By The NL King
Bringing you the best NL-Only League Advice on the Internet!
Just to give you guys some background I have been doing fantasy baseball since Craig Biggio was a rookie and qualified at catcher. I have been in exclusively NL only keeper leagues since then and I am a Yankee fan, go figure. I am going to be able to give you guy’s insights on the NL, which will help your fantasy teams both for the short term and the long term.
The NL is a league that currently consists of very few elite fantasy players (I only count eight). The NL has a number of players near the end of their careers. Many of the impact players have only been doing it a short period of time (less than 2 years). The closer situation on most NL teams changes every year or so and the NL has a lot of 1st year starters emerging in 2009. Unlike the AL where there are so many reliable & consistent players the NL is very chaotic and over the next 12 months or so you will see these 25 names emerge and for your team to be successful you need to know them.
1) Tommy Hanson – Atl – SP - The 22 year old is dominating at AAA with 48K’s in 32 IP. Tom Glavine is done and Jo-Jo Reyes has been unimpressive. All you need to know is the Braves scoffed at giving him up for Jake Peavy. Peavy is already an ace. He could be up any day now.
2) Jason Heyward – Atl – OF The only thing negative I can say about him fantasy wise is he is only 19. They compare him to Willie McCovey. Big, strong and athletic and one of the top talents in the minors.
3) Kyle Banks – SD – OF - Once this 6’6, 270 lb kid figures out to play the outfield he and his power bat will be up the Pads. If Adrian Gonzalez were an outfielder, Banks would be the starting 1B now, had a great spring. The Padres have plenty of openings for bats. Gonzo is a monster and Headley could be a solid bat but outside of that everything is wide open.
4) Andrew McCutchen – Pitt – OF – The 22 year old has drawn comparisons to Marquis Grissom. Good pop and a lot of speed. He will make McLouth slide over to a corner outfield position. Pirates have shown patience with him but he should be up no later than the All-Star Break.
5) Buster Posey – SF – C – This 22 year old kid will be the starting catcher for the Giants come opening day 2010. Giants gave him a signing bonus last year of 6.2 million and Bengie Molina is a free agent after this season. Think Russell Martin.
6) Matt Gamel – Mil – 3B – This 23 year old is a pure hitter. Currently hitting over .370 in AAA. With the Brewers situation at 3B why isn’t he here yet? Because he fields like Gregg Jeffries. Am I dating myself?
7) Pedro Alvarez – Pitt – 3B – This 22 year old has a ton of talent was one of the top picks of the 2008 draft and the Pirates gave him over a 6 million dollar signing bonus. He can be in Pittsburgh ASAP the only thing stopping him is himself.
8) Mike Stanton – Fla – OF – Compare this kid to a young Dave Winfield. He has plus plus plus power and an extremely hard worker. He won’t be here until next summer but he will be an impact player.
9) Alcides Escobar – Mil – SS – This 22 year old shortstop will be the starter no later than next opening day in Milwaukee. His glove is amazing. He projects as a top of the order hitter with good stolen base potential. Even JJ Hardy has said I am just holding shortstop until this kid is ready.
10) Madison Bumgarner – SF – SP – This 19 year old has put up ridiculous numbers in the minors. The Giants say they are going to take it slow with him but didn’t they say the same thing about Lincecum? The Giants need position players, look for them to trade guys like Cain and Sanchez for position players and have a one – two punch of Lincecum and Bumgarner for years to come.
11) Carlos Carrasco – Phil – SP – This 22 year old pitcher currently resides in AAA and has the potential to be a front of the rotation starter. Have you seen the Phillies starting pitching this year? He could be getting his opportunity real soon.
12) Tim Alderson – SF – SP – Another 19-year-old potential front of the rotation guy the Giants have. Too bad they have no position players knocking on the door like this.
13) Yonder Alonso – Cinn – 1B – This 22 year old 1B projects to be a middle of the order bat. Part of the Reds future core along with Bruce and Votto. Have to figure out who will play the OF either him or Votto.
14) Jarrod Parker – Arz – SP – Front of the rotation starter who has command of 4 pitches and throws 97.
15) Fernando Martinez – NY – OF – I know the Mets have a poor history of position prospects (can you name anyone other than Strawberry, Reyes & Wright?) but they are hoping K-Mart will be a starting corner outfielder (wow is it hard watching Daniel Murphy play the OF) sometime early next year. Ideally by opening day.
16) Brett Wallace – Stl – 3B – A power hitting 3B who can be up in early June if Troy Glaus time table is pushed back again. Worst case scenario he will be the starting 3B for the Cards opening day next year as Glaus who is 33 and a free agent after this season.
17) Josh Vitters – Chi – 3B – The 3rd pick in the 2007 draft projects as a number 3 hitter. With Aramis Ramirez blocking him and in the middle of a long-term contract look for the Cubs to use Vitters as a big chip to land a big player by the trade deadline to get that world championship.
18) Jose Tabata – Pitt – OF – The talent is all there for this kid. I know he have been hearing his name for a while but remember he is only 21 and the Pirates really only have 4 core players on the major league level in Malholm, Capps, McLouth & Doumit.
19) Gorky Hernandez – Atl – OF – In the not too distant future the Braves outfield will be Heyward in right, Hernandez in center and Schafer in left. The Braves got Hernandez along with Jurrijens from the Tigers for Edgar Renteria. Helps make up for the trade of renting Texiera for 1 season
20) Andrew Lambo – LA – OF – If Manny is gone after this season in LA he could be the starting left fielder if not he will be used as trade bait and start for someone else next season.
21) Gerardo Parra- Arz – OF – Opened eyes in the WBC. Chad Tracy will be gone after this season in the desert (7 million dollar option), which will create an opening.
22) Lou Marson – Phil – C – Carlos Ruiz, Chris Coste and Citizens Bank Park.
23) Chris Perez – Stl – RP – Just recently got called up and I believe he will be their future closer. How old is Ryan Franklin?
24) Matthew Antonelli – SD – 2B – I know it’s hard to have a worst year than this kid had in 08 in AAA but the Padres haven’t given up on him. Has plenty of potential and they have no answers at 2B.
25) Stephen Strasburg – Should be the Number 1 Pick of the 2009 Draft – This kid who turns 21 on July 20th is putting up ridiculous numbers at San Diego State. I know it’s college but he is being called the best prospect to come along in forever. He is averaging nearly 2 strikeouts per inning this year and has an ERA below 1.50. He has three plus pitches that includes a fastball that breaks 100. Not only does he break 100 but also in a recent game he broke 100 twelve times in a 7-inning start. The Nationals own the number one pick and they have to take this guy. His agent of course is Scott Boras. Boras has been throwing around a crazy number like a 50 million dollar signing bonus for this kid. That won’t happen but the Nats have to take this kid and get him signed. He probably could pitch now in the majors but I don’t expect the contract negotiations to go quickly with Mr. Boras. I see him being signed somehow by the Nats and having him as their opening day starter in 2010.
The NL King