Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Fantasy Man's Top 20 Minor League Prospects of 2009

The Fantasy Man's Top 20 Minor League Prospects for 2009. These are the minor leaguers I have my eye on for the upcoming season as players who could make the biggest impact in 2009, or even just an impact. All of these players have a chance to make the team out of the spring or at least a chance to be called up by mid-season.......

1. David Price, SP, TB - 23 - Price is a rarity in baseball maturity. Think Tim Lincecum. Think Joba Chamberlain. Think LaBron James. Price is awesome, plain and simple. You saw what he could do when he closed out Game 7 of the ALCS against the Red Sox. Price is 6'6" 225lbs with tantalizing stuff and fantastic command. As it stands, Price will fit in at the end of the rotation in Tampa and probably give you about 180 IP. Be prepared for him to be shut down in September possibly if he pulls a Lincecum-like rookie year but it looks as if he'll start the year in the rotation barring any spring set backs. If you want Price on your fantasy team, expect to pay about $8-$12 depending on hype in your league and expect to select him by round 10 in a 12 team mixed league draft if you really want him!

2. Matt Wieters, C, BAL - 22 - Between A and AA, Wieters hit .355/27/91 with a .454OBP and a 1.054OPS. What makes Wieters more intriguing is the 76K with 82BB all in 437AB. Those are Bugs Bunny numbers. The Orioles traded Ramon Hernandez to Cincinnati leaving the door wide open for Wieters. Assuming he experiences some growing pains but continues to be an OBP guy, I think it's safe to say with 450+ AB, Wieters can be a .280/20/80 guy in his first season barring any set backs. Draft him by round 13 if you're targeting him in snake drafts. He's a $5-$8 player in auction drafts.

3. Cameron Maybin, OF, FLA - 21 - Some have already said that Maybin could be the Hanley Ramirez of the Outfield this year. I seriously doubt that but Maybin does have some extreme potential. What we don't know yet however is what Maybin's ceiling really is. Maybin is 6'4" 200lbs, so he has the frame to hit 20+HR eventually, maybe even 30+ or 40 + as he fills out, we don't know yet. What we like about Maybin now, is his speed! Think Carlos Gomez with better on base skills and the same K rate. They are clones in size. In 2008, the Marlins, who acquired Maybin in a deal for Miguel Cabrera in the off season, kept Maybin down in the minors for the entire season. In AA, Maybin batted .277 with 13 HR and 21 SB along with a .375 OBP thanks to his 60 BB. What's alarming however is the 124 K in 390AB. Yikes! Naturally, Maybin's speed promotes more doubles and triples making him a potential points league or H2H leagues dream. As of now, Maybin plans to compete for the CF job for 2009. From early reports, it seems that it's not if Maybin will make the team or not, it's whether or not Maybin will lead off or bat at the bottom of the lineup. Hanley Ramirez hasn't show he can be a #3 hitter yet and with Uggla already entrenched in the #2 spot, it's possible Maybin gets pushed down to accomodate Hanley. Personally, I think Hanley should be and will be batting 3rd, and Maybin will get the nod at lead off! If that happens, I'm looking at a .270/12HR/30+SB type of season with 500+ AB from Maybin. Draft in or after the 16th round as a 4th or 5th OF and steal for $2-$4 in the auction!

4. Kila Ka'aihue, 1B, KC - 25 - Kila blasted his way through AA and AAA in 2008 putting up Daffy Duck numbers like .313/37HR/99RBI/.452OBP/1.086OPS with 104BB and only 66K. This guy is an OBP/OPS hog and reminds you of a potential Ryan Howard type. He's a big dude at 6'3" 230lbs. and could get the nod at 1B or DH in 2009 despite the log jam with Billy Butler and Mike Jacobs. Kila is a little older at 25 but there's not much use for this guy in AAA. Definitely a player with extreme power potential and on base skills to make an impact in 2009. If the Royals are smart, they'll start this guy at 1B, Billy Butler at DH, and use Mike Jacobs off the bench.

5. Travis Snider, OF, TOR - 21 - Snider had a nice showing after being called up by the Blue Jays last season as he hit .301/2HR/13RBI in 73 AB. He also had 23 K but the dude was only 20 years old. Between High A and AAA last season, Snider batted .275/23HR/91RBI/61BB/153K in 484AB. Yes, the K's are quite alarming but if he has a chance to make the team out of spring training, you'll have to suffer the growing pains with Snider. He'll have immediate 20+HR power and with 400+AB, can probably knock in 75+RBI if he gets consistent playing time. The 61 BB in the minors last year is a great indicator that there is better things to come, especially in the OBP department. Grab this guy for a buck or at the end of your snake draft and stash on that bench for a bigger second half. He'll probably start slow, but he had loads of upside!

6. Max Ramirez, C, TEX - 24 - Ramirez came out of nowhere to post some insane numbers between AA and AAA as a catcher batting .347/19/57 with 69K, 42BB, a .439OBP and a 1.067OPS in 285AB. The walks and the high OBP potential make up for the K's but Ramirez has 20+HR power in that catcher spot. The question is.... will he have a full time job coming out of the spring? If the Rangers can find a way to trade Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Hank Blalock, Ramirez could definitely get a shot at either C or DH. He'll be battling Taylor Teagarden for that spot. My prediction is that Ramirez wins over Teagarden if Saltalamacchia and Blalock both stay.
7. Matt LaPorta, 1B, CLE - 24 - LaPorta batted .279/22/74 with a .386 OBP in 362 in AA (Cleveland and San Diego) as he was the cernterpiece in the C.C. Sabathia trade. LaPorta also played on the U.S. Olympic team in '08. LaPorta will provide a fair share of walks and K's but I'm still trying to decide if he's an Evan Longoria type or a Connor Jackson type. The jury is still out. I have a feeling LaPorta will start the year in AAA but certainly be a mid-season call up. Great player to grab at the end of your draft and stash. He's a player that could be drafted late by a manager or might be saved for the waiver wire. Keep an eye on the hype this spring.

8. Tommy Hanson, SP, ATL - 22 - Hanson is a monster at 6'6" 210lbs. He put himself on the map in 2008 when he threw a 14-K No Hitter for Double A Mississippi. At that point in the season, Hanson only brought his ERA down to 4.32. By the end of 2008, Hanson's line was 11-5, 2.41ERA, 0.99WHIP, 163K in 138IP. Those are awesome numbers between High A and Double A. Hanson has a real chance to make the Atlanta rotation out of spring training and is a great guy to take a flier on! The question is.... do you think Hanson can beat out a guy like Charlie Morton for that 5th spot based on last years numbers? I do.

9. Andrew McCutchen, OF, PIT - 22 - McCutchen was great in AAA last season batting .283/9HR/32SB/.372OBP/only 87K with 68BB in 512AB. That's a sweet season for a guy who could probably start in CF right now. Nate McLouth is currently your starting CF but I wouldn't mind seeing Pittsburgh shift McLouth to LF to make room for the future in McCutchen. Or, better yet, why doesn't Pittsburgh pack it in like usual and trade McLouth to a winner and then make room for McCutchen. Either way, McCutchen will get a chance to play in 2009. He has a great batting eye, keeps the K's to a minimum and has 30+SB speed. Throw in 15HR and you maybe have a Shane Victorino type but 3 inches taller.

10. Taylor Teagarden, C, TEX - 25 - Teagarden hit 6 HR in 47 AB after being called up last season while batting .319 in that span. In the minors, Teagarden only hit .211 in 2008 with 9 HR in 246 AB. However, in 2007, TT hit .300/27HR in 394 AB. When you look at the minor league numbers the past few years, they are not all that intriguing. Yes, TT has some power and showed it off in his 47 AB, but he strikes out a ton. In 756 AB in his minor league career, he has 249 K. Throw on top of that the competition for 3B, 1B, C, and DH between Teagarden, Max Ramirez, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Hank Blalcok, and Chris Davis, someone is going to get left behind, and despite what other experts think, I feel that it will be Teagarden. Unless a move is made, i.e. Saltalamacchia to Boston or Hank Blalock to SF, I think Teagarden starts the year in the minors. If a move is made, Teagraden makes a great #2 catcher with upside at the end of the draft.

11. Fernando Martinez, OF, NYM - 20 - This guy is the pride and joy of the Mets farm system. No matter what, the Mets won't include Martinez in a trade. Somehow, the Mets kept him out of the Johan Santana deal and so far in this off-season, the Mets have kept him out again. I think they're going to go with some combination of Carlos Beltran, Ryan Church, Josh Reed, Daniel Murphy and Fernando Tatis in the outfield with Beltran and Church as the mainstays while the other guys hold the fort for Martinez to mature. Martinez possesses a fantastic power/speed combo as he had 8HR and 6SB in 352AB. Those numbers don't jump off the page at you but Martinez is only 20 but he missed some time last year with some injury. Martinez probably won't make the team out of spring training but could be a mid season call up if A. the Mets are decimated with injury or B. Martinez absolutely tears up AA.

12. Angel Salome, C, MIL - 22 - A young solid contact hitting catcher with some power could push Jason Kendall for playing time by midseason or 2010. In AA Huntsville, Salome batted .360,13HR,83RBI,3SB,.414OBP with only 57K and 33BB in 367AB. This is a guy to watch, especially if he hits in AAA. You probably don't need to stash him because he's not really on the radar, well, except for mine. Keep this guy on the back-burner as he may become useful either by midseason or for 2010.

13. Jess Todd, SP, STL - 22
- Todd blew up in the minors in 2008 pitching at all three levels and posting a combined line of 2.88ERA/1.03WHIP/136K/42BB in 153IP. Throw in that he only gave up 16 total HR, held batters to a .213BA, and has a K per 9 rate of 8. The Cardinals rotation looks set at the moment, but here is a guy who could start the year in the bullpen and be that 6th starter. We'll see Todd at some point in 2009 with a chance to crack the rotation with an injury. There is already talk that Chris Carpenter might not be ready to start the season and that's the opportunity Todd needs who word is, could probably be the #3 started right now behind Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter!

14. Neftali Feliz, SP, TEX - 20 - Between Low A and AA last season, Feliz produced a line of 2.69ERA/1/10WHIP/153K in 127IP. Wait, what? 153 K in 127IP?? That's right! This guy is a flame thrower, that of the 100MPH club. 106K in 82IP in Low A and 47K in 45IP in AA. Not bad for a guy no one has ever heard of. What I love best is his opportunity to crack the rotation at some point in 2009. I mean,look at this competition.... Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Matt Harrison, Brandon McCarthy, Dustin Nippert, Kason Gabbard, Eric Hurley, Luis Mendoza, and Scott Feldman. It's almost laughable.....
15. Matt Gamel, 3B, MIL - 23 - Gamel has Ryan Braun like hitting potential. In 2008, Gamel batted .325/20/99/.392OBP/6SB in 529AB between AA and AAA. There is talk that Mat Gamel can make the team out of the spring but I think he's more of a mid-season call up as he'd have to beat out Bill Hall and Mike Lamb. The real problem is his defense, which was the same reason why Ryan Braun didn't make the team out of Spring Training in 2007.

16. Kyle Blanks, 1B, SD - 22 - Blanks has power potential and has proved it in the minors thus far but he's blocked by Adrian Gonzalez. What I like here is that the rest of the Padres offense is dismal outside of Kevin Kouzmanoff and Chase Headley. I'm thinking Blanks could make a switch to RF possibly as an option to get him in the lineup. Otherwise, maybe the Padres can trade him in the Jake Peavy deal where he'll get some playing time. In 2007 A Ball, Blanks hit .301/24HR/100RBI/11SB/.380OBP and only 98K with 44BB in 465AB. Then, in 2008 in AA, Blanks hit .325/20HR/107RBI/5SB/.404OBP and only 94 K with 51BB in 492AB. As you can see, Blanks performed better at the next level (AA) while decreasing his K's and increasing his BB with about 30 more AB. I like that potential. I'm confident we'll see this bat somewhere in late 2009 and right now no one is talking about him!

17. Colby Rasmus, OF, STL - 22 - Rasmus is one of the most talented prospects in the Cardinals farm system, but last years poor performance in the minors might have dropped Rasmus down a notch. Still, at 22, the talent is there as is the upside and a quality spring will put Rasmus back on the map and even more so if the Cardinals trade Rick Ankiel either before the season starts or at the July deadline. Ankiel is playing for a new contract this year which could open a spot for Rasmus. Rasmus is a Power/Speed guy, potential 20/20 but at this point, might only be a .275 type hitter as he whiffs a lot. Rasmus is a guy you draft in the last round or spend a buck on and stash as he has the talent to be called up and perform immediately.

18. Wade Davis, SP, TB - 23 - Davis is the next top pitching prospect in line for the Rays. If by chance David Price ends up in the bullpen, Davis would be a candidate to get that 5th spot. Otherwise, he's next in line after Price. Last season between AA and AAA Davis produced a combined 3.47ERA/1.30WHIP/136K in 160IP. The numbers are inflated a bit as his AA stint was only mediocre while the 53IP in AAA were stellar. Davis has nasty stuff, stands in a 6'5" 220lbs., and looks like a K/IP type of pitcher. Keep an eye in spring training to get a sense on whether to draft late or save for a waiver wire pick up. I'd recommend a last round flier and stash on a deep bench because he'll see time in late 2009.

19. J.P. Arencibia, C, TOR - Arencibia is 23, was a 1st round pick and in two minor league seasons (2007 in A and 2008 in AA), he batted .298/27/105 in 510AB. However, Arencibia has totaled only 101 K's but with only 18 BB and a .322 OBP in those two seasons, so there is much to work on. This is a guy you grab for a buck though and stash on the bench in deep leagues until July or August a la Matt Weiters or Max Ramirez of 2008. This is a guy we might be talking about for 2010!

20. Mike Moustakas, 3B, KC - 22 - Batted .272/21HR/71RBI/8SB/86K/44BB in 496AB. He can play SS or 3B and those numbers remind me of an Evan Longoria type. These are Low A numbers so there a good chance he'll start the season in High A or AA but has a great chance to be called up in September and explode. He's a highly touted prospect who gets pushed to the side a bit because he's with Kansas City, but if he gets SS eligibility, he'll become even more of a hot commodity as a prospect to watch for 2010.

On the Bubble:Pedro Alvarez, 3B, PIT - 22 - Alvarez was a top pick in the 2008 draft but some say he's ready for the bigs right now! The Padres still have Andy LaRoche and prospect Neil Walker above Alvarez on the depth charts but a good spring and hot start in the minors could shoot Alvarez up the charts. Keep an eye on his progress in the spring. His estimated time of arrival with a good showing in the minors in 2009 is 2010!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Join The Fantasy Man for a 2009 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft on TUE DEC. 30 at 11AM Est.

JOIN the Fantasy Man for a MOCK DRAFT TOMORROW, TUESDAY DEC. 30th at 11AM EST at www.MockDraftCentral.com

To participate, go to MDC and sign up for a free account or pay for the fantasy baseball package so you can do mock drafts whenever you want!

This specific draft is a 12 team, 23 man roster, mixed league, roto, 5x5 with 2C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, MI, CI, 5OF, 1DH, 9P. I'll probably post this mock draft here at Fantasy Baseball Express. Also, I'd be happy to include any write ups about your strategies and thoughts of the draft. No need to email me (however, please feel free to post a comment here that says you will be attending), just go and sign up at MDC and be ready to draft by 11AM eastern on Tuesday morning.

If you ask me what the best way to prepare yourself for a successful rotisserie fantasy baseball season is, it's participating in mock drafts with serious people. Mock Draft Central has a fantastic platform to help you elevate your came. try it out and you'll see what I mean.....

The Fantasy Man

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Fantasy Man's first Fantasy Baseball Short Film

"Stupid Boss Doing A Fantasy Baseball Draft At Work"
Starring John Iavarone of J2 Comedy

A Timeless Classic.......

This video was made for The Fantasy Man
as part of a new initiative called Fantasy Man Entertainment in an attempt to add some creativeness that the fantasy sports industry desperately needs.....

Enjoy! And please go ahead and rate the video and send it to friends and league mates. If you like, we will do our best to produce more videos in the near future.

Here is the link to the video in case you cannot view this....

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

2009 Christmas Day Spectacular Podcast NOW PLAYING!

The Fantasy Man's 2009 Christmas Day Spectacular podcast is now available!

Go to
www.Libsyn.com to listen or download The Fantasy Man's Podcast! This Spectacular is all about the Snake Draft! Learn how to master this years draft and arm yourself with everything from draft preparation tips to sleepers to the only players The Fantasy Man considers.

Click here to subscribe to the Podcast!

I also want to wish you and your families a happy, healthy and safe holiday!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Waiver Wire

I found a fantastic blog the other day that is managed by Alex Zelvin called The Waiver Wire! It's great site if you need up-to-date information on players you might expect to see on the...... waiver wire.... naturally. However, at this point in the off-season, Alex points out some of the names that could be nice/not-so-nice sleepers going into 2009. So check out The Waiver Wire and stay up-to-date before the draft and during the season.

Actually, check out the analysis on a few players recently posted....
Joel Hanrahan
Daniel Cabrera
Greg Reynolds
John Lannon

Josh Fields

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Carlos Quentin Complete's Me!

It's about time I set the record straight, I have an extreme man-crush on Carlos Quentin for the 2009 Fantasy Baseball season. I'm not going to lie, it's a strong feeling and at times, it may make my wife a bit jealous. You see, I have to try to stop bringing Carlos' name up at the dinner table or when we're out running errands, but if there was one player with monster upside you could count on, it's Carlos Quentin. I have said recently that I love the potential of Quentin and I have already drafted Quentin quite early in the two expert mock drafts like the 2009 CBS League of Champions Expert League Draft and the 2009 Fantasy Man's Early Bird Expert Mock Draft. Quentin even slipped to me in the 3rd round of Mock Draft Central's first 2009 Expert Draft. With this post, I wanted to justify why I believe in Quentin for those who still don't agree.

I'm going to start with a conservative projection. Yes, I'm being serious, this is a modest projection for 2009.... .290/30HR/110RBI/100R/7SB. What you are looking at is a Carlos Lee alternative in the late 2nd round of a 12 team mixed league draft. However, when I mentioned "monster upside" above, I believe there is potential for .300+/40+/120+/100+/10 which certainly puts Quentin on par with guys like Albert Pujols, A-Rod, Ryan Braun, Miguel Cabrera, maybe Mark Teixeira, and possibly even Prince Fielder. I know it's risky to get this crazy on a guy who has only done it for one season, but let's take a look at the numbers. Plus, if anyone remembers, I got crazy for Nate McLouth based on his 2007 numbers (a half a season's worth) and look what he did in 2008. I'm on a roll. Sometimes I'm wrong, i.e. Ronny Paulino and Felipe Lopez, but sometimes I'm right!

In 2007, Quentin hit .288/36HR/100RBI/96R/7SB in 480 AB with a .394OBP/.571SLG/.965OPS (which are fantastic H2H numbers by the way). Quentin also had 66BB with only 80K. Those numbers are insane, and he missed a whole month because of stupidity after he punched a wall. His only slow month was June when he hit .266 but with 5 HR and 13 RBI, and that's when everyone thought the Carlos Quentin's run was over. Plus, he hit .274 with 21HR and 48RBI at home while hitting .300 on the road. But just think for a minute, we haven't even talked about the minor leagues yet and here is a guy who had a break out year at 26 years old and 480AB. He turns 27 in August 2009 and imagine if he had another 120AB or so. So not only does Quentin make a nice roto 5x5 pick, he's an even better option in H2H leagues that count OBP/SLG/OPS/BB/K/etc.

In four minor league seasons (drafted in the 1st round of 2003), Quentin has a career minor league line of .313/55HR/257RBI/19SB/169BB/187K/.413OBP/.527SLG/.940OPS in 1337AB.
With the exception of his first minor league season (2004), Quentin sported a .400+ OBP in each of the following three seasons. He hit .300+ in every season but 2006 (.289), and in 2005, his biggest season in the minors with 452 AB, Quentin had 21HR and more BB (72) than K's (71). These are huge indicators! Now, take a look at the minor league line and then look at his 2008 stats. What do you notice? I notice a major league BA that could increase, the 100+ RBI potential is obvious, and I am a believer that his minor league OBP/SLG/OPS carried over into 2008 and thus will continue to remain consistent into 2009. If those stats stay consistent in 2009, there is no reason to believe Quentin won't be a .290/35/120/100/10 type player with that "monster upside" I mentioned earlier. Period.

What hurts the fantasy value of Quentin aside from his 2008 break out is the poor showings in his first two chances in the majors in 2006 and 2007. Quentin only had 166AB in 2006 with a poor showing which is normal and he did suffer a shoulder injury in early 2007 which pretty much blew more than half that season. So it's understandable why he did not perform in two years and I think that sticks out in the minds of most fantasy managers who don't do the research. I have done the research for you here. If there was ever a fantasy player who you could draft after a one year breakout and feel confident he can do it again, it's Quentin. He put up the same solid numbers all through the minors which realistically match his 2008 totals. Carlos Quentin is for real people.

Let's talk fantasy draft for a minute. Here is a fact..... no matter what I say here or what your opinion of Quentin, fact is, he'll be gone by the time your pick in the 3rd round comes. If he lasts past the late 3rd, I think we can all agree that he'd be a steal! I think what's in question is whether or not he's more of an early 2nd round pick or an early 3rd round pick. I'd agree that Quentin should not be choosen in the first round, but I do believe that by the end of 2009, we will be saying that Quentin deserved a late 1st round or early second round pick. Also, if you choose Quentin in your top 15 or top 20, like I did in one of the drafts I linked above, you are most likely passing up on Outfielders like Manny Ramirez, Carl Crawford, Carlos Beltran, maybe B.J. Upton to name a few, and if you are really high on Quentin you might even draft him over Carlos Lee. In auction leagues, I'd say Quentin is close to a $25-$30 player with White Sox fans and managers with a man-crush going as far as $35, which might be over paying a tad. But, I am telling you now, it's a good bet. You are putting all your chips on the table with Quentin this early, but you'll at least split the pot, no less.

So be confident with your pick of Quentin. Barring any setback or freak injuries, Quentin is a guy you can build a team around and he should still be somewhat cheap for the type of stats he'll put up compared to some of the other comparable players like Carlos Lee, Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, etc.

Comments? Yay or nay on Quentin in the 2nd round?

Don't forget to check out The Fantasy Man's newest creation at www.FantasyPlayersExpress.com! It's a new Fantasy Players Database and we need fantasy managers of all levels to post their analysis, comments, questions, and strategies regarding ALL fantasy players! It's free to join! Check it out!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mock Draft Central Live Expert Mock Draft #1

Last night I participated in Mock Draft Central's first Live Expert Mock Draft for 2009.
To get the results of the mock, CLICK HERE .
To get live coverage and analysis of the draft by Lenny Melnick, Paul Greco, and Tony Cincotta of Melnick & Greco Fantasy Sports and to hear Paul mis-pronounce my name all 23 times, CLICK HERE . It's "Kuch-Era" .... Paul! Ask Lenny, he knows!

Anyway, the draft last night was cake and typical of an expert draft! Jump on the top guys early, a few surprises too early on the young guys like Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Evan Longoria, etc., a late closer run, and waiting on SP's (I got Brandon Webb in round 5!!). Sometimes these expert dudes like to make statements with their early picks of youg players with potential superstardom powers. I just like to pick the best available players to load up on cats and positions.

I feel like I did myself justice with the team I ended up with. As many of you know, I am big on drafting for categories more than just looking for good value or position scarcity. Sometimes I get an itch to just start loading up on everything! Being that HR's we down so much in 2008, I feel that loading up on the best power hitters early is smarter in 2009 as I can pick up cheap steals later, and I think I proved this during this mock which I will analyze below. So take a look at the mock by clicking the link above and see some of the big names in this draft like Yahoo's Brandon Funston, MLB.com's Alex Cushing, and of course the great Geoff Stein of Mock Draft Central who is a legend around these parts. Those are only a few of the fantasy baseball masters in this draft.

So let's take a look at the roster of the top dog of them all, me, The Fantasy Man! You know what it is, I just feel good because I feel like I managed a great draft. That's it. I'm on my own high horse at the moment. Okay, maybe not. You guys all know how modest I am, but here is a peek at my thoughts and my plan as I went through this draft....

My Plan: To be honest, I didn't have one. I didn't get home from work until about 20 minutes before hand and Prison Break was on at 9pm, so my mind was wandering! I had the 5th pick so I was guaranteed one of A-Rod, Hanley, Pujols, Reyes, or Wright. I was hoping for Reyes or Pujols. That was my plan. I figured once I knew who I was getting, I could build from there. Overall plan though, load up on either power early or speed early and then take care of the other later. Simple as that. I'm a simple man. When I didn't get the first guy I really wanted (Reyes), I was on to Plan B. When I missed on Santana in round 2, I was on to Plan C when Prince Fielder ended up in my lap, and the rest is history.....

R1 - Albert Pujols - .330+/35+/100+/100+/10sb/.400+, what else do I need to say!
R2 - Prince Fielder - I was hoping for Johan Santana or B.J. Upton with Fielder third on my queue. Santana and Upton were both taken and even though Manny Ramirez was still available, I went with the younger Prince Fielder and decided I was going to load up on the power categories and hoard them all to myself. The drop off is huge for big time power guys so I am glad I made this decision. I was figuring in the third round I'd either take David Ortiz and stash in my DH spot or hop that Carlos Quentin would last as I want to take up all the power I could. Also, Ortiz has been slipping into the 4th round in a lot of drafts so my new plan after Fielder was to grab Quentin and then hope for Ortiz in the 4th.

R3 - Carlos Quentin - Well, Ortiz was choosen 3 picks later, so I jumped on Quenti who I believe can be a .300/35+/100+/100+/10 type of player. Oops! What? That looks a lot like what I am expecting from the guy in my #1 spot minus some batting average.

R4 - Adrian Gonzalez - Paul and Lenny gave me a hard time about this one. Lenny felt that since the Padres are looking so weak on offense, Gonzalez is going to have a down year! I know I can't scream through the speakers but since when did Adrian Gonzalez ever have any lineup protection? Who protected him last season when he had a great year? He still has Kevin Kouzmanoff, he has Chase Headley who is supposed to be solid (just unproven), Brian Giles still at the top of the lineup and the rest is the norm. The Padres didn't have much at 2B last year, Khalil Greene at SS was a bust, the Pads never have a solid catcher, and CF never really had anyone worth adding to your fantasy team. So what about 2008 says that Gonzalez will have a down year in 2009? The guy hits .280/25+HR (35+ potential anywhere else but Petco)/100+RBI/90+R/and .375+ OBP. The guy K's a lot but that obviously doesn't affect him much. So, with all of that being said, I am expecting AGone to have a year like last year and in the 4th round with Pujols, Fielder, and Quentin already enlisted, Gonzalez just solidifies my chances of having the most power in the draft no matter what happens later on. Problem is, now I need steals. At this point, after 4 rounds, I'd be lucky if Pujols/Fielder/Quentin combined gave me 25 SB's. Lucky for me, they all steal a few every year.

R5 - Brandon Webb - I had Papelbon ready but he was taken a few picks before me. Johan, C.C., Lincecum and Hamels were all taken and I couldn't believe my eyes when Webb and Jake Peavy were still available at this pick. It was a toss up but I went with the sure thing in Webb. Peavy obviously has a bit more flash but with the way experts wait on starting pitchers, I wouldn't have been surprised if Peavy lasted another round, so I went with the consistentcy in Webb.

R6 - Derek Jeter - So I had my power, I had my 1B, CI and DH locked up and it was time to look at the middle infielders. I could have taken Rafael Furcal. I could have taken J.J. Hardy. I could have jumped on Stephen Drew. All 3 of those guys are risky. Hardy seems like a half year type of player, Furcal is a huge injury risk, and Drew hasn't lived up to potential yet. So I picked Jeter. Paul Greco can call it "homer-ism" if he wants (To be honest, Jeter is my favorite real life player), but Jeter is a smart move here for me whether Lenny Melnick agrees or not.
1. Jeter is a .300 hitter and will be in 2009.

2. Jeter's numbers were only slightly down last season, but so was every other Yankees' numbers!
3. Yes, Jeter is on the decline, but he's only 34. He still has 2-3 more productive seasons I think.

4. This was my chance to pick one of the most durable and consistent players in the game and pick up 15-20 SB at the same time. Simple as that!

R7 - Dan Uggla - I was thinking about Bobby Abreu here because he's another guy who could get me a durable and consistent .290/15/100/20sb, but I took a risk and hoped Abreu would last another round as I saw all the SP's starting to fly off the board. I went with Uggla because I saw a chance to load up on 25-30 more HR at the 2B position. He won't steal many bases but I felt like I can still make them up later. I also was thinking about solidifying my pitching staff.

R8 - Bobby Abreu - Pitching staff still on hold, I couldn't believe Abreu was still there. Add another 20 SB to this team. My goal is 125 total projected from this squad. So far I project about 60 at this point between my top 4 and Uggla (25), Jeter(15), and now Abreu(20). That's not good.

R9 - Francisco Rodriguez - 9th round??? I can't believe it! You know what K-Rod? If no one wants you on their team, it's okay, don't worry, The Fantasy Man will make room for you! Unbelievable!

R10 - Cliff Lee - What? I thought K-Rod in the 9th was unbelievable. I debated in the 9th whether to let K-Rod go so I could take Lee instead but glad I did it this wait! Lee in the 10th is a steal. I know these experts love their K's and I believe that's why they let Lee slip. They're loss I guess. This is my favorite pick!

R11 - B.J. Ryan - I took advantage of the unusually low ranking MDC gave Ryan and I jumped on him to solidify my closer situation. Now I don't need to think about Saves and crappy ERA/WHIP situations with all the risky closers out there.

R12 - Pat Burrell - Totally against my philosophy, I went with value and went for Burrell. I though I could load up on more power, which I did, but then I realized who I really wanted to pick and that was Rick Ankiel. Problem was, at that point, I only had two OF slots open and I still need steals. I was saving these 2 spots for guys like Carlos Gomez, Michael Bourn, Willy Tavares, Cameron Maybin, etc.... I went with Burrell for the .275/30/100 potential and consistency each year ending up with those types of numbers, but if I was going to do that, I would have much rather went with the maturing Rick Ankiel who is in a contract year and has as much or more power potential in 2009 than Burrell. Still a solid pick here, but I should have taken the younger potential star in Ankiel.

R13 - Orlando Cabrera - I don't normally panic in drafts as I can always find great value later, but SS is way too thin this year and I still need a middle infielder and steals. Cabrera gives me an instant 20SB which brings me up to about a projected 80 steals. There is still work to be done.
R14 - Chen-Ming Wang - How can you pass up a 17+ game winner for sure if he stays healthy this late?

R15 - Matt Garza - Has a ton of potential, surprised he was still here at this point!

R16 - Cameron Maybin - Now it's round 16. I need 2 Catchers, a 3B, 3 SP and 2 OF and I still need about 65 projected SB's to reach my goal. Carlos Gomez is gone and I don't want to get stuck drafting Juan Pierre or Michael Bourn. Lucky for me, I can take some risk here so I went with Maybin who I believe can steal 30+ if he gets 500AB in 2009, which it looks like he will! That puts me at about 95 projected SB.

R17 - Willy Tavares - BOO-YAH! Let's say Tavares drops down a bit in 2009 and steals 50, I just put myself past my goal of 125 projected SB to about 145. Plus, Tavares can certainly hit .280, hit a few dingers and score 100 runs so I think I made a nice score here. I drafted so much power early and then again with Uggla and Burrell that I could afford to take Maybin and Tavares back to back.

R18 - Kelly Shoppach - I waited on catchers but if he can get 400+ AB again and hit 20+ HR, then I am find shoving him in my lineup. If he gets traded to a team where he can start, then I hit the jack pot!

R19 - Fausto Carmona - Time to take a risk and Carmona could be a super solid SP agan in 2009. It's a risk and the talent is there, but he's kind have been a forgotten man in drafts lately.

R20 - Dallas McPherson - Still needed a 3B. Could have went for Troy Glaus but again, I took another risk and still have the potential to load up on more power.

R21 - Gavin Floyd - A young SP on the rise. Was glad he was still available as I look at his name on my roster and comfortable with Floyd at the bottom of my rotation because there is still a lot of upside.

R22 - Mike Pelfrey - See Gavin Floyd!

R23 - Taylor Teagarden - What's funny is that Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Teagarden and the Max Ramirez all went consecutively in that last round. Question is..... who will be the odd man out? Or, will any of them be left out? If the Rangers can trade Hank Blalock, 1B or 3B will be open, Chris Davis plays the other, or maybe they can stick Max Ramirez in the OF. Should be interesting to see how it turns out....

Friday, December 12, 2008

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In January 2006, Fantasy Man Founder, Editor, and Fantasy Baseball Expert, Mike Kuchera, created his first Podcast, a 30 minute rant on his two favorite fantasy leagues, some of his favorite fantasy baseball strategies, and some world news that he found somewhat humorous. As it turns out, The Fantasy Man Show was the first fantasy baseball podcast published on iTunes! That night about 10 people subscribed to the Podcast. In two weeks, The Fantasy Man reeled in over 450+ subscribers. This instant success prompted a second Podcast and by the end of January, The Fantasy Man accumulated over 1000+ subscribers. The Fantasy Man was born, offering his email address for personal fantasy baseball advice, ranting on about any kind of funny story he could find, anything to draw in more traffic.

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www.FantasyBaseballExpress.com and reeled in its first advertiser, an online sport ticket broker, Ticket Solutions. The Fantasy Man slowly started to add fantasy baseball related content, strategies, rankings, ideas, etc., all while personally answering every emailed question within a 24-hour period, one of the first on the Internet to promote fresh, personal, and quick fantasy baseball advice for FREE!! By April, The Fantasy Man was responding to 100+ emails a day from people asking for advice on draft strategies, team management strategies, keepers, trades, rankings, etc.

In 2008, The Fantasy Man launched a new daily fantasy sports website called FanLex, short for Fantasy Leagues Express. FanLex was part of a small network of 3 sites that all led to one fantasy gaming platform.  The project lasted a few months before it went out of business.  It appeared to be the first attempt at what we know today as DFS or Daily Fantasy Sports.

In 2011, The Fantasy Man was summoned to join a new project, FanDuel. Joined in its infant stage, spent 6 years building FanDuel's customer support team from the ground up from 2011 - 2016.  Was instrumental in developing a leading online support strategy for DFS.

Fast forward to 2017, and The Fantasy Man is going to attempt a minor comeback.  The goal here is to relaunch The Fantasy Man brand and offer unique and free fantasy sports advice for season long fantasy and daily fantasy sports.  Stay tuned....

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Fantasy Man's 2009 Starting Pitchers SP Rankings

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The Fantasy Man's 2009 Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitchers SP Rankings

Johan Santana - Despite all the hype of Sabathia and Lincecum, I'm going "safety first", you can't miss with Johan in R2
Tim Lincecum - 200+K possible again and oh so young! I might jump on him in R2 only in keeper and dynasty leagues
C.C. Sabathia - He'll have a lot of hype, but he's a great 3rd round pick!
Roy Halladay
- I upgrade Halladay because he's a safe bet, monster size, tantalizing stuff.Brandon Webb - See Roy Halladay but in a hitters home park
Jake Peavy - Injury risk knocks him down a bit for me, may leave Petco, but he's just as good as the top 3
Cole Hamels - I like Hamels but I am scared of the added innings he pitched in the post season, period
Dan Haren
- Has top 5 ability but less hype means better value for you, grab late R4/early R5
Josh Beckett - Injuries last year have Beckett falling as late as the 7th round in early mocks, take advantage of that
Scott Kazmir - I love Kazmir but he walks a lot and has trouble going deep into games because he throws so many pitches
John Lackey - Assuming he's healthy, he could be a CY Young candidate
Cliff Lee - Can he win 20+ again? Maybe, but I'd be careful. Is he a Mike Hampton or is he for real?
Carlos Zambrano - Big Z always gets pushed down, he's hungry and he's mean and always has a spot on my team, grab in the 8th if your lucky
Chad Billingsley - He's only going to get better......
Francisco Liriano - In line for a huge break out this season!
Ervin Santana - Break out last season, should stay on pace to be about the same, seems to last to R8 in drafts
Roy Oswalt - Always a solid SP and good value if you can draft him between R7-R9
Jon Lester - Another SP with a chance to have a monster break out
Felix Hernandez - Is this the year? The stuff is there but the team is not
Joba Chamberlain - Unbelievable stuff, K's and WHIP should be fantastic but won't pitch 200+IP
James Shields - Solid all-around SP, great WHIP candidate, 180+K potential
Daisuke Matsuzaka - Low ERA, high K's, but the price is a high WHIP of 1.30+ potentially, getting better though, this could be his best season yet
Rich Harden - a monster injury risk but high risk comes with super high reward
Edinson Volquez - I have no idea if he is for real or not, if he slips past the 10th round it's a solid value
Matt Cain - Still a R10-R13 guy, 200+K potential and now what seems like a much better team, he's a huge middle of the draft sleeper
A.J. Burnett - I think he'll be as good as 2008 with the Yankees
Yovani Gallardo - He could be stellar after coming back from a knee injury, he's been fantastic with every opportunity
Ricky Nolasco - Nice sleeper this year, last years numbers are surprising
David Price - Expect a few growing pains but could have a Tim Lincecum type impact
Justin Verlander - He's a fantastic value! Should bounce back in 2009
Aaron Harang - Same as Verlander, fantastic value, can be had in R14, innings eater with 200K potential
Zack Greinke - Still young enough to get better, great stuff, let's see him stay consistent again this year
Ben Sheets - Huge injury risk but if healthy, he can be an ace. draft knowing you need back ups
Adam Wainwright - could sport fantastic ERA/WHIP numbers
Brett Myers - I'm not a big fan of Myers but assuming he's healthy and right, he's a potential 200IP/180K guy
Chein-Ming Wang - Low K's but 20 win potential on the Yankees
Chris R. Young - See Aaron Harang, pitchers ball park but team stinks, new closer, might not see many wins
Matt Garza - Great young keeper potential, should be a little more consistent this season
John Smoltz - Might be a nice Grab & Stash candidate, should make the end of Boston's rotation if healthy
Ryan Dempster - I don't think he repeats 2008, but I do think he'll be pretty decent at least in the first half
Josh Johnson - If he can get that WHIP under 1.25, which I think he will, he'll be fantastic
Erik Bedard - Huge injury risk but let's see if he'll be ready for opening day first
Ted Lilly - Lilly is just a solid mixed league SP
Gavin Floyd - Filthy stuff, I see him getting better this year
Kevin Slowey - Another sleeper in my book, great WHIP and 180+K potential
Mike Pelfrey - can only get better
Scott Baker - Getting better and better each year, great sleeper value
Ubaldo Jimenez - He was fantastic in September, has filthy stuff, monster size, young, but still plays home games at Coors
Max Scherzer - He could be amazing, not as good as Price or Joba, but maybe close
Brandon Morrow - Has been said to have Joba/Papelbon/Broxton type stuff, will be a starter this year
Clayton Kershaw - Should only get better
Derek Lowe - Another guy I'm not a fan of, great real life player but inconsistent in fantasy
Justin Ducscherer - Low ERA/WHIP potential, not a lot of K's, huge injury risk

John Maine - If he's healthy, could be a nice value in R15 or later
Jair Jurrjens - Just a good solid SP, won't kill you in any category
Fausto Carmona - is he the 2007 Carmona or the 2008? I'll take a risk late in the draft to find out
Javier Vazquez - Traded to Atlanta, could thrive and be a huge sleeper
Oliver Perez - If he stays with the Mets he'll be as good as he was in 2008
Phil Hughes - If he makes the rotation, he could surprise a lot of people but the jury is still out
Joe Saunders Saunders walks a lot but he's solid all around, not a lot of K's
Chris Carpenter - Same as Smoltz, grab and stash, could be solid for the second half
Jered Weaver - Still has room to improve, still young and ton of potential
Mark Buerhle - Innings eater, nice solid option at the end of your draft
John Danks - Crashed in the second half but young enough to build on his experience, great stuff and potential
Johnny Cueto - Same as Danks, not sure if he is for real though...yet
Jonathon Sanchez - If he can last past the 3rd inning, he could be a superstar
Kyle Lohse - Biggest surprise last year, should be solid again, he's quite inconsistent though
Andy Sonnanstine - Great control but doesn't blow hitters away
Bronson Arroyo - each year is something different, great in 2006, terrible in 2007, decent in 2008 means he's in line for a bad 2009
Andy Pettitte - Could be a nice pick up as your 9th SP, 3.80ERA/1.25WHIP potential if he's right and healthy
Randy Johnson - At the end of your draft or for under $5 at the auction, you can find a better value
Huroki Kuroda - Nothing flashy, just a solid SP, kind of like a poor man's Ted Lilly
David Purcey
- Not a young prospect but could break out with 180K potential if he makes the rotation
Brad Penny - Health is always an issue
Jeremy Bonderman - Only for a buck or in the last 2-3 round of a 23 round draft would I take a chance on Bonderman
Jeremy Guthrie - Will provide a low ERA and WHIP at the end of your draft
Armando Galarraga - Nothing flashy here, may be able to keep an ERA under 4
Colin Balester - Great potential on a crappy team, nice potential, great keeper/sleeper, probably best SP on their staff
Aaron Cook - Could keep an ERA/WHIP under 4.00/1.25
Jeff Samardzija - Could end up the set up man by seasons end or could start, it's up in the air right now
Justin Masterson - I could probably rank Masterson much higher if the Sox let him start, otherwise he'll be set up man

Cesar Carrillo - Super Sleeper, could crack the SD rotation, has electric stuffHumberto Sanchez - He's my secret sleeper to crack the Yankee rotation in the summer when injuries hit, or dark horse to eventually take over for Mariano if Joba stays in the rotation in another 2-3 years
Jesse Litsch - Low K rate but excellent WHIP and ERA potential
Nick Blackburn - He's solid if he can keep the ERA under 4.00 consistently
Dave Bush - So much talent, can never put it together, great second half in 2008 could me something
Manny Parra - Young enough to get better
Gil Meche - Solid but I'd save for the waiver wire
Todd Wellemeyer - I'm not sold he can do it again
Kelvim Escobar - If he's going to be ready by mid season, he's worth a stash
Wandy Rodriguez - If he works out the high WHIP problem, he could be fantastic
Chris Volstad - Solid young SP with some upside
Edwin Jackson - Too unpredictable, sometimes he's amazing, sometimes he just terrible
Dana Eveland - Walks too many but has K potential
Clay Bucholz - Could crack the rotation if an injury happens but Masterson and Michael Bowden might have passed him on the depth chart
Ian Kennedy - He's currently trade bait but injuries could help Kennedy re-crack the rotation in the summer
Gio Gonzalez - Has k per IP potential, great in the minors but hasn't been able to do it in the majors yet, great sleeper potential
Jeff Neimann - Major league ready, monster size, but no where to pitch
Dontrelle Willis - I don't know. Maybe spend a buck and see what happens
Tim Wakefield - Always solid but someone you can get off the waiver wire
Troy Patton - Could be a nice sleeper if he cracks the rotation
Kevin Millwood - Waiver Wire
Jamie Moyer - See Wakefield
Jason Schmidt - A sleeper if he stays healthy, which is doubtful
Jeff Francis - I've moved on
Ian Snell - The potential is stiull there if he can get that WHIP down, good K potential
Greg Smith - I don't think he'll be as good as last year's first half
Sean Marshall - He's tall, good stuff, should be a nice sleeper if he gets the chance to start
Brian Bannister - Doesn't have mind blowing stuff, he's an Andy Sonnanstine on a crappy team
Joe Blanton - He won't help your stats much but could nail down 12-15 wins
Tom Glavine - Think Moyer or Wakefield if he pitches all year
Daniel Cabrera - Electric stuff but he's too wild and hasn't been able to put it together, is this the year?
Scott Lewis - Could be solid, good ERA/WHIP but nothing too excited
Sean Gallagher - Waiver Wire
Barry Zito - Hey, you never know! He could come out this year and be awesome, has a lot to prove, too much money on the line for someone to be this terrible, worth a buck and a stash in my mind
Carlos Villanueva - If he's a starter he has sleeper potential
Kyle Kendrick - Numbers aren't good enough to help
Vicente Padilla - Can get you the 10 K game but thats about it
Carlos Silva - Supposed to have a great WHIP, but was a bust last year
Jorge Campillo - I don't think he's as good as his numbers suggest
John Lannan - There is potential here but the Nats stink!
Jo-Jo- Reyes - Waiver Wire
Anibal Sanchez - Potential here but I'll wait for the wire
Andrew Miller - Potential here but I'll wait for the wire

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Fantasy Man's Latest Crush: Jacoby Ellsbury

Okay, enough is enough!! Let me justify my love for Jacoby Ellsbury in 2009! In 2008 it was Joba Chamberlain and Nate McLouth (oh, and Rickie Weeks, and Felipe Lopez...oops)! In 2007 it was Rickie Weeks and Ronny Paulino (bad move). In 2006 it was Grady Sizemore (I'm a genius)! Three out of eight isn't bad, right?

This year I am very high on Ellsbury, the same way everyone else is way too high on Evan Longoria and Dustin Pedroia. I happen to pick Ellsbury as my guy to have a crush on this year. There has been a debate among Fantasy Man faithfuls and loyalists because I recently compared Ellsbury to a one Grady Sizemore in my 2009 Top 50 Rankings.

For the record, whether on paper, on this blog, or the podcast, never have I said Ellsbury was a proven hitter. If I ever said Sizemore was only "slightly better" than Ellsbury, it's because I was talking about what his potential fantasy numbers can do for your fantasy team. I just want to make that clear. Of course, I currently believe that Grady Sizemore is a better real life player, but in fantasy life, there's another story here to think about!

The Sizemore/Ellsbury Debate...
I never said Ellsbury was a proven hitter. What I am saying is that Ellsbury will potentially be better in BA/SB while Sizemore will be better in the power departments of HR/RBI. I think we can all agree on the SB winner, the HR, the RBI and that runs will be a wash since now Ellsbury is the everyday CF. The question is the batting average. Is Ellsbury proven? No. But.....
2008 - Ellsbury hit .280 in 554AB
2007 - Ellsbury hit .353 in 116AB in his short stint in Boston, hit .298 in 363AB in AAA and .452 in 73AB in AA.
2006 - In A he hit .299 in 244AB, hit .308 in 199AB in AA.
2005 - Ellsbury hit .317 in A ball in 139AB

What part of that says that Ellsbury will hit lower than .280? I know Ellsbury is unproven, but you have to look at these past minor league numbers. Sizemore has similar quality minor league numbers but Sizemore is a K machine, thus the yearly poor average. Those numbers above clearly suggest a potential .290+BA on the safe side and upside of .300+. That's clear I think. Is he proven? No. But does his past numbers in the minors show potential? Yes. Does his minor league numbers show that his numbers could increase as he moves up a level? Yes they do. This is why I like Jacoby Ellsbury in 2009. Add on the fact that he has the everyday job, should pull in 650+AB, has Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Jason Bay and J.D. Drew hitting behind him and has speed with some developing power. With the Coco Crisp trade, Boston is about to unleash a beast in Ellsbury! He won't have Sizemore's power, but he certainly has a bit more speed and I believe will have a better batting average, and as much as 20 points higher than Sizemore. The downside on Ellsbury is the potential for a monster slump. However, he's always on base so I don't know if he's a guy who can have entirely terrible halves.

Its not like I just jumped on the Ellsbury bandwagon. I've done my homework on him specifically because I upgraded him over a lot of other young players. There is potential to be a fantasy stud is here! However, want to get a little more crazy???? Compare his numbers with that of Jose Reyes!!! Take away about 20 steals (potentially as we all see Reyes as a 70+ guy) and you have a Jose Reyes type in the 4th-6th rounds. Even better, sometimes I've seen Ellsbury drop into the 7th or 8th.

2008 Jose Reyes -...........297/16HR/68RBI/56SB/113R in 688AB
2008 Jacoby Ellsbury - .280/9HR/47RBI/50SB/98R in 554

Give Ellsbury another 100AB and is it realistic to think that he could hit 3-5HR/12RBI/6SB/15R more to match those Reyes numbers?? I sure do! So for a minute, forget comparing Ellsbury to Sizemore, how about comparing him to Reyes??!! Of course, this is assuming Ellsbury is still a 50+SB guy, which right now, we have to believe!! If he's a 40+, which I think is more likely, all the other numbers may still match up meaning you are getting a steal later in the draft. What this means for your fantasy draft is that if you pass on Reyes or miss him in the first round, feel free to draft big time power, because you can make up these stats later with a guy like Ellsbury in maybe the 5th round, to be safe!

Not as many people value Ellsbury the way I do, but the kid has talent that is designed for fantasy baseball. Period. Better than Sizemore? No. Better than Reyes? No. Actually, better than Sizemore/Reyes fantasy wise? Not yet, but maybe after 2009! If you value batting average the way I do, you might feel this way too.

FYI....Sizemore BA numbers suck because he's a strikeout king!! Sizemore had 130 K in 634AB in 2008! Ellsbury had only 80 in 554AB. That's why Sizemore's BA blows, the K's. In those 3 minor league seasons, Ellsbury only struck out 127 times in 1017 AB. Sizemore K'd 604 in 2695AB(his last 5 seasons). That's insane! That's 130-150K per year!So yeah, I based my analysis on the fact that I believe Ellsbury can be a .290+hitter. If he hits .310 and steals 50+, don't kill me here, but now your looking at Jose Reyes numbers rather than Sizemore's. That's assuming Ellsbury can hit 3-5 more HR this year!

So that's my take on Ellsbury! If you see me blast Ellsbury in the 5th or 6th round of a draft and it seems early...that's why! Good luck this season!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Fantasy Man Plays GM for a Day - Part 2 of 2

In the last post we looked at some of the hottest players on the market. Now, I want to try something different. I have picked out a few teams, especially the ones who could really change things up and make a splash along with some of the teams who usually spend spend spend with holes to fill fill fill!

Here are 6 teams that I am watching closely. Maybe these GM's in the MLB will find this post and take some of my ideas into consideration. Then again, I do run a great fantasy team. It's all the same thing, right? Below I have provided a to-do list for 6 teams and GM's who really need my help the most......

New York Yankees
1. Sign C.C. Sabathia
2. Sign Mark Teixeira
3. Sign A.J. Burnett
4. Flip Swisher in a deal for Peavy!
5. Trade some package of Ian Kennedy, Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera, Nick Swisher for Jake Peavy
6. Trade Robinson Cano to Joe Torre and the Dodgers for Matt Kemp
7. Sign Orlando Hudson
8. Resign Andy Pettitte, Give him his $16 million!

... In a perfect world....
Starting Rotation- Sabathia, Wang, Burnett, Peavy, Pettitte

Bullpen - Put Joba back in the 8th inning!
Lineup - Damon-LF, Jeter-SS, Tex-1B, A-Rod-3B, Kemp-CF, Nady-RF, Matsui-DH, Posada-C, Hudson-2B

Done. Next!

New York Mets
1. Find a way to dump the contract of Luis Castillo

2. Give Daniel Murphy a shot to be your everyday 2B
3. Sign Brian Fuentes and save some dough
4. Make a trade for J.J. Putz and make him your set up man and insurance policy if Fuentes craps out
5. For heaven's sake, trade Aaron Heilman so he can start somewhere please!!!
6. Sign Ivan Rodriguez. We love the work ethic of Brian Schneider but his bat just doesn't get it done
7. Resign Oliver Perez or Pedro Martinez
8. Sign Ben Sheets or Derek Lowe
9. Give Fernando Martinez a shot in RF or Sign Pat Burrell or Raul Ibanez! Or.....
10. Want to real wreak havoc??? Sign Bobby Abreu!! There, that takes care of all your problems! Abreu/Beltran/Church in the OF, Murphy at 2B, Sheets or Lowe as 5th starter

Done. Next!

Boston Red Sox
1. Sign Derek Lowe
2. Keep Justin Masterson in the bullpen
3. Resign Jason Varitek, he deserves the money! He defines Boston Red Sox!

That's it! Why mess with the chemistry of that team. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

San Diego Padres
1. Trade Jake Peavy to the Yankees for Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera, and one or two more prospects

2. Sign Felipe Lopez to play SS after trading Khalil Greene
3. Trade a minor leaguer or two to the Mets for Brian Schneider to help build your pitching staff
4. Make a play for Ben Sheets to top off your rotation with Chris Young
5. Give Cesar Carrillo a shot at the 4th or 5th spot
6. Give Matt Antonelli a shot at 2B
7. Promote Heath Bell to closer
8. Sign any 2 or 3 of these guys - Oliver Perez, Pedro Martinez, Braden Looper, Carl Pavano, Kenny Rogers, Brad Penny, Mark Mulder, Bartolo Colon, Livan Hernandez, Randy Johnson... a lot of useful SP's with stuff left in the tank.

Potential Lineup....
Melky-CF, Lopez-SS, A-Gone-1B, Kouzmanoff-3B, Headley-LF, Giles-RF, Antonelli-2B, Schneider-C
Potential Starting Rotation.....
Young, Sheets, Looper, Pavano, Carrillo

Why not rebuild with some potential here. Pavano, if healthy could be a huge pick up on the super cheap! Now you just turned a potentially pitiful looking team into something to work with. There's a bunch of good young players with upside here to build around. Make it happen people! Supposedly, the Padres want to get their salary down into the $40's because of a messy divorce, so the chances are good that my plan here is shot to shit!

San Francisco Giants
1. Pass on C.C. Sabathia
2. Sign Edgar Renteria and actually finalize it!
3. Sign Orlando Hudson before the Yankees can, or sign Jerry Hairston, Jr. to play 2B
4. Sign Casey Blake or Joe Crede to play 3B
5. Sign Adam Dunn or Raul Ibanez to play RF
6. Trade Randy Winn or Fred Lewis to Tampa Bay for Edwin Jackson or Andy Sonnanstine
7. Pablo Sandoval moves to 1B
9. Trade Jonathon Sanchez or Noah Lowry to anyone to fill whatever position I mentioned above doesn't get filled via free agency! ... or flop Sonnanstine or Jackson!

Bullpen is solid
Rotation just needs a guy like Randy Johnson or even an Oliver Perez type. Looper or Pavano could be good options as well. But really want to make a splash and win? If you have the money, why not sign Johnson.
Lineup need a major makeover and adding this power and role players turns this team into a playoff contender, even without C.C.

Tampa Bay Rays
1. Sign Pat Burrell to DH
2. Offer Edwin Jackson or Andy Sonnanstine to San Francisco for Randy Winn or Fred Lewis
3. Make David Price your 5th starter
4. Sign Trevor Hoffman to take the risk Troy Percival brings
5. Move Crawford into the 5thor 6th spot to help develop production and keep Akinori Iwamura in the lead off spot
6. Sign Jim Edmonds as a team leader, role player and to play RF!

Lineup Potential
Iwamura-2B, Upton-CF, Pena-1B, Longoria-3B, Burrell-DH, Crawford-LF, Edmunds-RF, Navarro-C, Bartlett-SS

That one's a no brainer!

So am I crazy? Does anyone see potential here??????

The Fantasy Man Plays GM for a Day - Part 1 of 2

This is one of my favorite times of the year. No, not because it's the holidays, but because it's Winter Meetings time! However, the Winter Meetings is like waking up Christmas morning, running down the stairs, grabbing the first present you see from Santa, tearing off that wrapping that mom and dad spent all night making perfect.......and finding the best pair of white 100% cotton socks that will fit nicely in your top dresser drawer.

Every year we go crazy about this time to get the inside scoop on free agent signings, trades, acquisitions, etc. We get all excited about the meetings and usually it ends without excitement. The blockbuster trades don't happen and the major free agents signings are pushed back further, probably so agents and players can see how the market shapes up. This year is no different and I am embracing myself for another potentially uneventful week. Let's not get ourselves down though, below is a list of a few of the impact players available in this off-season and we all like to predict where they will end up. My list is not only where I think they could end up, but also where I think they should end up! Follow along.....

I took Tim Dierkes Top 50 Free Agent list and kind of made it my own, tweaked it a bit, deleted a bunch and added some funk. Tim runs a fantastic site called MLB Trade Rumors and it's the ONLY place for all of the most up-to-date baseball rumors, signings, trade talks, etc. Actually, it's up-to-the-minute!

By the way, I'm obviously a huge Yankees fan............Duh!

After sifting through all the rumors, news reports, talk radio, etc., here's how I predict the "cream of the 2009 free agent crop" of Starting Pitchers will shape up for 2009...
Sabathia - Yankees
Burnett - Yankees

Lowe - Red Sox
Peavy - I hope the Yankees, but otherwise back with the Padres.

Sheets - Mets

1. C.C. Sabathia (via Free Agency) - Yankees - The offer is out there and it's considerably higher than the Brewers, even though Ben Sheets declined arbitration. Even the Giants have been rumored to make a splash here, but, I have a hard time believing that the Giants really want to pay Sabathia $120+ million after the Barry Zito debacle. Imagine now having two starting pitchers who cost over $250 million dollars. Not me dude!

2. Mark Teixeira (via Free Agency) - Yankees (or Angels) - I don't believe the Yankees will pass on Tex because they signed Nick Swisher, which I explained in a post I wrote a few weeks ago when the trade happened. Plus, the Yankees lost Bobby Abreu who declined arbitration and they won't resign Jason Giambi. So, who's going to replace the Abreu/Giambi production? Nady and Swisher? I can see keeping Nady (great pick up by the way!). It has to be Tex! You can't have Swisher and then piece together the rest of your offense. I say we flip Swisher! Otherwise, Tex ends up with the Angels. However..... see #3..

3. Manny Ramirez (via Free Agency) - Yankees (or Angels) - I almost have made myself believe that who ever doesn't get Tex or Manny between the Yankees and the Angels will get the other. That's assuming Manny doesn't resign with the Dodgers. So if the Yankees do pass on Tex, because they have Swisher to play 1B, they certainly have an open OF spot to make a play on Manny...and the can realistically move Xavier Nady to CF if they have to. They could even move Damon back if that means getting Manny's bat in the lineup. Remember, George Steinbrenner loves Manny (I'm sure his sons do too), and Manny is also a Bronx native. It probably won't happen, but you can't dismiss it just yet!

4. Jake Peavy (via Trade) - Yankees (or Padres) - Sabathia, Burnett, Lowe....the Yankees aren't getting all three! Jake Peavy is one of the league's best starting pitchers when he's healthy. The Yankees need to be making a push to trade for Peavy. They have the chips. Give them Ian Kennedy and Melky Cabrera! Give them Phil Hughes! Let's flip Nick Swisher! Duh. This one is a no brainer. It's rumored that the Braves are out of the mix, the Cubs don't have squat, and the Padres probably won't trade Peavy within the division! Duh. The Yankees have chips, they've done business before, let's make this happen people! Sign Sabathia, sign Burnett, trade for Peavy with players you've deemed incapable at this point and let's move on! No brainer on my end! Otherwise, I think he stays in San Diego, has a great year and is traded at the dealine!

5. A.J. Burnett (via Free Agency) - Yankees - The current rumor is that the Braves are interested and offering a 5-year deal. It's also rumored now that the Yankees called that bet and will offer that 5th year. That shows you how much the Yankees want Burnett. They have the money. Thing is, if the Yankees crap out on Sabathia and he signs elsewhere, Lowe goes to Boston, the Yankees will need to save some face and overpay for Burnett! That's worst case scenario. But I think the Yankees end up with Burnett anyway.

6. Francisco Rodriguez (via Free Agency) - Angels - Why would the Angels not want to resign K-Rod? Where would they be right now without him? They owe him that money the way the Yankees owed Mariano Rivera. He's half the reason people come to that ballpark. Unless they know something that we don't, I see K-Rod staying in Anaheim.

7. Derek Lowe (via Free Agency) - Red Sox - Just a gut feeling but I like the Mets as the darkhorse. I don't think the Yankees will land Lowe considering the situations I have outlined above.

8. Ben Sheets (declined arbitration) - Mets (or Giants) - I'm intrigued to think of what the Mets, Giants, Cubs, or Braves would do to get him. My thought here is that Sheets is probably the last to sign with someone. You have to believe that Sabathia, Burnett and Lowe need to sign to see who will go after Sheets as a fallback guy. That injury risk is tough to deal with. So if the Braves miss on Burnett now, Sheets is a real opton there. If the Cubs miss on Peavy, he's an option there although I don't like the risk with Rich Harden. The Mets definitely have the dough to pony up in a deal for Sheets if they miss on Lowe and the Giants could go for Sheets if they miss on C.C.

9. Bobby Abreu (not offered arbitration) - Cubs - At least that's the big rumor and where everyone sees Abreu as the best fit. I think the Giants have a chance since they are in need of an impact hitter and I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up in Atlanta. Why not?

10. Adam Dunn and Pat Burrell (not offered arbitration) - Giants - I think one of these two guys end up on the Giants. They desperately need power. Simple as that! The Mariners could use one of these guys as well and if the Yankees miss on Tex or Manny, I could see Burrell or Dunn in pinstripes.

I know I know! Most of this is pretty whacky! Any agreement anywhere? I'm sure those who disagree will crucify me here. Anyone think I am close with any of these or like some of the potential? It will certainly be interesting to see how it all shapes out!

Monday, December 01, 2008

2009 Fantasy Baseball for Beginners Part 2 of 3

Part 2: The Draft - Preparation and Execution

1. Participate in Mock Drafts and Mock Auctions - The single best way to prepare for a draft is to participate in mock drafts. I live by mock drafts and no matter how much you know about players, mock drafts show you hints as to when you could realistically expect a player to be taken in a draft.
Mock Draft Central provides the best software, it's free to register and participate but if you are gung-ho about this, you'll invest the few bucks it costs to do unlimited mocks. Are you playing in a 12 team league this year? Do 12 team mock drafts! After you do two or three drafts, you start to see trends. You'll see when a closer run usually starts. You'll see how quickly shortstops fly off the board. You'll see the quality third baseman that continue to last past the 15th round. You'll get an idea as to when players are normally picked, as I mentioned above. I know that Johan Santana will rarely make it into the 3rd round in 2009, so if you want him, you might have to take him with your second round pick. If you know that and you plan to build your staff around Santana, you can plan accordingly. When the draft gets here, you make your first pick, steal Santana in the second and then you dish out a plan from there.

Same goes for auctions. You can read the magazines and websites all you want but most of them don't really give you true values. Many of them base their values off stats. So you'll find when you get into an auction, many of the top players go for much more or much less than the magazines/websites indicated. This is because most people bid on players based on emotion and "heat of the moment" bidding. Many have a set price they are willing to spend on certain players and many times, it's much higher than the average magazine/website value. Those values also don't factor in bidding wars between two or three owners on any one player. Also, many of the values you see from most "experts" are values based on crunched stats and not real auction prices. You will soon be able to read and print real auction values based on what people are actually paying in real leagues I participate in here soon. A quality auction website is
Fantasy Auctioneer.

One other crazy way to get information on players is with sports betting. I'm not saying to go and blow your paycheck but reading up on the spreads can sometimes provide useful "out of the box" information.

2. Draft Tools - Scour the Internet for free Draft Tools. Draft tools are sets of rankings and analysis provided by a fantasy sports expert/analyst or an experienced and respected fantasy baseball manager(s). Usually you can print them out without having to waste too much paper. The Fantasy Man and Fantasy Baseball Express will get you started. Here is what we did in 2008. Check the link list in the right side bar of this blog for some other recommended sites.

3. The Draft - Usually, most people don't have time to do the research so they grab a fantasy baseball magazine and try to "wing" it at the draft. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. The magazines provide fantastic information, rankings, and stats. I always have a magazine at the draft with me mainly for the stats and sometimes I like to compare their rankings to my own. The magazine I trust most is Fantasy Sports Magazine . It's a sentimental pick. I have been buying this magazine for years! I am also featured as one of the experts in their expert mock draft. Other than the mag, I might have a printable fantasy guide from a favorite website that I can write on, cross out players choosen , and to keep track of my team. Check out The Fantasy Man's 2009 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide.

4. Keep Emotions in Check - Every fantasy manager has a favorite team and a few favorite players. Although every team has solid players in real life, not every team has more than one or two solid fantasy players (i.e. Pittsburgh Pirates - Nate McLouth & Ryan Doumit in 2009). You have to find a way to keep your emotions in check and separate real life baseball from fantasy baseball. For example, my favorite player is Derek Jeter. I was 16 years old in his rookie year and I can tell you that in every fantasy draft, I want to pick Jeter early to make sure I get him simply because he's my favorite. Problem is, Jeter is a good fantasy player but only when chosen in the right circumstances (i.e. the 6th round of a roto draft or for about $20 in an auction). You don't want to overpay for your favorite players unless they are top-tiered fantasy talent. Since I am a Yankee fan, I'll always jump on A-Rod at the top, but everyone else has a better place and time, even Joba Chamberlain. What makes fantasy baseball fun is to be able to cheer for your players, but if you pick all the players from your favorite team, it'll be unlikely that you could win your league. Now, I'm not saying you can't pick your favorite players, but you need to do some homework and figure out when is the best time to draft/bid for your favorite players in order to get the most value out of them.

5. Drafting Players on the Same Team - If you ask me now, I'd say in an active offensive roster of 10-13 starting hitters, you don't want to have more than 3 players from the same team. An example would be the Phillies and drafting Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Shane Victorino. If you add Raul Ibanez, Jayson Werth or Jimmy Rollins to that mix and the Phillies go on a losing streak, your team is pretty much sunk. Same goes for your active pitching staff. I like to stick with 2 of the best starters (if my draft falls that way) and if I wanted a third from the same team, then maybe as my 9th pitcher or as a bench guy for emergencies would be okay. Except for keeper leagues, it's unlikely that you'd be able to draft 3 star fantasy players on the same team anyway, but yes, it will affect your overall outcome as the season rolls along.

6. Don't "Punt" a Category - If you are a beginner fantasy player, punting categories is a no-no. Always make sure that every position and every category is represented in ALL 5x5 leagues. Why would you want to start your season with a hole in your roster? Why start the season with a category that is not accumulating points? Some experienced players might be able to devise a plan that works and punt a category in drafts, but they have to get super lucky with the other players they choose. Winning a league while punting a category is possible and has happened before, but the odds are extremely low. In most 5x5 leagues, Saves is the category that's most often punted. If you play in leagues that are 7x7 or more, then punting a category is not as much a problem since there are many categories that can pick up the slack. The thought here is this.... If you don't draft any closers, then during the season you won't accumulate saves and points for saves. If you were the unlucky one to get hit with a major injury or two to your star player(s) or you made a few bad choices in the draft with underperforming players, then your team is sunk. On the other end of that, if you drafted say two closers who turned out to be fantastic, and you still suffered those injuries and under-performance, you could trade those closers to upgrade elsewhere. I guess the same could be said the other way, but it's much harder to obtain good closers via trade during the season than it is to actually trade them away!

Part 3 of 3 will emphasize more on In-Season Team Management Strategies....

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