Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Fantasy Man's 3rd Annual Thanksgiving Day Extravaganza Podcast is NOW PLAYING!

The Fantasy Man officially kicks off the 2009 Fantasy Baseball Season with his 3rd Annual Thanksgiving Day Extravaganza Fantasy Baseball Podcast!!! You can download/listen/subscribe to the podcast here! If that doesn't work, try here!...or vice-versa...

This T-Day Extravaganza is a 3-hour/3-part podcast featuring the best, laidback, down-to-earth, honest, and realistic fantasy baseball advice.
The podcast lineup looks like this.....
Part 1 - The Fantasy Man's Top 50 Draft Picks with some basic 2009 specific draft strategies
Part 2 - The Fantasy Man's Sleepers of 2009

Part 3- The Fantasy Man picks out a couple of prospects and potential rookies from all 30 major league teams.

As for the podcast itself, please remember that I am a lone ranger who stares at the wall and talks to myself for an hour at a time. It's great, I love it. However, I was battling the flu as I did these three podcasts so I apologize ahead of time if my voice sounds off or if I get too monotone at some times. I actually have no idea how it sounds, I never actually listen to my podcasts after they are complete but I do know there may have been times I wasn't as enthusiastic as I could have been! Otherwise, I had a blast as always!

If you could, please feel free to write a nice review on iTunes or any of the podcasting sites you use. Also, feel free to blast me, attempt to destroy me, tell me how much I suck, blah blah, blah. I already know. I'm not a jounalism guy, I'm not a broadcasting guy or anything like that. I'm just a podcaster, a guy with a microphone.


So enjoy 3 hours of fantasy baseball heaven. Now you have the ammo to tune out your wife/girlfriend on the way to the in-laws for thanksgiving dinner! Feel free to posts comments or email me your fantasy baseball questions!

The next podcast will be a few days after the Winter Meetings to discuss players and possible trades/signings and how they individually affect you fantasy drafts and teams!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Eric Stashin writes about Draft Strategy and Risk vs. Dependability

If you haven't had a chance yet, please check out Eric Stashin's fantasy baseball blog at Roto Professor. Eric did a great article on Draft Strategy and drafting for Risk vs. Dependability.

Eric Stashin runs RotoProfessor.com. Having been playing fantasy sports for as long as he can remember, he thought that it was as good a time as any to share his opinions and strategies with the rest of the world. Feel free to contact Eric at RotoProfessor.com.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Chat "LIVE" with The Fantasy Man TONIGHT!!!

Need some quick fantasy football or baseball advice?? Join The Fantasy Man tonight and chat live at Live Person from 7pm - 8pm EST!

Go to Live Person and search "Fantasy Baseball" and you'll find me!

Or, click this link:
http://www.liveperson.com/expert/home-leisure/sports-fitness/sports-betting/the-fantasy-man/?thid=26

See you there!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

When do I draft Chase Utley??

Bummer. I feel like I was walking down the street, minding my own business, and some dude just punched me in the face for no reason. So now what? What do you do if you planned to draft Utley? Nothing yet! It's still November so it's hard to imagine many of you completing your 2009 fantasy baseball league drafts just yet. ESPN reported today that Philadephia Phillies 2B Chase Utley could be out until June after he goes under the knife for hip surgery. Since we all play in different types of leagues, let's see if we can touch upon all of the different fantasy scenarios involving Utley. At this point in November, this should give you plenty of time to plan accordingly.

1. Keeper Leagues - Don't panic! Utley will be back by mid-season. Best bet right now is to stash on your bench, especially in Dynasty Leagues. However, if you get a sweet offer you can't pass up, you might as well trade Utley. If it were my team and I had a deal involving my Chase Utley, I'm asking myself this question..... "Am I getting market value for Utley?" What I am saying here is, don't give up Utley easily just because he could mis two months or so because in the second half, he'll probably be stellar. Utley's value should not drop much no matter what anyone says. If you dump Utley because of this inury knowing he'll be back, you'll regret it later.....unless you get a super sweet deal you can't pass up!

2. The normal mixed league draft - The big question now is, when should I draft Utley? Well, it's definitely not the first round. Utley will most likely be solid in the second half, but you can't waste a first round pick on only the second half. I'd say if Utley slips into the late 4th or 5th rounds, that might be a good time to think about drafting him. Then, if you want to wait on 2B late in the draft (round 15 or so), look at a players like Jose Lopez or Placido Polanco or even later in the draft (After the 20th) look at players like Freddy Sanchez, Mark DeRosa, or Orlando Hudson. If you play in a league with a middle infielder, make sure your MI is a 2B, so when you put Utley on the DL, you already have the 2B to slide into that slot. Then, you can put whoever you want in that empty MI slot.


3. The Auction - Utley is no longer a $35+ player for 2009, but he's probably worth about $20-$25. A solid 4th-6th round player can go anywhere in the $20's usually. I think this is fair value for Utley considering the circumstances. I think you can expect to pay about $25 in non keeper leagues. In Keeper leagues, expect to still pay about $30. More than that is a bit overvaluing. Remember, you're still trying to win this year. You need those first half stats. You can't pay full price for Utley and expect to be okay. Utley is a great fantasy talent, but he's not A-Rod, Hanley or Pujols, so don't get caught up in a bidding war.

4. Trade Offers - In keeper leagues, if I own Utley, I want some kind of package that includes a young hitter with some flash and a top tier starting pitcher. I'm thinking of packages that include BJ Upton/John Lackey, Carlos Quentin/Edinson Volquez, Jacoby Ellsbury/Jake Peavy.... see where I'm going with this??? The value you get in a deal like these when you give up Utley is solid. A deal like say Upton/Verlander wouldn't work. Too much risk, but, upgrade that SP and now my ears are listening. Be smart. get as much talent and upside as possible. You can't be soft here. Don't make a trade just to make a trade. Utley still has plenty of value.

The Fantasy Man is now giving "Live" Fantasy Baseball and Football advice at Live Person on Friday, November 21st from 7pm - 8pm. Go to http://www.liveperson.com/ and search "Fantasy Baseball". Click "Chat Now" and ask your fantasy sports related questions!

Keep your eye out for The Fantasy Man's 3rd Annual Thanksgiving Day Extravaganza! It's a 3 hour / 3 part podcast which will be available Thanksgiving morning!

The Joba Chamberlain Saga

Update 11/20/08
It's only November, but Brian Cashman has already come out and said that Joba Chamberlain will be a starter in 2009. What's interesting is what to make of all of this, especially if they sign C.C. Sabathia AND either Derek Lowe or A.J. Burnett. It's not likely they get both, but there is also a slight chance the Yankees trade for Jake Peavy. You have Mike Mussina retiring which opens up a spot and we're still unsure whether or not Andy Pettitte will resign at a discount. With all of that said, my estimated rotation for the Yankees looks like this....

1. C.C. Sabathia
2. Chein-Ming Wang
3. Joba Chamberlain
4. Derek Lowe or A.J. Burnett
5. Andy Pettitte
6. Phil Hughes (if he's not traded)

My dream rotation:
1. C.C. Sabathia (Sign as a FA)
2. Chein-Ming Wang
3. Joba Chamberlain
4. Jake Peavy (Acquire via trade)
5. Andy Pettitte

By acquiring Peavy (if he agreed to a trade...and why wouldn't he?), that would get you a better starting pitcher than Burnett or Lowe and also free's up money to then sign Mark Teixiera instead on spending it on Lowe or Burnett.

When it's all done, Joba is still a starter. What does that mean for your fantasy draft? As of right now, it looks like Joba is an average 8th-9th round draft pick in most normal mixed leagues. That seems like market value. Just after Joba you start to see players like David Price and Yovani Gallardo flying off the board. That's what you should expect. At the auction, I'd probably expect to pay approximately $15-$23 depending on emotion, a bidding war, and if it's a keeper league.

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Update: 8/1/08

Ummmmm ........ He's Awesome!
What else do I need to say? Joba Chamberlain is awesome! I think its safe to say that Joba will be a quality starter here on out, at least the first time through the league. I'd have to say that looking ahead into 2009, your looking at atleast a 10th round pick in most normal mixed fantasy leagues as of right now in August. However, don't be surprised if people are scooping up Joba in the late 7th round next season. My advice? In keeper leagues, Joba is one of the SP's of choice right now to build the team of the future around. His K/IP rate is staggering. Why hesitate? If your team is in the dumper and your holding onto Berkman or Santana and can't keep them next year whether their price is too high or their service term is over, sell them to a championship team and steal Joba Chamberlain!
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Update: 5/22/08
I was at last nights 8-0 Yankee victory and to my surprise, in the 8th, out comes Joba Chamberlain for a 2 inning stretch-out! Just when the game was getting boring and the crowd was emptying out of the stands, out comes Joba for a quick pick-me-up. I don't care what anyone says about Joba and his fist-pumping antics, it was 8 - zippo and if he had struck out that third batter in the 8th, I was praying for a fist pump! Say what you want, but if you are in the stadium when Joba pumps those fists, man, the stadium turns electric! I was there when he did it opening day, I was there when he did it against Delucci, and I was praying for a fist pump last night!

Anyway, onto the real topic. After the game, I was listening to the radio and it was reported by Susan "Goodness Gracious" Waldman that Joe Girardi came out and said "The process of turning Joba Chamberlain into a starter has begun". What does this mean? Well, obviously it won't happen overnight. They will work Joba up over the next few weeks to give him the time he needs to get his arm into 6-7 inning pitching shape. ESPN's Steve Phillips, who many New Yorkers have their own special feelings for, said that Joba would be sent down to the minors to get the innings work. I have to be honest, I don't see that happening. He'll work up those innings and before you know it, he'll pitch a 5 inning game and a way we go.

What this means fantasy wise?? Well, if you have Joba on your roster and you like to use the middle relievers to help lower ERA/WHIP, then keep Joba in your lineup. Otherwise, stash him on the bench for now or buy him before this story catches on nation wide. Right now, only New Yorkers are paying top dollar for Joba in fantasy leagues. This guy had 125K in 82+ IP last year in the minors, he's a guy you want! As for me, I am a huge Joba "Homer", and I have seen this guy in action and he is simply....nasty!
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Updated: 3.11.08
Joba Chamberlain starting the season in the bullpen??!!

Right out of the GM's mouth about five minutes ago in an interview with
Mike and the Mad Dog on WFAN Radio in New York, Brian Cashman, Yankees GM said exactly this......
(To listen, click the link above, then on the WFAN web site, click Podcasts, then click Mike and the Mad Dog, and then you should see the audio link for the Brian Cashman interview from today 3.11.08)

"If everyone stays healthy, Joba will start the season in the bullpen!"

He then went onto say....

"Assuming everyone stays healthy and Joba starts in the pen, the plan is to let him pitch half way through the season in the pen and the second half as a starter."

Now this is me summarizing.....
We all know that Joba will have the 150 IP limit. Obviously, starting the year in the pen and then letting him finish the year as a starter will allow Joba to remain under the inning limit or stick to the "Joba Rules". I would imagine if the Yankees staff stays relatively healthy and the Yankees are decent, they'll keep Joba in the pen as much as possible to save his arm for the post season, assuming they get there! I'm thinking there is no way all 5 Yankee starters will remain healthy all season. However, if the Yankees get an injury or extreme ineffectiveness early in the season (April or May) from say Mike Mussina, I think we might see a guy like Jeff Karstens or Ross Ohlendorf before we see Joba in an attempt to keep his IP limit down before the second half! Basically, to sum it up..........the Yankees see Joba Chamberlain as a starter but realize how effective he can be in the pen. So they'll let him keep his innings down and unleash Joba in the second half!

Here are some other quotes from Brian Cashman, Yankee GM....
" We get to see Joba on a daily basis and we know him better than any fan, media, etc.,. This guy has fantastic stuff, four major leagues pitches, and we feel overall, he is a top of the rotation, front-line type of talent, which is much tougher to find than a dominant set up guy." (I paraphrased that slightly)

He also said...

"Everyone remembers how fantastic Joba was in 24 innings late last season, but what was more impressive was the 80+ innings he had in the minors." (again, I slightly paraphrase because I can't remember the exact words used as I just listened to this a few minutes ago with NO pen and paper!)

What this means fantasy wise: It means that in Holds leagues, you can draft Joba in the middle rounds and expect a nice burst in Holds early in the season keeping in mind that you will need a back up after the All-Star Break. Also, its not written in stone that Joba will remain in the pen. If someone gets hurt by the end of spring training, we'll most likely see Joba as a starter.

Here is what I wrote on February 16th, 2008:
Everyone knows I have a man-crush on Joba Chamberlain.... but don't tell my wife! To fed my baseball addiction I listen to sports radio everyday and read the papers everyday here in New York, and one thing is for sure, nobody knows what the heck the Yankees plan to do with Joba Chamberlain. Should he go to the bullpen or stay in the starting rotation? Just to get you going, here is the lastest from the New York Post.

At this point, the Yankees are going with Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes, and Mike Mussina leaving Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain to duke it out for the 5th spot. They also have some other possibilities like Jeff Karstens, Ross Ohlendorf, Humberto Sanchez, and Chase Wright to name a few. You just never know who could show up at Spring Training and impress. There is also the possibility that the Yankees could be looking for another starting pitcher via trade as rumors of Hideki Matsui to the San Francisco Giants were circling back in December after the Winter Meetings.

If I were the Yankees, I'd move Joba to the bullpen in an instant and give Kennedy a chance to start after proving he could handle it late last year. The rumor is they'll prepare Joba to be a starter and by the end of Spring Training he'll end up in the pen.

Yesterday, on WFAN 660 during the Mike and the Mad Dog show (My favorite by the way), Sweeney Murti reported from Tampa that the Yankees will limit Joba to 150 innings in 2008. I guess the "Joba Rules" are still in effect. Does this mean he is a starter? No. Does it mean he is a reliever? No. It could be any combination and we can sit here all day and speculate. We just won't know at least for another 2-3 weeks at the earliest. This of this as the same situation Jon Papelbon went through last year, whom Joba has been compared too.

What this means Fantasy Wise: If you are smart, I'd draft Joba as if he is a starter while making sure I drafted a few extra starters for my bench in the event he moves to the pen. If Mariano Rivera gets hurt, BAM!... Instant saves from Joba! If they move him to the pen, you can use Joba as a reliever to help lower ERA/WHIP in roto leagues and leagues that count Holds.

For 12, mixed, 5x5, roto leagues: Draft Joba sometime in rounds 12-14, he's usually gone by the 13th though, so if you really want him, you might have to stretch in the 11th or 12th. This is okay because you can draft a Jon Lester, Barry Zito, Kevin Slowey or Randy Johnson late in the draft in case Joba does get moved to the pen. You'll have to pay in the range of $7-$13 for Joba in $260 cap auction leagues.

In leagues that count Holds: Joba is much more valuable because you get his versatility. Its extremely likely he starts the year as a starter and then for whatever reason, gets moved to the pen. If at that point your team is suffering in the Holds category, BAM!.... Instant Holds! In Holds leagues, I'd draft Joba between rounds 10-12 to make sure he's yours but also after all of the top SP's are off the board. Once Dice-K and Carmona are gone, you can safely take Joba in the Matt Cain, Yovani Gallardo, Tim Lincecum, Rich Hill, Chad Billingsley group. But the opportunity that Joba could be a Holds hog, I'd draft him before these guys. Anyone who has played in a league that counts Holds knows you need a Holds hog in order to win, you can't punt Holds and Joba can be your savior!

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Yankees land Swisher and Texiera

No, not Mark Teixeira silly, check the spelling! On Thursday, the Yankees acquired Nick Swisher and minor league pitching prospect Kaneoka Texiera while the White Sox get prospect Jeffrey Marquez and utilityman Wilson Betemit. Marquez was highly touted but he was still way down on the Yankee pitching depth charts. Betemit can play any infield position and could possibly be a starter in Chicago with 20+HR power. To be honest, losing Betemit is tough for the Yankees because he's a solid player off the bench. However, if getting Swisher only costs a Wilson Betemit and a decent pitching prospect, then this deal was a no-brainer.

Anyway, this is great! I can't wait to get my Nick Swisher Yankee t-shirt! What I love about this deal is that the Yankees traded for someone young who still has some upside and us Yankee fans know we desperately need to fuse some youth into the lineup. Swisher, 28, has a ton of power and excellent on-base skills but he's a killer with the batting average. The Yankees are getting a younger version of Jason Giambi although Swisher isn't as good a hitter.... yet. Word on the street is that Swisher is a fabulous presence in the clubhouse so I can definitely see the upside in this deal.

As for Mark Teixeira, most analysts are saying that this Swisher deal is all but dead and that the Yankees won't go after Tex, but I think this opens up the possibility of adding Tex! Swisher is a decent outfielder as well as a first baseman and with Bobby Abreu realistically out of a Yankee uniform, you can reasonably slot Swisher in center field. He won't be the defensive centerfielder the Yankees covet but now you could have Johnny Damon, Swisher, Xavier Nady in the outfield with Hideki Matsui as your DH. I can live with that.

Since the Yankees acquired Swisher via trade and with the potential of adding a $150 million C.C. Sabathia, we all know the Yankees could afford a Mark Teixeira. By dumping the contracts of Jason Giambi, Bobby Abreu, and Mike Mussina and giving Andy Pettitte a pay cut, I find it hard to believe that the Yankees will pass up on Tex unless I hear otherwise from the Yankees themselves. Plus, they're opening up approximately $50+ million a year in payroll. That's plenty of dough for C.C., Tex, and that other starting pitcher they want in either Derek Lowe or A.J. Burnett.
This of course, assuming you move Swisher into the outfield.

The Fantasy Man Says: This move to the Yankees pushes Nick Swisher up a few rounds in your 12-team mixed league draft from after the 17th round to maybe the 14th or 15th rounds if you really believe in the upside. I'd say Swisher is now a $5-$7 player in most auction leagues and his versatility could be useful in AL-Only leagues. Wilson Betemit's value rises a bit because of his versatility and makes for a potential sleeper in AL-Only leagues as he could provide 15+HR power if he gets 450+AB. Jeffrey Marquez and Kaneoka Texeira are not draftable except possibly in the deepest of Dynasty leagues.

GET READY!!! The Fantasy Man's 2009 Fantasy Baseball Advice Podcast is coming! Tune in to The Fantasy Man's 3rd Annual Thanksgiving Day Extravanagnza Podcast choc' full o' free fantasy advice to help you win your 2009 fantasy baseball league to included 2009 Sleepers, 2009 specific draft strategies, and much more. Go to iTunes or your favorite Podcasting website and search "Fantasy Baseball" or "The Fantasy Man"!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tips for a GREEN 2009 Fantasy Baseball Season!

I am hoping we all do our part to try to save the planet whether it's recycling, carpooling, or conserving energy any way we can. Ridiculous gas/oil prices have been a killer to our economy lately despite the recent drops in gas prices over the last few weeks. Don't worry, just when you're finally fully recovered from this holiday season, gas prices will be sky high again by Memorial Day! Can we ever catch a break?!

As a Fantasy Sports Expert and Player, I realize that most of us who play fantasy sports probably don't take the steps to save energy and help our planet when we are actually participating in this fun yet frustrating game. Haven't you heard? The Fantasy Man is going "Green" for the 2009 season and wants to share some simple tips to help you at least get the process moving along. Although many of these tips seem to easy or small, anything little that we can do to help.....helps!

The Fantasy Man Goes Green!
Tip #1 - Blackle - When doing 2009 fantasy baseball research on the internet, can we agree that most of us are using Google? Why not try
www.Blackle.com . It's Google, but it's Google just toned down a bit. Studies have shown that an all black computer screen uses less energy than a white computer screen. Yes, I'm being serious. Don't believe me? Check out the ever so trustworthy Wikipedia on Blackle. Then, click http://www.blackle.com/ and search "Fantasy Baseball Advice". Whooo! Whatta ya know.... look who's listed #1!

Tip #2 - Go Paperless - This should be an obvious one! Instead of printing out The Fantasy Man's 2009 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide (COMING SOON) and wasting all that paper (Although I am coming out with a condensed version in 2009), why not save it to your laptop and bring your laptop to your draft? Remember to charge your battery so that you don't have to use excess energy at the draft site. Then again, you don't want to use energy that will cost someone else money, now do we?

Tip #3 - Draft Online - It's always tough to find the best time and place to get every league member available for the draft. Now you can complete a 12 team fantasy baseball league draft on the Internet in your pajama's. Mock Draft Central offers all the features of a live online draft. Think about what else you are saving..... gas to get to the draft site, deadly fumes into the atmosphere from your car, money for extra food/drinks/gas, and time. Time is money these days, isn't it?

Tip #4 - Carpool/Public Transportation - If you must do your fantasy draft live, there is a good chance you are participating with friends, family and or co-workers. First, choose a central location to reduce travel for everyone. Then, why not carpool together? Save gas, mileage, and the environment by having one or two less automobiles on the road.

For me, many of my fantasy drafts take place in New York City ( I live about an hour north), although it can be expensive, I'd rather take the train into the city than drive an hour or so and waste all that gas, not to mention the $30 or so it costs to park when you can't find a parking space. If I spent $10 of gas and $30 to park, that's $40 (not counting food and league fee) to do a fantasy draft plus the carbon monoxide your car dumps into the environment for that hour and then back. A round trip train ticket costs about $20 and a subway ticket is about $2.50, I think, so save yourselves a few bucks and walk.


Tip #5 - The Draft - Draft day is the few hours a year we as men look forward to away from the wife, kids, girlfriend, mother-in-law, etc., and that means food, beer, wings, cursing, making fun, burping and more! It's better to have one or two people bring the snacks and everyone can chip in when they arrive. It's best to get a just few jumbo bags of chips or one or two 24 packs of beer instead of everyone bringing their own 6 or 12-pack. Think of all that extra cardboard that's wasted if all twelve of you bring your own 6-pack to drink during the draft.

Tip #6 - Fantasy Team Management - Did you know that if your computer is off and still plugged into the outlet, it's still sucking out electric? Did you know that if your laptop is off but plugged into the wall, the battery pack is still making sure your laptop is full charged. That's costing you extra dough and it's costing you while you sleep. So first, make sure your computer is off and when possible, keep it unplugged. With desktops this is tough, at least shut it off completely at night. If you leave it on with a screen saver, you are wasting energy and adding to your electric bill. It's also wasting energy when it's sleepeing too. If you have a laptop, you can always unplug it when you are finished. Laptops use 50-70% less energy per year than a desktop and monitor.

Tip #7 - Go Mobile - Last year I posted a great article by Courtney Hamilton of the NRDC about being eco-friendly when it comes to fantasy sports. Courtney mentioned about using your cell phone instead of a laptop or computer to manage your team. You can get stats and manage your teams through your cell phone now, and a cell phone uses much less power than a plugged in laptop.
Tip #8 - Water - STOP BUYING SO MUCH BOTTLED WATER!!!! Think of how much bottled water Americans drink every day, and then think about how many of those bottles find their way into trash cans and then into the environment. Too many. Let's be real people, bottled water is not necessarily any cleaner than tap water. That's just a marketing ploy to get you to buy the bottled water. You are better off just buying one bottle of water and then reusing that bottle by filling it with your own tap water. Best of all, your tap water is free (except for that small water bill you might get each month) and in this economy, every penny counts.

Tip #9 - Recycle - DUH! What were you going to do with all those empty beer bottles and soda cans from the draft? Throw them in the garbage? I hope not!

Tip #10- Fantasy Books/Magazines - When it comes to buying fantasy baseball books such as Sam Walkers Fantasyland (One of my favorites), try to purchase used books that you can get on Amazon or eBay. Or better yet, ask to borrow these from friends or the library. We all love to read but that tree would be better off if we manufactured one less book. As for magazines, you can get the same fantasy advice online that you could from a magazine. http://www.fantasybaseballexpress.com/ is a great start. Save yourself a few bucks and get great advice, some that you would never find in a magzine (like free personal advice via email) while at the same time saving a tree.
The Fantasy Man plans to do what he can to help save the planet in 2009 whether it has anything to do with fantasy baseball or not. If we all pitch in just a little bit, we can all make our world a better place for us and our children.
GET READY!!! The Fantasy Man's 3rd Annual Thanksgiving Day Extravaganza 3-part/3-hour Podcast is coming! Thanksgiving morning, wake up, eat breakfast and download The Fantasy Man show at iTunes or at over 65+ other podcast sites. You can listen to it on your way to the in-laws....if your wife will let you! ;)

Friday, November 07, 2008

2009 Fantasy Man Early Expert Mock Draft

Here is the first 2009 Fantasy Man Early Bird Expert Mock Draft. I pulled in 11 other experts at the last minute to complete an early bird mock draft for you to take a gander at. If you're like me and can't get enough fantasy baseball advice, even in November, why not get ahead by looking at an early mock draft?

We had a great group of knowlegable fantasy experts so make sure to check out their websites. Cory Dobson is representing Fantasy Baseball Express as I am representing TheFantasyMan.com, in case anyone was wondering

Below, you will find the analysis of the draft by some of our participants. I will post them to this article as they come in so be sure to check back over the next week or so.


Thank you to Mock Draft Central for hosting our draft. Make sure you check out MDC for the 2009 season. It's free to join.

To view the draft CLICK HERE

Draft Order: (Randomly selected)John Toczydlowski - Roto Think Tank & Patton & Co.
Jon Williams - Roto ExpertsCory Dobson - Fantasy Baseball Express
Rafael Oliveira -
Fantasy Baseball Cafe
Mark Haverty -
Crucial Sports
Geoffrey Stein - Mock Draft Central
Mike Kuchera -
The Fantasy Man
Jason Revelia -
Roto Experts
Eno Sarris -
Baseball Guys
Heath Shaffer -
Roto Champs
Kyle Stack - Roto Experts
Grey Albright -
Razzball

To view the draft CLICK HERE

Mike Kuchera - The Fantasy Man
Strategy: To not make an ass out of myself ..... and to pick the players with the most potential available. I know that's not much of a strategy but I was really looking for players that have a ton of upside mixed in with the really safe bets. Simple as that. I wasn't too worried about weak positions or number crunching, I just wanted to load up on categories. I usually like to go by the "Law of Averages" where 232HR/125SB usually puts your team in the top 3 of those offensive categories. I like to strive for 300HR/150SB potential from my starting roster.
R1 - Miguel Cabrera - My first pick was half deliberate and half an oops! I drafted Cabrera think he'd qualify at 3B but he only played 14 games at 3B, so I had to stick him at CI for the moment. I almost thought Reyes was going to fall in my lap.
R2 - Mark Teixeira - It was either Tex or Braun, and in this case, I went for the sure thing.

R3 - Carlos Lee - I actually thought Braun could slip to me here, then I was going to take Santana but Revelia picked him in from of me. Again, Lee is a super safe pick here.
R4 - Carlos Quentin - I'm already loaded at power and lack speed, but this is where I cannot pass up the superstar potential. I think he can be a .300/40/120/10 guy.
R5 - Jacoby Ellsbury - 50+SB and that ton of potential possible. Maybe a round or two early but he'll be a star... I hope!
R6 - Roy Halladay - Experts always wait on pitching, but still couldn't believe he was there!
R7 - Geovany Soto - I was looking for Brian McCann before I realized he was gone. Soto has 25+HR potential.

R8 - Mariano Rivera - I didn't want to get stuck picking Salomen Torres or someone like that. Plus, still plenty solid RP's to pick from.
R9 - Miguel Tejada - SS is super weak this year after the first few are gone but he's a safe pick this late. I was hoping Jeter would slip.
R10 - Carlos Delgado - Here is where the Cabrera gaff hurts and where I truly realized it. I was hoping to get Delgado as my CI but Cabrera was at CI, tex at 1B, 3B and DH open. Delgado makes a solid pick here assuming he doesn't collapse again and he's really the last big impact power guy out there.
R11 - Alexei Ramirez - Found him by accident and couldn't believe he was still there. .300 with 20/20 potential and never K's is lovely at this point in the draft. It's Dustin Pedroia 9 or 10 rounds later.
R12 - B.J. Ryan - Should not have made it this far, but he'll be super solid.
R13 - Zack Greinke - I have been waiting on SP's because the talent pool is so deep, plu, you can get top-notch guys who had down years in 2008 i.e. Aaron Harang, Chris Young, etc.
R14 - Aaron Harang - See?
R15 - Chris Young - Unbelievable! Harang and Young were top 20 SP's last year!
R16 - John Smoltz - This was my first real big risk in this draft....not bad for a 16th round pick as it sounds like he'll be ready in 2009. Plus, plenty of serviceable SP's on waiver wire.

R17 - Mark Reynolds - His 30+ HR potential is what I was looking at. It was either Reynolds or Hank Blalock. I still need another SB guy but there were still a few OF's out there.
R18 - Carlos Gomez - Just as I suspected. It was either Gomez, Pierre, or Bourn.

R19 - Rick Ankiel - I debated here. I wanted another SB guy like Pierre or Bourn, but I am high on Ankiel in a contract year to hit 35+ HR.
R20 - Jose Lopez - I needed an MI and it was either Orlando Cabrera or Lopez. Cabrera would provide 20 SB's but Lopez was 9th in hits in 2008 and never K's.
R21 - Chris Carpenter - My second big risk after Smoltz but same reasoning applies here.

R22 - Yadier Molina - I could have went for the 20+HR potential of Kelly Shoppach but I opted for the higher BA in Molina.
R23 - Frank Francisco - If he wins the closer job, I'll win the saves category! Otherwise, I can always drop for new talent!


Cory Dobson - Fantasy Baseball Express
I was asked about 20 min prior to the draft to fill in for Mike’s other entity, Fantasy Baseball Express. I certainly had the time and ability to do the draft, but haven’t thought much about baseball since my beloved Brewers and Cubs fell in the divisional series. My strategy became a winging it approach and try not to embarrass myself too badly.

Last year at this time, I was a lot more like the other drafters in this particular mock, trying to run a forum/blog and research 2007 stats and even attempt 2008 projections from 3 yr averages and predict how/who would make an impact from the minor leagues. The task was far too daunting for one stay at home dad, and the off-season interest in my site just couldn’t gather much momentum. Only a handful of participants checked in frequently, and fewer added to the discussions.

I may re-incarnate it this season, who knows….address for those interested was:
http://fantasyaddiction.freeforums.org/portal.php

My draft went fairly well overall, considering the circumstances. 1st round, I was going to take H Ramirez, figuring A Rod would go #1 and someone else likely #2…a Pujols, Utley, etc. When John picked him #1, David Wright became a solid, dependable, 5 category type player at a decent position to fill early. Will be interesting to see what happens in the new ball park.
2nd round, I was all set to take my boy, Ryan Braun. The pre-ranks weren’t very good, and certainly down on him, so I thought it would be easy pickings. When Sarris tabbed him, I moved onto Teix, and he lasted all of 2 picks. Ichiro Suzuki is not someone I ever target in a draft, but went for the ++ BA he provides, and probably should have gone elsewhere, likely power.
3rd round was a tossup. I thought about R Martin with the 2 C requirement, but he didn’t really produce for me like I’d hoped (at his auction salary) in the league I run with Mike as a participant. None of the other names jumped out at me, and as a Brewers fan, I saw first hand what kind of magic CC Sabathia can put together when motivated by new scenery. I really don’t expect him to stick around in MIL, but he’ll likely stay in the NL (IMO) where he can hit and find great success.
4th round I was very excited to land Curtis Granderson. He’s becoming a lot like Sizemore, IMO, and got him 3 rounds later.
5th round I went for some power with Garret Atkins, though I’m not exactly sold on him. What position will he play? Will Stewart outseat him (or continue to try and convert to 2b)? Will he get moved? Will Helton, so 1b is cleared for him? Solid pick at this point, but not sold overall.
6th round was a pick to Mike’s heart, since I was technically drafting for him. I know how he loves them Yanks (and I loathe, BTW), so I took the aging Derek Jeter. I needed some MI help after my pick, M Young, was selected 2 picks before me. I also considered Liriano at this point, who was also gone.
7th round got my man in K-Rod. I don’t expect him to top out near 60 again, but his willingness to fight through pain, and adjust his pitching to compensate w/o further injury, was impressive. He’ll sign a fat contract, and with any, his motivation may be lax. Also considered Nathan at this point.
8th round went with a young stud in EdisonVolquez. Finally hitting on his potential from the DVD days in Texas, the kid was great and will continue to be. Might have taken him a bit early, looking back on how SP got drafted in this mock, but I can see him putting up numbers like Lackey and Lester, two guys selected right before him.
9th round went with some young, emerging talent in Ryan Zimmerman. Not quite the pop my team probably needed at this point, and not a ton of support in that lineup, but I like the way he plays the game and would provide solid numbers if he stays away from the injury bug.
10th-15th..certainly not a lot of flash here, and my hand was called by 2 C requirements. I dislike catchers, especially with R Martin’s somewhat off year (at least by my expectations), V Mart’s injury bug, and the dearth behind that. I like Kurt Suzuki as a backend type catcher, but real iffy as my starter. Felix Hernandez just can’t find a way to put it all together, maybe this will be the year…and worth a shot at this point. Kelly Johnson is a solid producer in ATL, and not a bad 2b to have. Jeff Francoeur sux, but if he can learn just a bit of patience at the plate, his BA/HR potential would go up. Aaron Rowand was a nice bat to add to a big OF requirement at this point in the draft, a guy I usually look at for a 4th or 5th OF in deep leagues. Fausto Carmona should be able to re-kindle the magic from 2007, and certainly worth the shot in the 15th.
16-20thHuston Street isn’t a great closer, and may be on the move, but should have some closing gig wherever he is. Jeremy Hermida is definitely not a guy I normally look at, with his high chance for injury, but needed some potential power from an OF slot. Brandon Wood is my perennial potential guy after the numbers he put up in the minors (at times)…and fills many a “minors” league spot for me in leagues. Ronny Paulino only falls on my team as a backup guy with C eligibility, though I probably should have gone with Towles here. Chase Headley is a guy I really like, and he could really step it up this year, be it in LF or maybe even back to 3b.
21-23…went with 3 guys I have been following as prospect type pitchers in good situations to play for 2009. Gio Gonzalez could be the next in line at OAK for prospect to moneyball stud, Chris Volstad should factor in with FLA’s young and improving team, and Colin Balester should break camp with WAS.

Not a great draft, plenty of question marks…and I haven’t really assessed it against the other teams yet. Thanks for the invite.


Eno Sarris - Baseball Guys
You can view Eno's analysis HERE at BaseballGuys.com

Grey Albright - Razzball
You can view Grey's analysis HERE at Razzball.com

John Toczydlowski - Roto Think Tank & Patton & Co.
I want to first thank Mike for the chance to participate in the auction. As background for those of you that have not been to our site, Roto Think Tank is now a three year old blog focusing primarily on auction strategy and player valuation and evaluation. My partner, Mike Gianella, and I have been playing fantasy baseball for, jeez, 15 years or so. We began our venture into analysis and strategy with Alex Patton, and continue to work with his site, Patton & Co., in our "downtime."

Admittedly, this was not my best draft. I was a bit thrown off initially by the interface (accounting for picks in round 4 and 5, but I'll get to that later), and did not have a chance to pre-rank players. And, well, in November, it is difficult to get into that draft mindset. I also admit to being a non-pro on mixed league 12 team leagues. One of the hardest things for me to do in a draft is play it straight - I love strategies. But that was my plan going in.

R1 - Hanley Ramirez. Two things about Hanley. One, he is only 25 years old. Two, he can flat out hit. I am a big fan of position scarcity, even in mixed league, and shortstop is a position that does fall off sharply after the first couple of players (how badly did Rollins owners feel this year?). Strong 4 category player with a contribution in RBI from the shortstop position had to be my first pick.
R2 - Dustin Pedroia. There is little not to love from Pedroia. Increase in extra base hits from 48 to 73. A 10 point increase in OPS+. A 5 category contributor from the second base slot. Deserving of a number 24 pick.
R3 - Lance Berkman. Lance is still only 32 years old. He rebounded from an "off-year" in 2007 and returned to the form of his very solid mid- to late 20s seasons. 5 first basemen were already off the board at number 25; as a result, Berkman was a no-brainer for stability at the corner.
R4-5 - Vlad Guerrero and Victor Martinez. Well, this is where the interface got me. In the interest of full disclosure, I told Geoff that I did not want to roll back several picks. It is hard to go wrong with Vlad despite age. He was not my first choice this early, but you can live with the production. Unfortunately, Vlad's body is older than his real age, and he reminds me of Andre Dawson in the twilight of a career too early. V. Martinez is not the guy I wanted at catcher...Soto was my guy. But once I had a catcher, I did not want to give up another pick too early. Injuries robbed V-mart of his power this year...I do expect a bounce back in light of his good 2007 numbers and his relative youth.
R6 - Edwin Encarnacion. Encarnacion was, in retrospect, a product of my discombobulation after the R4-5 debacle. Third base does drop off, but there were better picks than Edwin available. He truly is an enigma, though I am very encouraged by the increase in his walk rate, despite the corresponding increase in strikeouts. He should be a 30+HR guy in that bandbox.
R7-8 - Jamie Shields and Adam Wainwright. Admittedly a little early for Shields, I like my pitchers in their mid- to late 20s and with stuff. Shields is both. He is a + WHIP and steady ERA guy who made strides in his ability to pitch in 2008. With a good team behind him (despite being in the stacked AL East), I have a hunch he will continue on the upside of the development curve. Wainwright is a favorite of mine. Assuming health (which with Adam is not a given), Wainwright is poised to become a top tier starter, and was on pace to do so last year until derailed by his injury. I expect big things from him this year on a competitive Cardinals team.

To interrupt for a moment, I wanted to talk about mixed league strategy. I always assumed that, in mixed leagues, the pitching pool is deeper than the hitting pool, and that it is easier to find replacement level players (or VORP equality if you will) from the pitcher free agent pool than from the hitter free agent pool. In both 12 team mixed drafts I have done, I picked pitchers late and still feel very good about my staff. Time will tell whether this strategy works.

R9 - Joey Votto. Highly under-rated because he plays in obscurity. He put up an OPS+ of 124 as a 24 year old rookie, and I see nothing in his numbers to suggest a step backward next year. I like Votto very much in this round.
R10-11 - Torii Hunter and Lastings Milledge. Hunter is a safe pick. If you take 2001-2008 and look, they look pretty similar. The worry - there is a lot of wear and tear on that 33 year old body and the power, RBI and average slipped a little. Milledge is a medium risk/high reward player. At his age, the power and speed are still developing, and his K/BB is not awful (though its not really good either). A move out of Washington will certainly help his stock, but he's going nowhere for the moment. There were safer picks, but speed and upside are important.
R12 - Richie Weeks. Not my favorite player, but young and with upside. His K/BB suggests that, if he were to cut down Ks by 1 every 30 AB, he would likely raise his average above .250. He reminds me of Jimmy Rollins in some ways; he hits the ball in the air a lot because of his power, when his speed suggests that being a line-drive hitter would be more beneficial.
R13-14. John Danks and Matt Garza. Danks came out of nowhere this year for a breakout. If he had not run out of gas at the end of the year, his numbers would look even better. The key is keeping the ball in the park. I see no step backward coming. Garza is another favorite - young and with stuff. Come to think of it, the Rays really fleeced the Twins in this trade. I was ecstatic to get Garza this late...with one hesitation. With his stuff, why does he pitch to so much contact? 128Ks in over 170 IP - not what you expect with his stuff.
R15 - Xavier Nady. Safe pick here...he just produces, and has progressed as he's gotten older and picked up more ABs. Don't expect more than what he did last year, but there is no reason he will not duplicate those numbers. Sexy picks are good, but sometimes, you need to assure yourself of stats.

Here is where I abandoned the strategy of playing it straight and making safe picks. I saw where my team was headed, and I thought it needed some "juice." And juice it got.

R16-17. Clayton Kershaw and Ubaldo Jimenez. We know what Kershaw is...in that park, I have to believe good things will come. Jimenez is about 40 less walks from being unhittable. He does not pitch to contact. He keeps the ball in the park (partly because hitters are afraid of getting drilled and have poor footing at the plate). Youth and experience = a potential top tier starter.
R18 - Jesus Flores. He strikes out a lot, but he has potential 15 HR power. He is still inexperienced, but will play full-time in 2009.
R19 - Scott Baker. Baker refined his stuff, pitching to less contact. His K/IP increased despite not having "monster" stuff. He is still young and looks on the verge of hitting the 200 IP mark next year. If he can keep the HR down to the low 20s, so many of those being solo because he doesn't walk many, he should be in the league leaders in ERA and WHIP.

R20 - Ryan Garko. Really, you ask? Garko had a slump this year, with decreases in extra-base hits, HR, and average. On the other hand, he knocked in 90 runs and slightly reduced strikeouts while slightly increasing walks. As a round 20 DH, you can't ask for much more.
R21 - Michael Bourn. I hate this pick already and I will hate it all year. Bourn is a 5th outfielder who Ed Wade believes is an All-Star. He strikes out 25% of the time, gets caught stealing 20% of the time, and put up an OPS of 57. Yes...57. In a mixed league, if you are desperate for speed, take Carlos Gomez...he put up an OPS of 79.
R22-23 - Manny Parra and Carlos Villanueva. Both Brewers. Both young. Both with a lot of potential. At this stage, you look for closers-in-waiting (I didn't like most of those), or your high risk/high reward picks. Villanueva, by the way, drastically reduced his walks this season. He might have an eventual role in the pen, but I don't think you can give up on him as a starter quite yet.

In the end, the roster has holes but did not turn out too poorly. I am short on saves (okay, I have none) and my average could be in trouble, but runs, HR and RBI should be solid. My pitching staff has proven young veterans, with a couple of potential stars if things break right. All-in-all, not a bad day's work. And drafting, auctioning and writing about baseball is better than working!


More analysis to come.....

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Fantasy Man's 2009 Top 50 Draft Rankings

Below you will find The Fantasy Man's 2009 Fantasy Baseball Mixed League Top 50 Draft Rankings. How did I derive these rankings? I look at each player separately, I look at 2008 stats, I look at trends in stats from the past 3 -4 years, I look at age, I look at team and lineup, I look at stadiums, and most of all, I look at other mock drafts and real league drafts. There is no point in giving you rankings that in some way don't show similarities and/or differences to recent mock drafts. I personally think that Evan Longoria is only a top 35 pick, but if every draft I have seen so far this year has him going in the top 20, then we have something to talk about. However, I am not persuaded by other rankings from other websites and magazines. I make up the rankings on my own using the information listed above.

The rankings below will certainly cause some debate, especially with Evan Longoria. So bring it on! These rankings are not set in stone but I'm positive I'll probably leave them as is during the off-season as these are the rankings I believe in and the rankings I will use to win a bunch of fantasy baseball leagues in 2009. So where do we begin??

1. Alex Rodriguez - A-Rod has been a monster in odd years.... look it up!
2. Albert Pujols - Had a surgery to help his elbow problems (not TJ surgery), if it's good, Pujols will be a monster again!
3. Hanley Ramirez - If he leads off, I'd still pick Hanley here, but don't expect 50+ SB, more like 35 I'd say.

4. Jose Reyes - Reyes alone can keep you alive in the SB category, grab Reyes here and concentrate on power next 3 rounds.
5. Miguel Cabrera - Early season slump hampered BA but HR/RBI were best of career, add in .300+ BA and he's fantasy gold!
6. Ryan Braun - Some say he can be as good as A-Rod, I disagree but he is certainly top 10 fantasy talent.
7. David Wright - You can argue that Wright can be top 5 as he contributes in all 5 major categories.
8. Grady Sizemore - Still getting better with 30/30 potential but 125+R with a .280+BA potential is sweet!
9. Matt Holliday - If he's traded he'll drop into R2 and then you'll get a bargain! I think he can hit .300+/30/100/20 outside Coors.
10. Ryan Howard - Who doesn't like 40/140? I'll take the .260+ BA in the 1st round if it gets me these stats!
11. Chase Utley - I like Utley but 2B isn't as weak that you need to jump on Utley.
12. Jimmy Rollins - .290BA/125+R/20HR/85RBI/40SB is late first round material.

13. Carlos Quentin - Project his '08 numbers over 550+ AB and you'll agree with this ranking.
14. Johan Santana - I'll take the consistency of Santana over Lincecum or Sabathia any day!
15. Mark Teixiera - It doesn't matter where he ends up, will be a monster and probably better in the 2nd half.
16. Prince Fielder - '08 seemed like a down year, so expect better numbers in every category!
17. Josh Hamilton - Big 1st half, not so big second half, be careful here but the talent is insane!
18. Ian Kinsler - He was insane until he got hurt but if you passed on Utley, Kinsler could be better overall!
19. Tim Lincecum - Can easily put up slightly better numbers than Johan but may not get the wins.
20. Carlos Lee - Should be recovered from broken pinkie and is almost a sure bet for .290-.300/30/100/20
21. Manny Ramirez - Hype may have Manny fly earlier, but he's still aging and he'll be paid so might not match 2008.
22. Alfonso Soriano - No longer 40/40 but 35/25 more like it if he can stay healthy and get 500+AB.
23. B.J. Upton - He's oozing with potential but 2009 will produce more HR/RBI and hopefully a slightly better BA with those SB
24. Ichiro Suzuki - Ichiro is the most consistent, sure-thing, durable player in this draft, grab him at the end of R2 as you snake.

25. David Ortiz - I can't believe I have him ranked this low, but he's a bargain down here and will be healthy in '09.
26. C.C. Sabathia - If he ends up in NY, as a Yankee fan, I'm not expecting 2008 numbers. Think Johan and his first year in NY....
27. Dustin Pedroia - .300+/20/80+/20/100+R is fantastic if you're going for position scarcity.

28. Roy Halladay - He's as gritty as you can get and a rock on your staff for every category.
29. Carl Crawford - 40+ SB but I still don't think you'll see the 20+ HR that analysts have been waiting for.
30. Carlos Beltran - Same as Berkman, consistent numbers every year but new talent pushes him down.
31. Matt Kemp - Has superstar potential but he is virtually the same player as Alex Rios, just 3-4 years younger.
32. Evan Longoria - So much hype, has 30+HR power, but K's are a killer and he'll probably bat under .280.

33. Jacoby Ellsbury - Grady Sizemore with less HR, but more SB and BA.34. Jake Peavy - Down year, nagging injuries, crappy team, but still young, ton of potential so look for a big comeback.
35. Lance Berkman - So much talent in this draft pool that solid players like Berkman get pushed down for more hype.
36. Brandon Webb - An elite SP who is consistent and durable and contributes in every category.
37. Justin Morneau - Expect a slight increase in power and possibly a slight decreas in BA in '09.
38. Adrian Gonzalez - Has the power potential and talent to rank just below Fielder and Tex.
39. Brandon Phillips - Doesn't look like 30/30 will happen but if '08 turns out to be a down year, Phillips could be a bargain!
40. Cole Hamels - Has elite top 5 skill, but pitched deep into post-season, so he's a risk. Think Josh Beckett in 2008.
41. Vladimir Guerrero - He's getting older but last year everyone said Manny was done, I think Vlad is a bargain here.
42. Francisco Rodriguez - He won't save 62 again, but 40+ and studly numbers no matter where he pitches is expected.
43. Jonathon Papelbon - If you miss on K-Rod, you can't miss with Papelbon.
44. Russell Martin - These next 3 are are interchangeable but Martin adds 15+SB potential or 20/15 potential.
45. Joe Mauer - Mauer is your BA guy but if he hits for more power, that BA will drop. I think he sticks with the BA.
46. Brian McCann - .300/25/100 potential..... HE'S STILL ONLY 24!!!!
47. Joe Nathan - Just as talented as K-Rod and Papelbon, but with less hype!
48. Kevin Youkilis - He is emerging as a bonafide fantasy stud and he's only going to get better.
49. Dan Haren - Has top 5 talent but hype of others pushes him down slightly.
50. Geovany Soto - 2008 ROY has .280+/25+ potential.

The following players could easily be considered in the top 50 and as you look at rankings in other magazines or on other websites, you'll see the differences. These players are on The Fantasy Man's bubble....

Curtis Granderson

Alex Rios - Instead of overpaying for the Matt Kemp hype, wait until the 5th and steal Rios who had identical stats in '08
Magglio Ordonez
Aramis Ramirez
Jason Bay
Josh Beckett
Scott Kazmir
Brian Roberts
Corey Hart
Nick Markakis
Nate McLouth
Ryan Ludwick

Changes as the off-season progresses...
11.10.08
- I swapped Dustin Pedroia (now 27) and Jacoby Ellsbury (now 33). Players like Carlos Beltran and Carl Crawford should be gone before Ellsbury, or else you are reaching. Plus, it's unlikely Pedroia lasts past the 3rd round anyway in any draft!

Comments? Talk to me. Leave a comment below and let the debates begin...
FM

2009 CBS League of Champions Slow Mock Draft

It's only October but The Fantasy Man is already prepping for Fantasy Baseball 2009. The first order of business? A 2009 CBS Fantasy Baseball League of Champions Slow Mock Draft. Champions and Experts from all over the country who have won CBS fantasy leagues are getting a chance to participate in this mock draft with some of the CBS guru's like Eric Mack and David Gonos. Throw in Jeff Boggis from Fantasy Baseball Empire and the infamous Todd Zola from FantasyBaseball.com and you have yourself a 'helluva' mock draft!

Click this link to view the participants and to keep track of our picks as we complete the draft.http://fantasynews.sportsline.com/fantasybaseball/story/11012417

Team Fantasy ManThis draft has been a little funny with some players going off the board ridiculously early and some players you'd expect to be gone, were still there. What I like about expert leagues is that most of these guys like to take risks. Since most experts think they know all the secret information about players or they have insane "man-crushes", they like to jump on the young guys with potential much too early. Normally, The Fantasy Man drafts like that, but after this past season, I am gearing myself more towards durable and consistent players who have proven themselves. I know, that's what everyone says, but each pick I make in this draft will be a smart one with a reason behind it....I hope. Sometimes I'll say it's the potential, but most times you'll get a legit reason why, especially in the first 10 or so rounds. In most cases, there is some mix of durability or consistency in numbers year in and year out with all my picks. Then again, once you see how my pitching staff is shaping up, you can probably throw that last sentence out the window. I'm just a sucker for undervalued superstars! Just wait until you see what this pitching staff looks like when its all said and done. So here, I will keep track of this draft and my team and hopefully get you the insight you need to complete a better draft when it's your turn this spring.

The Draft is now Complete!Feel free to post your comments on my picks as some already have. Please be a little more descriptive than just "I don't agree with that pick". Give us a reason why so we can talk about it in hopes that we can all learn from this experience heading into 2009.

Round 1 - Jimmy Rollins
I had the 11th pick in the draft so with the wraparound I was confident I could take anyone. I had Ryan Braun, Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, Jimmy Rollins, Matt Holliday, Miguel Cabrera, Josh Hamilton and David Ortiz in my queue since the beginning as the guys I thought would drop to 11th. Ryan Howard went 5th, Braun went 8th and Hamilton was picked before me. At first, my initial thought was I'd load up on power with Howard/Fielder. I thought their low batting averages would let them last into the early 2nd. i was wrong as I originally thought Rollins would already be gone by 11 as well. I was wrong again. So I decided to take Rollins as I was sitting there comparing him to Grady Sizemore Your going to get some similar numbers in BA, R, SB, and maybe RBI's. Sizemore will hit more HR but Rollins plays at a weak fantasy position this year. Plus, Sizemore was nabbed at 9th so Rllins was an easy pick. I don't expect Rollins to hit 30 HR and I think 20 will be close if he doesn't crap out like he did this year. What I really wanted was the 35-40 SB with the 120+ runs at the weak position.


Round 2 - Matt Holliday
Todd Zola went and picked Cabrera and Ian Kinsler, leaving me the opportunity to choose between Prince Fielder, Mark Teixiera, Matt Holliday and David Ortiz. I took Holliday. I felt like regardless of what happens, Tex, Fielder, and Papi could and should all easily hit 35 HR with a ton of RBI, etc. But, they all carry a little baggage. Tex always seems to slump in the 1st half, Papi is recovering from that wrist injury and has been atrocious in the playoffs at the plate, and Fielder had what we feel in fantasy circles as a down year. Holliday also had somewhat of a down year as he failed to hit 30+HR, but he still hit .320+ with 28 SB and 25 HR. He was hurt a bit, nagging injuries, and the Rockies just did not have that explosiveness this season which I think were all factors. Throw in the frustrating contract talks and I think that contributed to a down season for Holliday. Anyway, I couldn't pass up the high average with the 30+/100+/20+ potential. He won't steal 30 and even 25 might be a stretch in 2009, but if he steals 15-20 and goes 30/100 with a .320 BA, then I made the right choice.


Round 3 - Carlos Quentin
This was an all upside pick here. This dude hit 36 HR in only 480AB while only striking out 80 times and adding 7 SB. He's an OBP/OPS hog and certainly has .300+ potential. Quentin was hot all year and honestly this pick was going to be between Ichiro Suzuki and Big Papi who both were still up on the board. As it turned out, everyone though Quentin was picked in the 2nd round, but Geoffrey Precourt I guess decided he wanted Manny Ramirez instead so they reversed that pick and threw Quentin back in the draft. Since we are working off 2007 rankings (2008 not updated yet), Quentin was listed a few pages down in the rankings. So once everyone thought he was gone, nobody cared to look and notice he was still there. Lucky me I guess. So now, instead of Ichiro, I grab the big time power potential who proved he can mash, finally. The low K rate is what was attracting along with his age of course. So now, since I had more power, I was hoping to steal Ichiro with my 4th pick on the wrap around. I would have had 3 OF's already but the boost in overall numbers in BA, SB, and R with Ichiro's consistency would allow me to concentrate on more power and pitching over the next few picks.

Round 4 - David OrtizWould you know it, Ichiro was picked right after Quentin. So now I was praying that Big Papi would make it through to me in the 4th and he did. Now I had Quentin, Holliday and Ortiz as my big power guys. I'm comfortable with that but one or two more 30+ guys would be nice to grab. I certainly feel that Ortiz will bounce back this year. I mean, how can he not? I know he has a wrist injury to fully recover from but this was a no brainer for me. Ortiz is an instant .290/40/120+ guy and you'd have to be crazy to think that he won't rebound in 2009 with a full healthy year. I also realize that Manny is gone, but Papi is still a monster!

Round 5 - Russell Martin

This was an easy one as I had Joe Mauer and Martin in my queue, then I had a bunch of pitchers. I figure if these guys were gone, I'd load up on 2-3 SP's. Actually, Jon Papelbon was the first on that list of pitchers but both Papelbon and Mauer went ahead of me, so I grabbed Martin. Good solid numbers this year and was a top 36 pick last year, so I felt I was getting a great value in the late 5th for a top 3 fantasy catcher who has an opportunity to possibly hit next to Manny in the lineup. Plus, Martin is durable which played a huge part in this decision where as Mauer would have been much more risky for not much more fantasy stats.

Round 6 - Josh BeckettBeckett was really the only elite SP still on the board when I picked on the wraparound. I think the fact that he's been slightly injured these past few weeks has put this stigma around Beckett which has dropped him down in rankings these past few weeks. Oh well, lucky me I guess. Last year we were picking Beckett in the lte 3rd in some leagues. This again was another nice value and a good start to my staff. I figured I'd better start now because SP's will start flying off the board. But, guys like Curtis Granderson, Alex Rios, Chipper Jones, etc., are still on the board and it was hard not to pick these guys who also seem a bit undervalued as these are also players who were being picked in the 3rd and 4th rounds in last years draft and are still young! Plus, go and compare Matt Kemp's numbers to Alex Rios' in 2008. Not much different right? Rios is older and Kemp has a higher ceiling but look at that big difference making Rios a bit undervalued.

Round 7 - Carlos Pena
Fact is, I was all ready to take an SP like John Lackey or Dice-K but I just couldn't pass up the 40HR/120RBI potential. Sorry, call me a bonehead but here is another guy that is undervalued because of the slump he was in this year (and suffered an injury). He has serious power potential in the middle of his prime. Simply couldn't pass this up! Period! Plus, plenty of solid middle-tier SP's available for later picks. You'll see what I have up my sleeve after a few more rounds.

Round 8 - Derek Jeter
Duh. No Brainer. 3/4's of my infield is complete and I got the most consistent and most durable .300/15/75/15 hitter in the game. I simply made this pick for peace-of-mind!

Round 9 - Joba Chamberlain
Pitchers are starting to fly right now and all the elite's are gone. Next is the "soon-to-be elite's! So since I'm a Yankee homer and Joba is my new favorite role model, I couldn't pass him up here. He has electric stuff and the Yankees just this weekend said he'll "probably" be a starter in 2009, and that's good enough for me! So I made the pick and got market value. As long as he stays healthy, I made a great choice here. Then, I go to work for the day, I come home and find out Joba got arrested with a DUI. Nice job! Thanks man! ..... still my favorite role model though. He apologized right away, so I forgive him and will give Joba a second chance on my fantasy team!


Round 10 - Rich Harden
At this point, my offense was solid and I only had Beckett and Joba for a staff. My first thought was saves. With Brad Lidge gone by the end of the 8th and Bobby Jenks still on the board, my finger was on the draft button. BUT, I thought about it for a second and thought that Rich Harden also has electric stuff. When he's healthy, he's amazing and essentially I am getting another Joba Chamberlain type a round later. So assuming both Joba and Harden stay healthy, I have two amazing SP's with amazing potential in my rotation. Again, too hard to pass up. Plus, still plenty of closers I can grab in the next round.

Round 11 - Ben Sheets
So here is what I was saying in the intro. I wanted consistency and durability and my last 3 picks were Joba, Harden and Sheets! I might as well draft Mark Prior next! I didn't stay true to my word but how can Ben Sheets, after picthing 198 Ip in 2008 still be on the board at the end of the 11th round? We all know he's elite when healthy and his numbers this year were great despite a few less K's than normal. Again, I thought about a closer but the elites are gone. Now I can't wait to see what the next pick will bring....

Round 12- Aaron Harang
How could I pass up Harang here? I always like proven players who either had a down year or are coming back from injury and Harang fits the bill perfectly. He's a candidate for 200K/200IP with an ERA under 4 and a WHIP under 1.30 and that's a bit undervalued I think in round 12. Plus, now my staff is nasty looking if everyone stays healthy, which could be a long shot.

Round 13 - Jensen Lewis
I had to break down and get a closer at some point and Lewis provides enough upside for me to pick him at 13. He was lights out in September so I think he'll emerge as closer in 2009.


Round 14 - Mark Reynolds
Some might say Reynolds is a stretch but I have some solid batting average players so I went strictly for power at 3B. I don't care about the K's here or the potential bad average as I just wanted the 30+ potential HR's.

Round 15 - Jose Lopez
Did you know Lopez was fourth in the majors with 191 hits? He batted .290 with only 67 K. Lopez quietly hit 17 HR with 98 RBI and he's only 25. I need a 2B and with Rickie Weeks (I refuse to pick) and Placido Polanco left on the board as the only decent second basemen left, Lopez was an easy choice.

Round 16 - Yadier Molina
I was hoping for Bengie Molina but he was picked right in front of me. Yadier was second in the league in BA at .304 and only 29 K in 444 AB. I like guys with a low K rate and Molina is still only 26. I like his upside with potential to break out 10-15 HR.


Round 17 - Mike Lowell
Need a CI and I had Carlos Guillen, Mike Lowell and Hank Blalock qued up. Guillen lasted until the early 17th, I snapped up Lowell and Blalock went right after me. I took Lowell because I feel he'll bounce back and deliver a .280/20/90 type of season. His number were actually decent in his shortened injury-plagued season (except for his BA), so I think a healthy season could produce the above mentioned results making Lowell a somewhat safe pick here, safer than Hank Blalock who has more power potential.

Round 18 - Adam Jones
I still had 3 OF slots left and I love the upside of Jones. His numbers look like poop at first glance and that's good for those of you in need a of a nice sleeper that has a nice combo of power/speed. Jones showed in the minors that he could potentially be a 20/20 guy, so the upside is there. He's only 23 and he was absolutely terrible most of the first half, which really hampered his overall numbers. Jones was also was out for the month of August with an injury but he did heat up in June and July where he hit 5 of his 9 HR. Jones was clearly an upside pick here.


Round 19 - Michael Bourn
This one is a bit risky. Bourn clearly has 50+ SB potential but he was clearly atrocious at the plate in 2008. He did however hit .281 in September so there is some light at the end of the tunnel. If he leads off again in 2009, I'll feel like I made a good pick. Plus, I clearly need another big time SB threat as Jimmy Rollins was my only SB guy.
Round 20 - Frank Francisco
Again, the solid closers are all off the board. Francisco was solid late last year for Texas and is still young enough to have some upside. I feel like he'll start he season at closer. Otherwise, I'm looking at Kevin Gregg, Saloman Torres, Troy Percival, etc. I was actually looking at Mike Gonzalez but he was gone too.

Round 21 - Chris CarpenterEveryone knows Carpenter was a top5 SP going into the 2007 season but ended up busting up his elbow. He looked solid in his return late in 2008 and I like his chances of making a solid comeback in the rotation in 2009. Worst case scenario, he ends up as a closer. Unlikely, but I can't lose here. Carpenter as an 8th SP on this squad is insane!

Round 22 - Nelson R. Cruz
Who can ignore what Cruz did in the minors in 2008! CBS has been dubbing Cruz a "Quadruple-A" player for the last 2 years. I'd say if a guy can hit .330+ with 39 HR in AAA and then come up and hit 7 HR in 115 AB while batting .330 in the majors in September, then he's worth a look on my team in this mock draft. Again, still plenty if other serviceable OF's on the wire if Cruz craps out. However, there is .300/25+/90+ potential just oozing out here, especially with Hank Blalock testing free agency! Big time sleeper in my book!


Round 23 - Jonathan SanchezWhy is Sanchez still on the board here? probably because of his inconsitency in 2008 and the fact that the Giants stink! Still, this guy is oozing with potential the way Rickie Weeks oozes with potential, and then disappointment. Sanchez is still young, posses the potentially fantastic K/IP rate, and is yet another fantastic sleeper option for 2009!

Team Fantasy Man (As of right now!)
C - Russell Martin R5
C - Yadier Molina R16
1B - Carlos Pena R7

2B - Jose Lopez R15
3B - Mark Reynolds R14

SS - Jimmy Rollins R1
MI - Derek Jeter R8
CI - Mike Lowell R17
OF - Matt Holliday R2
OF - Carlos Quentin R3
OF - Adam Jones R18
OF - Michael Bourn R19

OF - Nelson R. Cruz R22
DH - David Ortiz R4

P - Josh Beckett R6
P - Joba Chamberlain R9
P - Rich Harden R10
P - Ben Sheets R11

P - Aaron Harang R12
P - Jensen Lewis R13
P - Frank Francisco R20
P - Chris Carpenter R21
P - Jonathan Sanchez R23