Saturday, January 31, 2009

Derek Jeter in a Fantasy Decline?? BAH!

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Let me preface this by saying that Derek Jeter is my favorite real life player and that I am a die hard Yankee fan. So if you haven't now just clicked off this post, let me explain why you shouldn't pass on Jeter in the early to mid rounds of your fantasy baseball league draft (R6-R8).


Many are saying that Jeter is in a decline. Actually, everyone is saying it and I feel like I am the only one trying to defend him in this world we call fantasy. Look, I love Jeter as much as the next Yankee fan, but I do know what good value is in a fantasy draft. If I didn't, then you guys wouldn't be reading this, right? Now, I'm not always right and I can admit that, but I can tell the difference between being a "homer" and a smart fantasy baseball manager.

Jeter's line in 2008 at age 34:
.300BA, 11HR, 69RBI, 11SB, 88R,179H in 596AB

Here is Jeter in 2006 at age 32 in his 2nd best year:

.344BA, 14HR, 97RBI, 34SB, 118R, 216H in 623AB

Jeter in his best year in 1999 (before his prime):
.349BA, 24HR, 102RBI, 19SB, 134R, 219H in 627AB

Jeter has had other fantastic years and I guess I don't need to list every season since 1996. Obviously we can all agree that Jeter's best years are behind him, but I need to state my case that he his still productive enough for your fantasy team where you'd be a fool to pass him up in say the 7th round of your draft.

What would you say a typical projection for Jeter would be for 2009? Would you say... .300/15HR/75RBI/15SB/100R????? You don't think that's quality numbers at the weakest position in fantasy baseball leagues this season? That's my projection and I believe its modest.

Ron Shandler's projection in 2009 Baseball Forcaster (which you can purchase by clicking above)
.290BA, 12HR, 71RBI, 10SB, 93R, 170H in 586AB

Here is Jeter's 3 year average according to CBS Sports....
.323BA, 12HR, 80RBI, 20SB, 103R, 200H, 619AB

What do all these numbers tell us? That no one knows what to expect in 2009. I tend to move towards the 3 year average and then I look at Jeter's situation more than anything. Here are some of the pros for Jeter.....

1. He's going to hit in front of Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez which means better pitches to hit. I'm sorry, but hitting with Bobby Abreu up next isn't so scary.

2. The Yankees offense was terrible in 2009 by Yankee standards. Jeter might have had something to do with that, but this also is the reason why Jeter only scored 88 runs which is un-Jeter like. You can't tell me that a Ron Shandler projection of 93 runs can hold up. I think you'll see more walks and more scoring from Jeter in 2009 and certainly 100+runs.

3. There is no way he can have a worse year than last year and 2008 was dismal for Jeter. A year like Shandler is predicting with his calculator suggests that Jeter is going to bomb again two years in a row, which certainly suggests a decline.

4. What makes Jeter valuable are 7 things.... Batting average, 100+runs, 15/15 potential plus more (there is upside here thanks to the revamped offense), he's super durable, reliable, consistent, all at the weakest position in the game!!

Tell me what SS in this game you can count on for all I mentioned in #4. No one. He's one of the most durable and reliable players in all of baseball. There's value in that in your draft in rounds 6-8. Here's a look at the competition and the risk at SS that's comparable to Jeter in the draft:

Stephen Drew
- Hasn't lived up to the hype yet, potential break out in 2008 but your stretching for upside in R6, not value.
Troy Tulowitzski - Terrible first half in 2008 and injured but hit .300 in the second half. Was the first half of 2008 part of a sophomore slump or was the second half more of what we can expect? There's some risk here. Plus, he lost Matt Holliday.
Rafael Furcal - When was the last time this guy played? 'Nuff said!
Jhonny Peralta - Has the power to be a 3B, maybe he hits 30HR this year finally but it comes with a .275BA.
J.J. Hardy - Same as Peralta but seems to always have a full half season slump. Too inconsistent but has 25+ HR power.

Michael Young - Still a good value, can put up same numbers as Jeter with more RBI but nursed injuries last season. A few years younger than Jeter but could be breaking down.
Miguel Tejada - No comment.
Mike Aviles - Sophmore slump?

Look at all these players. They all come with some sort of risk. In most of them, you are paying for upside and not quality value. Jeter was normally a top 40 pick in recent years. Now he can be had in the 8th round. Chances are, no one in your league is looking at Jeter as the first SS to be taken after the elite 3. But, by the 10th round, all these SS are gone with the exception of maybe Aviles who is normally gone by the 13th.

So what's the bottomline? Despite what many are deeming a decline, Jeter is the safest and most conservative pick on the board in rounds R6-R8 in 12 team mixed league drafts for this years weakest postion. Better yet, he actually possesses some upside as well considering the revamped Yankee offense. If there was one player the acquisition of Tex helps the most, it's Jeter!

Don't believe the decline hype by every other expert out there. You shouldn't expect a 2006 or a 1999 type of season, but you should expect better numbers than 2008, and I hope I proved that that is possible and probable. Look at the situation and not at last years declined stats.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

All the Players I Don't Pay Attention Too!

It's nothing personal, but there's some players in a fantasy baseball draft or auction that I never seem to pick. There's some players I simply don't trust or some names I just can't stand to look at on my fantasy team roster. I'm sure they're great guys personally, but in fantasy terms, I just can't seem to pull the trigger.

You might want to grab a cold drink (I like soda with ice...nice and crispy!), have a seat and get comfortable because there is a good chance you may want to curse me out by the time you're done reading this. Below is a list of the players I just don't like on my fantasy team. Hopefully I can justify why I won't choose these players! Keep in mind however, players we despise on our rosters can still be fantastic picks when undervalued which in turn make great picks. But, sometimes, like I said above, I just can't pull the trigger. Like Ed Rooney said, "I don't trust this kid any farther than I can throw him!" Let's start at the top....

Lance Berkman - .300/35/110/10 is the average projection you'll get for Berkman. Those are fantastic potential numbers, but I'm just not a believer. Whether it was the year he got hurt or last year when his first half was amazing and the second half, well, not so good. No trust here. I'd rather grab Mark Teixeira, Matt Holliday or Prince Fielder in the early second round or dare I say, stretch on Carlos Quentin. Berkman is also technically on the downside of his prime turning 33 in February. Probably a year or two left of top production but he's not the most agile player and I just can't seem to hit the draft button. No offense Lance.

Carl Crawford - What's up with this guy?!! Turns 27 last August and hits 8 HR! Jeez. Here's a guy that we've been touting for years waiting for that big break out. I mean he's still 27 for most of the season so that break out could happen this year as he enters his prime, but there's that word again... "could". I want to know if it is or not! I might still grab Crawford in the 4th round if he slips but I almost rather grab the sure thing in Ichiro Suzuki or take a risk and stretch on Jacoby Ellsbury. I have a feeling Ellsbury will be more productive than Crawford in 2009.

Russell Martin - I know, sounds dumb right? Fact is, I feel there is more potential to grab Brian McCann, Geovany Soto or Joe Mauer over Martin. If not, I'd rather just wait until the end of the draft and pick up two between Bengie Molina, Kelly Shoppach, Kurt Suzuki, Jeff Clement, Yadier Molina, Taylor Teagarden, Max Ramirez, etc. See? We have options late. Martin is a solid player and a top notch fantasy catcher, but I like Joe Mauer because he can bust out a .330+ batting average assuming he stays healthy or I like Brian McCann or Geovany Soto because both have 25+ HR/100+RBI potential with .280+ batting averages. More upside between these 3 than with Martin. .300/15/90/10 is nice, but I like to shoot for the stars!

Scott Kazmir - I used to love the potential of Kazmir. Still do, but here is a case where I like a guy so much I just won't draft him. Simple as this.... Kazmir is a high K guy, high BB guy, not enough innings guy, so therefore not enough wins guy! End of story. Pick Francisco Liriano or John Lackey or even take the risk on Felix Hernandez over Kazmir in the 5th-7th rounds of a normal draft.

Chris B. Young - Young, athletic, superstar potential says it all, but a .230 batting average is a bit disheartening. He has 20/20 or even 30/30 upside, but after a sweet 2007 (despite the low BA), be bombed a bit in 2008. There's still plenty of time to break out here but he's a superstar in the K department and unless he works that out, you'll get the same thing you had last year!

Delmon Young - Uggh! He's only 23 but he's the now the Carl Crawford of 7 years ago. All that potential, or so it seems, followed up by marginal numbers. So far the experts have had it wrong on this guy. !0HR and 14RBI in 2008, that just doesn't cut it for me. Yet, he'll still be picked in rounds 9-13. Too early for all that left over hype from 2 years ago.

Brett Myers - Every year I pass up Myers even when he's at a great value. I just don't believe he can repeat that big 200+K season and even so, his ERA and WHIP weren't super fantastic that year anyway. Solid yes, super fantastic, no. Then, in 2007 when he had hurt his arm, it cost him the season, bounced back and forth to the bullpen and he never had that surgery. I feel like that one year I draft Myers, that arm injury will return. That is why I am not high on him in 2009.

Trevor Hoffman - Here's a guy who can get you 40+ saves and probably a 1.20 or less WHIP, but he's in line for a 4.00+ERA and I simply can't deal with that this year. Plus he's super old. I'd rather grab two top notch guys in rounds 9-11 then to wait another round or two for Hoffman.


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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Fantasy Man Updates

Just trying to make it easier for everyone to keep up with The Fantasy Man's happenings! This 2009 season is growing like wildfire for The Fantasy Man brand so this post will sum it all up....

1. The Fantasy Man FEED is now available for registration! It's only $20 for the season and it's my premium service. All content included in the FEED is exclusive only to FEED subscribers! For $20, you get:
- The weekly FEED with add/drop recommendations, injury updates, minor league/prospect rankings and analysis, and much much more.

- My FREE 2009 Draft Guide!!!! Only FEED subscribers get the Draft Guide this year!
- You get free personal email advice
- My list of the 20 best kept secrets in your 2009 fantasy baseball draft!
Go to
www.TheFantasyMan.com to register!

2. www.FanThreads.com & The Fantasy Man is promoting The Fantasy T-Shirt Challenge! Submit an idea for a fantasy baseball t-shirt by February 15th and we'll pick out the top 5 to be voted on. Winning idea will be printed and sold on www.FanThreads.com . You get 20% of the profits, a free shirt, and a free subscription to The Fantasy Man FEED!

3. Fantasy Players Express is a new and unique Fantasy Players Database. Experts and fantasy managers can interact with each other on the latest information, analysis, projections, etc., on all individual fantasy players! Need a second opinion on a trade and want to see what everyone is saying about a player, give Fantasy Players Express a try! It's free to register and post! ** Make sure you also register for the new forum I just added**

2009 Stolen Base Kings

Every year I create this unique draft tool which gives fantasy baseball managers an idea as to what players have a potential to steal bases. When we do our draft preparation, most of us will create a draft strategy based on stolen bases among other things.

Below is a list of players that fall into categories based on how many stolen bases I believe a player has the potential to steal. This year, I have included what round you could expect to draft that player in (give or take a round) based on normal 12 team mixed league drafts. I have tried to rank each player within each tier. These projections are based on past numbers, age, health, offense, and of course, potential. Barring any setbacks, this is what I believe a player can do....

This list does not include minor league prospects...

50+
Jose Reyes (1st)
Jacoby Ellsbury (5th)
Willy Tavares (15th)
40+Jimmy Rollins (1st)
B.J. Upton (2nd)
Ichiro Suzuki (3rd)
Brian Roberts (4th)
Shane Victorino (5th)
Chone Figgins (7th)
Juan Pierre (16th)
Carlos Gomez (16th)
Michael Bourn (20th)
Rajai Davis (Waiver Wire)

30+
Hanley Ramirez (1st)
David Wright (1st)
Grady Sizemore (1st)
Carl Crawford (3rd)
Matt Kemp (3rd)
Alex Rios (4th)
Rafael Furcal (7th)
Cameron Maybin (15th)
Josh Anderson (WW)

20+
Alex Rodriguez (1st)
Ian Kinsler (1st)
Matt Holliday (2nd)
Carlos Beltran (2nd)
Alfonso Soriano (3rd)
Dustin Pedroia (3rd)
Alexei Ramirez (5th)
Brandon Phillips (4th)
Curtis Granderson (4th)
Nate McLouth (5th)
Corey Hart (5th)
Bobby Abreu (6th)
Johnny Damon (10th)
Torii Hunter (10th)
Lastings Milledge (12th)
Elijah Dukes (17th)
Jayson Werth (15th)
Denard Span (18th)
Rickie Weeks (15th)
Felipe Lopez (20th)
Orlando Cabrera (15th)
Ryan Theriot (17th)
Kaz Matsui (17th)
Randy Winn (20th)
Fred Lewis (20th)
Mike Cameron (20th)
Alexi Casilla (WW)
Coco Crisp (WW)
Jason Bartlett (WW)
Jerry Hairston (WW)
Eugenio Velez (WW)
Emilio Bonifacio (WW)
Emmanual Burriss (WW)
Joey Gathright (WW)
Cesar Izturis (WW)
Nick Punto (WW)

15+
Ryan Braun (1st)
Chase Utley (2nd)
Russell Martin (4th)
Derek Jeter (7th)
Delmon Young (12th)
Chris B. Young (12th)
Kelly Johnson (13th)
Adam Jones (16th)
Mark Ellis (20th)
Luis Castillo (WW)
Brett Gardner (WW)

10+
Albert Pujols (1st)
Josh Hamilton (1st)
Lance Berkman (2nd)
Carlos Quentin (3rd)
Evan Longoria (3rd)
Vlad Guerrero (4th)
Jason Bay (4th)
Nick Markakis (4th)
Hunter Pence (7th)
Joey Votto (6th)
Derrek Lee (7th)
Michael Young (9th)
Connor Jackson (10th)
Howie Kendrick (10th)
Mike Aviles (11th)
Alex Gordon (12th)
Carlos Guillen (14th)
Mark Reynolds (15th)
Gary Sheffield (20th)
Kosuke Fukodome (WW)
David DeJesus (WW)
Willie Harris (WW)

Have I missed anyone?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Waiver Sharks

I found another great blog that is managed by Scott Woodall called Waiver Sharks! Waiver Sharks takes the time to go deeper into the back end of fantasy baseball drafts to look deeper at prospects and keepers. Their latest article analyzes outfielders ranked #51-#75 which includes a group of some of my favorites like Cameron Maybin, Elijah Dukes and Travis Snider for 2009. Scroll a little lower and you'll find the rest!

So check out
Waiver Sharks and stay up-to-date before the draft and during the season.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Fantasy Man + FanThreads.com Fantasy T-Shirt Contest

I love this stuff!! I have hooked up with FanThreads.com for a fun Fantasy T-shirt Contest
where the winner will get 20% of the profits, a free tee shirt with your design/slogan, and a free subscription to The Fantasy Man FEED which will be my new "Premium" content.


Here's what you do....
Phase 1: Come up with an idea for a fantasy t-shirt and click this link to submit your idea. Submit your idea by February 15th!!! Submissions are now being considered....

Phase 2: We'll pick the 5 finalists on February 17th. You will then have until February 28th to vote on the best t-shirt idea!


Phase 3: The winning shirt will be printed and sold on http://www.fanthreads.com/ . You get 20% commission, you get to model your shirt on the site, and you get a FREE subscription to The Fantasy Man FEED!

For rules, winnings and information go to Fan Threads and read up on how to submit your design/slogan to create the winning fantasy t-shirt!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Rookie Status Gone, but not Forgotten!

Rookie Status gone, but not Forgotten!
By Adam Cohen

This is a list of players that have lost their rookie status but should not be forgotten. Basically they are going to be players who did not fair well in their first try at the major leagues but still have the ability to succeed as early as this year. These are guys you could take a late round flier on in your league and come out looking like a genius.

Jeff Clement: He got 204 at bats this season and managed to just barely stay over the Mendoza Line, batting .227. In that time he only hit 5 HR while slugging just .360. There is no question he struggled more than many of us would have liked to see. Word out of Mariner world is that Clement is going to get plenty of run at catcher and will be the DH when he isn’t behind the plate. That is exciting news from a fantasy perspective. It means that when he gets a day off from behind the plate to rest his knees, he will still be in the lineup. Eventually he may move to 1b, but for now the Mariners plan to keep him at C and he has an amazing power bat for a C. If this guy gets 500 at bats this year he is a definite 20 HR candidate, he could also find himself batting near the middle of this lineup if he starts hot. Odds are he’ll hit for a lower type average in the .250-.260 range, but for a catcher with 20 HR ability, that is great.

Wladimir Balentien: Another Mariner with great power. This guy has been touted throughout the minors as a guy who could hit 30 in the major leagues. This guy literally flirted with the Mendoza line in his 243 major league at bats last season. He finished with a .202 batting average. As of now Endy Chavez is penciled in as the left fielder, however this team is so bad they have to give their young guys a shot and see what they got. Baltentien may start the year as the 4th OF, but he should get plenty of at bats and could figure in at DH while Clement is behind the plate. If he can get 500 at bats this year he as the ability to hit 25 or more HR, the problem is that it will likely come with a .230-240 average. He will not be a fantasy stud, however can be a very cheap source of power if you need it. Keep an eye on him in spring training, if he gets a job from the get go, he’ll likely be a fantasy impact.

Delmon Young: Many fantasy people are down on Young. Here is what you do know: he was projected to be a 30/30 type player, and has fallen far short of that each year of his career. What you may not realize is that he has still averaged a .289 batting average, with 12 HR and 12 SB while averaging over 80 RBI a season. What this means is that he still hits well in the middle of the lineup, just hasn’t developed his home run power yet. With young hitters, power is usually the last thing that develops in terms of their tools (generally plate discipline is the hardest thing to find in a youngster). This guy could be poised for a break out season in power. He will be hitting near the middle of the lineup again and even if he does not break the 20 HR threshold for another year, he should be counted on for double figures in HR and SB while holding down a nice batting average and a good total of RBI.

Alex Gordon: This was another can’t miss prospect that has so far missed. Many people around fantasy baseball consider this guy a bust. I am not ready to give up on him yet. He was rushed to the majors, sure he performed well, but we was rushed. Not only that, he was rushed with tremendous pressure. He was the franchise savoir. Over his two full seasons in the majors he has averaged just 66 runs, 15 HR, 60 RBI and 12 SB, while batting just .253. He has been very pedestrian compared to his hype. Bottom line is that he is only 24 years old and now has 2 years of experience in the major leagues. His team is starting to get better, he is getting more protection. He was supposed to be a carbon copy of David Wright, and although I don’t see this as a reality at this point, he can be a Wright-lite type player. He had a great second half of the season although it was cut short by injury, his batting average was .277 and raised his slugging percentage to .496 from .407 pre all-star break. He also snagged 6 of his 9 stolen bases in his shortened second half. I’d predict that a .275-70-20-80-10 type season is not a stretch for this kid in 2009.

Billy Butler: Another Royal who had big things expected of him for 2008, who fell quite short. He struggled so badly in the first half of the season that he was actually demoted. Before being demoted he hit just 2 home runs and slugged just .330. He went down the minors and figured things out and came back to the majors and went on a terror. His average climbed to .305 while he slugged .476. This translated into 9 HRs in just 210 at bats. If you take just his second half numbers and translate it into a full season of 600 at bats, he was on pace for 26 homeruns with his above .300 average. The news for him during the off-season is that Kansas City traded for Mike Jacobs to come in and play the 1b position. This moves Butler to DH for good which hurts his value some in fantasy leagues. This guy will realize his potential this year though so take a late round flier on him. .300-70-25-90 type season is coming.

Steven Pearce: He has been touted as a 30 HR potential bat for a few years now. However, the Pirates outfield has been a little crowded and has not provided the opportunity for him to get sufficient playing time. In his limited time in the majors he has yet to show the 30 HR power we heard of, however continued to show it during his time in the minors. With Nady now out of Pittsburgh, Pearce is penciled in by many to play right field. If he does win the job out of spring training look for him to be a possible power supply during your season. I’d say it’s a bit early in his career to say he’ll hit 30 HR, but 20 is not out of the question. Assuming he wins the starting job I’d expect a .270 average with 21 HR.

Jeff Francis: Coming off the best season of his career, Francis found himself hitting the DL for the first time in his major league career. This landed him quite short of the near 200 IP we have come to expect from him. He showed that his 6.9 K/IP strike out rate from the year before was a little fluky as he returned closer to his career average with a 5.9 posting this past year. Going into this year he will not be the ace of staff, as Aaron Cook has taken that over. This should lead to a little less pressure on Francis and I fully expect him to take advantage of that. I doubt he will reach his career high of 17 wins or beat the 165 Ks he had that year either. However I think he could end the year with 13-14 wins and 140 Ks. He’s never had a season with an ERA under 4.16 or WHIP under 1.29, and that won’t change this season. Don’t expect anything much higher than those two numbers though.

Anibal Sanchez: The key for this guy is to stay healthy. If he can stay healthy he will be in a position to contribute for fantasy managers. With the emergence of other starting pitchers in the Florida rotation, he is penciled into the fourth spot in the rotation, which will take the pressure of pitching at the top of the rotation off of him. Throughout his minor league career he has been a great strikeout pitcher and I see no reason that this will not translate into the majors. In his two previous stints in the majors he had pedestrian strike out rates, however last season in 10 starts he was up at 8.7 K/IP. This is not the 22 year old kid who through a no-hitter a few years ago, he is 24 and has battled through injuries each of the past two years. He won’t be as good as he looked that rookie year where he posted and ERA under 3.00 in 17 starts. He should be able to keep his ERA under 4.20 and contribute nicely in strikeouts. This Florida team surprises people every year with their win total so this guy reaching 14 or more wins this season would not be a complete stretch.

Hopefully you guys enjoyed this article, let me know if there are any others you guys can think of by leaving a comment below...


Adam Cohen

Friday, January 09, 2009

Dealing with a weak Shortstop Position in 2009

Position Scarcity?? BAH!! If you're like me, your probably not worrying so much about the lack of depth at the shortstop position this season, and you shouldn't. Then again, I like to do the opposite of what most people like to do. Maybe I'm the George Costanza of fantasy baseball. Fact is, many people are crazy over the fact that SS is indeed the weakest position in the draft in 2009. I don't want to spew on pointless information, so here are the facts you need to know. Follow along....

Whether snake draft or auction, there are only 11 shortstops worth spending money or that make a solid pick on draft day and they are...
Hanley Ramirez
Jose Reyes
Jimmy Rollins
Derek Jeter
Stephen Drew
Rafael Furcal
Troy Tulowitzski
Michael Young

Miguel Tejada
J.J. Hardy
Jhonny Peralta


This is the order I rank these 1st and 2nd tier shortstops. After this group, the list drops off considerably. In snake drafts, the first 3 are obviously drafted by the early second round if Rollins falls. Then, no one touches a shortstop until approximately late round 5 or early round 6, in which I usually take Jeter personally. Say what you want about Jeter and his age and his decline, but you guys are fooling yourselves if you think he's finished. But, this post isn't about me. It's about helping you! Once Drew, Jeter or Furcal are drafted as the first 2nd tier SS choosen, then comes a shortstop run. If you miss out on one of these guys, forget it! Might as well get lucky and pluck a flier later. As it turns out, J.J. Hardy and Jhonny Peralta sometimes last into the 10th round, but never any later. If I were you, and you are scared you could end up with crap at the end of the draft, I'd pick the best available of this list above with your 9th round pick. As usual, I am talking about normal 12 team mixed league drafts. Obviously, you'd have to adjust these projections in leagues with more or less teams.

In Auctions, without going to crazy here, the idea is the same. Your going to have to pay in the $15-$20 range for the 2nd tier shortstops I mentioend above. Otherwise, just wait until th eend because anyone else you throw out there will probably be $5 or less.

The best of the next group.....and here you can see how weak SS is....
Yuneal Escobar - Always hurt, team stinks, but is young, has upside and .300+ potential
Orlando Cabrera - A consistent .280BA/20SB guy
Mike Aviles - There is .300+ potential here but he has Mike Moustakas in the minors who will push to make the team at some point in 2009 possibly, plus, sophomore year for Aviles could make or break him.
Jed Lowrie - Don't assume because he hits in the Boston lineup that he'll be great, he'll bat at the bottom of the order and doesn't have much power, but he does have upside.
Edgar Renteria - Back in the NL could help.
Christian Guzman - Might hit .300 again but injury prone.

Ryan Theriot - .280/20+SB potential
Khalil Greene - 25+HR power but he's a .200 hitter


So let's be honest here, there's some value late in the draft if it fits your team like if you need stolen bases, then Cabrera or Theroit make sense for example. However, you really want to get one of those 2nd tier shortstops if you miss out on one of the top 3. That's the bottom line. Personally, I'd grab two back to back if you are in a league with a middle infielder and hoard two of these guys. This will create panic among other owners and you may benefit from that later.

So looking at that list above, those are the only lower tiered players I'd think about. Cabrera, Escobar, Aviles are all gone before the 15th round usually. Lowrie sometime around the 16th and the other guys are fliers. This is what I am seeing. So draft your SS before it's too late!

To put this in perspective, I have drafted in about 10 expert mocks and 3 real expert leagues. In every one of these drafts, I produced Reyes, Rollins, Jeter, Drew, Tulowitzski or J.J. Hardy. Two of these three are represented on every documented draft I've done this year so far with the exception of one. I did one draft where I drafted Orlando Cabrera in the 14th I think. I believe that was the first live expert draft at MDC I did before Christmas. I drafted Jeter as my SS and Cabrera as my MI because I needed SB's at the time. I can guarantee from here on in that every other draft I do, mock or real, I am getting a solid SS and another one as an MI.

That leaves second base! This year I am sucking it up and drafting either Jose Lopez or Felipe Lopez at the end of the draft to take a flier. This is usally my weakest player. If you follow my work, you know I load up on power early, I get my SB's and I work on pitching throughout the entire draft, so it's okay if one of my last 3-4 picks is one of the Lopez' whom both have upside.






2009 Battle of the Fantasy Gods Expert League Draft Results

For results and analysis on Monday's Battle of the Fantasy Gods Expert League draft, please visitBattle of the Fantasy Gods .

2009 Mock Draft Mania

It's Monday, January 5th and you are about to witness the first installment of The Fantasy Man's Mock Draft Mania for 2009! Mock Draft Mania is my most popular creation. It's a fantasy baseball podcast like no other!

Here is the new iTunes page for The Fantasy Man Show Podcast. So those of you who are iTunes users can get your Feed here! Be sure to leave some feedback, I'm starting fresh!
http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=301619483

Listen to Mock Draft Mania 2009


Back in January of 2007, I fineagled my way into Fantasy Sports Magazine's Expert Draft for their 2007 fantasy baseball guide. The name of the league was Krause Publications 2 Expert League. FSM does two fantasy baseball mags every season and this particular draft was featured into the second mag. This was my shining moment with the big dogs as I was still somewhat of an unknown in the industry but it's one of the reasons why some people now call me an expert. I participated in this draft with guys from Yahoo, CBS, and ESPN and in some ways, put The Fantasy Man on the map of respectability. I was so excited about this draft that I took the day off of work and I podcasted my thoughts live as I drafted. The podcast was a mess and a huge risk on my end, but I posted it and it became an instant hit among Fantasy Man followers. There was more demand and since then, I do a few Mock Draft Mania's each season. There are some who try to duplicate it, but none that can match it! This is the first of 2009. By the way, I finished in 3rd place in that league missing by only 3.5 points in the last week of the season.

So fast forward to 2009. Tonight, at 8PM at www.MockDraftCentral.com I will podcast my thoughts, ideas, and strategies as I draft for my very own expert league, the Battle of the Fantasy Gods! We have a great lineup of experts and you can view the rules and the draft order at the official site www.BattleoftheFantasyGods.com . I will also post the podcast and the draft results there later tonight!

If you are new to The Fantasy Man Show Podcasts, beware, this is a tough listen. I try my best to keep the conversation flowing but I do throw out an occasional bad word, long silent pauses, weird noises and whatever else comes my way during a draft. You get every aspect of me doing a draft online. It's a blast, but its unedited (as are all my podcasts) and like I said, tough to listen too. The podcast will probably be about 1-2 hours long, so be patient when downloading.

Stay tuned!
FM

Friday, January 02, 2009

Introducing Adam Cohen - Fantasy Baseball Express Writer

Adam Cohen's Impact Rookies for 2009
I will list 5 hitters and 5 pitchers which I believe will have a major impact on your fantasy baseball season.

Hitters
1. Matt Wieters, C, BAL
It seems like the Orioles will do with Wieters what the Rays did with Evan Longoria. They will leave him in the minors for the first two weeks so that they can push back arbitration. All off season the Orioles have made moves to create room and support a move to the majors for this kid. They dealt Ramon Hernandez, and have spent the rest of the time looking for a veteran catcher who is willing to sign to be a back up and mentor Wieters. In his first year in the minor leagues across two levels (A+ and AA), he finished with a combined line of .355/.454/.600, not to mention the 27 homeruns he hit over that span. This guy shows the tools to be a middle of the lineup hitter from the catcher position and could eventually provide Mike Piazza type numbers. He will not be that good this season and I’d look for him to end up as more of a Bengie Molina when it comes to his final line. Baltimore really lacks true middle of the lineup bats, and if Wieters can show he is ready early, he will be plugged into the middle of the lineup. Look for a fantasy line of 80-21-85-.280.

2. Matt LaPorta, 1B/OF, CLE
Here is another guy who might start the season in the minors. However with the power that he shows I find it hard to believe that Cleveland will keep him down very long and he should win the 1b job out of spring training. Simply put Ryan Garko is nothing special on either side of the ball and should not hold back a guy like LaPorta. He has middle of the lineup power and it won’t be long until he is there for the Indians. More likely that he hits in the 6 or 7 spot to start his career as they do have other productive hitters who can take the pressure off of LaPorta. He could probably use a little seasoning in the minors to become more of a complete hitter, however with Cleveland struggling on offense last year, LaPorta’s pure power may be needed sooner rather than later. If he were to play a full season you could expect a Pat Burrell type year. 30 or so home runs with a pedestrian .250 batting average.

3. Cameron Maybin, OF, FLA
This guy should be the starting center fielder in Florida. Simply put, this guy is a 5-tool player, and could contribute in all 5 categories as early as this season. In AA last year he finished with 13 HR and 21 SB while hitting .277, not to mention his 15 doubles and 8 triples. This guy has the speed right now to make a major contribution. Given a full season’s worth of at bats he could end up north of 50 stolen bases. With a line of .277/.375/.456 it’s clear to see that he has the ability to contribute now. I think a more realistic line of Carlos Gomez for this season. Something around .255-90-11-50-30, I figure he might get thrown into the lead off role in order to move Ramirez into the 3 hole. That should lead to a high number of runs scored despite his less than stellar batting average, along with a fairly low RBI total since he won’t be given many opportunities for those. He strikes out a ton, but can hit the ball hard when he makes contact so I think he is a good bet for double digit homeruns and I think a 30 steal prediction is modest.

4. Travis Snider, OF, TOR
Snider in my opinion will be the most productive rookie on this list and should be the front runner as far as offensive players are concerned. He had a brief stint in the majors in September for the Blue Jays and totaled 78 at bats. In that limited time he his over .300 and slugged .466 which included 6 doubles and 2 homeruns. This guy has true gap to gap power and could show that this year at the major league level. Snider jumped 4 levels last year including the previously mentioned trip to the majors; in the minors he had a line of .275/.358/.481, and something very similar at the MLB level. Snider has a chance to bat in the middle of this lineup, and as such could see a line similar to Vernon Wells last year. Something in the range of .270-80-25-90.

5. Taylor Teagarden, C, TEX
As of now Teagarden is penciled in as the starting catcher for the Rangers. His defense is what puts him in there over Saltalamaccia. I believe they may try and showcase Blalock for a trade later in the season at which time they would move Chris Davis to 3b and Salty to 1b. Until then I think Teagarden and Salty will be platoonning the catcher job, with Teagarden getting the bulk of the at bats. He is another one of the new crop of power hitting catchers coming through the minors, however last year he struggled in the high minors to hit for power. He also struggled to hit for average last year in the minors. During his short stint in the majors however, he hit well over .300 and showed he could likely handle some type of major league role. Being in Texas will help his offense blossom earlier than expected, although don’t put too much stock in him yet. If he struggles early he might be sent back to the minors, my hunch says he stays in the pros all year. Fact is, he is still a catcher and catchers just don’t produce as much as other positions, with that said I’ll predict a .250 avg with 50 runs, 14 hr, and 50 RBI which is very respectable for a catcher.

Pitchers
1. David Price, SP, TB

This guy showed last year in the post season that he was ready to be in the front of a rotation right now. His ceiling is easily to be a #1 and truly one of the aces of the major leagues. For now he will slide into the #4 spot in the Tampa Bay rotation. With that in mind he will likely avoid many tough match ups against other team’s aces, and could lead to more wins in his rookie season than one might expect. Pitching in 3 different levels across the minors last year Price posted an ERA of 2.31 and a WHIP of 1.14. He struck out nearly a batter per inning (109 Ks in 109.2 IP). Then he got a call to the majors where he pitched mostly out of the pen for 14 innings. During that limited time he posted a 1.93 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP while striking out 12. I think this season he could compare to his teammate James Shields. 15+ wins, an ERA around 3.60, a WHIP around 1.20, and about 160 K, though I think he’ll be limited in IP and will only reach around 170 at most.

2. James McDonald, SP, LAD
McDonald will be at the back of the Dodgers rotation this year, and is the reason they were able to let Lowe and Penny go without getting involved in the free agent pitcher market. At the two highest levels of the minors last year he earned a 3.26 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP while striking out one per inning pitched. He too made a September debut however only totaled 6 innings pitched and failed to surrender a run during that time. He should be plugged into the 4th or 5th spot in this rotation and should be a good bet for double digit wins and an ERA around 4.00. His whip shouldn’t be much higher than 1.30 and will contribute in strikeouts while posting a k/9 of something like 7+. Something similar to what Carlos Zambrano put up last year wouldn’t surprise me.

3. Gio Gonzalez, SP, OAK
Gio has been among the league leaders in strikeouts in the minors for the past few years. Last season averaged one more walk per nine innings than he is used to and it translated into more runs given up, his 4.24 ERA in the minors last year was higher than many expected. Yet he still earned a trip to the majors, while there he did far from impress. Looking through his minor league history it seems to take him two seasons at one level to really hit his stride. I don’t think Oakland can afford to give him that time right now; they will need to count on him this season, and although I do not think he will be a major fantasy contributor like the guys above could be, but will have his uses. Pitching in Oakland will help his cause as well. He may not reach double digits in wins, however I still consider him a guy who will contribute in strikeouts in a big way. I’d say his strike out rate ends up around 8 per 9 innings. My gut feeling tells me this guy will end up with around 11 wins and 150 strikeouts. The down side to him is that he will likely carry an ERA over 4.50 and a WHIP above 1.40.

4. JA Happ, SP, PHI
Happ is the guy I figure to fill in the #5 spot in the Philadelphia rotation. He has been a quality strikeout pitcher throughout his minor leaguer career never going below 8.7 k/9 in any stop he pitched more than one game. During his brief time in a Phillies uniform last season he put up the type of numbers I will be expecting this season. His ERA was about 3.70; I’ll guess it goes up a bit too around 4.00 the more he is exposed to major league hitters. He also struck out 26 batters in nearly 32 innings pitched. He will be a factor this season in strikeouts. With this team having great offensive firepower I’d look for him to get some wins he probably shouldn’t and give him a win total in the double digits. He’ll also be a guy who you can count on for around 130-140 strikeouts and draft very late in a draft. His ERA and WHIP likely won’t help you win either of those categories but they aren’t likely to kill you either.

5. Nick Adenhart, SP, LAA
With the terrible showing he had last season in the pros and the fallout that occurred in the minors after his demotion, Adenhart is likely to start the season in the minors again. This guy truly has top of the rotation stuff and believe his time in the majors will arrive this season. Currently the Angels have penciled in Moseley as their 5th starter. Moseley simply isn’t good enough to keep the job throughout the season and as soon as Adenhart shows he is back to his old self he will get the call up. Once Adenhart gets the call he won’t look back this time. I think he could do something similar to what Jered Weaver did when he first made the jump. I do not predict the exact same as Weaver was a bonafide ace down the stretch of that season. However I do envision something like a 3.60 ERA with a 1.25 WHIP, while striking out nearly 1 per inning. This team is built on defense and a strong bullpen. They will not require Adenhart to push himself into later innings because they don’t have a trustworthy bullpen. Adenhart will benefit from the defense and bullpen the Angels have to support him and could end up around 12 wins given the proper amount of starts.