pena and has upside to increase all numbers a bit
Jack Wilson, PIT - Inconsistent but likely a .290+ hitter
Alex Gonzalez, CIN - 15-20 HR power but low average and injury issues, a stop-gap
Yuniesky Betancourt, SEA - Offers "serviceability", a .285 - .300 AVG and thats about it

The Rest
Cristian Guzman, WAS - Was on fire before he got hurt, not much power, he's a crap shoot
David Eckstein, TOR - Fantasy stats don't count "the little things"
Brendan Harris, MIN - Could play 2B and hit at the bottom of the order if he can stage off Nick Punto and Alexi Casilla
Jason Bartlett, TB - SS starter, 20+ SB potential with upside, great sleeeper in deep leagues
Alexi Casilla, MIN - Has .280 potential but lacks power, 3rd on the depth chart at the moment
Nick Punto, MIN - Has 15+ SB speed but that's about it , will probably play 2B
Bobby Crosby, OAK - Can he stay healthy?? Perennial sleeper who never lives up to hype
Juan Uribe, CWS - 20+ HR potential but low average if he stays healthy, will have to battle Danny Richar at 2B
Brendan Ryan, STL - Showed he could hit consistently, could start at 2B
Reid Brignac, TB - Has the offense tools to be Tulowitzski like, but defense to be Bobby Meachem like
Mike Moustakas, KC - Super hot prospect could be up in September if he performs well in first minor league season
Alfredo Amezaga, FLA - another super utility guy
Omar Vizquel, SF - Great in H2H leagues that count assists, that's about it
Jeff Keppinger, CIN - Got hot at the end of the season, reserve player or late round flier
Marco Scutaro, TOR - Same as always, utility player who doesn't do much fantasy wise
Jamey Carroll, COL - Solid utility player, mega versatility, good as a stop-gap in NL Only league

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Fantasy Man's 2008 First Base Rankings

The Fantasy Man's 2008 First Base Rankings (Includes DH) Updated 2.15.08
10 games played determines eligibilty here

Tier 1

Albert Pujols, STL - Slow first half hampered #'s, hit .330+ in 2nd half with the bad elbow!
Ryan Howard, PHI - Slow first half and a leg injury killed his average, but his power is for real! 50+ a reality
Prince Fielder, MIL - I'm predicting a slow start but he was awfully consistent all season in '07. Expect a 290+ AVG
David Ortiz, BOS - Qualifies at DH/UTIL only. HR was down but AVG was up in '07. Switch that for '08, hampered by shoulder/knee

Tier 2
Mark Teixiera, ATL
- His .300+ AVG in '07 was a treat now tack on 35+ HR/100+ RBI potential
Lance Berkman, HOU - Down year overall after hitting 45 HR in '06. You'll find a happy medium in 2008
Justin Mourneau, MIN - 1st half was great but faded down the stretch. .275 - .285 AVG makes sense, age 27 this year
Victor Martinez, CLE - 1B/C eligibility is a treat but he's more valuable if you can keep him at catcher
Carlos Pena, TB - Surprising power, stayed consistent but he'll have to do it 2 years in a row to convince me
Travis Hafner, CLE - Played 11 games at 1B. Overall consistently disappointing makes him a great value pick

Tier 3
Garrett Atkins, COL
- Played 10 games at 1B. Terrible 1st half, 2nd half was amazing. Expect .300/25/100
Derek Lee, CHC - 46 HR in '05, injury in '06, great AVG but half the HR in '07. Where do we go from here?
Paul Konerko, CWS - 35-40 HR power is there but AVG slipped in '06. Expect much of the same
Adrian Gonzalez, SD - Hot start, faded in the middle, hot finish. This year should be a bit more consistent.
Carlos Guillen, DET - Played 36 games at 1B in 2006, penciled in as the 2008 1B starter but more valuable at SS, Injury Risk
Todd Helton, COL - 30HR days are gone but expect .320AVG/.400+OBP/15-20HR/90+RBI
Carlos Delgado, NYM - Terrible year all around in '07 makes Delgado a great value pick after the 7th round
James Loney, LAD - One of the leagues hottest in September. .300+/20/100 a real possiblility over 500+ AB

Tier 4

Kevin Youkilis, BOS - 100+ runs, .300+ AVG possible at the top of that Boston lineup, but lacks power
Nick Swisher, OAK - I wouldn't expect the 40 HR potential, more like 30 if he can stay consistent
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, TEX - Catcher eligibility increases value, 25+ HR/100+ RBI potential, but will probably catch most
Alex Gordon, KC - Played 32 games at 1B. Disappointing 2007 but his upside is tremendous, 20/20 potential
Ryan Garko, CLE - Has potential for .300/25/100 if he can stay consistent, nice sleeper potential
Billy Butler, KC - Played 7 games at 1B so only qualifies at DH/UTIL. 500+ AB means .300/25/90 potential, listed as starting 1B
Jason Giambi, NYY - If he can stay healthy is a .275/35/100 threat, but draft as if you expect half that
Lyle Overbay, TOR - Held back by injury in '07 but should be a great value sleeper pick after the 12th round
Casey Kotchman, LAA - A .300+ hitter but lacks power. Its thought that he could be a 20 HR/10 SB player
Adam LaRoche, PIT - As I predicted, LaRoche was a bust in '06. Expect slightly increased numbers
Chris Duncan, STL - Played 11 games at 1B, returning from a sports hernia surgery, should be ready for '08, age 27
Joey Votto, CIN - Strong September should land this 2008 ROY candidate the everyday 1B job
Jim Thome, CWS - Qualifies at DH/UTIL only. Power is diminishing but 30+ still attainable
Daric Barton, OAK - Rookie starter going into Spring Training so its his spot to lose, .300/.400OBP potential

The Rest
Richie Sexson, SEA
- 2007 numbers are an indication as to what you should expect for 2008
Connor Jackson, ARI - Hasn't lived up to hype, has Chad Tracy to deal with. Might not get 500 AB
Casey Blake, CLE - Serviceable fantasy contributor with versatility but .270ish has NL Only written all over it
Aubrey Huff, BAL - Quality, solid, serviceable, durable and versatile. Expect low AVG with 20+ HR potential
Nick Johnson, WAS - Will have to compete with Dmitri Young this spring after missing 2007 with a leg injury
Mike Jacobs, FLA - Has 30+ HR power but is a strikeout king
Ben Broussard, TEX - Serviceable in AL-Only leagues
Dan Johnson, OAK - People got excited about DJ but .236 AVG in 416 AB is a real bummer
Dmitri Young, WAS - .320 in 460 AB in '07 was a surprise so .300 AVG in 2008 is possible
Nomar Garciaparra, LAD - What can I say? Don't draft as your starter and make sure you have back-ups
Kevin Millar, BAL - Serviceable and durable, a low end option in AL only leagues
Matt Stairs, TOR - A nice reserve/back up with power in AL only leagues
Tony Clark, ARI - Doesn't play enough for mixed leagues
Brad Wilkerson, TEX - Two consecutive years of injury. Strikes out too much but has 20+ HR power
Ross Gload, KC - A .300+ hitter in the minors, fill-in for KC but a nice low end option for AL Only leagues
Scott Hatteberg, CIN - Could lose 1B to prospect Joey Votto
Greg Dobbs, PHI - Played 14 games at 1B, 17 in OF and the rest at 3B.
Marcus Thames, DET - Great fill-in with power, limited to AL-Only leagues
Rich Aurillia, SF - Getting older, won't get 500 AB but 10-15 HR possible, will have to stage off Daniel Ortmeier

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Fantasy Man's 2008 Catcher Rankings

The Fantasy Man's 2008 Catcher Rankings UPDATED 2.14.08

Tier 1 (Expect to Draft in rounds 2-3, or pay $23-$32)
Victor Martinez, CLE - Almost a lock for .300/20HR/100RBI, probably a late 2nd/early 3rd round pick but has been slipping to late 3rd a lot lately.

Russell Martin, LAD - .300/20/20 potential, goes just after or just before VMart

Tier 2 (Draft in rounds 4-7, $15-$20)
Jorge Posada, NYY - As solid and durable as they come, draft for durability and 500+AB

Brian McCann, ATL - Has 20HR/100RBI potential if he can get his average up a bit
Joe Mauer, MIN - More hype and a bit overrated but has .300/20/20SB/100 potential...maybe

Tier 3 (Best to just wait until at least the 15th, $5-$10)
Ivan Rodriguez, DET - Anyone who can get 500+ AB and hit .280+ is a good fantasy pick at C
Kenji Johjima, SEA - Expect about .290/15/75
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, TEX - Only 22, has 20+ HR potential and 1B eligibility

Bengie Molina, SF - 2 years in a rw with 19 HR could mean a 3rd year that's pretty close
Jason Varitek, BOS - Expect about 450 AB, 15HR, 70RBI but getting older and brittle
Ramon Hernandez, BAL - Could be a 20+ HR guy and a sleeper after a down year and only 364AB

The Rest (Draft after the 16th, pay under $5 or save for a buck)
A.J. Pierzynski, CWS - Expect at least .270/15/60, a nice solid low end contributor
Kurt Suzuki, OAK - 7HR/39RBI in 214AB in 2007 screams "PICK ME"

Chris Snyder, ARI - 27 year old, sleeper pick, could split time with Montero but I think Snyder runs away with it
Geovany Soto, CHC - 2007 AAA - .353/26/109/3triples/.424OBP/1.076OPS in 385AB, he's overpaid in every draft this year

J.R. Towles, HOU - 20HR potential? Should be the starter in 2008
Ryan Doumit, PIT - 27, has 20+HR power but can't stay healthy, will have multiple position eligibility, big sleeper
Carlos Ruiz, PHI - Has 15HR/70RBI potential with 450+ AB, draft after 15th round for good value
Michael Barrett, SD - Could be a nice sleeper after a down year in 2007
Johnny Estrada, WAS - has .300+/15HR potential with 500 AB
Paul LoDuca, WAS - A nice low end option with .285+ potential
Ronny Paulino, PIT - I believe he has .300/15/75
John Buck, KC - 20 HR potential but expect a low average
David Ross, CIN - Same as Buck
Yadier Molina, STL - .275/15/75 potential

Miguel Olivo, FLA - 15+HR and a few SB's but low average knocks him down a bit
Josh Bard, SD - Not much power but can hit .285+, will back up Barrett
Miguel Montero, ARI -
10HR in 214AB but will back up Snyder
who is the better defensive option
Dioner Navarro, TB - Will be 24, grab as a late round flier for possibly 450AB, 15HR, 60RBI
Mike Napoli, LAA - May end up splitting time or losing job to Jeff Mathis
Chris Ianetta, COL - .300+AVG/.400+OBP in 3 Minor League seasons. Could eventually take over everyday C in COL

Gerald Laird, TEX - Has been shopped around but will lose time to Saltalamacchia
Greg Zaun, TOR - Should be serviceable in AL Only leagues
Yorvit Torrealba, COL - He's a back up
Jason Kendall, MIL - Doesn't matter where he ends up, has no power but could hit .280+
Brian Schneider, NYM - Extreme low end, only draft in NL only leagues if desperate
Jeff Mathis, LAA - If he has a good spring, he could possibly steal job outright from Napoli

Jeff Clement, SEA - Will take an injury from Johjima but a great player to stash
Curtis Thigpen, TOR - Could eventually steal job from Zaun if Barajas doesnt work out, also great to stash, the future
Ramon Castro, NYM - Can't stay healthy enough to start so will back up Estrada and catch for Pedro
Brad Ausmus, HOU - Will most likely back up Towles

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Schilling, Bucholz, Ryan and Lyons

Just a couple of interesting tid bits to help you get through your upcoming drafts....

Boston


Some of us were looking at Curt Schilling as a sleeper late in drafts, but Gordon Edes of The Boston Globe reported that Schilling received a cortisone shot in his right shoulder on Feb. 8th and that the partial tear in his rotator cuff could keep Schilling off the field.

Also, last week, Curt Schilling reported this on his blog....
Schilling last week in his blog, in fact, wrote: "There was absolutely no reason for anyone involved to believe I would be anything other than completely healthy and ready for the 2008 baseball season."



So whats the real story? You decide.....

If in fact Schilling cannot pitch, this will open the door for super prospect Clay Bucholz who could take over that 5th spot in the rotation and never look back. With this in mind, Bucholz should be drafted before the 17th round in all normal 12 team leagues, especially keeper leagues and leagues with benches. Grab Bucholz and stash away as either trade bait or to use later one in the season. Either way, I expect Schilling to miss time in 2008 so if you draft Schilling, make sure you handcuff him with Bucholz.

Arizona

With Jose Valverde shipped to Houston, the D-Backs were thought to promote Tony Pena to the closer role but Bob Melvin has other ideas. The East Valley Tribune reported that Melvin has name Brandon Lyons the Closer going into Spring Training. Lyons last season went 6-4 with two saves and a 2.68 ERA in 74 IP. Here is my take that I posted in my closer report....



Toronto
The word is B.J. Ryan threw off the mound the other day for the first time since he was injured last season as was reported in the Toronto Star by Richard Griffin. As written "Ryan has surprised some observers and confounded the experts. He has thrown his two bullpen sessions with no physical problems and is slated to throw next from the mound Saturday, the first official day for pitchers and catchers. The 32-year-old is three months away from reaching one year post-surgery, the accepted rehab period for pitchers who have undergone the same tendon transfer procedure."

Griffin also said "Of all the question marks on the Jays coming into camp, Ryan's ability to be ready for opening day has the most repercussions. If he proves he can pitch like he has in the past, then Jeremy Accardo can be moved back to a setup role and the spring can be spent allowing Casey Janssen to compete for a starting spot. If Ryan is not ready, Janssen would have to remain in the 'pen, with Jesse Litsch the leading candidate for the fifth spot."

What this means fantasy wise? First, I wouldn't go crazy. I'd still draft Accardo first just in case Ryan either A. comes back and then reinjures or B. doesn't rush it and come back as quickly. Either way, Accardo is dominant and could help your team in the late rounds of the draft as a closer or a middle reliever helping lower ERA/WHIP and providing a few K's....and/or providing some Holds in leagues that count that. If Ryan is ready, this also means that Casey Janssen could be a nice late round sleeper in leagues with deep benches and keeper leagues. Janssen has some talent and he's still young and I feel he can beat out Jesse Litsch and Gustavo Chacin for that 5th spot. I will predict that at some point in the season, you will see Janssen start. Whether he is solid or not, that's a different story!

FM

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Is Sizemore better than Crawford? Jeff Francis Over-hyped? Is The Fantasy Man Full of Crap??

This email comes from Carl in Taiwan! I'm just glad The Fantasy Man has gone International.....

Question: Is Sizemore really better than Crawford?
Answer: Sizemore has more power and more run scoring ability while Crawford will only add about 20-30 more steals and maybe 20-30 points higher average. The added power, runs, and overall 5 tool ability with upside is what I like about Sizemore, but the two are pretty even overall.....so you can go either way. Do you want the Power/Speed combo or the SB's?...is the question you need to ask yourself.

Question: If I'm in a one catcher league without MI and CI, what should I change the position scarcity of Catchers and infielders? (ex. Posada will be higher or ...)
Answer: There will be a ton of catchers with upside late in the draft in a one catcher league. Load up on big time power and or speed early and save the catcher for later. Posada in the first 6 rounds is a wasted pick when you can grab Carlos Pena and get 40+HR/100+RBI/100Runs around the same time or a round or two earlier depending on league size.

Question: I think Jeff Francis shouldn't be drafted that late tho. Is he x'tremely overhyped?
Answer: Yes!!! Look at his stats the last few years. You wont find anything with an era under 4.00 or a WHIP under 1.30 with Francis.... fantasy league average during the season is 3.70/1.25...now add the Coors field aspect and you dont want to over pay. The 14th round or later or about $10 or less should be the limit on Francis.

Question: What's the situation about Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy that they are so high and ranked over Yovanni Gallardo and Tim Lincecum? I know you're a Yankees fan so maybe you have some insights about these 2 players(especially Kennedy), but what are they?
Answer: Do I really have them ranked higher? I have to check that. Gallardo definitely should be ranked higher than both but Lincecum is borderline. Hughes has a better overall make-up and size than Lincecum but both are effective. Plus, Hughes will have many more wins than Lincecum as well in 2008 and a better defensive team and bullpen behind him. As for Kennedy, he has skills but he shouldnt be ranked higher at this point than Gallardo or Lincecum except when looking at the fact that Kennedy pitches for the Yankees. Assuming kennedy starts the season in the rotation, I can see him out performing Lincecum and that's a reason why you can rank Kennedy higher. Anyone reading this can say that I am full of crap but watching Kennedy on a day to day basis last season is the reason why I like him...he's for real and a bit more polished than Lincecum....its just that most fantasy people don't realize this. Fantasy wise, Lincecum should be ranked higher because he is a tad more proven, but I personally think Kennedy is a better overall talent. Am I full of crap?

Question: Thank you for the work : ) you do! Not until when I started to edit my pre-ranking did I realize how painstaking to rank all these 300 players. I'm just having some questions because the Yahoo pre-ranking obviously doesn't look like your rankings. Some of them I think your right and others I'm skeptical.
Answer: If I was copying Yahoo's rankings, then no one would ever come to me for advice! Plus, I don't believe in Yahoo's rankings or any other major web site. I like to put my own rankings together and offer them for free. Thats the great thing about having so many web sites and resources to look at..everyone is different. Yahoo has people who get paid a nice salary every year to draw up rankings based on the stats they generate. I do this for free based on experience and the experience of the 27 leagues I played in last year and that's what I use to draw up my rankings. Not saying who you should trust, but knowing the different resources and how the resources are built helps a bit too. Just pick a ranking you trust and go with it...whether its The Fantasy Man's or Yahoo's or whoever...

Thanks for the email. I hope this helps. Check back in the next few days as I plan to be updating all my rankings and analysis over the next week and a half.

FM

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Monday, February 11, 2008

A Roto Strategy Question from a Reader

I thought this was a great question and since I spent more than the normal amount of time on this email than I do on others, I thought I'd share this. Although for some of you who are subscribed to this blog feed may have already seen my stance on this, sometimes hearing it twice will help spark some new thoughts and ideas.... enjoy!

Question: I have been playing fantasy baseball for almost 10 years, but I am joining my first roto league this year (12-14 teams, 5x5 mixed league). In the past it has been fairly easy to choose players since the goal was to score the most points by using a simple arithmetic formula. Now, when preparing for my roto auction, I don't really have an idea on how many SB, HR, etc. will be needed for me towin a category. I don't want to overspend chasing steals and end up without enough power or pitching. Is there any data available that shows category by category expectations for first through last place ineach category? For example, if I project that my team will finish with a batting average of .280, where can I expect them to rank against therest of the league?


Answer: Thanks for the email. Its very difficult to come up with a tool to describe what you are asking because every league is different and in all roto leagues, it all depends on how many transactions are made, active players on the roster, etc. etc...But there is hope!

In my experience and looking at countless leagues I have played in with 12-14 teams, 5x5, mixed, roto leagues..... you normally need about 300 HR and 170 SB to really compete at the head of the standings, as in top 3. RBI comes with HR and Runs come from both HR and SB's. AVG is an animal all in its own. As for pitching, you'll need at least 1000+K to compete, an ERA under 3.90 and a WHIP under 1.30. These stats will normally keep you towards the top of the standings in both hitting and pitching, or at least in the middle depending on league guidelines.

On top of that, here are some quick tips. For more information, surf through my 2008 Draft Guide at www.fantasybaseballexpress.com and my blog at www.thefantasyman.com . I have a ton of free information on draft strategies for roto leagues that match this question.....

- My personal opinion...its better to load up on 30+HR players earlier because they are more scarce late in the draft, then look for speed either as you draft the power hitters early or look for additional speed later in the draft. For example, In the first 3 rounds, look at say Ryan Howard in the late 1st, Alfonso Soriano in the early second, Aramis Ramirez in the late 3rd and Carlos Pena or Justin Morneau in the early 4th. This will give you approximately 150 HR in the first 4 rounds with about 30-40 stolen bases if you take a guy like Soriano.

- Then, whenever you draft hitters later, look for players who can steal at least 20+. Or look for Shane Victorino in the 7th or 8th, or Rickie Weeks in the 8th, or Willy Tavares in the 16th, or Felipe Lopez in the 15th, or Nate McLouth in the 20th for sleepers with SB potential.

- As you are drafting, you should be counting using basic player projections to get an estimate of the amount of stats a player and your team has the potential to get. So if after the first 4 rounds you see that you have a potential of 150 HR, then you need to keep in mind that as you draft and look for speed, you still need about 150 more potential HR to compete at the top.

- The key to success in most 5x5 roto leagues is this.... opt for the player with the better AVG potential. Opt for Fielder over Howard. Opt for Tex over Morneau. Opt for Jeter over Young.....when selecting comparable talent, always opt for the healthy durable player with the better average potential.


- With pitching in a roto league, its wise to either draft at least two top SP's sometime from rounds 4-7 and maybe pick up another in th 9th and then two solid closers between 9-11 OR draft two top Relievers in rounds 5-7, get a decent SP like Dice-K or Carmona in the 9th and then look for solid SP's with upside later. Point is, you need horses for ERA/WHIP/K's. Two of the top 4 closer provide those three categories as does two top-notch SP's enough to keep your standing in the pitchers category respectable.

So those are my basics and the strategy that I am employing this season. Like I said, for more info...check out the site.
Hope that helps!

FM
www.fantasybaseballexpress.com

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