Tuesday, February 28, 2012

NL King Ranks NL Only Fantasy Baseball Outfielders Part 3 of 4

NL King NL Only Fantasy Baseball Outfielders Part 3 of 4

Breaking down what these players are going to do this year could be the difference of a successful season in your league or not. The following list is in alphabetical order.

Charlie Blackmon - In a very small sample for Colorado last year Blackmon showed good things including some speed. However, with Dexter Fowler's strong second half, Blackmon will start the season as a backup outfielder for Colorado. If there is an injury or if Fowler has struggles, Blackmon will get a chance to play. I really like Blackmon as a guy to fill out the last spot on your NL only outfielder slot and just maybe he will give you a low double digit dollar value year.

Brian Bogusevic - Again in a small sample Bogusevic showed good things late last season. He is in line to get the majority of starts in the Houston outfielder. Figure close to 400 AB's and quietly solid numbers. Again great guy to finish filling out your roster.

Jason Bourgeois - Was a role player for Houston last year and while he gets into a good amount of games does not get a lot of starts. But even as a role player had 31 steals with a healthy batting average of .294. Don't count on 31 steals this year although he can easily do it again but based on his AB's figure 20 steals. Cheap speed baby.

Allen Craig - Looks like a real nice power bat however he is recovering from a knee injury and will most likely not be ready until early to mid May. The other problem is between Holliday, Beltran and Berkman, unless there is an injury, AB's might be hard to come by.

Chris Coghlan - Right now it looks like Coghlan is the odd man out on a starting job. Injuries have plagued Coghlan and if he can't get regular AB's good chance he starts the year in the minors. Could be a good reserve pick.

Lucas Duda - Also qualifies at 1B. After Carlos Beltran was traded to SF last summer, Duda got to play everyday and showed a lot of good things. I think his .292 average last year is a mirage (think more . 250 - .260) but I think he can be cheap pop for your team.

Dexter Fowler - I have been on the Dexter Fowler band wagon for the last five years going back to when he was a top prospect. The last two seasons have been identical for Fowler, terrible starts, one month trip to the minors in June and a strong second half. This is the year Fowler has to show he is an everyday player. Also while he has great speed he will not put up big stolen base numbers if his percentage stays at 65%. If you can get him for a reasonable price in your draft I like the gamble but that's what he is a gamble.

Bryce Harper - Let the hype begin. If Harper makes the team he can be a big power bat for you this year even as a rookie. Might hit around .250 or even a drop less but he should have plenty of bombs. Within two years he will be one of the top 5 NL fantasy players, but in terms of 2012 don't over spend on the hype. Treat him as a really good .250 power bat.

Chris Heisey - I like Heisey but to me all these magazines saying Heisey did X last year in this many AB's so that means if he can play every day his numbers will increase by Y. It doesn't work that way and quite frankly there are some red flags with Heisey including an alarming strikeout rate and the fact the Reds have plenty of competition in the OF. Figure on 300 AB's for Heisey and good power production in those AB's with average around .250.

Jason Heyward - Sophomore slump to say the least on and off the field last year as even Chipper called out Heyward for not playing hurt. The numbers last year were rough but let's remember Heyward is still 22. Do I think Heyward will have a monster season, probably not, but I think he is a good bet to bounce back and have close to a $20 year. If he slips in your draft for let's say around $15 - POUNCE.

Jon Jay - Very quietly had a nice season last year. He won;t be a stud but if you can pick him up at the end of your draft for a couple of bucks he could reward you with a $10 year.

JD Martinez - To me he is a sleeper power bat and if you can land Martinez for under $10 in your draft - POUNCE.

John Mayberry Jr - I like the power last year in 250 AB's but that doesn't mean he is a starting player. Like Heisey, great complimentary player in terms of power. Could throw in 10-15+SB as a starter.

Logan Morrison - Great first half despite the hand injury and then poor second half that including a minor league stint and bickering with the Marlins front office. Hopefully that is all behind him, I like his chances on being a low $20 player this season. If you can get him for under $15 in your draft - POUNCE.

Alex Presley - In 52 games showed a lot of nice things and LF is his job to lose. If you can get him for $7 or $8 in your draft I like the gamble.

Jerry Sands - Left field is wide open for the Dodgers and then need another guy who can be a run producer. Sands will get his chance to show what he did in the minors is the real deal. A nice outfield sleeper.

Jordan Schafer - Cheap speed but no pop and poor average.

JoseTabata - If he can stay healthy can be a guy worth $15 to $20 between SB, R and Avg. Don't count on a lot of pop.
NL King - C.Lizza

Monday, February 27, 2012

NL King Ranks NL Only Fantasy Baseball Outfielders Part 2 of 4

NL King Fantasy Baseball Outfielders Part 2 of 4

Below consists of NL Only Outfielders who fall in the $20 to high $29 range in $260 budget auction leagues. These are not the elite players although a couple of them are knocking on the door to become elite fantasy hitters. This players should strong contributors to your team. This list is in alphabetical order.

Carlos Beltran - Now in St.Louis, Beltran showed that with days off here and there but playing the majority of the season when healthy he can be a real productive fantasy hitter. Beltran had real good numbers last year and did it in two very tough parks in Citi Field and San Francisco. Beltran will be 35 in April and had a major knee situation two years ago. If the Cardinals are smart even though they are thin in CF depth they do not let Beltran play one game in CF in 2012. Given his knees, he is a risk but if Beltran can play 140 games he will be a solid $20 to $25 NL only OF for your team.

Emilio Bonifacio - Ozzie Guillen recently said that Bonifacio was going to be his CF all along after the Fish lost out Cespedes to the A's. Bonifacio also qualifies at SS and 3B so he gives you great versitaility. Had a great speed (40SB) and BA (.296) numbers last year. Follow his spring to see where Guillen would bat Bonifacio in the batting order. My guess would he would bat 2nd behind Reyes. Keep in mind while Bonifacio showed flashes in the past last year was the first full productive season for Bonifacio.

Michael Bourn - Write it down, should score 100 runs, close to 60 steals and should give you a good batting average with no pop. Bourn is a free agent after the season so he is playing to land a big contract.

Jay Bruce - Bruce turns 25 the first week of April and I believe is ready to become one of the top power bats in the NL given his talent, that ballpark and his team lineup for the next five years. The question is does Bruce hit .250 or close to .280? He will throw in 7 or 8 steals but that's about it. A strong power bat but a 3 category player.

Michael Cuddyer - Qualifies for also 1B, while I don't think it's impossible that Cuddyer could have another year like 2009 especially in Colorado don't count on it. Going from Target Field in Minnesota to Colorado will be a big benefit for Cuddyer. However, count on close to 25HR's and R and RBI's in the 80's, around 10 steals and a batting average around .280. He can do better than that just don't count on him for a monster year.

Andre Ethier - Missed 27 games last year and had a bit of power outage. The good news is he is playing for a big contract this year as he is a free agent after the season. The bad news come July if the Dodgers are not in the race Ethier could be trade bait. Even with new big pockets new ownership around the corner I think the Dodgers might want to spend their dollars elsewhere. Keep in mind they have to lock up Kershaw.

Corey Hart - He missed 30+ games last year and hit leadoff for a good portion of the year last season but still was a productive player. Hart's days of stealing 20+ bases are over but with Prince leaving to Detroit figure Hart to hit now in the middle of the lineup and be a more of a run producer. Hart can give you production like Cuddyer but probably at a cheap price in your draft.

Cameron Maybin - Had a mini break out year last year despite missing 25 games to injury. Remember he only turns 25 in early April but also remember Maybin plays in Yellowstone park so his power numbers will be moderate but should get you a lot of steals and runs with low double digit HR's.

Martin Prado - Also qualifies at 3B, had an off year last season and rumor is he is on the trading block. I expect Prado to rebound to have a $20 year in 2012.

Carlos Quentin - The most games Quentin has played in a season is 131 games. So buyer beware. Also he now moves to Yellowstone Park in San Diego and could be trade bait back to the AL come July. So unless you get him at a bargain - PASS.

Mike Stanton - He just turned 22 in the off-season. It's scary how good this kid can be the only question is can he get that batting average above .280. If not even if he hits .260 a season Stanton will be a 40+HR & 100+RBI guy for years to come and probably starting this season. That's what I am betting on.

Drew Stubbs - Has power and speed, plays in the best hitters park in the NL but those ridiculous amount of K's scare me and quite frankly the Reds might run of patience with Stubbs because of those K's. Beware.

Shane Victorino - I think what the flying Hawian did last year he can do again this season and maybe a touch better, especially when you consider Victorino is another player playing for a nice long term contract as he is a free agent after next season.

Jason Werth - I know at times it was plain awful last season but Werth was just one steal away from a 20-20 season despite his .232 avg. I am not saying Werth will be a monster player this season but I can certainly see a rebound season with a batting average close to .260.

Chris Young - This guy could be a top of the line NL hitter if he could get his K's down. But even though Young will be 28 for the most of the season I think Young is what he is.... lifetime a .240 hitter he will give you 20+ HR and SB with good R and RBI numbers and a poor average. You know I am not a big believer in getting poor average hitters but he's at least is a difference maker in the other 4 categories. I recommend Young just don't pay an elite level price for him.

NL King - C.Lizza

Sunday, February 26, 2012

NL King Ranks NL Only Fantasy Baseball Outfielders Part 1 of 4

NL King Fantasy Baseball Outfielders Part 1 of 4 - The Elite
Matt Kemp:  Kemp's 2011 was the best year by a hitter in the NL in the last five years hands down. Kemp has all the tools to be the # 1 fantasy player in all of MLB for the next five years. As I wrote earlier, this off-season I see two red flags......
1.  Kemp had a very down 2010 lead by his .249 batting average and a lot of people were questioning if he'll ever reach his potential. There was a joke around MLB that Matt Kemp is a 5-tool talent that brings two talents at night. Obviously that changed last year and hopefully he'll keep on his good habits from last year for the rest of his career.
2. Kemp tries to prove he is worth ($160 million dollar off-season contract) and will other teams stop throwing any strikes to Kemp and let someone else beat them from the Dodgers. I expect, Kemp provided he is healthy ,to be a big one of the top hitters for the next three to four years.  Just don't expect last numbers again because those numbers were ridiculous.

Ryan Braun:  If Ryan Braun didn't have off-season troubles he'd likely be my #1 so Braun is more like a 1A now that he's been cleared of the suspension.  Braun is an elite five category player but I have to wonder how this appeal process will effect his mental aspect regarding his hitting when his season starts. Does Braun try to do too much and show the world how great he is and put too much pressure on himself and start the year in a slump? This is why I have to rank him slightly lower then Kemp. No controversy, then he's my clear #1.

Carlos Gonzalez:  Cargo got off to a very slow start last year, missed 35 games, battled a sore wrist for a good portion last season but yet still posted a line of 26HR-92R-92RBI-20SB-.295AVG. That just shows that Cargo is very capable of repeating his stats from 2010 of 34HR-111R-117RBI-26SB-.336AVG and that was in just 145 games. Imagine if Cargo can have a season where he plays 160 games healthy? One red flag is he's been battling the sore wrist injury the last two years. If Cargo can play one of the corner outfield spots this year instead a lot of centerfield that could take away some wear and tear. I think he is an excellent bet to rebound to his 2010 numbers.

Justin Upton:  Upton finally broke the 150 games played mark for the first time in his career last year (159). Still just 24, now has the experience to go along with the talent. Upton numbers will improve from last year provided he reaches 150 games in 2012.

Hunter Pence: I think when you consider that Pence is now on the Phillies in that ballpark and in the prime of his career I think Pence is now an elite player. I don't expect killer steal numbers anymore but still double digits and expect 25+HR and 100R and RBI with a strong batting average.

Andrew McCutchen:  If it wasn't for a poor second half McCutchen would be higher on this list. But you have to remember McCutchen just turned 25 in the off-season. I think a 30-30 year with 100R and RBI and .280+ Avg is a strong possibility.

Matt Holliday:  I still think he has a couple of more elite years in him. While he missed a lot of games last year due to fluke injuries Holliday has been very durable the last few seasons (has played at least 155 games four of the last five years before 2011). Write it down HR's in the high 20's, 100R and RBI's, .300 Avg. Just don't expect anymore steals going forward.

Michael Morse:  I wrote about him in the 1B article (qualifies for 1B and OF) but I think he is such a critical player for NL only leagues I feel like I need to mention it again. Despite a horrible April Morse had 30+HR last year with almost 100 RBI's and .300+ Avg. The question now is can Morse do it again? Expectations are high for him how will he handle it? Let's hope he will be an elite hitter in the NL for years to come (Lord knows NL only leagues need it) but I wouldn't pay an elite price for Morse based off of one year.

NL King - C.Lizza

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

NL King Ranks NL Only Fantasy Baseball 3B Rankings

NL King - NL Only 3B Rankings

There is a theme among the NL Only starting 3B and that is a lot of players are looking to rebound from horrible seasons in 2011. Keep in mind we discussed Ty Wigginton in the 1B article and Hanley Ramirez and Juan Uribe in the shortstop article. Let's break it down.

The Elite - Looking to Regain Top Form:
David Wright - David Wright who is a top NL Fantasy hitter when healthy missed significant time in 2011 (missed 60 games) due to a stress fracture in his lower back. There is a world of uncertainty regarding the Mets ownership in terms of their debts and the next months court case regarding their funds with Bernie Madoff. Point being is come this summer, David Wright and his $15 million dollar salary under a certain scenario could wind up being traded. Wright this week said he feels great and he wants to be a Met for life, and quite honestly, the Mets need David Wright. There is risk with Wright on various fronts but as long as Wright plays 150 games this year expect a $30 year and just hope he doesn't get traded to the American League for prospects for you NL only owners.

Ryan Zimmerman - Last season Zimmerman missed 61 games due to abdominal issues. Now a full season by Zimmerman you can expect at least 25HR, 90 R, 100 RBI and batting average north of .285. However in additional to 2011, Zimmerman missed 20 games in 2010 and 56 games in 2008. In 2009 Zimmerman played in 157 games and it's no coincidence that was his best season by far. He doesn't have speed but a hitter who is knocking on the door of being a $30 player if he can play a full season.
Pablo Sandoval - When you consider Panda missed 45 games in 2011 (hand injury), he had a great rebound year. Panda showed up to last seasons camp shedding around 25 lbs. Early reports for this years camp is that Panda was working the dollar menu board big time at the local fast food chains in the off-season. Follow his spring and see if his weight is an issue.

Aramis Ramirez - Aramis switched teams in the off-season from the Cubs to the Brewers. At first I thought this will be good for Aramis as the ball carries in Milwaukee and he will get a lot of opportunities hitting behind Ryan Braun. Will Aramis might have to wait 50 games for that to happen. Last season Ramirez for the first half had a decent batting average but very little numbers and then for the second half went on a ridiculous tear. Aramis finished with strong numbers keep in mind he is a guy who goes through peaks and valleys so if he on your team you have to be patient with him during those bad stretches which could last as much as 6 weeks or so. Also keep in mind Aramis is a guy who has got nicked up in his career, since being a regular player in 2001 Aramis has only played 150+ games 3 times in his career. Count on him missing around 20 games in 2012.

Players With Talent:
David Freese - The World Series Hero is hoping he can play his first full season in the majors. Even through Freese has been around the last two seasons for the Cardinals, Freese only played 97 games last season and 70 the year before that. If Freese can play most of 2012 seems like a safe bet to be $20 bat in your lineup.

Chipper Jones - I have always been a huge fan of Chipper going back to the days when he was the #1 prospect in all MLB for a number of years. But Chipper will be 40 in late April and quite honestly there are a lot of miles in that body. Chipper plays banged up but at certain point his body will not let him. If Chipper can play 120 games like last year he can give you nice power line at 3B. However saying he is a huge risk is putting it mildly.

Scott Rolen - Rolen might be a bigger risk than Chipper which is saying something. See how is doing in the spring but not sure if he can hold up for the long haul anymore either. Follow Juan Francisco and Todd Frazier's springs in Reds camp because one of those will probably get the every day job if Rolen can't go.

Ian Stewart - What happened to this guy?  He hit .156 last year in 48 games with no homers and 6 RBI's, in Colorado no less. How is that possible? He was a power bat with a not a good average the last couple of years and you were hoping he could take a step forward in 2011. Needles to say that didn't happen. He gets a fresh start with the Cubs as they're starting 3B and should get a long leash there because the Cubs really don't have anyone else. If you want to take a flyer on him at the end of the draft I get it but that's about it.

Pedro Alvarez - I think Alvarez was hanging out with Ian Stewart last year. He wasn't as bad as Stewart but he was pretty bad hitting just . 191 in 235 AB's with 4HR's and 19RBI's. He is a former top 5 overall pick or so for the Bucs and Pittsburgh did give him a 6.3 million dollar signing bonus. He was supposed to be one of the key core young pieces for the Pirates. He is still young but this is a huge year for him. I have no idea what to tell you, yes he has pop but he also seems to have a whole in his swing. Again if you want to take a flyer at the end of the draft.

Casey McGehee - Another guy who had a very disappointing year last year. He is hoping he can gain that 2010 magic back this season. I don't think McGehee will ever have a year like that again. He can play 3B and 1B for the Pirates, and could a decent option for your team to fill out your roster as your third corner for mininmun dollars but that's it.

Ryan Roberts - He is a guy who had a great year last year. He also qualifies at 2B. I don;t think he be a high average hitter but can give you good pop with speed and score a good amount of runs. Don't overpay based on last year because you have to make sure he is not a 1 year wonder but can be a good option for your team as long as you don't overpay.

Chase Headley - Headley needs to put it all together this season. He is now 27 and entering the prime years of his career. I think he is capable of giving NL owners 12HR with R's and RBI's around 70 with 15 steals and a batting average .280+. For the right price that is a good option.

The Rest:
Placido Polanco - A lot of age and not much pop. I would look elsewhere.
Casey Blake - Believe it or not enters spring training as the starting 3B. Another guy with a lot of age. I don't love the Rockies other options at 3B either though.
Jimmy Paredes - It was a small sample last year but did some good things. Question is how much pop will he has.

NL King - C.Lizza

Thursday, February 16, 2012

NL King Ranks NL ONLY Fantasy Baseball SS Rankings

NL King Ranks NL Only SS Shortstops Fantasy Baseball Rankings

The Elite:
Troy Tulowitzki - In the prime of his career but the key with him is staying healthy. Put up strong numbers last year and that was just in 143 games. Imagine if he could play 160 games. Only negative I could say is just expect low double digit steal numbers otherwise a monster year provided he is healthy.

Hanley Ramirez - I know last year was a disaster that ended with a bad injury. While for most hitters Hanley's 2010 would have been a monster year for Hanley it was a bit of a disappointment. I also know he pouted when the Marlins signed Jose Reyes. I believe Hanley is over last years injury and that moving to 3B will take a lot of wear and tear off his body and lead to a monster year. In addition, Hanley will have duel position flexibility in most leagues after the first 5 games of the season at 3B while also qualifing for shortstop. If he slips in your draft --- POUNCE !!!!

Jose Reyes - Again it's all about playing 150+ games for Reyes. Reyes was in tip top shape last year but still dealt with hamstring injuries twice last summer which landed him on the DL. If and that's a big if, Reyes can play 150 games + you can expect a lot of steals, a lot of runs, good power from a speed guy and a high batting average. If Reyes is leading the NL in batting average the last day of the season I hope you don't have to rely on his stats that last day like I did last year. Last point, some people feel that being in south Florida in April and first 2 or 3 weeks in May with the much warmer weather in Miami as oppose to New York will help Reyes legs stay healthy. It's a thought but don't take it as gospel.

The Young Guns and The Former Young Gun:
Jimmy Rollins - He is no longer the monster player he once was and he is 33 years old now and let's face it you probably have to figure he will play between 140 - 145 games which will take away from his stats. Still should be a good source of steals but expect those numbers to below to mid 20's now as oppose to 30. In that ballpark good power and a good amount of runs with a mediocre batting average. He is no longer a player but can still be a major contributor to your team.

Starlin Castro - I believe he is a future superstar in the making. Think about what he has done his first two years in the majors at ages 20 and 21. I expect improvment upon last season I am not sure although it wouldn't surprise me that Castro will become an elite player this year. I think it's more likely it's next year 2013. But I do expect an improvement on his power and his speed while maintaining a high batting average. I think a line of 15HR, 70RBI, 100R, 30SB, .300+ Avg this year will happen. Actually I guess that will make it elite but I believe his years in the future will be better than that.

Ian Desmond - Great beginning of the season and great ending to the season but the middle was flat awful. Desmond really thrived when Davey Johnson came on the scene so maybe that is a good sign that 2012 will be the year Desmond breaks through. Quite simply a better hitting approach as well as cutting down those K's and this kid who has power and speed and a strong supporting cast can put up a very strong 2012 campaign.
Rookie Watch:
Dee Gordon - The good news is this kid can hit and boy can he run and be a real speed guy in the NL for years to come. The down side is he has no power and he doesn't walk. Which translates in real life that can he be a good leadoff hitter? Obviously Gordon's numbers will be a lot better if he hits at the top of the lineup. I like this kid but don't overpay on draft day.
Zack Cozart - Never been on top prospect lists despite impressive power and speed numbers in the minors. He might fly under the radar with all the other shortstops in the NL and if he does --- POUNCE. Last thing , see how his spring is going based on the injuries he suffered last summer.

Tyler Pastornicky - It seems the Braves are going with a rookie at shortstop. Has put up nice numbers in the minors including a strong batting average. Good speed but don't expect a ton of steals and power is nothing to write home about. Also this year Braves will have him bat at the bottom of the lineup which will limit his numbers.

Ruben Tejada - Might have a slick glove and can get you 15 steals but unless he hits for a high average no more than a cheap option as your third middle infielder. No pop.

Veterans with Issues:
Stephen Drew - If healthy can be a solid contributor.
Jed Lowrie - Not in love with the supporting cast could be a good option for cheap dollars as your 3rd middle infielder.
Alex Gonzalez - Could you give you nice pop but will hurt your average
Clint Barmes - Very up and down and that's what a sub par average.
Rafael Furcal - He looks shot to me.
Jason Bartlett - He will give you 20 to 25 steals but with no power and a bad batting average.

Don't Forget:
Willie Bloomquist - Gives you a nice source of steals, roster flex, and should see decent AB's as a UP in Arizona. Great guy to finish out filling out your roster.

Juan Uribe - Was hurt last year but when healthy can give you good pop but his batting average can be a big problem. Also gives you roster flex.

The Rest: These guys should be nothing more than reserve picks.
Ronny Cedeno
Paul Janish
Brendan Crawford
Ryan Theriot
Mike Fontenot

NL King - C.Lizza

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

2012 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers that NO ONE is Talking About!

It's February and than means you've likely purchased your first fantasy baseball advice magazine recently. Maybe you're up all night watching the MLB network or trolling twitter to see what's up with Nick Swisher. I love this time of year and I bet you do too!  Having managed The Fantasy Man brand and Fantasy Baseball Express going into our seventh year, it's automatic that I'm getting bombarded with sleeper questions on a daily basis.  The guy in the deli down the street asked me what I think of Bryce Harper already. My grandmother loves Jorge Posada (He's retired Grandma!). My dog Daisy spelled out Mike Trout with her morning chicken flavored dog food nuggets.  It's fantasy baseball season! BOOM!

Here's a list of the players I like heading into the 2012 season that NO ONE is talking about and could be nice sleepers and provide some great value this year. So while every magazine and website is going gaga over the over hyped Brett Lawrie, Matt Moore, Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Emilio Bonifacio and my favorite, Lucas Duda, we'll look at other more, or less, established players. Who wants to find the next 2011 Alex Gordon or the 2011 Lance Berkman?  I sure do.

Jason Werth, OF, WAS
Big contract last year and turned out to be a fantasy dud. However, the Washington Nationals are on the rise and could be a nice surprise team in 2012. With Mike Morse being a legit power source, Adam LaRoche and Ryan Zimmerman healthy, there's some solid protection at the top of the lineup as I see Werth batting second or third in that lineup. I'm projecting .270ish, 20+HR, 17-22SB, 80RBI which should be undervalued as he approaches at the earliest, the 7th-10th round of a 12 team draft. You know what Werth will provide and you should expect slightly better numbers then what he produced in 2011 but if you can overlook the stigma, he'll turn out to be a nice player for you. He's durable and he'll be reliable.

Jason Bay, OF, NYM
Oh boy, dare I say it? Jason Bay the sleeper? No, I'm not nuts. Just hear me out because you can do a lot worse. You could over reach and draft Mike Trout as your third of five outfielders only to find out he won't make the team out of spring training when you could have drafted a fantasy reclamation project in Jason Bay (just my opinion). You decide, but there is value here towards the later rounds of your draft. By no means should you be drafting Bay in the 10th round of a 12 team draft, but if he's there at R15 and you need one or two more OF, you should make a profit.  Think Lance Berkman 2011.

The Negatives - Bay was worse in 2011 then he was in 2010, he's been a bit injury prone, confidence is low, he's really been forgotten in fantasy.

The Positives - It's a new year, he's healthy, no pressure, fences moved in and lowered, take out '10 and '11 and he was a proven 30+HR/100RBI/10SB hitter, Only 33 so back end of prime, hit .351 with 3HR in his last 57 games last season.

Brian Bogusevic, OF, HOU
Bogusevic will be the starting RF in Houston by the end of 2012, recognize it.  What's intriguing about Bogusevic is the power/speed combo he posses.  In 2011, he had 4HR and 4SB in 164 total AB. Also had 40K's (he did however have 15BB). However, his first taste of the bigs was a disaster batting .194 with 1RBI  in his first 39 games. He was sent back to AAA only to be recalled at the end of July and hit .313 with 4HR, 14RBI and .523 SLG% in 48 games. Looking at his minor league stats...

Overall 2011 (Includes majors) - 16HR/22SB in 597AB
AAA 2011 - .296BA, .374OBP, 12HR, 18SB in 433AB -
AAA 2010 - .277BA, .364OBP, 13HR, 23SB in 502AB
AAA 2009 - .217BA, .342OBP, 6HR, 22SB in 520AB

What jumps out at me is he's not a young prospect as he turns 28 in February. What doesn't jump out is that he was drafted in 2005 as a Starting Pitcher out of college, then made the transition to Outfielder in 2009. So since 2009, you can see his growth in just about every category.  Give this guy a chance to play and I think you have a Drew Stubbs type minus a few SB and K's, but better BA and OBP.  Great buy for a buck, especially if he gets the starting gig. I believe your OF in Houston will be JD Martinez, Jason Bourgeois, and Bogusevic with Jack Cust and Jordan Schafer platooning in. Bogusevic can pay any outfield position.  Great value at the end of your draft. Think Alex Gordon 2011.

J.D. Martinez, OF, HOU
At 24 years old, 6'3/205lbs, he's a few years younger then Bogusevic so there's more room for growth here. The Houston Astros are weak on offense with Carlos Lee as their main bopper, and he's not scary anymore so the protection for Martinez could be slightly lacking. That's the only downside. What jumps out at me is that Martinez should bat 3rd in front of Lee or 4th behind him, so he'll be primed for success if he can build on what he did in 2011 which was .274BA, 6HR, 35RBI in 208AB in the bigs.  Martinez tore up the minors and batted .338BA, .414OBP, 13HR, 72RBI in 317AB in AA before he was called up. The potential is here to grow and break out but he's hiding in the shadows of Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Matt Moore, etc.  For a guy slated to bat 3rd or 4th and start in the OF barring any Spring Training surprises, he makes for a sweet sleeper in the later rounds of your draft with nice value primed for profit.

Sean Rodriguez, 2B/SS/3B, TB
Sean-Rod has the talent to be a great fantasy player. He posseses a power/speed combo and offers multi-positional eligibility.  The value here at the end of your draft is off the charts.... if we can get him everyday at bats, and I'm talking 500+.  If he has a great spring, which he always seems to do, he should win the everyday SS job from Reid Brignac.  In 2011, Sean-Rod hit .223, 8HR, 11SB in 373 AB as a utility player. Project that over a full season with consistent AB, confidence in a starting job, the fact that he hit an average of 20 HR in the minors four years in a row, and he'll only be 27 in April.... you have to like the odds. He has to win the SS job with a hot spring but this guy has the talent to make you a nice profit on draft day late in the draft.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

NL King Ranks NL Only 2B Fantasy Baseball Rankings

NL King Ranks NL Only 2B Second Basemen Fantasy Baseball Rankings

Second Base in the NL is probably looking the best it has in years. I am not saying it's loaded but it is solid and the past few years 2B in the NL has left a lot to be desired. Let's break it down...

The Elite:
Brandon Phillips - CIN - Had the best year of this bunch last year. Turns 31 in late June but most importantly in 2012 Phillips is playing for a contract as he is a free agent in next years class. Phillips should give you mid to upper teens in HR's and SB's and provide good numbers in RBI's and strong numbers in runs. The key to Phillips is the batting average. He hit .300 last year which is the only time he has hit .300 in his career and the highest batting average he has had since 07 with a .288 avg. Lifetime Phillips is a .272 hitter so I would bank on that and hope he gets close to last years .300 Avg.

Dan Uggla - ATL - After a horrible first half last year, Dan Uggla got on a roll and finished the season strong. Having said that I think we know what Dan Uggla is, and that would be a power bat at 2B who is most likely going to hit in the .240's. Now in 2006 and 2010 Uggla broke the .280 avg mark so he has had good average years but cannot count on it. If Uggla has a season where he hits .260 with his pop you have to be thrilled.

Chase Utley - PHI - How is Utley's health? Chase came back Memorial Day weekend last year after missing the beginning of the season with a knee situation. I figured Utley would have some pop when he comes back but don't count on any steals with his knees. What was odd for Utley last year was his best category last year was SB's where he swiped 14 bags. Utley's other numbers were very ordinary, and now at 33 you have to figure Utleys monster years are behind him. Having said that he can still be a very good fantasy player provided he is healthy.

Rickie Weeks - MIL - It's all about health with Weeks. Since 2005 Weeks has had only one season where he broke 130 games played. Last year Weeks missed 44 games. The Brewers are really counting on Weeks this year with Prince gone so they need him to stay healthy.

Solid and Steady:
Aaron Hill - ARI - After a down season in Toronto last year, getting traded to Arizona was the fresh start Hill needed as he hit .315 for the Snakes. That monster year in 09 was probably a one hit wonder but in a good situation in Arizona and provided he doesn't bury your batting average which is a big if can be a nice option at reasonable dollars at 2B.

Orlando Hudson - SD - Hudson who never hit below .268 in his 9 year career going into last season mysteriously hit .246 for the Padres. He missed 40+ games for San Diego which is shame because his other numbers were pretty good. I think he is a good cheap option on draft day.

Daniel Murphy - NYM - Not a lot of pop or speed but will hit for a strong average, give you nice numbers in R's and RBI's and give you roster position flexibility (also qualifies at 1B and 3B). Again a good cheap option.

Marco Scutaro - COL - Now he is starting the season in most leagues only eligible at SS but after the first 5 games in most leagues will qualify at 2B. If the Rockies put Scutaro at the top of the lineup either leadoff or the 2-hole I love picking up Scutaro for the 2012. Research during the spring where the Rockies will bat him.

Neil Walker - PIT - Came a bit back to earth last year but still provided solid numbers for fantasy owners. I would expect more of the same and remember he is only 26.

Young Guns:
Jose Altuve - HOU - Last year he will be in the NL as long as he is in Houston. A lot of people think he can be a super sleeper this year and provide over 20 steals. One to watch during the spring.

Danny Espinosa - WAS - I love the pop and speed combo and does draw a good amount of walks and only still very young (turns 25 in April). Has a lot of potential BUT those K's have to come down to take the next step and not bury his batting average. Had 166K in 658PA which help lead to a .236 avg.Fillers: These are guys who can be nice fill in players for you for a very low salary as their 3rd middle infielder but please don't count on anything more than that.

Jeff Baker
Darwin Barney
Devin Descalso
Mark Ellis
Omar Infante
Skip Schumaker
Ryan Theriot
Justin Turner

NL King - C.Lizza

Sunday, February 12, 2012

NL King Ranks NL Only 1B Fantasy Baseball Rankings

2012 Fantasy Baseball NL ONLY 1B First Basemen Rankings
The Elite:
Joey Votto - CIN - There is only one sure-fire elite 1B in the NL and his name is Joey Votto. How good is Joey Votto? Votto last season was a bit off but still put up numbers of 29HR, 103RBI, 101R, 9SB, .309 AVG, .416 OBP. That's how good Votto is to be a bit off and put up those kind of numbers. Votto was only one of 3 NL hitters to have over both 100+ Runs & RBI's. The Reds look like a contending team this season and I think Votto has an excellent chance to return to his 2010 MVP numbers in 2012.

Second Tier:
This group is a solid bunch and just maybe one or two of them will emerge as elite players this year but let's not count on it. The players are in alphabetical order.

Lance Berkman - STL - Also qualifies at OF. Last season was a bit of a renaissance season. Berkman looked shot at the end of 2010 but then he dedicated himself last off-season and got into great shape. The reason Lance is not on the elite list is because he does turn 36 this week and there will always be questions if Berkman can last a full season health wise. I would expect Berkman's numbers to come down some in 2012 but still a solid year.

Ike Davis - NY - Ike was off to a great start last season showing 2010 was no fluke before a bizarre ankle injury in Colorado on a pop up that ended his season. It was hard to believe but it is the Mets. Read a recent article in one of the New York papers a couple of weeks ago that Ike feels 100% and his old self. Watch to see how Ike is doing health wise in spring training. Davis should get a lot of opportunities as I believe he will be the Mets cleanup hitter. Remember they did move in the fences and lowered some of the walls in Citi Field.

Freddie Freeman - ATL - After a horrible first three weeks, Freeman relaxed and produced the rest of the season. I think Freeman will take the next step and see his numbers get a bit better this year but I think he is a year or two away from being a breakout player although the potential is there. I think 25HR's with Runs and RBI's in the 80's and batting average north of .285 will happen this season.

Mike Morse - WAS - Qualifies also for OF where he should be playing most of his games this year. Had an unbelievable year with 31HR, almost 100 RBI's and a .303 batting average. When you consider for the month of April Morse's numbers were at 1HR, 9RBI, 4R, 1SB and a .224 Avg that's remarkable. Now the question is can Morse do it again? Is he a one hit wonder or future NL top power hitter? I wish I had the answer for you guys. If he goes elite level prices in your draft spend that kind of money on a player who has done it more than once.

Gaby Sanchez - MIA - Steady Eddie. That's Gaby Sanchez. Numbers last 2 years very similar expect the same this year, solid player.

The Young Guns:
This group has guys with a lot of potential but now its time to show it as all of them will get their chances in 2012.

Yonder Alonso - SD - Being blocked the last couple of years by Joey Votto is not good for one's career. Should be a line drive machine. Don't expect a ton of home runs due to the type of hitter he is and the ballpark. I would expect a better version of Gaby Sanchez. Alonso could wind up being the Padres number 3 hitter for years to come.

Brandon Belt - SF - Belt made the team out of spring and then a lot of starts and stops last season. Turns 24 in April so he is still very young but the time is now to show the Giants he is their 1B for the next few years. He also qualifies for OF.

Mat Gamel - MIL - Has been blocked by Prince Prince the last few years. He has never be given a real opportunity to get everyday AB's. Now he will he has the ability to be a middle of the lineup hitter with good but not great HR's and a high batting average.

Paul Goldschmidt - ARZ - While there are a lot of swings and misses, Goldschmidt goes up to the plate with a game plan and has awesome power. In that ballpark with that lineup should be a real good source of power with a .250 or so average.

The Veterans:
Todd Helton - COL - Solid option if he stays healthy which is a huge if. You know he won't give you a ton of homers but some, the other numbers will be pretty good especially average but he is now 38 with a host of injuries the last few years.

Aubrey Huff - SF - He seems to be feast or famine. Given his age and the other players on the roster and Huff is on the last year of his contract he better be a solid player for them otherwise by late May he could be getting very little AB's.

Adam LaRoche - WAS - Pretty much missed all of last season due to a shoulder injury. Shoulders scare me. But word is he is feeling pretty good. Watch his spring to see how he is doing health wise could be a good draft day gamble for a few bucks.

Carlos Lee - HOU - Wound up putting decent numbers last year on a terrible team. On the last year of a huge contract and could be traded and DHing the 2nd half of the year.

Garrett Jones - PIT - More of the same in 2012 for Jones if the Pirates give him the same number of AB's.

James Loney - LAD - Same here more of the same, he just doesn't have a lot of power.

Ty Wigginton - PHI - Also qualifies for 3B and OF. Will play just about every day until Ryan Howard come back. Could put some real nice numbers and Wiggy has quietly had some real productive seasons in the past. Keep in mind he has hit in the .240's the last 2 seasons.

The Sleepers:
Jesus Guzman - SD - I don't know if the Padres have a place for him to play with their off-season moves but he deserves a chance to show if last summer was the real deal.

Bryan LaHair - CHC - He will get an opportunity to win the 1B job believe it or not. He has been a career minor league as he has spent the last 6 years in AAA and is now 29 years old. But the Cubs don't want to rush Rizzo so LeHair could get the month of April to show what he can do.

John Mayberry - PHI - I've liked what I've seen in small samples. He did have 15HR's and 49RBI's in 250 AB's last season.

Anthony Rizzo - CHC - The Cubs hope their 1B of the future starting sometime in 2012. Was a key part of the Adrian Gonzalez trade between the Red Sox and Padres. Unless he has a big spring Cubs might want to start him in AAA to build up his confidence after an awful debut at the show last year.

Brett Wallace - HOU - Was supposed to be a big power bat but between 2010 and 2011 has just hit 7 HR's in his 1st 166 games. Could get an opportunity if one of the young outfielders struggle or an injury or when Carlos Lee moves on. He is on 25.

The Howard Factor:
Ryan Howard deserves to be on the elite list as big power bat. Last two years Howard has been good not great like he was from 06 through 09. Believe it or not he is now 32 but the key is when will he be back with the Phillies due to this Achilles injury? Again follow in the spring as Howard's return could be anywhere from Memorial Day Weekend to the end of July.

NL King - C.Lizza

Monday, February 06, 2012

NL King Ranks NL Only Fantasy Baseball Catchers

The 2012 group of NL Only Catchers are few and far between, similar to just about every other season. Oh, how us NL only owners miss the days of Mike Piazza, and to an lesser extent, Javy Lopez. Last year my recommendation in an NL only league was to pounce on Miguel Montero if he went in the mid to upper teens. In my league I landed Montero at $17 and he gave me excellent production at a very thin position. Anyway let's break it down....
The Elite:
You can't spell elite without ELI!  I know, its baseball season!  Anyway, while I'm calling this trio the elite roto catchers, let's not confuse this by saying these are elite roto hitters. Take into consideration the scarcity of quality bats at catcher I rank this elite catcher group as one level or so below your elite hitters give or take.

Brian McCann - His 2008 numbers are a thing of the past I believe and he has played a lot of games behind the plate in his career even though he is only 27 so that's a bit of a red flag for me. But having said that, he should provide similar numbers in 2012 as he has the last 2 years.

Miguel Montero - Showed what he can do when he is healthy for a full season. This man can flat out hit and he is in a great hitters ballpark with a real strong supporting cast around him.  Last season is the only year Montero played more than 130 games in a season and I am still high on Montero for 2012. Montero in real life is playing for a contract as he is a free agent after the 2012 season.

Buster Posey - Plain and simple Posey is an elite bat but coming off a horrific injury. You have to see how his spring is going and how Posey is feeling. If all signs are good in spring and on draft day teams are leery because of that horrible collusion last May and Posey goes for a real nice discount - POUNCE !!!
Solid But Not Sexy - In no particular order:
Carlos Ruiz, Wilson Ramos, Yadier Molina, Jonathan LuCroy, Ramon Hernandez, Nick Hundley -
These guys provide solid value and decent numbers at not a high cost. That's not a bad way to go in terms of building your team. Each one has a bit of a red flag, Ruiz needs to stay healthy more, Molina probably won't do what he did last year hitting wise (although he is also playing for a new contract, free agent after the season), LuCroy I want to see him do it again, Hernandez will be 36 in May and Nick Hundley has to show he can stay healthy and does play in Yellowstone and has a limited supporting cast.

Over-Rated - In no particular order:
John Buck, Geovany Soto and Rod Barajas - All three of these guys can give you pop but bury your batting average. Let some other owner draft them.
Rookie Watch:
Devin Mesoraco - Cinn - Not guaranteed an opening day roster spot but based on the Reds depth chart have to imagine only a poor spring stops him from making the team. Has potential to be on this list in the near future under the elite group due to his bat. My red flag with him is due to the fact that 2012 is a big year for the Reds (they should contend for the division) that the Reds can't have a kid play the majority of the games and lead a pitching staff defensively if he is not ready. I am not saying that Mesoraco will be a butcher back their but he is not Yadier Molina either. Even though Mike Piazza had a terrible throwing arm he did handle a pitching staff pretty good and called a good game. Given what's at stake for the Reds in 2012 that is asking a lot of a kid. Again Mesoraco is a guy you should be researching thoroughly during Spring Training.

Wilin Rosario - Col - He might start the year in the minors and if it wasn't for a knee injury back in 2010 Rosario could be the starting catcher for the Rockies now. If he is in your draft and even if he starts the year in the minors I love the idea of grabbing him for a $1 as your #2 catcher because I think by mid June he will be up with the Rocks and give you nice value the rest of the way as well as a good keeper going forward. Then draft a #2 catcher in the reserves as a stop gap.

The Rest:
It's really sifting through a bunch of guys, Ryan Hanigan won't hurt you but won't help that much so if you can get him for $2 or $3 that's fine. Keep an eye on Jesus Flores of the Nationals during Spring to see if he is finally healthy. Could be a great pick up for a $1

Watch the Springs very closely of Posey and Mesoraco to see where they are at. Grabbing 2 guys from the solid but not sexy group for a few dollars each would be a good way to go.

C.Lizza - NL King