Friday, August 28, 2009

Padres vs. Marlins Friday Night

. . . . And the guy at the gate said there was going to be a great crowd tonight!

Here's a pic I took with my phone in the top of the first inning. I'll tell you this, I think I was literally able to count the fans in the stands. I don't think there was even 2000 people in the crowd total. Unbelieveable. I live in New York, so even when the Mets are in a funk like they are now, there's still a decent crowd. This was unbelievable.

What's great is that u can pay $8 and sit anywhere! My wife and I bought two $20 tickets off a ticket site the morning of the game! We originally bought two seats in the first row of section 129 which were first row seats just above the outfield wall. We were so close, the lengthy Jeremy Hermida was blocking our view of the plate most of the game. When I gave Jeremy the "pssst" and politely asked him to slide over a bit, he completely ignored me.

The rest of the experience wasn't actually too bad. When you go to Yankee Stadium on a daily basis, despite the excitement of actually having the priviledge to be in Yankee Stadium, as some of you know, its one big pain in the behind followed by rudenes, frustation, and expensive treats. Enter Landshark Stadium.....

I normally wouldn't write about a trip to a stadium but I thought this was so unique that I just couldn't resist. Everything you wish you could have or get during a major league baseball game is here. We paid $10 for parking! Awesome! We parked, seriously, 6 spots from the gate...and no one parked next to us! Awesome! We rolled right into the stadium and to a beer vendor for a Landshark with no line! Awesome! We then walked over to grab some snacks from the concession stand (Nachos Grande for me and a Hot pretzel for the wifey) that only cost $10 total! Awesome! We go to our seats and we are the only ones in our row, it was like having the entire stadium to ourselves! Awesome! We sit down and not even 15 seconds later my wife says "This place is empty. Are these teams any good?"

By the 4th inning we were up sitting behind home plate for the rest of the game. It was like watching the Bad News Bears for 9 innings. By the 5th, people were already leaving for the night. By the 9th, there had to be less than 1000 fans left in the seats. We stayed the entire game. At the end of the 9th, we got out of our seats, walked straight to the car and left. No traffic!!! I couldn't believe it.

I won't go over the edge here and say it was a great game, but we actually had a pretty good time overall. The convenience really plays a big part in the overall experience. The small crowd actually allowed us to focus in and really enjoy the game like it should be enjoyed. We didn't leave until after the game was over. So if you're looking for something cheap to do in the Fort Lauderdale/Miami area, go check out a Marlins game!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

10 Prospects You Might Not Have Heard Of...

So a few days ago I was going Tweet crazy and drop 10 names of prospects who are having fantastic seasons this year and I thought it was a good time to throw some names out. You may have seen some of these players on lists elsewhere already, you might soon start to see these names on lists, or you may never see these names again. These are just 10 players I picked out from various leagues from High A ball through AAA. I tried to look at age and all players are 25 or younger. Here's what I came up with. If you've heard or seen these guys play, please feel free to drop in something extra in the comment section...

These players are in no particular order! If your asking me, Alex Liddi, Carlos Santana, and Michael Taylor might have the most upside of this group at this point. Allen Craig is intriguing as well.

10. Kyle Russell, RF, LAD - Age 23, 6'5", 195 - In Low A batting .269, 24HR, 82RBI, 11SB. Could be on your radar in a year or two.

9. Eric Young, OF, COL - Age 24, he's a burner in AAA batting .302 with 55SB and 6 HR.

8. Allen Craig, 1B, STL - Age 25, 6'2", 210 - In AAA .306/21/62. AA in '08 batted .304/22/85. Low K's, solid BB's blocked by Pujols.

7. Chris Carter, 1B, OAK - Age 23, 6'4" 225 - In AA batting .329, 22HR, 94RBI, 12SB and not too much blockage in the bigs! Maybe Sept?

6. Carlos Santana, C, CLE - Age 23, 5'11" - In AA batting .290, 20HR, 84RBI as a catcher. W/ VMart gone, he could be on fast track!

5. Michael Taylor, OF, PHI - Age 23, 6'6", 250LBS - In AA batted .333/15HR/18SB/.408OBP in 318AB. In AAA,.282/5HR/3SB/.359OBP in 110AB.

4. Tim Collins, RP, TOR - Age 20, 5'7", 155lbs - High A, 2.40ERA, 98K, 26BB in 63IP, 14 saves in 2008. Small frame, quality stuff.

3. Jonathan Gaston, LF, HOU - Age 22, 6'0", 210lbs., 7th rd pick 2008 - High A batting .286, 30HR, 83RBI, 13SB. Put him on the radar.

2. Joe Dunigan, DH, SEA - Age 23, 6'1", 215, Lefty bat - High A - Batting .296, 26HR, 88RBI, 17SB. The DH thing probably doesn't help.

1. Alex Liddi, 3B, SEA - High A - Age 21, 6'4", 176lbs. - Batting .352, 23HR, 90RBI, 10SB - Put him on the radar!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The NL King - Strasburg Signs

Well the Washington Nationals got it done yesterday signing prospect Stephen Strasburg to an MLB contract. In terms of fantasy, Strasburg is expected to be top-notch. Anything short of Strasburg becoming an ace will be a huge disappointment. He's been called the best pitching prospect in the history of the MLB draft. He has great control, multiple pitches and his fastball goes in the low 100's. 
Let's look at his San Diego Stats this year: 
15GS, 13-1 Record, 109IP, 65H, 19BB, 195K's, 1.32 ERA, 0.77 Ratio, averages 1.5 Walks per 9 innings, and averages 15.8 K's per 9 innings. 
Big difference between college and the majors obviously. I hate to admit it, but this time Scott Boras is right when he says this kid is once in a lifetime talent. 
If your league allows it and you are in a keeper league do everything you can to pick up Strasburg as low as possible on your waiver wire. There is a strong chance he will be in their rotation come opening day next season. Remember he is 21 not some 18 year old out of high school. 
The NL King - C.Lizza

Thursday, August 13, 2009

NL KING Red Alert - Alcides Escobar Has Arrived!

Alcides Escobar, the 22 year old shortstop (turns 23 in October) has now arrived and will be the starting shortstop for the Brew Crew for the next few years starting today! Escobar in 109 Games in AAA was hitting .298, .353 OBP, 4HR, 34RBI, 76R, 42SB (in 52 attempts). Escobar also had 24 doubles & 6 triples. He is an awesome glove and while in fantasy terms that doesn't mean much, it does mean he should be the starter for the next few years, a la Elvis Andrus.

I see Escobar as a top of the order hitter who will give you strong runs and steals and below average power. Keep in mind guys that the power could come around towards the end of a players' early development (Don Mattingly never hit more than 12 HR in the minors for instance).  Having said that, don't expect more than low double digit HR and that could take a year or two. If Escobar is on your waiver wire grab him now.

NL King - C.Lizza

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

2009 NL Big Disappointments

Keep in mind the following guys listed are players whose numbers are 
way down due to poor seasons and not injuries.

R.Ankiel - 8HR-30RBI-36R-2SB-.237 Avg
Wasn;t this suppose to be his breakout year heading into free agency?

G.Atkins - 6HR-31RBI-27R-0SB-.225 Avg
Talk about the bottom falling out

M.Bradley - 8HR-26RBI-40R-1SB-.248 Avg
What happened to this guy? He hit .321 last year

R.Furcal - 5HR-31RBI-57R-6SB-.266 Avg
He has been healthy for the whole year but only has 6 steals in 10 

C.Hamels - 7W, 4.68ERA, 1.32 Ratio, 107K
Wasn't he suppose to be an ace this year?

R.Harden - 7W, 4.50 ERA, 1.35 Ratio, 115K
Has mostly been healthy but the dominance has not been there

JJ Hardy - 11HR-45RBI-45R-0SB-.230 Avg
Last 2 years has been a reliable 25HR-75RBI-.280 Avg SS

C.Iannetta - 12HR-40RBI-32R-0SB-.230 Avg
Many thought he would take the next step

K.Johnson - 6HR-22RBI-36R-5SB-.219 Avg
I spent $23 draft dollars on him

R.Martin - 3HR-31RBI-43R-8SB-.263Avg
I spent $27 draft dollars on Old Reliable or what I thought was Old 

M.Pelfrey - 8W, 4.94ERA, 1.53 Ratio, 58K
Many people thought he would emerge into a #2 starter this year

G.Soto - 8HR-27RBI-19R-1SB-.230 Avg
Everyone thought he would become the next stud NL catcher

C.Young - 6HR-26RBI-34R-11SB-.195 Avg
Many thought he would go 30-30 this year

NL King - C.Lizza

Monday, August 03, 2009

Cheap 2010 Impact Players?

Here's a quick list of players that I feel could make the biggest impact in 2010. These are my favorite cheap keepers heading into 2010 and should all be relatively cheap to acquire right now.

1. Billy Butler – All he’s missing is the power….and it will come. Believe think he'll hit 30HR as soon as next year. He's only 23 and with his fantastic contact making skills, it's only a matter of time before the doubles turn into HR's. Once the HR's come, they'll also be a huge potential for an increased OBP. He hovers in the .340 OBP range but once the power comes, he could certainly be a .400+ guy.
Why he's so cheap now? Butler hasn't shown off the power.

2. Ian Stewart – Multi position eligibility and 20+HR/100RBI potential could make Stewart a steal next year. He’ll have to cut down on the K’s but you can draft him as your primary 2B and expect a better BA in 2010. Looking at his swing and size, there is no doubt he can hit 30HR at some point too. Stewart originally came up as a 3B so you know the power is there. Stewart is 24, he hit 30 HR in Single A in 2004 as a 19 year old and has shown the ability to hit .280-.300 in the minors. He's got plenty of time to mature and the K's are alarming, but he got top 10 2B written all over him in 2010 at the draft but should have top 5 on his forehead by the end of the season. I'm thinking Chase Utley, Ian Kinsler, Dustin Pedroia, Brian Roberts, Robinson Cano, Alexei Ramirez, Brandon Phillips, Ian Stewart.
Why he's so cheap now? Stewart been a K master and sports a .227 BA

3. Nolan Reimold – Here's a guy who came out of nowhere in 2009 to post some solid rookie numbers. If you've kept up with The Fantasy Man, you would have had Reimold on your radar in March though! At 25 years old and room to grow, you have a solid all around player with .280+/25HR/90+ potential in 2010 as the starting RF in Baltimore. While Matt Wieters gets all the hype, Reimold quitely has 10HR and 6 SB in 217 AB so far this season while sporting a .281BA/.368OBP/.554SLG. Those are some lifty numbers for a guy that no one talks about. He batted .284/25HR/84RBI/7SB in AA in 2008 and tore up AAA earlier this year before being called up. I mentioned the potential above. He's got 20+HR power right now, he's got .300+ potential next year, and he should steal approximately 7-10 bases a year. Anything more past that is gravy and he'll be available in the later rounds of your draft in 2010! Scoop him up as a keeper in leagues that keep 6 or more.
Why he's so cheap now? Matt Wieters gets all the hype.

4. Colby Rasmus – Not sure if he’ll ever have a .300BA but he’ll hit a ton of HR and steal a few bases. Right now his future looks dim because of the acquisition of Matt Holliday and the recent hitting of Rick Ankiel and Ryan Ludwick. What you like about Rasmus is that he looks like a fully matured ball player. His minor league numbers blow when you look at them overall except for the monster year that he had in 2007 in AA but he seems like one of those guys that you can promote to the majors with instant success, a la Hanley Ramirez. Rasmus's stock is down at the moment but don't be discouraged. Look at this as an opportunity to scoop him up cheap. Rick Ankiel's contract is up after the season and who knows if the Cards will resign Matt Holliday, so its almost a definite that you'll see Colby Rasmus starting in the St. Louis outfield in 2010 with an expectation that he could be a .270+/20HR+/80RBI+/10SB type player.
Why he's so cheap now? Rasmus doesn't have a full-time position.

5. Ricky Romero – Currently 10-4/3.53ERA/1.38WHIP/87K in 109IP and for a minute, was about to be the ace of the Toronto staff if Roy Halladay were to be dealt. Romero is 24 years old and has been bouncing around the minors since 2005 with mild success, so I wouldn't look at his minor league numbers and frustrate yourself. I think looking at his work this year in the bigs is more beneficial. Romero has had a few hiccups as expected but he's got good overall stuff including a Johan Santana like change up. That right there is enough to sell me. You have to expect better numbers next year as he gains more experience so I like Romero as a sneaky keeper going into 2010.
Why he's so cheap now? Romero's minor league numbers weren't great.