Friday, September 26, 2008

Solid Pitching Matchups TONIGHT - Friday, September 26

So are you thinking about who to start tonight with the Championship in your grasp? Take a peek here at some of The Fantasy Man's recommendations for Friday September 26th, 2008....

No Brainers
These are SP's I'd start tonight, Thursday, September 25th, no matter questions asked!
Dan Haren

John Lackey - Last start against TEX was stellar
Ryan Dempster

Francisco Liriano
Dice-K - Tough match up against the P'd off Yankees
Derek Lowe

Flip a Coin
These are the SP's who have potential to pitch a good game but also have the potential to bomb. This is where the championship is made....
Andy Sonnanstine - He's been stellar lately
Mike Pelfrey - He's been shakey the last few times out

Chris Volstad - Super risky, not a lot of K's but has nothing to lose
Alfredo Aceves - Faces Boston in his second start, but was stellar in his first 4 starts, very risky.

Justin Verlander - He's Verlander but I might not start him
John Danks - Risky with a couple of good outings lately
Scott Lewis - Risky but has pitched well lately
Jeff Suppan - Has been torn up lately but he's a big game pitcher in a the wild card race
Bronson Arroyo - I never trust him but pitching well this year
Brandon Morrow - Super risky with Joba like stuff

I Wouldn't Start!
The title here says it all. These guys are all super risky.....
Braden Looper
Jorge Campillo
Brian Moehler
Joe Blanton

Jason Hirsh
Collin Balester
Scott Richmond
Chris Waters
Kyle Davies
Vicente Padilla

Brad Hennessey
Sean Gallagher
Ian Snell
Justin Geer

Good Luck Tonight!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Solid Pitching Match ups TONIGHT!!

So are you thinking about who to start tonight with the Championship in your grasp? Take a peek here at some of The Fantasy Man's recommendations....

No Brainers
These are SP's I'd start tonight, Thursday, September 25th, no matter questions asked!
Scott Kazmir - Det stinks and Kazmir has pressure to perform

Roy Halladay - Halladay always kills the Yankees
Jon Lester - He's been outrageous this season
Rich Harden - Even more outrageous
Roy Oswalt - 2.57 ERA, 2 W, 18K in 21 IP in last 3 starts
Jake Peavy - Might not get a win but he provides all the other stats you need

Flip a Coin
These are the SP's who have potential to pitch a good game but also have the potential to bomb. This is where the championship is made....
Yovani Gallardo - Has top notch stuff but hasn't pitched all year

Kevin Slowey - He's been solid, great WHIP but last 3 starts have been inconsistent. However, he can easily whip out a 7 IP shut out with 8 K. Take out the 5 ER against TB last week and he's been super solid.
Gavin Floyd - Has the offense to get a win and has been solid all year but he's in the same boat as Slowey. Only 1 win in last 4 starts (but all quality starts)
Carl Pavano - a possibility to pick up a win with offense, has been pitching well but faces Halladay tonight so chances of a win are slim.

I Wouldn't Start!
The title here says it all. These guys are all super risky.....
Pedro - He's been bad lately without a lot of innings

Barry Zito
Johnny Cueto - Faces Oswalt
Greg Maddux - Faces Peavy
Doug Davis
Armando Galarraga
Joel Piniero
Jeremy Sowers
Collin Balester

Anibal Sanchez
Jorge De La Rosa
Cesar Jimenez
Dustin Moseley

Good Luck Tonight!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Best Keeper Strategy Right Now That No One Thinks About?

The Best Keeper Strategy Right Now That No One Thinks About???

This is for you if you are playing in a keeper league. Nine out of ten keeper leagues have a policy that whoever is on your roster at season's end, is available to be kept. Anyone not on a roster after that last day of the season, goes back into the draft. That's most keeper leagues. What most managers forget, is that if they were paying attention, they could go and scoop up some of these players that have real potential for next season.

Let's say its the last week of the season. You are in 5th place or lower and realistically no shot at the money or a championship. Why not drop some of those players you never use or that you would never keep so that you can pick up and stash potential break out players and sleepers for next season? Maybe you already have your 8 keepers, but why not pick up a few potentials that you can then package in a deal in the off-season to upgrade your keeper list?

On the last day of the season, or sometime that last week to be safe, in KEEPER leagues, drop all the useless players on your team and pick up some of these guys who have potential for next year, i.e. Nelson Cruz, Andre Ethier, Dallas McPherson, Ian Stewart, Elijah Dukes, etc. Or, if you want to go deeper, pick up Matt LaPorta, David Price, Kila Ka'iahue or Andrew McCutchen….Stash them on your bench in the off-season so when all the websites and magazines start pumping these guys up, they're already on your roster as potential keepers, which then you can trade them in the off-season to teams for upgraded keepers in package deals!

Remember, after that last day of the season, in most leagues, you can’t make pick ups. The league software or your league rules may lock you out until after next year's draft. Get these guys on your roster, if available, and stash just in case they are useful to you in 2009!!! In one of my keeper leagues, Nate McLouth was on the wire in the off season because I failed to stash him at the end of the season in ’08. It turns out, I had to overpay slightly to get him on draft day…which worked out anyway. DO YOUR RESEARCH NOW!!! Look at who is hot, who has potential to break out, and then drop guys like Jeff Kent, Barry Zito, Billy Wagner, etc., guys who are useless right now and that you most likely won't keep in 2009.

What happens is, during the off-season, like at the Winter Meetings, players get tossed around and suddenly someone gets a boost in sleeper status because of the moves. For example, there is potential that the Marlins could move Jorge Cantu or Mike Jacobs which would make room for Dallas McPherson. McPherson has .290+/30+ HR potential but he's blocked by these two and McPherson doesn't have that "prospect" tag anymore, so he's a huge sleeper after a great healthy year in AAA if he gets a chance to play in 2009! So in essence, you are picking up players now who you feel could make a splash in draft status in the off-season!

Also, make sure you are not dropping superstar players on that last day/week, because that’s how you make league mates angry! You don't want to drop players who maybe are not potential keepers on your team, but could be potential keepers on another team. You might not have room for Chris B. Young, but there is probably someone out there that would keep him in a deep keeper league. Don't make that mistake.

So with all of that being said, be smart! Do your homework NOW, before the season ends! Grab and stash these "potentials" before your league locks out the add/drop option!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Fantasy Man's 2009 Shortstop SS Rankings

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The Fantasy Man's 2009 Shortstop SS Fantasy Baseball Mixed League Rankings

Hanley Ramirez - I think 30 SB is more realistic than 50 but 30+ HR is a reality again
Jose Reyes - He still has room to improve, especially if he can hit .300+
Jimmy Rollins - Down year in 2008 in a way, but the 40+ SB still there, he's not a 20+HR guy!!
Troy Tulowitzski - Injured in the first half, batted .300+ in the second half!

Derek Jeter - In decline but he'll hit .300/10/75/100+/10+ and I'll pay for the durability
Stephen Drew - Same numbers as the next 3 but 10 years younger with potential, up and coming

J.J. Hardy - His 20+ HR power 2 years in a row bumps him up above the mainstays
Rafael Furcal - If he's healthy, he'll be solid and a great value on draft day
Jhonny Peralta - Has 25+ HR power but K's too much and is a .275 type hitter
Miguel Tejada - In decline but can still whip out .300/20HR I think
Michael Young - Same as Jeter minus a few years
Yuneal Escobar - Has .300+ potential, not much power, and a bit injury prone
Ryan Theriot - No power but can hit .300 and steal 30+

Mike Aviles - Hit .336 in AAA in '08 before being called up so his .329 seems legit, expect .290+ though
Orlando Cabrera - Expect .280/20SB
Christian Guzman - .300+ hitter, not much power, and injury prone

Edgar Renteria - In decline but has .280/10/10 in him
Elvis Andrus - Rangers want him to play SS, not much power but 30+SB potential. Young moves to 3B if Andrus makes team.
Khalil Greene - 20+ HR potential with a .200 BA

Erik Aybar - .280/40+SB potential if they let him run wild
Jed Lowrie - If he gets the job, he could be a Dustin Pedroia type with less power
Jeff Keppinger - .280+ hitter, not much power

Bobby Crosby - The ultimate hype machine, you'll get what you've always gotten
Jack Wilson - Has .280+ potential but always has hamstring problems

Nick Punto - Can steal 20+Sb but with a .220 BA
Yuniesky Betancourt - Can hit .280 at the bottom of the order but not much power
David Eckstein - A grinder but nothing more than low end and serviceable
Jason Bartlett - Can steal 20+ but he's a light hitter

Julio Lugo - Bench player, can steal 20+
Cesar Izturis - a sleeper to hit .300+, no power
Emmanuel Burriss - 51SB in Single A in '07, 24 years old, no power
Omar Vizquel - In decline
Luis O. Rodriguez - I can't see him being a full-timer
Alex Cintron - Not a full-timer
John McDonald - Nice defense, light bat

Keep an eye on:
Brandon Wood, LAA, SS - Big power, lots of K's, shakey D
Reid Brignac, TB, SS - 20+ Power, .260+ BA
Joaquin Arias, TEX, SS/2B - .300+/20+SB

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Should I start Billy Wagner?

This is a question I received in my email yesterday. Then, I happended to catch bits and pieces of the Mets game last night and thought I could contribute something useful here on Billy Wagner and the saves situation for your fantasy team....

Question: Should I activate Billy Wagner this week? I am desperate for saves.

Fantasy Man Response: Hmm, that’s a tough one. It was reported yesterday that the Mets said Wagner could be activated as early as Tuesday and that they might use him in a non-save situation first (which Wagner usually falters in) and then have him close by the end of the week. Wagner himself said to reporters that maybe he’d be ready by Friday.

So to answer your question, no, I’d probably bench Wagner. First, I do not want to activate Wagner for the week and have him go in on a non-save situation and give up a 3-run jack, and then have him come out later and say, "oh, I was just looking to get my location back."
Unacceptable! So, keep Wagner benched this week. I don't care if he gets a save or two next weekend, its not worth the hole he could put you in in the days leading up to those saves. Maybe Frank Francisco or Jim Johnson are available on your waiver wire. Otherwise, go with a solid starting pitcher. Brett Myers is super hot and Brandon McCarthy, who has been hot since returning from the DL has two starts against Seattle on Tuesday and Oakland on Sunday!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A Veteran Starting Pitcher may be more valuable than a Reliever down the stretch!

So I posted this piece Friday night with the best of intentions but now, as of Saturday morning, I have another thought as I am here setting up my teams for this coming week.... so I'm just throwing it out there. You see, I love to give free fantasy baseball advice and many of you believe in my wisdom and I appreciate that. Today, I feel like this article I wrote yesterday was solid, but needs to be tweaked to handle every situation that might arise, and here is another situation that might arise.

This week, in one of my big money keeper leagues, I am in the running for 3rd place which should bring in at least $400+ at season's end. The point lead for 1st & 2nd is so ridiculously large that there are only three of us fighting for 3rd, 4th and 5th, which are all money spots.

Anyway, as of this week, my pitching has the most points to gain in our roto league. I am behind in every category except saves, which I own but in every other category, I am in the middle to bottom of the standings yet I am still in 3rd. That's because I have the top hitting team in points and also because this league is so imbalanced its sad. My goal here in September was to beef up my pitching, use all SP's and try to trot up the pitching standings. I made trades over the last few weeks to make this dream a reality and I am going forward with a staff of Matt Cain, AJ Burnett, Aaron Harang, Scott Kazmir, Felix Hernandez, Adam Wainwright, Pedro Martinez, Andy Sonnanstine, and Carl Pavano. I'm happy to say, I have already gained about 10 points over the last 3 weeks in pitching in our CBS roto league. The big winner is we count Innings Pitched in which I am in second to last and trail the next guy buy almost 100 IP. 3 weeks ago, I was in dead last trailing by about 100 from that guy, so I'm getting there.

Here's where this new situation comes into play. This week, I had Andy Sonnanstine in against Boston. One start and Sonnanstine has been shakey the last 3 times out. I also have Jonathon Broxton on my bench who has been lights out lately. So, I am here thinking about the opposite of what that last article was about. However, I still believe in what I wrote, but here is a special case where down the stretch I am going to turn to a reliever, which is not my norm. Point is, Sonnanstine is a one starter against Boston this week. I am guessing he is decent, 5 IP, 3ER, 1BB, 8H, maybe 3K. Decent, but not good enough where as Broxton can be 3-4IP, 0H, 0BB, 4 K, and that is more valuable. There is a better chance that Broxton will be more solid than Sonnanstine will have a great game. So in this situation, it makes more sense to use the reliever because I'm getting better stats minus one or two innings max which really won't affect me in the standings. Plus, Broxton is the sure fire option I was talking about! There are not many other players I'd actually consider doing this with except maybe Joba Chamberlain.

The Original Article on Friday
In the beginning of every season, I consistently talk about how a good solid reliever could help keep ERA/WHIP down as opposed to an older starting pitcher who consistenly turns in a 5IP, 8H, 3 ERm 2BB, 2K performance once a week where as the reliever might pull in 4IP, 1H, 1BB, 4K , which proves more valuable in most leagues.

Now, with the season winding down and money on the line, I actually believe in the complete opposite with some minor twists. Every website/expert in the industry will tell you that using a reliever down the stretch will help lower ERA/WHIP, and if you pick the needle out of the haystack, they might be right. Imagine picking up a reliever who pitches a total of 0.2 innings this week and gives up a 3 run bomb and then another ER two days later. That's a deeper hole now to dig out of. But, let's assume your ERA is so far in the hole that you need quality innings to get you out. What's more effective? A reliever who goes 4IP with a walk, a hit and a few K's or a solid veteran starter who gets you 10-15 IP with 2-5ER as a two-starter in a week? Hmm, I'd say the two-starter, but it also comes down to making solid choices! Here is an idea as to what I am talking about....

Jeff Suppan - Last 6 Starts - 5 W, 14 ER in 42 IP - All quality starts (7, 7, 8, 6, 7, 7 IP).
Greg Maddux - Only 1 game in Aug where he gave up more than 2 ER (7ER in that game), but he's only lasted 5 IP in last 3 starts. He pitches in Petco next week and a possible two-starter!
Mike Mussina - Quality starts everytime out, continue to use over someone not as established, next start against Seattle!
Randy Johnson - 55 K in last 44 IP
Pedro Martinez - A bit of a gamble....but he's Pedro!

The other part to this is that sometimes, you might want to think twice about using some of those young guys who have been a bit shakey lately.
Plus, many of the this years young starting pitchers are starting to or have surpassed last years innings total and there is that chance that these guys could start wearing down here in September. Some of the names that come to mind are...

Matt Garza - 4 or more ER in four of last six starts

Kevin Slowey - He's actually been quite stellar and faces KC this week but did give up 10 H in 5 IP against Toronto this week
Nick Blackburn - Also pitching well but last 5 starts were 4.2IP vs. NYY, 8.0 IP vs. OAK, 4.2 IP vs. ANA, 5.2IP vs. OAK, 6.2IP vs. TOR...which looks like he has a tough time against the good teams.
Edison Volquez - Has been great and bad in this second half, inconsistent but still worth using over many SP's
Johnny Cueto - Battling elbow soreness
Jair Jurrjens - 13 ER in last 14 IP
Clayton Kershaw - 44 BB in 86 total IP this season, 8 BB in last 13 IP, and 14 ER in last 13 IP
Gavin Floyd - Pitching well but he's at 167 IP, only 70 IP last season
John Danks - 3 straight losses with 11 ER in 14 IP
Greg Smith - 5ER and 8ER last two starts

You could even make a case for older relievers turned starters like Justin Duchscherer, Todd Wellemeyer, and Ryan Dempster to name a few of the starters we are most likely all utilizing.

Now, I am not saying that these older veteran SP's are better options than the younger SP's mentioned above. However, sometimes we have to let go of the idea that some of these players are already and could be potential stars. We have to realize that there is a chance these guys can wear down while a solid veteran SP on a winning team or a team in the race could be more helpful to your fantasy team down the stretch. We all know the potential of Edison Volquez outplays Greg Maddux anyday, but at this point in the season with Volquez passed his innings total and showing some inconsistency in the second half, Maddux looks like a decent option right now with the Dodgers in the playoff race.

So all I am saying is you need to take a look at your staff, take a look at your waiver wire and see where you can make some improvements with your staff. Look at match ups, look at opposing pitchers, look at ballparks and opposing offenses. This is when it counts!

Good luck down the stretch!

The Fantasy Man

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Fantasy Man's 2009 Second Base 2B Rankings

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The Fantasy Man's 2009 Second Base 2B Mixed League Rankings

Chase Utley - Will be a bargain on draft day because of surgery, should be ready for opening day, you can get him in R2.
Ian Kinsler - What's his ceiling? If he can duplicate 2008, he's first round material
Dustin Pedroia - .300+/15/15 with .300+/20/20 potential
Brandon Phillips - The BA is bad but still a lock for 20/20/90

Brian Roberts - Super consistent and can expect .290+/30+ SB
Alexei Ramirez - Has a BJ Upton build without the K's, who knows what his ceiling is!!
Dan Uggla - BA is a killer but 25+ HR/100+ Runs is fantastic at 2B!

Robinson Cano - Has .300+/20/90 potential if he can put it all together for an entire year
Howie Kendrick - .330+/15/80 potential if he can stay healthy
Rickie Weeks - Don't believe the hype, BA will kill your fantasy season but he does have 30/30 potential...maybe
Kelly Johnson - Still waiting for KJ to break out, does a little bit of everything but suffers monster slumps
Placido Polanco - .300+ with a few dingers and a few steals, super consistent, won't hurt you

Mark DeRosa - Consistent .290/15-20HR kind of player with position eligibility
Jose Lopez - Showed he can hit consistently, still young, still has the potential for a break out
Felipe Lopez - Hasn't lived up to hype, new home in Arizona as an everyday player, has .280/15/25 potential
Blake DeWitt - Potential for .280/15/80 with room to grow, super young, bumps last year turn into success this year
Alexi Casilla - .300+ slap hitter with 100R potential
Orlando Hudson - .290+/15/70/15 as usual if he stays healthy

Freddie Sanchez - Can be a .300+ hitter but lacks power and a team
Akinori Iwamura - No power but could be a .300+ hitter
Emilio Bonifacio - Has 40+ SB potential, no power
Kaz Matsui - If healthy, has .300+/20 SB potential
Aaron Hill - There is sleeper potential here if he's healthy, has 20+ HR potentialEdgar V. Gonzalez - Has .290+ ability with a few dingers if he gets a chance
Luis Castillo - .300+ but legs are bad and probably won't plays 7 days a week
Aaron Miles - Has .300+ potential but not much power
Mark Ellis - 20/20 potential if he stays healthy and away from the monster slump
Mark Grudzielanek - Can hit .300 but he's getting old
David Eckstein - Solid player in real life but he doesn't cut it in fantasy
Ronnie Belliard - Just a back up who ocassionally gets super hotAsdrubal Cabrera - Will play if Josh Barfield doesn't beat him out
Marco Scutaro - Good player to have on the bench because of position eligibility
Eugenio Velez - Has 40+ SB potential but hasn't hit much yet in the majors
Willy Aybar - Nice bench guy when someone gets hurt
Mark Loretta - Not what he used to be, NL Only if your desperate

Keep an eye on:
Daniel Murphy, 2B/NYM - The Mets may keep 2B available for Murphy to keep him in the lineupJoaquin Arias, 2B, TEX - No room in that infield but has .300+/20+SB potential
Sean Rodriguez, 2B, LAA - Was a solid hitter in the minors but not much room for him yet