Thursday, July 29, 2010

Roy Osawlt and Dominic Brown Join the Fighting Phillies!

Roy Oswalt became a member of the Phillies earlier this week. Oswalt was sent to Philadelphia for JA Happ and prospects. The prospects are a couple of years away so no need to focus on them now for fantasy purposes. Oswalt goes from a bottom division team to one of the better teams in the NL and the Phillies are starting to get hot. I would imagine Oswalt will pitch as good for the Phils as he did for the Stros but I would expect more wins (has a 3.42 ERA for Houston but yet 6 Wins in 20 starts). Happ will get the ball every 5th day and we get to see what Happ is capable of being a starter. With Houston's roster the soon to be 28 year old will get a chance to prove he can be a solid major league starter. Even though Houston is a bad team if Happ is available in your league via free agency or the waiver wire could be a nice little pickup.

With the recent injury to Shane Victorino, Dominic Brown made his way to the Phillies lineup as it was reported Wednesday afternoon. Brown, back in Spring Training, was ranked 15th on Baseball America's top 100 list. But last week on Baseball America's updated mid season top 25 prospect list Brown was #1, the best prospect currently in the minors (keep in mind this list does not count any of the 2010 drafted players).

Brown is a 5 tool roto player with the potential to be a future roto stud. Between AA & AAA this year Brown has 20HR, 68RBI, 65R, 17SB, . 327 Avg, .391 OBP, .589 Slugging with also 22 doubles & 4 triples in 343 AB's. Brown has HUGE upside but like I always caution do not expect young players to burst on the scene and reach their potential immediately. If Brown can be a good player for you that's fantastic and anything above that would be gravy. Having said all that if you can land Brown via your league waiver wire - free agency go get him.

NL King - C.Lizza

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

NL King - Logan Morrison Called Up

The Florida Marlins called up Logan Morrison earlier this week after OF Chris Coghlan landed on the DL. Before the season Morrison was ranked as the #20 best prospect by Baseball America on their annual top 100. Morrison's natural position is 1B but he will start in the OF with Coghlan on the shelf. However, a lot of rumors indicate that Jorge Cantu will be traded by the deadline and then Morrison will slide over to 1B later in the week. Word was Morrison was going to get called up anyway once Cantu got traded....assuming Cantu gets traded.

Logan Morrison Stats at AAA this year:
238 AB, 6HR, 45RBI, 36R, 1 SB, .307 Avg, .427 OBP, .487 Slugging, 17 2B & 4 3B with 35K's

Morrison who is 22 is projected as the Marlins future # 3 hitter. Morrison projects as a high average RBI machine would fit in nicely as a 3 hitter. The big question with Morrison from a fantasy stand point is how many HR will he hit? Other than A ball, Morrison hasn't broken 20 HR in any other minor league seasons but many baseball people believe a lot of his doubles will turn into HR (remember the most HR Don Mattingly hit in a minor league season was 12). In the end, Morrison should be a high on base percentage guy who will hit in the low 20's in HR while approaching 100 Runs & RBI's while hitting close to .300 as a player if he hits. There is a lot of things to like about Morrison and has a very bright future but like I say about all top prospects when they come up expect Morrison to be a good helper for the last 60 games and anything more than that will be gravy.

NL King - C.Lizza

Sunday, July 25, 2010

NL King - Dan Haren Traded to the Angels

Finally, an NL King article! I might have a bunch for you guys between now and next Saturday the 31st on trades that effect NL fantasy baseball, so stay tuned. This afternoon it was annouced the Arizona Diamondbacks sent starting pitcher Dan Haren and his salary to the Los Angeles Angels for Joe Saunders, Patrick Corbin, Rafael Rodriguez & a player to be named later.

Sounds like the key to this deal is the player to be named later. By all indications it sounds like one of Anaheim's top prospects, but supposedly it is not outfielder Mike Trout (Baseball America just released their updated summer top 25 prospects and Mike Trout was ranked #2). However, Arizona, according to one article, is estatic over getting this player. They better be because the rest of the package doesn't overwhelm you. I have no clue why this player is not annouced yet but I will write an article on the player once it is annouced.

Joe Saunders is coming of the last 2 seasons of 16 & 17 wins. But that was a division winning Angel team. Now he goes to the last place D-Backs and while going to the NL should help Saunders ERA, nothing jumps out at you about Saunders other than his wins. He is roughly a 100K per 200 IP K guy, who has had an ERA between the high 3's & mid 4's and this year has a terrible ratio. What is weird is Saunders who will be an arbtrattion guy after the season should do very well there (make 6 to 7 million a season). But that's real life for fantasy baseball persepctive if all goes well he can be a low double digit Win guy with an ERA around 4, a ratio in the mid to high 1.3's and a little over 100K's for the season. If you have a 6 man staff for your NL team at best Saunders would be your #5 starter.

Patrick Corbin is a starting pitching prospect who is just 21 and in high A so it will be a while before we see him. Rafael Rodriguez probably heads to Arizona's bullpen as he appeared in 18 games for the Angels last year and was nothing to write home about. But with everything up for grabs in the Arizona bullpen I guess you never know.

Seems like the Angels got Dan Haren very cheap, the D-Backs better be right about this player to be named later.

NL King - C.Lizza

Thursday, July 15, 2010

NL King - First Half Lists

The second half of the major league baseball season is underway today as we've played a little more than half the seasons games already.  It's been a crazy season so far but wouldn't it have been sweet to have the information below on draft day before the season started in the National League? Here's a look back...

Hitters Who Had Great Unexpected First Halves:
Marlon Byrd, Rafael Furcal, Johnny Gomes, Corey Hart, Aubrey Huff, Casey McGehee, Miguel Olivo, Angel Pagan, Martin Prado, Scott Rolen, Gaby Sanchez & Chris B.Young

Hitters Who Under Performed:
Jason Bay, Matt Holiday, Raul Ibanez, Nate McLouth, Aramis Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Chase Utley

Young Gun Arms Who Have Emerged:
John Axford, Jaime Garcia, Ian Kennedy, Mat Latos, Kris Medlen, Clayton Richard & Stephen Strasburg

Down Years for Established Starters:
Dan Haren, Edwin Jackson, Jair Jurrjens, Wandy Rodriguez

Players Who Have Emerged as Fantasy Baseball Roto Stars:
Yovanni Gallardo, Carlos Gonzalez, Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Johnson, Carlos Marmol, Andrew McCutchen & Joey Votto

Comeback Years:
Matt Capps, Troy Glaus, Kelly Johnson, Brett Myers, Roy Oswalt, Mike Pelfrey, Carlos Silva & Rickie Weeks
NL King - C.Lizza

Friday, July 09, 2010

NL King - "Looking at the NL Prospects in the 2010 Futures Game

On Sunday, July 11th MLB will hold the 2010 Futures Game let's take a look at some of the bigger NL prospects and names you need to start to track going forward. BA Ranking stands for Baseball America ranking before the season on their top 100 prospect list.
US Team:

Domonic Brown - Phil - OF - BA Ranking # 15 - Power & Speed Guy, has 19HR & 14SB in a half season in AA & AAA. Brown will be the Phills starting RF no later than opening day next year.

Dee Gordon - LA - SS - BA Ranking # 46 - Furcal contract ends after next season 2011 and this speedster will be ready to take over then (32SB in 81 games).

Brett Jackson - Chi - OF - BA Ranking # 74 - Just promoted to AA and has shown a lot of good things in terms of being a top of the order hitter. However with all the OF's the Cubs have there will be no rush here unless they are injuries.

Logan Morrison - Fla - 1B - BA Ranking #20 - After missing some time this year in the minors with a shoulder injury Morrison is back and doing well. Morrison is hitting .318 with a .427 OBP. Could be up with the Fish in August depeneding upon what trades they make this month.

Christian Friedrich - Col - BA Ranking #33 - While his numbers aren't great in AA he could be up with the Rocks next summer and could become a front line starter.

Jordan Lyles - Hou - BA Ranking # 91 - At 19 years of age has a 3.07 ERA in AA and is a strikeout pitcher. Houston sorely needs help & youth in their team. If all goes well could be up early next summer.

Mike Minor - Atl - Just got promted to AAA and while his ERA was 4.03 in AA did have 109 K's in 87 IP.

Shelby Miller, Stl (BA Ranking # 50) will be up sometime in 2012 has front of the rotation stuff, Bryan Morris, Pitt, will get an opportunity soon with the Pirates (was part of the 3 way Manny Ramirez - Jason Bay trade).

World Team:

Yonder Alonso - Cinn - 1B - BA Ranking #45 - In AAA & blocked by Joey Votto unless he can learn to play the OF he will be trade bait and maybe before the July 31st trade deadline.

Pedro Ciriaco - Arz - 2B - In AAA and if the D-Backs move Kelly Johnson before the end of the month this kid will get a chance to show what he has to offer.

Brett Lawrie - Mil - 2B - BA Ranking # 59 - Doing well in AA (Has Pop & Speed) but the Brewers could be having an over haul and they need so much pitching. Lawrie could be used to get some young pitcher or maybe even Rickie Weeks could be traded for pitching and then Lawrie would get his chance.

Wilin Rosario - Col - C - Power Bat for the Rocks that could be ready next summer. If Ianetta doesn't wake up Rosario will get the chance to be the every day catcher.

Simon Castro - SD - BA Ranking # 57 - Has a 2.74 ERA in AA, another talented arms for the Friars.

Eduardo Sanchez - Stl - Just promoted to AAA. Had a 3.12 ERA in AA. Could be a good depth starter for the Cards next year.

Phillippe Valiquette - Cinn - In AAA and has shown some promise. Both Arroyo & Harang could be free agents after this season due to high team options for the Reds.

NL King - C.Lizza

How To Make Your Fantasy Baseball Team A Failure!

If you play fantasy baseball with any seriousness, then you have likely read several articles regarding tips for beginners, and others on what you should do as a fantasy baseball player. Well, going in a different direction, here are some sure fire tips to make your fantasy baseball team an absolute disaster.

Pick With Your Heart

Fantasy baseball is not like online poker rooms where you can roll the dice with just any player. Your player's have to be relevant and capable of performing. One mistake I made when I first started playing fantasy baseball was picking my favorite players and a lot of players on my favorite team. Of course, my team is the New York Yankees and this was when Don Mattingly was in his declining years. Needless to say that I got the floor wiped with my team.

Don't Keep Up With Your Team

If you want to make sure that your team will fall to the bottom of the standings in your league, fail to keep up with your team. Just let it sit there and play each game out as the other players consistently make their moves. Maybe you won't finish dead last.

Don't Follow Your Player's in the Live Games

I know this sounds silly to not follow the live games, but there are some players that for whatever reason or another fail to follow the games or fail to follow this religiously enough to keep up with their players. I made this mistake my first season when I found out two of my players were on the disabled list. I found this out about 15 days into their DL stint.

As you already know, staying on top of your team is one of the main keys to running a successful fantasy baseball team. Doing some of the above tips relegates you to gambling that you will get lucky and your team will do well. If you want to gamble, go play poker at some top real money poker sites. If you want to win at fantasy baseball, you need to put in the work.

The Fantasy Man - 2010 Second Half Players

This 2010 fantasy baseball season has been a complete disaster for most of us! I'm willing to bet that if you thought you drafted a great team, you're probably stuck in the gutter a la Joe Mauer, Jimmy Rollins, Adam Lind, Nate McLouth, etc., the list goes on as you go down the draft list.

Quick example, I drafted a team in a work league we created. Lots of trash talk as you can imagine but here's what I drafted with the 10th pick in this ten team league...... Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes, Pablo Sandoval, Adam Lind, Jason Bay.  Throw in a pitching staff that included Rich Harden, Gavin Floyd, Trevor Hoffman and Scott Feldman on the back end. Throw in some role players like Nyjer Morgan, and Alcides Escobar and you have a recipe for disaster. We have Howard and Fielder off to a slow start in the power departments and all of the hitters listed above got off to such terrible starts that the hole I have to crawl out of is insane. Put it like this, in a 10 team work league, we have maybe 5 managers actually checking their teams and making moves currently. Not only that, these are the only 5 teams that did not draft by auto draft!  It's been a disaster. These players and their bad starts created such a hole, it's been close to impossible to climb out. But its a marathon, not a sprint. I just crept into 6th place with 50 roto points. The next 3 teams are all in the 60-65 point range and the 1st place team is in the 80's. So I have a chance.

Anyway, below are some players I love for the second half. I tend to look at the players that I not only feel "should" have a better second half, but players who I feel can't do anything else but a better second half. Seriously, when you look at this list, you have to wonder .... there's no way this guy can finish the year batting .200. These are the players I'm concentrating on in trades and the waiver wire.

Aramis Ramirez - Currently hitting .195. Ugh! Can anyone see him finishing the year batting .200? I don't. He's always been a one half guy anyway. When he gets hot, he's insane. He's got 10 hits in his last 8 games including 3 HR in that span. I'd say the time is now.
Gordon Beckham - Talk about a first half bust!  He's had a few extra days off before the break here but this is about where he came up last year and took off. What this guy really needs is girl! Yeah, maybe just have him run up to Canada for a weekend and grab himself a few hot Vancouver escorts!  Then get him back down here after the break ready to play! Beckham has multi positional eligibility so he has value when he's hitting. Big risk here but you can buy super low!

Pablo Sandoval - This guy hit .330/25/90 last year and is currently sitting at .270/6/34. That's ugly. However, what's intriguing is that in 326 AB, Sandoval only has 45 K's. That means he's making contact. Maybe it's bad luck, maybe it's the lack of lineup protection and good pitches to hit. Either way, he's turns 25 next month and still hasn't seen that hot streak yet this year. It'll come. He's cheap now.

Adam Lind - Raise your hand if you spent a 3rd or 4th round pick in this dud?  Yeah I know. You were thinking .300/30/100 weren't you? Yeah me too. Instead, we've got .207/11/38 at the break. Good news is he's hit 2HR in the last 4 games but the bad news is he is 2 for 12 in that span. I'm not sure what's up with this guy but he was a consistent .300 hitter in the minors with plenty of time to turn it around. Let this guy get some rest and stash him going into the second half and if he strings a few quality multi hit games together, get him activated. Maybe we should send him up to Canada with Gordie!

So that's four quality hitters you can grab on the cheap that should end the season above .240 or so and even .270+ if they get super duper hot. It's a risk but they won't cost much.  Some other potential second half players include Raul Ibanez, Carlos Quentin (on a current tear), Jason Bay, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard (more power), Tommy Hanson, John Lackey, and Gavin Floyd all showing signs.

So even for players I haven't listed, once you see a player string 2-3 multi hit games together, you might want to get them activated to catch that hot streak. Just make sure you make these guys show you something before you take a chance and activate them. Good luck.

The Fantasy Man

Sunday, July 04, 2010

NL King - The Next Generation of NL Closers

Over the next year or so the landscape of who the closers will be quite different in the National League. Let's look at it by division.

NL East:
Atlanta - Billy Wagner has announced that after this season he will be retiring. It's to early to say who will be closing for the Braves next season come opening day. They do not have a Luke Gregerson or Evan Meek or a Mike Adams currently in their bullpen. Craig Kimbrel could be the guy IF he can get his walks down. In AA & AAA over the last year or so Kimbrel has done well as closer but has walked far too many people. Walks are death to a closer. So far this year with the Braves' Kimbrel has 15K's in 8 1/3 innings which is awesome but he also has 10 walks during that time which is terrible. Keep a close watch over the coming months on who could replace Billy Wagner come next year.

Washington - Matt Capps after an awesome 1st 6 weeks has started to slip. While Drew Storen is a young kid when the Nats drafted him the plan was for Storen to be their closer eventually for years to come. If Capps continues to struggle that day could come this summer.

Other Notes: K-Rod & Lidge are just signed through the 2011 season for the Mets & Phillies.
NL Central:
St Louis - Word is Ryan Franklin is going to retire aftr his contract ends after the 2011 season. If Franklin falters between now and then Jason Motte could get a chance to be the Cards future closer as Motte has had a real strong 1st half this year.

Milwaukee - Since Trevor Hoffman had a beyond belief horrible April & early May the Brewers for the most part have handed the 9th inning to close out games to John Axford. In the minors one would not think that Axford would become a closer as he had control issues. Even though Axford is 9 for 9 in save opportunties he has walked 11 batters in 22 innings which is high. At this point it's Axford job to lose but don't sell the farm on John Axford just yet.

Pittsburgh - Octavio Dotel is closing now but he signed a 1 year contract with a 4.5 million dollar team option for 2011. Dotel is a short term guy for Pittsburgh and I am sure will be traded before the July 31st trade deadline to a team in contention to help their bullpen. At that point we could see Evan Meek take over as the Pirates closer. Meek has been tremendous this year and it only makes sense for the Pirates to see if he can handle the 9th inning duties.

Other Notes - Francisco Cordero is signed with the Reds through the 2011 season.

NL West:
San Diego - Finances will probably mean that Heath Bell won't be on the Padres next season. Bell after the season will be 1 year away from free agency and will make close to 9 million in the arbrtration process. The Padres can choose between Mike Adams & Luke Gregerson to be the closer next year but long term it will be Gregerson.

Arizona - Your guess is as good as anyone's. I know they just traded for reliever Sam Demel from the A's for Conor Jackson but we have to see if Demel has what it takes to be a closer first. Demel saved 42 games in the minors from 2008 through this year. His strikeout rate in the minors was great (200 K's in 180 IP) but his walks were high (4.5 per 9 innings). One would think after he gets his feet wet with the D-Backs Demel will get a chance to close games. If Demel can't do it the D-Backs future closer is probably outside their organization.

Last Note - Only significant free agent closer that will be available is Tampa's Rafael Soriano. Mariano Rivera is also a free agent but if Mo wants to pitch next year it will be for the Yanks.

NL King - C.Lizza