Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Fantasy Man's 2012 Fantasy Baseball Third Base 3B Rankings

The Fantasy Man's 2012 Fantasy Baseball Third Base 3B Rankings
Updated 3/13/12

1. Evan Longoria - I'm not a Longoria guy but he carries the least risk of the top 3
2. Hanley Ramirez - Will need to qualify at 3B, can't be worse then he was last year
3. David Wright - No lineup protection, Mets moving fences in, if Ike healthy, Wright will be fine
4. Adrian Beltre - I guess he legit now, might be a value as better #'s then Longoria, will be 33
5. Pablo Sandoval - Was in shape in 2011 and was great, only 25, plenty of power upside
6. Ryan Zimmerman - 27 and if he stays healthy, should be a beast
7. Alex Rodriguez - If he gets 500 AB and stays healthy, no reason he won't do .290/30/100/10
8. Kevin Youkilis - Gets injured every year but contributes to every category
9. Aramis Ramirez - New home in Milwaukee, should be a nice value at .290+/25/80+
10. Brett Lawrie - Superstar in the making but don't overpay, he's not the next Pujols...yet
11. Mike Moustakas - Came on strong in Sept, most upside at 3B late in draft in HR and RBI
12. Ryan Roberts - 19HR/18SB in 2011 at age 31, not banking on a better season
13. David Freese - Injury risk makes Freese a sweet late round value, this dude can hit
14. Chase Headley - Has .290/10HR/20SB potential in SD, .290+/20/20/100R elsewhere if traded
15. Chone Figgins - So terrible in 2010 that he'll be a complete steal in 2011 at the end of the draft
16. Alberto Callaspo - Solid all around but only serviceable, full season might get .290/10/10
17. Danny Valencia - Age 27, potentially 20+ HR power, could be a deep sleeper, .250ish
18. Ian Stewart - New home in Chicago might help, loads of potential here

19. Chris Davis - Monster power, nice sleeper if he can put it together
20. Ty Wigginton - Multi position eligibility is nice, 15-20HR, low BA
21. Lonnie Chisenhall - Has ability to be an all-around type hitter, more upside
22. Pedro Alvarez - Ton of upside (power/rbi), must come into camp in shape so keep eye on him

23.  Placido Polanco - If healthy, he'll pull in the same kind of numbers as Callaspo
24. Scott Rolen - Serviceable if healthy, solid BA and some dingers
25. Chipper Jones - Looks like it will be his last season
26. Edwin Encarnacion - Could play more a UT role, has 15-20HR power, 5-10SB, but inconsistent
27. Nolan Arenado - Could get the call up by mid season, nig time prospect
28. Casey Blake - Will keep seat warm for Nolan Arenado
29. Scott Sizemore - Turns 27, could net you 15HR/10SB over 500+ AB - OUT FOR SEASON
30. Brandon Inge - Good for one HR streak in the middle of the year
31. Brent Morel - He's more about the glove but showed some late season pop - SUPER SLEEPER
32. Chris Johnson - Competing with Brett Wallace and Jimmy Paredes

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Fantasy Man's 2012 Fantasy Baseball Shortstop SS Rankings

The Fantasy Man's 2012 Fantasy Baseball Shortstop SS Rankings
UPDATED 3/13/12

1. Troy Tulowitzski - Pay this man his money
2. Jose Reyes - Considering injuries, move to Miami, could be slightly undervalued on Draft day
3. Hanley Ramirez - Disgruntled Hanley could be boom or bust, I say boom since '11 was a bust
4. Jimmy Rollins - New contract but expect about the same as usual
5. Asdrubal Cabrera - I'm not sold on the power, but everything else is real
6. Elvis Andrus - Lots of upside here along with the speed, but right now only really offers speed
7. Starlin Castro - Just plain ole upside but probably over-hyped
8. Derek Jeter - Don't knock Jeter cuz he's older, hits, runs, some SB's, more consistency
9. Erick Aybar - All about SB, Runs, and BA
10. Alexei Ramirez - 20/20 guy who will probably only give you .270/15/10
11. Jhonny Peralta - If he can build on last years consistency, could be a steal in your draft
12. J.J. Hardy - Same as Peralta, he's mystery as far as what to expect but 20HR power is legit
13. Dee Gordon - Should easily be top 10 by the end of this season, 40+ SB potential
14. Ian Desmond - Best chance this late to get a potential 15/20 or 20/20 guy but with a low BA
15. Yuneal Escobar - Only 29, can hit .290/15 with still room for slight upside
16. Alcides Escobar - Has superstar potential but might still be a few years away
17. Stephen Drew - If he can put it together, he's top 5, only 28 - May start year on DL
18. Rafael Furcal - If he can stay healthy, you may get 10HR and 20+ SB out of him
19. Marco Scutaro - Nice serviceable player with some added HR potential in COL
20. Alex Gonzalez - Nice late round power option, something like .260/15-20HR
21. Jed Lowrie - There's some upside here, but not much IMO - I can see .275+/12HR/60RBI/5SB
22. Clint Barmes - New home in Pittsburgh, should be serviceable
23. Cliff Pennington - .260/10/20SB, he's gritty, somewhat of an injury risk though
24. Sean Rodriguez - He's been teasing us for years, value lies in multi position eligibility
25. Mike Aviles - 2B/SS/3B eligibility, could be .280/10/20 if he stays healthy...and consistent
26. Zack Cozart - Expect rookie growing pains
27. Ruben Tejada - Must be the next Reyes since the Mets gave Jose away so cheap
28. Brandon Crawford - Could be a super duper sleeper, tearing up Spring Training
29. Tyler Pastornicky - Looks to be ATL starting SS but I'd expect growing pains
30. Jason Bartlett - Could hit .260 with 20+SB
31. Jamey Carroll - Serviceable, more like a poor mans Marco Scutaro
32. Yuniesky Betancourt - Just serviceable for me
33. Willie Bloomquist - Value lies in multi position eligibility, 20+SB potential
34. Brendan Ryan - - I'm sure he's a nice guy and all, might get you 10-15 SB

The Fantasy Man Analysis - This years SS group is a tough one. The obvious move here is to jump on a top 15 from this list but your in better shape if you grab a top 9. The position is surprisingly deep but I just don't trust Peralta, Hardy, Escobar, and Drew making me wonder if I need to grab a top 6, or just wait until the end of the draft to grab anyone else. What's really the difference between Ian Desmond and Jamey Carroll at the end of a draft?  If I had to pick one super value for this group, I'd go with Dee Gordon and get the typical .300/40+ speedster potential at the weak position. Brendan Crawford is intriguing as well.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

NL King: Analyzing he 2012 Winter Meetings for NL Only Leagues

Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes have ripped up the fantasy baseball advice world after signing new deals at this years Winter Meetings. With Pujols gone to the American League and Reyes in a new situation in Miami, this should continue to be an interesting off-season. This has big effects for NL only leagues but other things happened at the winter meetings that effected the National League.
- Lance Nix signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. Nix had a nice 2011 and served his NL only owners well with what I would call a great complimentary year. If you get this kind of production from the last three or four hitting spots in your 14 man lineup your doing well. Nix can play a little 1B but mostly will play OF. Right now the Phillies don't have a true starting LF with Ibanez now gone so if Nix produces like last year he should find himself 300 AB's and help NL only owners.

- Aaron Harang signs two year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. After terrible seasons in 08, 09 and 2010 (especially in 2010) Harang bounced back in 2011 with a respectable year in Petco Park.  He had a 3.05 ERA in Petco in 17 starts, his ratio was still a bit high and his strikeouts are nowhere near what they once were. But he is going to Dodgers stadium which is also a good pitchers park. I am not the biggest believer (I want to see it again) but for a cheap price and to slide in at the back of rotation Harang's not bad.

- Jerry Hairston Jr and Adam Kennedy - Both super UP hitters signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Both should give you great roster flexibility with their position eligibility if not on draft day then by early May. If each guy can hit above .250 I like them in terms of rounding out your hitting roster.
- Kevin Slowey - Traded to the Colorado Rockies. While 2011 was a disaster could be a great draft day sleeper especially if you can grab him in the reserve rounds. Should benefit going from AL to NL. Not a lot of K's but could give you low double digit W's with slight plus ratio and ERA around 4. A great pick for the reserve draft.

- Houston Street / Rafael Betancourt / Matt Lindstrom - Street got traded to the San Diego Padres to take over the closer role in SD. Street has one year to go on his deal with a team option. San Diego is in future mode so if they can get something good for Street come July he will be traded so keep that in mind. Street had 29 saves, pretty good numbers and spent time on the DL. This sounds like a typical Street year and now goes to a lesser team and could be a big traded come summer. The early word by people is Betancourt will become the closer in Colorado. Betancourt had a great year last year as setup man. Betancourt can get on very hot and cold streaks which is not great for a closer. Matt Lindstrom who use to close for the Astros throws very hard and had a solid 2011. If Betancourt stumbles Lindstrom is a prime candidate to get the 9th inning. Lindstrom would be another great reserve pick.

-Heath Bell signed with the Miami Marlins. I had a recent discussion with a friend and he told me you know his K's are down and his fly balls are up and now he is out of Petco. I understood his points and they were valid but going into next season the top 3 closers in the NL in no particular order is Bell, Wilson and Papelbon.

- Nate McLouth comes back to Pittsburgh Pirates. I bought McLouth cheap at the end of last years draft hoping the former speed / power OF could find himself again. He didn't. McLouth has been a bad player since July 2009.

- New York Mets Bullpen. The Mets signed Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch and traded for Ramon Ramirez. It appears Francisco will be the closer as he got a two year deal at $6 Mil per. Rauch has closed before so keep that in mind and Francisco has been inconsistent. Ramirez is the best pitcher of the bunch but hasn't close before other than a one off save.

- Angel Pagan to San Francisco Giants. If you watched Angel Pagan everyday you would say last year was a bad year for him that included missing most of May with an injury (oblique). Word is he dealt with it all year. But Pagan final stat line still included 32 steals and decent R and RBI. he could get new life in SF and he is a free agent after next season so he should be motivated. Anders Torres after a very impressive 2010 just crashed in 2011. The Mets have no CF's at this time in their organization so he is going to get every opportunity to play every day and maybe even hit lead off.

- Pittsburgh Pirates sign Erik Bedard. His 2011 stats were pretty good but he is always injured and word is has a bad attitude.

- Alex Gonzalez signs with the Milwaukee Brewers. Expect more of the same with a couple more HR's. Remember what I said about bad average hitters who don't make a significant impact.

- Mark Buerhle goes to the Miami Marlins. Four years $58 million. Buerhle knows how to pitch and should benefit greatly by going to the NL. His K's aren't great otherwise he would be an excellent choice as your #3 starter. I would call him a #3A starter in your rotation which means not good enough to be your #3 but an awesome #4.

- Ian Stewart and Tyler Colvin traded for each other between the Chicago Cubs and the Colorado Rockies. Colvin should get AB's in Colorado as a part time guy and a change of scenery should help get over a disastrous 2011 (I had him last year so I know). Colvin has pop and remember did have a good 2010. Could be a sleeper. Same could be said about Ian Stewart. I do worry about these guys hurting your batting average even if they are productive secondary power guys. Stewart much bigger upside as he will start the season as the everyday 3B.

- Lyle Overbay stays in the desert. He is a bench player / insurance policy for Paul Goldschmidt.

NL King - C.Lizza @ TheNLKing

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

NL King: Albert Pujols off to the American League, Is Prince Fielder Next?

NL Only fantasy baseball leagues took a hit last week the number one National League player for the last 10 years is now gone from NL only leagues. How good is King Albert Pujols? Well 2011 was probably his worst stat year and he still went 37HR, 99RBI, 105R, 9SB with a .299 Avg. Pujols turns 32 in January so there was no reason to believe he had at least another four years of huge numbers ahead of him.

As I mentioned in my last article, the hitting numbers in the NL are going down, down, down. Losing the premiere hitter in the NL does not help things. This puts more of a premium on NL hitters such as Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Ryan Braun, Joey Votto, Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzski to name a few. For NL only leagues I don't even want to think about the possibility of Prince Fielder leaving for the American League. Sounds like at minimum both the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners in play for Fielder. I have also heard the Baltimore Orioles.

In terms of what the Cardinals might do in reaction to this, well the simply answer could be they sign Prince Fielder to replace Pujols. Fielder is five years younger and is a huge power bat himself. If they don't want to pay the kind of dollars it will take to sign Prince, the Cardinals could move Lance Berkman to 1B and sign an outfielder such as Carlos Beltran and Jimmy Rollins at Shortstop. So get two good hitters and make the lineup longer.

At the end of day, it's a sad day for NL only leagues.

NL King - C.Lizza @ TheNLKing

Friday, December 09, 2011

NL King: Jose Reyes Signs with the Miami Marlins

Well, while it should come as no surprise it's still strange to see Jose Reyes is no longer going to be a New York Met. Reyes signed a six year deal worth $100+ Million with the newly named Miami Marlins at the start of the winter meetings. So what will it mean in regards to Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez for your 2012 NL Only fantasy baseball team?

Jose Reyes:
If Reyes can be healthy for 150+ games he can put up scary numbers. When you consider Reyes just played in 126 games last year because of two DL stints with hamstring issues and the final three weeks of the season Reyes was playing very cautiously due to those hamstrings. When you see Reyes final stats from 2011, you ask yourself what can these guys numbers look like if he played 150 games healthy.

2011 Reyes Stats - 7HR, 44RBI, 101R, 39SB, .337 AVG, .384 OBP

Buy the No Way Jose Reyes T-shirt

Reyes is moving from Citi Field to the new Miami Marlins stadium. The new Marlins stadium should play big based on it's dimensions but the key question is how will the ball travel when the retractable roof is closed. I will have a full article on the new Marlins stadium over the next month. But for Reyes he is going at his best when he is hitting line drives all over the place. A key point that has been brought up is will Reyes legs greatly benefit from being in Miami in April and May versus being in New York during that time? I would venture to guess that it can only help but the reality is especially last year Reyes got himself into pristine shape and his hamstrings still gave out. What can Reyes and the Marlins do that has not been done before in terms of limiting his hamstring problems? Can they do anything? These are important questions to research before draft day. Obviously the Met franchise last few years have had a whole host of injury problems and more importantly dealing with injuries.

In terms of Reyes next season he is a risk plain and simple. If Reyes can play even 140 games he should break 100 runs with a strong batting average and around 40 steals. In terms of power I would guess it would be close to last years numbers maybe a touch better. At shortstop that's tremendous but come draft day keep in mind Reyes is a risk so don't sell the farm to land him. Let's keep in mind too Reyes is only 28 so he is in the prime of his career. You can be slightly aggressive but don't be overly aggressive.

Hanley Ramirez:
If and this is a big if, Hanley can get his attitude in check I think moving to 3B will do him a world of good. While Hanley had a terrible year last year he is only 27 and it goes without saying the ability he has at the dish. I believe that if Hanley attitude is in check and that's a big if, by moving to 3B from SS his body is going to feel so much better by not having the daily grind at SS and having Reyes leading off and Infante batting 2nd, Hanley is going to be in a prime spot to have a big year. So follow close this offseason Hanley's mood and attitude. If you hear good things put him high on your draft day list.

NL King - C.Lizza @TheNLKing

Thursday, December 08, 2011

NL King - Analyzing Fantasy Baseball NL Only 5x5 Batting Stats

Fantasy Baseball advice is my game and you can follow the NL King on twitter 2TheNLKing. This article is breaking down the NL hitting stats and how the numbers are going down and down and down. Let's do it.

Batting Average:
Last year there were 13 hitters who hit at least .300. But only five hitters hit .310 or better. In 2009, 17 hitters hit at least .300 and nine hitters hit at least .310. We have been seeing a trend of league team batting averages in fantasy baseball have decreased. The main reason is there are fewer and fewer batters hitting well into the .300's. Per my article on the percentage categories, this batting average trend makes it that more difficult to carry a bad average hitter like a Dan Uggla or Chris Young.

Nobody in the NL hit at least 40 HR's last season. 12 guys hit at least 30 but only four hitters hit at least 35. Just two years ago in 2009 there were five hitters to hit at least 40 homers with three hitters reaching at 45+.

Runs & RBI's:
There were only six hitters last year to score at least 100 runs. Two years ago in 2009 ten hitters scored at least 100 runs. Also there were only 6 hitters to drive in 100 RBI's last year, while two years ago in 2009 13 hitters drove in 100 RBI's. Last year only three hitters scored 100 runs and drove in 100 RBI's and they were Kemp, Braun & Votto.

Stolen Bases:
This is the one area we have seen an increase in the numbers. Last year there was Michael Bourn at 61 steals and then four players at 40 steals in Bonifacio, Kemp, Maybin and Stubbs with Reyes at 39. After that there were four players between 30 and 35 steals, 15 players between 20 and 29 and 12 players between 15 and 19. That's 37 players with at least 15 steals.

In 2010, there were only 28 players with at least 20 steals but when will dig deeper in 2009 we find more interesting stats. In 2009, Michael Bourn had 50 steals and then Angel Pagan had 37 steals. Getting at least 30 steals and falling behind Pagan's 37 steals were six other players. Only six players were between 20 and 29 and 14 players were between 15 and 19. So to review there were 25 players in the NL last year with at least 20 steals while in 2010 there were only 14 players with at least 20 steals.

Batting numbers are coming down folks. A lot of reasons for this, more drug testing including greenies, the pitching has greatly improved including a lot of talented young arms, some newer bigger ballparks in San Diego and New York as well.  This has put a premium on the big players in the NL because there are so few guys who get big hitting numbers. So keep this in mind this off-season in your trade talks before the draft as well as your draft preparation.

Now with Albert Pujols off to Los Angeles, the National League is taking a huge hit.....

NL King - C.Lizza - @ TheNLKing

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Fantasy Man - Bryce Harper - You Can't Stop Superman #3

I mean, who isn't on the Bryce Harper magic hype machine right now?  You Can't Stop Superman #1 Stephen Strasburg and the most hyped pitching debut the game has ever seen.  Then it's Tim Tebow time in Denver, Colorado as #2! Simply put, You Can't Stop Superman and if you believe the hype, then you need to get the t-shirt!

Being The Fantasy Man, I possess special gifts.  I can magically add funds to your bank account (pick Washington +7.5 at home vs New England on Sunday), I can make rain fall from the heavens in Nevada, and I can guide Tim Tebow and the Broncos to a win just about any given weekend.  Did you know it's me who Tebow points too while Tebowing?  Yep that Yankee fan up in the clouds, the give who sometimes gives amazing fantasy baseball advice, sometimes doesn't.  Do you believe the hype?

Funny the NL King does an article on Harper this week because I received an email from a reader who was torn on a trade offer. I told him he could find the answer at the Canadian pharmacy online.  Joking.  He mentioned he had Harper in his minor league slot but his trade offer did not even include Harper.  It did however include this reader getting Mike Trout.  To make the long story short, this was a deal that was giving up an expensive Matt Kemp and an Expensive Justin Verlander and some other players for a cheaper Jose Bautista, a same priced Dan Haren, a cheap Mike Trout and another young player or two.  It was a dynasty league.  Kemp/Bautista, whatever. Verlander/Haren at teh same price, sorry, I'll keep Verlander. Now you get into the prospects.  I know its a dynasty league, but here is my point for this entire article..... why sell off the two best players in the deal, so you can get back a slightly lesser SP (lets assume Bautista/Kemp are equally awesome), and some minor leagues with some hype value like Trout?

Here's the thing, I get these questions all the time where these guys want to trade off all of their decent veteran players for guys like Harper, Trout, Strasburg (a year or two ago), etc.  For what? So you can have the best team in 2016??! In 2009, if you made a trade for Strasburg because you were rebuilding...where did that get you?  Point is, why are we always trying to trade away good veteran talent for these hype machine prospects when they won't realize their values for at least 2-3 years? Sure Harper looks like an eventual .300/30/100/100/15 kind of player, but he's not doing that until he's at least 22 or 23 years old (he's 19 now). I don't know about you, but I want to win my fantasy league this year!

Here's a scenario to go along with the one above. In this case, and this is what I told the guy, keep Kemp/Verlander, forget Trout, and trade Harper for 2-3 solid veteran players.  His reply to me was, and I though he was going to crap all over me..... "Wow, I haven't found one person out there who says to trade Harper."  This is where the light bulb comes on. This is the only way The Fantasy Man rolls.

You take Harper, and offer him in package deals for guys like Adam Jones, Paul Konerko, Jayson Werth, Ike Davis, Johan Santana, Matt Wieters, Corey Hart, Dan Uggla, etc, etc.  Maybe you sucker the guy to throw you a Justin Morneau while his value is down. See what I am getting at? These are good solid player, some coming back from injury but who have a great track record of performing, some who are still young with upside, etc.  You can get 2-3 of these types of players in a package deal for Harper alone. That's value!  That's how you win you league this year!

I might be the only guy out there telling you to trade Bryce Harper. Don't take me out of contest here. He's a fine young player with a lot of upside, but there's no way he's performing along with all that hype in 2010 at 19 years old.  Dude should get some seasoning before he breaks out.  He's not a Buster Posey who had college years and he's only played in one season in the minors.  Other then hitting 500+ foot Homeruns at Tropicana Field with a metal bat, I'd like to see more out of Harper before I go budgeting a big wad of dough in my fantasy draft or auction.

Fine player, all the upside in the world, great if you can get him on your team for 2012 but his real auction price will be overvalued, snake draft price will be too high, and your going to have to pay extra if you try and trade for him in your dynasty league.  Be the other guy, the guy who benefits from the hype!

Monday, December 05, 2011

NL King: Washington Nationals Bryce Harper - Believe the Hype!

Every so often a prospect comes along that is going to be the next great one. I remember in the early 90's when I read about Chipper Jones and felt that way. This is how I feel about Bryce Harper as I guess you can say, I believe the hype! I even got a t-shirt!  But more importantly, what does it mean for fantasy baseball purposes and specifically NL only leagues?

Bryce Harper was the #1 overall pick in the 2010 draft by the Washington Nationals and signed a record signing bonus for a position player at $9.9 million. Harper just turned 19 in mid October, he's 6'3 and 225lbs and bats left handed. Harper loves to play the game and is a relentless worker. Last year in his first season of professional ball Harper tore up low A ball and then in mid season got promoted to AA where he held his own in 129 AB's before ending the season due to a hamstring injury. Overall in the minors last year Harper had 17HR, 58RBI, 63R, 26SB, .297AVG, .392OBP in 387AB's. Harper picked up right where he left off in the Arizona Fall League as he had 6HR, 26RBI and hit safely in 19 out of the last 20 games in the AFL and finished with a .403 batting average.

Scouting Report:
I read up on Harper at my favorite source for prospect information and that is Baseball America. I cannot recommend using Baseball America enough for fantasy purposes to learn about the prospects. Anyway, the scouting report Baseball America has is that Harper has tremendous power and to all fields, Harper has incredible hand strength. In addition to his power, Harper has speed and base stealing instincts (had 26 steals last season in the minors in 33 attempts). Some scouts wonder if Harper will be a .300 hitter due to his strikeouts but he will be a plus batting average guy and have a huge OBP as he has a great eye and draws a ton of walks (again .392 OBP last year). All I can say about Harper is read this outlook by Baseball America on their recent posting of the Nationals top 10 prospects.

BA Forecast - "Harper looks like a sure fire superstar in the making, and he has a very real chance to develop into the best all around player in baseball."

All I can say is Wow to that.

NL King Strategy for Bryce Harper for 2012 & Beyond:
Provided Bryce Harper is available in your league for 2012 and you are in a keeper league and you can draft minor leaguers, this is my strategy advice for you. Currently, the only starting outfielder we know for sure the Nats have is Jason Werth.  Harper will most likely start the season in the minors. Not sure what Adam LaRoche's time table is and how healthy he is, as well as how much he will play. If LaRoche is healthy and will play 1B that means Mike Morse will play Left Field. I would imagine it will take a very big spring training by Bryce Harper to make the Nats on opening day but that would present an amazing opportunity for NL only keeper league owners.

If this happens I want you to set aside up to $14 for Bryce Harper on draft day in your auction league (assuming a $260 budget). You might say that is crazy spending $14 on a player who will start the year in the minors. It's not crazy talk, because I expect Harper to be up with the Nats by early June which would still leave 2/3 of the season left. On top of that I expect Harper from that point on to give his owners a $20 season which over the final 2/3 would translate to around $14 worth of value. There is also a very good chance that Harper could be up sooner and when he comes up put up $30 year from that point forward. So Harper would be a solid contributor for us in 2012 but also we would have a fantastic keeper in Harper for 2013 and beyond (depending upon your league rules on keepers). Starting next season I would expect Harper to be a $30 player, so a $30 player at $14 is quite a deal. That's of course if you have to spend $14 maybe you can land him for $12 or even $10 or even single digits in your draft.

Save draft dollars for Bryce Harper in your draft no matter when he comes up and you will have an absolute stud at a low price for maybe the next year or two or even three depending on your league rules. For those who watch the Showtime show Homeland this is called playing The Long Game but at the same time Harper will give us good value next year. The owner in your league who follows this strategy will have absolute steal.

NL King - C.Lizza

Thursday, December 01, 2011

NL King: Matt Kemp - 2012 Top NL Only Fantasy Baseball Draft Pick

Finally!  The Matt Kemp breakout we've been waiting for! In 2011, Kemp hit 39HR, 126RBI, 115R, 40SB, .324 Avg. Considering all 5 categories, the only other player I can think of who had season like that in the last five years was Eric Brynes in 2007 (21HR, 83RBI, 103R, 50SB, .286 Avg). So coming into the 2012 season Matt Kemp is a slam dunk to repeat last season right? Well I am telling you Kemp surely has the talent to repeat last season but there are a number of warning signs Mr. Kemp to consider.

Warning Signs:
1. First and foremost, Matt Kemp just signed an 8-year $160 million dollar extension a couple of weeks ago. Many times in the past when a player has signed that kind of guaranteed contract two things come up. First, the player has a tendency to become complacent. These players are human beings and after getting a contract like that there is a tendency to work a little less and enjoy life a little more. The other side of it sometimes after a player signs a contract like that he tries to prove he is worth that contract and puts way too much pressure on himself.  The result is the player gets off to a very slow start which greatly impact his final numbers.

2.  Going into the 2012 season there was a lot of talk about Matt Kemp and his amazing talent but the perceived lack of focus, drive, dedication etc. In fact, last winter on one of the MLB network hot stove shows Larry Bowa who was around Matt Kemp as one of the Dodger coaches from 2008 through 2010 said and to paraphrase that "Matt Kemp is a 5-tool talent who brings two tools a night". This kind of comment on someone who was around Kemp for three years says a lot and should give you cause for concern in terms of a complacency issue.

3. Kemp has always had strong power and speed numbers, but his 2010 season was one very similar to Arizona's Chris Young. Kemp did have 28HR but was in the 80's in terms of runs & rbi's and while he had 19 steals he was thrown out 15 times and Kemp just hit .249 in 2010. There were a lot of questions about Kemp going into last season.

4. You have to figure other teams are going to make someone else beat them in that Dodger lineup next season. 

Now I will give you reasons to believe in Kemp.....

5.  Matt Kemp has always had this elite ability and he is entering his prime years now. So it's no surprise he put together a huge year in terms of power and speed. While he hit .249 in 2010 in his 3 full seasons, prior to that Kemp hit .297, .290 and .342.

6. The coaching staff, Don Mattingly from 1984 - 1987 was one of the top three players in all of baseball and the only reason that stopped playing was because of a bad back. One would have to think Mattingly's influence has had a huge effect on Kemp. In addition, last season Davey Lopes joined the Dodger coaching staff from Philadelphia. Lopes as a coach is an awesome base stealer technician - teacher in helping his players learning the art of the stolen base. Lopes did this in Philadelphia and was an amazing base stealer as a player. While Lopes had real good speed he also new the art of stealing bases and this was passed on to Kemp. Lopes had 557 career steals and just to show how well he knew how to steal bases in 1985 when Lopes was 40 years old he played for the Cubs and stole 47 bases in 51 attempts. Like I said in 2010 Kemp had 19 steals in 34 attempts, in 2011 Kemp had 40 steals in 51 attempts. That Davey Lopes factor and odds are Kemp we get better and better at stealing bases with Davey Lopes around.

7. The initial signs are Kemp is still very hunger to prove he is one of the top 2 or 3 players in baseball as he recently proclaimed that in 2012 Kemp is gunning for a 50-50 season between HR's & SB's.

8. Matt Kemp has that kind of scary talent to put up monster numbers year after monster year.

NL King Recommendation:
I think I have made compelling arguments to be wary of the warning signs but realize Matt Kemp's talent. Bottom line is it will be very hard for Kemp to duplicate last season and I do fully expect teams to be very careful with him. That translates to Kemp should see a lot less pitches to hit next year and teams will make someone else beat them. Provided he avoids the injury bug (last 4 seasons has played at least 155 games per season) I expect him to have a strong year across the board but his numbers I think we be down some in 2012 with the exception that I can see a few more steals. So come draft day buy Matt Kemp and expect a strong year just not last years numbers.

NL King - C.Lizza