Friday, September 30, 2005

Denard Span

I've got 5 on my NL minor league draft list (at least 19 more to go).

On my AL list is the most obvious, Brandon Wood. Howie Kendrick is there, as is Jered Weaver.

Alex Gordon is defintely there.

Denard Span is the one I anticipate being available when my turn comes up at #8. Jason Kubel will get all the attention (rightly so), but Span is a SB with a very good OBP and an All-Star blocking him in Torii Hunter.

If Hunter does believe he will become prohibitively expensive for the Twins, Span will be the obvious choice to take over. 2007 looks good.

As important is he will generate the type of coverage in 2006 that will make him a desirable piece in a trade.

My top picks aren't as developed as my NL ones because I am picking so late in the round.

Greg Maddux

His days as a high teens/ low twenties SP are over.

The only things keeping him at the level was reputation, WHIP and the solidity of 15 W.

The first and third are too much to overcome the second, and at 1.20, even that is not considered outstanding.

Based on his 2005 numbers (13 W, 4.18 ERA and 1.20 WHIP), I place his value in the low double digits. Anything more will be a reflection of reputation (that and a $.25 will get you a NYPost) and the hope that his WHIP will remain at 1.20 over 200 innings, but who would chance that after seeing the ERA rise the past three years and the W total decline?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Curt Schilling

No matter what he does on Sunday, he was a major contributor to many lost seasons. 200 innings of 3.00/1.10 with 15+ wins is what each team expected for their $30+ draft investment.

What they got was 1997 Norm Charlton!

I can't imagine any team protecting him next draft, so he will bear watching.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Meriden, CT

I am from this gritty, working class town. If you are too, leave a comment.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Nelson Cruz

He certainly had the numbers and success at AA and AAA this season to merit serious Top 10 draft status next Spring.

I do wonder where he will play as Lee, Clark, and the surprisingly healthy, Geoff Jenkins seem locked into the three OF spots. Plus, Corey Hart is also currently ahead of him

But 27/81/19/.386 OBP/.540 SLG is too good to pass-up. He could be as high as #3 in my draft.

By my tally, the order is Zimmerman, Drew, Pence, Sanders and Cruz with Cruz looking better than Pence right now. But with 6+ months to go, this list is sure to change.
Hopefully, the Mets have seen enough of Heilman to know he can close. Otherwise, there is little reason to trot Ol' Roberto out to the mound for closing opportunities.

What exactly else could account for Randolph's decision to use him to close out last night's game?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Aaron Heilman

He's saved two of the last three wins for the Mets with Ol' Roberto Hernandez garnering the other.

As I picked-up Heilman to replace Tyler Walker, I have a vested interest in this development. While I did consider the possibility of Heilman closing (every reliever I pick-up begins with that scenario), I mostly wanted him for decent middle relief innings with the possibility of a couple wins.

After adding him to my team, I began to read the local NY sports columnists, and they would suggest Heilman as the closer. My hopes rose.

Unfortunately, I do not see the Mets going into next year wanting to build off this season's success with an unproven closer. Add in that there should be several available (Wagner, Farnsworth, Urbina, Ryan, Dempster, Jones, Gordon, Wickman, Mesa, Hoffman), my hopes are seriously tempered.

In Heilman's favor would be the money necessary to sign one of these proven closers could be used to address 1B, 2B and C either via free agency or a contract trade.

Richie Sexson

How about this nugget from the end of this notebook:

"Richie Sexson....last Safeco home run, a first-inning solo shot in the first inning of the Mariners' home game against the Angels on Sept. 14, was his 20th at home."

Any questions about hitting at Safeco have been answered.

Now onto Adrian beltre.....

Friday, September 23, 2005

Fantasy Baseball - Fantasy Baseball News from

Nate Stephens list for 2006 is interesting. On one of my teams, I have Church, Howard, Kearns and Choi. The latter three for the entire 2005 season.

I dealt Lane in mid-August for a better contract Juan Encarnacion and Cory Patterson, and dealt Hardy in early June.

All said, I see both Hardy and Choi as great sleeper picks in 2006. Hardy will be one because his good second half cannot make-up for his putrid first. While his second half numbers will launch him on to everyone's off-season sleeper list, his overall numbers will be so bad as to make him a late draft player regardless. There will be too many other players listed above him.

Choi is perfect as a sleeper. He has disappointed teams since 2001 after appearing in Baseball America's Top Ten for the Cubs. With that kind of disappointment history, there will be very few teams in anyone's league who have not suffered at Choi's hands - the team that originally drafted him in the minor league draft, the team he was dealt to in a bail trade, the team that obtained him in another bail trade in 2003, the team that traded him again after the head injury, the team that protected him in 2004 and then traded him after his trade to LA, the team that dealt him in the off-season after his Septemebr 2005 benching, the team that protected him in 2005, the team that traded him in 2005.....Oh wait, it finally stopped with me.

I see him going for a $1 or $2 at the end of the draft and delivering 15+ HR in 2006.

Marcus Sanders

Baseball America - Stats

Here is another NL prospect on my Roto draft list. His 57 SB and .407 OBP have me thinking 2B in 2007 when Bonds is gone and Alou is gone and Durham is gone and Snow is gone and.......

You get the picture. San Francisco will be in a major retooling in 2007 and I think Marcus Sanders could be right in the mix if he comes close to duplicating his 2005 numbers in 2006.

And with that kind of speed, he needn't even start in order to be a good Roto player.

Tentatively, he is #4 for me. (The Jason Lane thing! He should be ahead of Pence!!!)

Hunter Pence

I am always thinking who I want to grab next Spring in my various minor league drafts.

In the NL, Stephen Drew and Ryan Zimmerman appear to be the top two candidates with Zimmerman possibly making the Nats Opening Day roster.

Given the 3rd pick is my worst case scenario, I'd prefer to have three or four names lined-up for that spot.

Hunter Pence is definitely right there. (Whaaaaat? You're going to take another Astros OF prospect who can mash and risk waiting three or four years a la Jason Lane?)

He hit 31 HR in Single A this year which primes him to begin next season in AA. This is close enough to the majors to envision a call-up in 2006 or a shot in 2007. (I know the Jason lane thing again.)

He also hit over .300 which leads to me hope he will have a decent OBP regardless of non-Hermida-esque walk rates.

Anyhow, he is currently at my #3 spot after Zimmerman and Drew.

Jenks lets another go

I guess I needn't ask how the Jenks-as-closer is going.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Matt Holliday

Two HRs and 8 RBIs will always grab headlines in baseball.

What will grab Roto players is the great numbers he has posted in an injury-shortened season - .307 AVG 17 HRs, 77 RBIs and 11 SB in 430 ABs (113 G).

This leads to an easy 2006 projection of 26 HR, 116 RBI and 17 SB. And, no doubt, some team will project that for 2006. Holliday is also likely to be inexpensive as he was not a highly-regarded prospect in 2003. That salary, along with that projection, will have teams hot and heavy for him this off-season.

And that team which gets him will likely fall flat next year and wonder what happened.

What will not be given full weight is the fact that the league will adjust to the new clean-up hitter in Colorado and will see the Rox were surprising good in the latter half of the season. This will focus other teams' competitive energies

Is there any reason to think Holliday will be able to build upon this season's production after the league has a full off-season to look for weaknesses to exploit?

I do not think so.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Craig Hansen

Man, the off-season hype will rival the release of a new Harry Potter book if Hansen pitches the remainder of the year like he did last night.

He may be a prime candidate to bring up early in the draft so the most money possible can chase him.

Damaso Marte

So let me see if I have this straight.

Last week, Chisox manager, Ozzie Guillen, basically tells Marte to take a hike, and this week he is in a closer committee vs lefty batters?

Dustin Hermanson loses his job, and Bobby Jenks is now in the closer committee vs right-handed hitters?

I have a baaaaaaaaaaaaad feeling about this.

Monday, September 19, 2005

After a busy weekend -stag on Friday, Mets-Braves on Saturday and Jets-Dolphins on Sunday, I feel I can maybe, possibly get back to some blogging.

A note from Saturday: Mike Jacobs' HR was a bomb!

As I watch the season end in personal disappointment, I feel my energy sapping for regular season posting. A sort of learned helplessness behavior.

Some good news this AM was Jorge Sosa's elevation to the #3 starter on the Braves. As I hold him at $1, he should provide some interesting bait beginning in two weeks.

I have marked as a big 2005 Bright Spot my dealing of an out-of-time Jason Isrignhausen for $10 Dontrelle Willis. This was a perfect example of making a trade I was guaranteed to win regardless of what happened in Saves.

Which, in a spot brightening way, worked perfectly as I rode Tyler Walker, picked-up Duaner Sanchez and dealt Jerry Hairston for Armando Benitez on 8/15.

Hence, maintaining my spot in Saves while improving in Ws, WHIP and ERA.

Another lesson was "punting" saves. This only worked, though, because I watch the free agent pool looking for closing candidates like a hawk over a meadow looking for mice. If I punted Saves and passively waited for a pitcher on my staff to become a closer, then it would have failed.

Dontrelle's 13 Ws were much more than I expected at the time of the trade. (Should be 14 by now, but Cy Young resume buttressing by Mckeon hurt on Saturday.)

Friday, September 16, 2005

Ronny Cedeno

A 3rd post on Ronny Cedeno.

He is out for the season and currently carries a $10 free agent pool salary.

The issue is whether to waive him and pick-up another player from the pool.

He is defintely a "pre-sleeper". GM Jim Hendry says he will be in the 2006 line-up at either 2B or SS. However, Dusty baker is the manager and Todd Walker will be at 2B, and Neifi Perez at SS.

I do not see any way Cedeno is given everyday ABs, and I suspect other teams in my league will conclude similarly if they are aware of Cedeno at all.

As such, I believe he can be waived this season and obtained at the draft next year for less than $10.

A player whom I equate Cedeno to right now in terms of draft day salary is Felipe Lopez of Cincinnati. He was in a similar situation as Cedeno - purported to be in the 2005 lineup- and he went for $5 at the end of the draft. Also, FLo had two veterans with which to compete in D'Angelo Jimenez at 2B and Rich Aurilia at SS and the comparison becomes eerily similar.

While projecting any unknown quantity to breakout like Flo 2005 (20/70/13/.280) is silly, I can see Cedeno being Bill Hall helpful

With the Crusty Dusty factor, I think $5 is the upper limit of his draft salary with a possibility of undrafted being the lower one.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Only two/three weeks to go and the off-season trading period begins.

Assuming your league has a trading deadline, the first few days after the season ends are a good time to acquire players who you think are primed for a step-up in performance but have not yet been identified as "sleepers" by the various internet Roto experts. This is os because their is likely a build-up of unspent trading energy in the league. Take advantage of it because once those "sleepers" start being named, the price tags will skyrocket.

Francisco Liriano will be no easier to grab than the first few days of October. And even then, I suspect he will be fetching a $15+ value.

Staying with the Minnesota 2006 rotation, Scott Baker will come cheaper the sooner you can acquire him as I see the nominal starting five as Santana, Radke, Silva, Liriano, Baker.

As I shift gears into off-season mode, I will post more players who I think fit this criteria - "pre-sleepers", to coin a phrase.

All Star Stats

After 145 or so games of the 2005 Rotisserie season, All Star Stats has finally concluded their live scoring sucked. As VP Cheney would say, "Big Time."

I am at a loss how they stay in business with such crappy customer knowledge and fees that are so exhorbitant that they had better worry AG Spitzer will turn on them in hopes of capturing the fantasy vote.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

2006 Huston Street

Who will be the reliever in 2006 that makes the other teams say, "I knew he'd be the closer! Why didn't I go one more dollar!?"

Huston Street was this year's reliever. He went for $12.

What needs to be recalled is Octavio Dotel was the Oakland closer at the time with only conjecture that he'd be dealt mid-season at which time, Street could be elevated into the role of closer.

As the A's were in the playoff chase, there was little chance Dotel, barring injury, would have been dealt. And if that had been the case, then there'd be no second-guessing on Street.

Would Street have been protected in 2006 at $12? Yes as he would be entering the spring as the nominal closer. What would not have occurred is his presence on the original team that drafted him. With no closing in 2005, he'd have been traded in a push toward the 2005 money.

As for that reliever who will be in Street's shoes in 2006 (or Francisco Rodriguez's circa 2004), it will be Craig Hansen. With Foulke having been awful this season, he will be the one of the returning closers on the shakiest footing.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Pirates open up closer role -

Go get Salomon Torres, and if available, Mike Gonzalez.

Keep in mind that their is a new manager and he may be more predictable than the Tike Redmen-ophile, Lloyd McClendon.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Steroids have staying power

Giambi has admitted to using Deca Duabolin. Experts concur with that it could remain in the system for 16+ months because it is oil-based and gets into fat cells.

Giambi has already been tested for steroids and this was not uncovered.

It certainly lends credence to his assertion that he is no longer taking steroids.

Whether he meant that steroid will remain unanswerable.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Scot Shields

He has 19 decisions as a reliever????

He is the 2005 example of why middle relievers are better than starting pitchers on bad teams.

Any starter on KC have 8 Ws? a 2.93 ERA? 1.16 WHIP? 84 Ks? (Just kidding. Greinke has 96.)

Monday, September 05, 2005

Ronny Cedeno

Recently, I read something quite dismissive of Ronny Cedeno. (Why isn't there a link? isn't that why you blog?)

Apparently, Dusty baker did not. To quote:
"He's pretty close to me,'' Baker said. "Yeah, he's real close. He can run. He can hit-and-run. He works hard and is respectful -- confident but not arrogant. He has to work on getting his throw truer. His throw now kind of runs into the runner. Those are things we have to work on and correct.
"I have always wanted to have a Rookie of the Year. I know how much it means to the organization and the person because I could have been Rookie of the Year and wasn't. He's going to be a fine player. It's a matter of when we have to clear a spot for him, and do we hold somebody in reserve in case he doesn't do it?''

Seems I was closer to the truth than that unlinked sports writer. And considerably sooner (6/29/05).

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Matt Cain

He threw a gem against the D'backs today. One could say the competition isn't that great.

I'd counter that Cain's performance versus his division rivals is a valuable piece of information as the unbalanced schedule will get him up to 25% of his starts against those teams.

If I had to put a guess on Cain's 2006 performance, I would say an NL-equivalent of Scott Kazmir. This would mean 10-15% more strikeouts than SK and an ERA and Ratio reduced by the same. Add in a favorable pitchers park for half his starts and a 3.75 ERA is not out of the realm of possibility.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Baseball America - Prospect Hot Sheet

Baseball America - Prospect Hot Sheet

A quick look at the Top 20 and you only find 8 NL-ers, and of those, three are pitchers and three play in short-season leagues.

The hitters are AAA Ryan Zimmerman who I do not believe will be in AAA on Opening Day 2006, AA Lastings Milledge (currently blocked by Carlos Beltran), High A catcher Jarrod Saltamacchia (effectively blocked by Brian McCann) and short-season Of Andrew McCutchen. (Let's get him to High A before thinking about who is blocking him.)

(Seemingly all the other players are Angels.)

Lede Continued

I forgot Edwin Encarnacion and Lance Niekro.

If the NL rookie list is expanded to include players in their first full-year of full-time PT or 2nd year like David Wright, Jose Reyes, Chase Utley, Matt Holliday, Garret Atkins, Khahil Greene, Chad Tracy, Felipe Lopez, Jason Lane, Jose Castillo, then you have an even more impressive list of future All-Stars.

One or two years experience for a list like this means there are fewer ready-for-the majors players at AA and AAA.

It also means there won't be openings at the major-league level until the end of the decade when this wave become arbitration-eligible and/ free agent-eligible.

That leads me to conclude the future of the large market teams is poor as there won't be a lot of stud free agents available during those years.

From a Roto POV, it means the NL minor league drafts will not have much low-lying fruit, so unless you are very knowledgable about the minors, you should not be amassing picks in trades. If anything, you should be trading them.