Friday, March 31, 2006

Ronny Cedeno - Cedeno no sure thing

Cedeno has failed to win the starting SS job that was handed to him at the start of the spring.

This solves some of the 2B problem as Neifi Perez can get ABs at SS and leave Hairston and Walker to battle it out at 2B.

Right now, conventional wisdom says Hairston is the starter, but I would not be surprised to see an almost even split of ABs between the two.

Unfortunately, that makes both players less valuable in fantasy baseball.

Rangers Rotation

Take a look at the Rangers' starting rotation.

1. Kevin Millwood
2. Vincente Padilla
3. Kameron Loe
4. R.A. Dickey
5. Juan Dominguez

Am I the only one who is looking forward the the dogfight for 3rd place in the AL West?

Diaz, Keppinger & Heilman

Diatribe aside, The three players the Mets screwed should be grabbed immediately upon either recall (Diaz and Keppinger) or at your draft (Heilman.)

All of them will be productive 2006 players.

The Mets

Victor Diaz, Jeff Keppinger, Aaron Heilman, Jae Seo and Kris Benson.

Those are the five players that typify the screwed-up nature of Mets management.

Diaz and Keppinger out-played their competition this spring but never had a chance to win a starting job. Why? Mets management decided from the get-go that Anderson Hernandez and Xavier Nady would win the jobs with anything approaching middling effort.

After expressing his desire to start, Aaron Heilman looked to have that opportunity after the fiasco-esque Benson trade for stinking middle reliever Jorge Julio and AAAA pitcher John Maine, and the unneeded deal for Duaner Sanchez which sent Seo packing for the Left Coast.

Unfortuantely for Heilman, the Mets seemingly never had faith in the abilities of Sanchez and Julio to pitch meaningful innings late in the game on a regular basis. Why did they trade for Sanchez and Julio? Incompetence?

So Heilman was moved to the bullpen in favor of a rookie pitcher whose top attribute is "smarts". This occurred after Heilman was lights out all spring. Now I am not one to rigidly favor veterans players from past seasons, but I do recognize decency in competition that a player with the job does not lose a tie to one who has not done anything for the team or thrown one major league inning! Unfortunately, this type of decency does not seem to exist in the Mets organization.

Now that Heilman is back in the bullpen, what to make of the Jae Seo trade? He was dealt to bolster the bullpen and I suspect Sanhcez has done that. My questioning is whether the Mets got a good deal. I am inclined to say absolutely not. With the consensus congealing around the maxim that more starting pitching the better, I do not see how having Seo in the 5th spot and Bannister in AAA with Heilman in the bullpen would not have made the Mets a much stronger team.

It gets worse. The Mets dealt Kris Benson to the Orioles for bag o' sh** middle reliever Jorge Julio and AAA starter John Maine. Even after Maine's disastrous spring, he is still the best piece the Mets received. Now, Kris Benson and his wife, a major reason why he was dealt, are divorcing, I wonder if the Mets can get him back for the same package? Not a chance! (This rule is also a good way of evaluating Roto trades to see if you got hosed. If the other team won't on their life reverse the deal, you got suckered.)

Wow! Imagine how strong the Mets would be with Benson as the 5th starter, Seo and Heilman in the bullpen and Bannister in AAA.

Instead, the Mets have a betrayed Heilman in the bullpen, two unhappy players in AAA (Diaz and Keppinger) and the Orioles have a #3 starter and the Dodgers have a #5 starter.

They also have a starting second basemen who cannot hit and does not take walks. (I am skeptical of the sabremetric religion, but a player whose AVG, OBP and SLG are all the same does not deserve to be in the majors.) An outfielder who was shipped out of town by his previous team, one which always needs cost-effective players and, in this case, an outfielder. (Try the rule out here, too. Would the Padres deal Cameron back to the Mets for Nady? ROTFLMAO! Nevermind the Red Sox dealt a Top 5 prospect in the game for a CF. Would any team deal Andy marte for Xavier Nady? Thank God I am already ROTFLMAO.) A middle reliever in Jorge Julio who may never pitch in a game that the Mets are losing by fewer than a couple handful of runs, and another middle reliever who should be a decent 6th or 7th inning guy.

Mets management are fools. Omar Minaya reminds me of Isaiah Thomas - charming but lacking in acumen. He should never be allowed near a roster. Again and again, I ask him, "How are Cliff Lee and Grady Sizemore doing?"

I know what can be done! The Wilpons (Mets ownership) can appoint a commission headed by Time Warner CEO, Richard Parsons to determine what went wrong! If Parsons is not available, then maybe Comcast Cable CEO Brian Roberts would be available for that hard-hitting assessment.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Adam Eaton

He will be out three months. I doubt he goes for more than $1 or $2, and if he were active, I'd want nothing to do with him regardless.

I am still sad, though. I know someone else would have drafted him and now the pool of Should-Be-Good-SPs-But-Only-Serve-To-Rack-up-Innings and-Medicore-to-Poor Ratios is reduced by one, and I do not think RA Dickey is going to move into that group.

Nick Markakis

Here is what I have been looking for - an update on whether or not Markakis will make the Opening Day roster for the Orioles.

Oh, wait. The article only says all signs point towards him making the team. Perlozzo asks what to do with the other OFers?

With Javy Lopez at DH, move Conine/Millar to 1B.

Stick Markakis in LF or move Patterson/Matos to LF and give the Greek guy CF.

As this seems obvious, my guess is this article was done prior to the Lopez-to-DH one.

If Markakis makes the team, my experience has shown top rookies go for $18 at the draft. With legit future value and good skills, I'd feel comfortable grabbing him at that price.

(And with my cap space, I could very well pay that and not miss a beat!)

Javy Lopez

O's Are Shifting J. Lopez to DH

Another catcher who lacks the athletic ability to play firstbase? Maybe we give too little credit to the ability needed to man that postion.

Shane Costa

Oh well. Chip Ambres, one of my favorite deep sleepers, was reassigned in favor of Shane Costa. (I know, technically, Aaron Guiel was reassigned in favor of Costa, but quibbling so early in the AM?)

While Costa doesn't have the apparent minor league skill set Ambres did, the playing environment in KC has not changed. The team only lists 4 outfielders - the starters Reggie Sanders, Dave DeJesus and Emil Brown and the back-up OFer, Shane Costa. (Scroll to bottom of article.)

This arrangemnet should provide plenty of ABs for Costa, or whoever fills that role. Sanders cannot play a full-season and DeJesus never has. Emil Brown has one solid year under his belt.

With 300 ABs, Costa could approach 10 HRs and maybe 5+ SB. He did not strikeout a lot in the minors so he may be able to provide a .260+ AVG which is basically benign when weighing the relative value of your 13th or 14th hitter.

A $1 would not be wasted on him.

More Keeper strategy

Rocky Mountain News: Rockies & MLB

Near the end of the draft when the Chris Woodwards and Jose Vizcainos are being drafted because teams are tired and/or didn't list enough players, scan the players who were put on the disabled list.

These are often players who would have been selected just before the Alex Cora portion of the draft.

Yesterday, one of my favorite sleepers, Ryan Shealy, was put on the disabled list. This makes him eligible to be drafted.

He is no Ryan Howard interms of power, but he did hit well in his 80 or so AB tryout last season. With an injury or a trade, he could be a $17 player, and in order to compete, you need to have those types of surprises.

So instead of drafting John Mabry or Tomas Perez, take a $1 flyer on Shealy.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Marcus Thames

With the demotion of Nook Rhymes with Book Logan, Marcus Thames moves into the 4th OF spot.

With Magglio Ordonez and Dmitri Young unlikely to play past the injury-proneness, Thames looks like a very solid $1 draftee.

He has destroyed AAA pitching for two seasons and carried that power over in a stint with the Tigs each of the past two seasons.

He may only provide double digit HRs but for $1, how can you complain?

Ryan Klesko & Adrian Gonzalez

Major League Baseball : News : Major League Baseball News

That was quick. Klesko heads to the DL.

With pending free agency, getting his shoulder "fixed" now would have him ready for to hit the ground running in mid-November.

I'd bump Gonzalez into the low double digits. Regardless of how 2006 goes, he will be the Opening Day starter at 1B for the Padres this season and next.

Keeper Strategy

My keeper list must be submitted by next Monday before the start of the day's games.

I have 16 players I'd consider protecting. The final two are $1 Jay Payton and $1 Franklyn German.

Given Jim Leyland's history using closing committees, I gave German serious consideration at $1. With Joel Zumaya opening in the bullpen and throwing gas, I slot him behind Fernando Rodney in the saves game and drop German into no man's land of mop-up duty.

Anyhow, there is little chance German won't go for $1 again and will likely be available in the free agent pool post-draft.

The harder decision, and the one that involves slightly more strategy, is Jay Payton. At $1, he can get no cheaper and will be drafted anyhow.

One injury to any of the three Oakland OF or to Frank Thomas at DH and Payton will be first in line for regular ABs. Heck, even an injury at 1B moves Swisher out of the outfield and to 1B opening a slot for Payton in the OF.

For a $1, those are the type of odds one should look for. Bobby Kielty is worth a buck as a back-up to Payton with that scenario!

So what is strategic about that? Nothing really, but I have three OF already. Payton would be the 4th.

Still no strategy.

What I do have is in inordinate amount of cap space - $161! With that kind of money, having an extra OF slot is worth letting Payton go. I can draft someone with, say, a starting job! I also have two corners and two middle infielders with 6 pitching keepers including a closer.

With so many bases covered and so much cash, I will very likely get two OF with better 2006 prospects than Payton. Hence the advanced strategic thinking.

I should trade Payton but maybe I am better off sending him back in the pool. He could go for more than $1 to another team - taking more $$ off the table- or, as a last resort, I could redraft him with all my cap space!

If I was forced into that, I'd have likely failed in spending all my cash on better players anyhow.

Victor Diaz

On the heels of the Joel Guzman post Monday evening, I want to see if I can provide a contrarian indicator of the decision the Mets will make on Victor Diaz.

It has taken most of the spring, but Victor Diaz is out-performing Xavier Nady. I do not think this surprises anyone in the Rotocommentariat, but things did not look good for the first half of the month.

When that was combined with the price the Mets paid for Nady (Mike Cameron), the obvious conclusion was he would start in RF. That is still the likely outcome as the Mets seems to decide early who is going to play and ignore performance (see Anderson Hernadez vs Jeff Keppinger at 2B).

However, I expect Diaz to provide the same, if not better numbers, for a fraction of the price. With Nady as the nominal starter entering drafts, he will naturally attract higher bids than a non-starter. Somewhere in the $8 range. Diaz may go for $3 or $4 but $1 seems more likely.

When is all said and done, I expect both player to grab 300 ABs and hit 15 HR or so with 50 RBI. You can either pay $8 for that or $1. I know what I would do.

Joel Guzman

He will play LF, 1B and 3B at AAA Las Vegas because "the Dodgers consider him the hitting prospect they would call up first if there were a long-term need at those positions."

I have some quibbles with the use of the plural of "position".

I do wonder what "lomg-term" need means. The rest of this decade or for an extended period of time during the 2006 season?

If it is the latter, then do not get ready to activate him from your reserves at the initial DL-ing of Nomar, Mueller or Drew.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Aaron Heilman

The Mets demoted Heilman to the bullpen after an off-season where he said he'd prefer to start and was lights out in the Spring.

I will be interested to see if how he takes the slap in the face.

There is no way Bannister should have beat him out.

More interestingly is the Mets have dealt Kris Benson and Jae Seo for a 7th inning reliever and a mop-up man.

Joel Guzman & Ryan Church

Oh, well. The Guzman posts will slow for a while as he was sent to AAA today.

I admit it hurts to see him sent down after reading the tea leaves and seeing him stay.

That aside, he is clearly the first recall when an OFer pulls up lame. I draft on April 10th, is that too soon or should that date be moved further into the season?

More surprising is the demotion of Ryan Church. He had a good rookie season but that did not get him the benefit of the doubt.

He did not hit well this spring, but he did walk 10 times. I was beginning to think he had recovered his AAA skills after a season to adjust to the major leagues.

Apparently, the Natspos did not see it the same way.

In the defense of Marlon Byrd (.904 OPS) and Brandon Watson(.712 OPS with 7 SB), both outplayed Church (.596 OPS).

Chris Reitsma

The AJC reports he hurt himself but includes no conjecture on who would fill-in if Reitsma can not close.

Is that good writing?


2B or not 2B? Baker knows who will start

"There's no real surprises,'' Baker said.

Really? Who determines what is surprising? Dusty, in which Neifi Perez is the starter? Everyone else?

Whatever the decision the Roto values break down like this

Starter not named "Neifi Perez" $9-$12
Non-starter not named "Neifi Perez" $4-$7
Neifi Perez $1 or less.

If one of the players not named "Neifi Perez" is traded, then $13-$15 will be full-value for the untraded player not named "Neifi Perez."

Monday, March 27, 2006

Joel Guzman

I have gone too long without an update.

Prior to today, Guzman had played 73 innings, second to Nomar. Clearly, the Dodgers are serious about position change.

Today, the team sent four relievers down. They were told the team is going with 11 pitchers.

Some basic algebra states # of hitters plus # of pitchers equals 25. Or h + p = 25. Subtract p from each side to find h, and you have h = 25 - p. If p=11, then h = 14.

Assuming 8 starters, who are the 6 other hitters?

1. Back-up catcher
2. Olmedo Saenz
3. Ramon Martinez
4. Ricky Ledee
5. Jason Repko
6. ?????

AL DL Replacements

Rotisserie Baseball Musings: AL DL Replacements

I had this saved as a draft and thought I had taken the necessary steps to make it post current.

I did not. Just click the link or scroll down the page.


Hanley Ramirez is the undisputed SS in Florida right now with the demotion of Robert Andino to AAA.

Both players were have very good springs, but Ramirez was better and a more important propsect. Those are two facotrs no player can overcome.

Spring numbers are tricky, so I question how applicable they are to the regular season especially for a rookie. Afterall, winning is not the prime focus of the March games. Once the competition level ratchets-up, will Ramirez "regress" or will he show a Robinson Cano- or Chien Min Wang-like ability to maintain his minor league performances?

On SB-potential, he could go into the low teens. Something in the high single digits feels a little closer to the truth.

Joe Girardi is planning on playing Mike Jacobs versus lefties. I find this refreshing as Jacobs won't learn how to do it unless he does it. The statheads won't though, and they predominate the baseball commentariat right now.

It will be interesting to see how quickly sample size is disregarded in favor of the position Jacobs cannot hit lefites and therefore should be platooning.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Plague reports Barry Bonds may sit out the remainder of the spring to let his elbow and knee heal.

I was uncomforatble with Barry Bonds at the salary I figured he would fetch - $23 or so.

After he hit a handful of HRs in a few handfuls of ABs, I began to gain confidence and debate whether I should have a 300 ABs 30 HR player at that salary.

Now he has elbow issue, and I have decided I will avoid him like the plague. He will be in and out of the line-up all season long, and I do not want to take the chances of having a $20+ playing 3 or 4 times a week. he may hit Hrs but his RBIs will not be up to the salary level, and his AVG will not be as valuable with 200 ABs.

What I will do is bid a little more aggressively for Steve Finley, who reports say has picked-up hitting tips for Bonds and is feeling better than he did last season. (I only hope those two events are tied into Bonds special falxseed oils.)

Travis Bowyer

Yeow. He was demoted to AAA.

Borowski or Ligtenburg should be closing, but Bowyer has made his mark in the minds of Roto players.

Whether that will turn out well is a different thing entirely.

If a young pitcher on the Marlins takes over the role this year, Bowyer will probably never get a chance.

And for what it is worth, UCONN did not deserve to win - any of the tournament games! Calhoun has a rotten group of players. My guess is three of them have declared for the draft already! It is Syracuse circa the 80s right now in Storrs.

UCONN should have been blowing out every middling team the way they did Seton Hall, but instead they lacked intensity and focus and refused to play defense. Just a crappy group of players and the question is how Calhoun prevents another group like this one from destroying the program.

AL DL Replacements

BAL: Jef Conine, Chris Gomez
NYY: Andy Phillips, Bubba Crosby, Miguel Cairo
BOS: Adam Stern
TB: Damon Hollins, Ty Wigginton, Russel Branyan
TOR: None

CWS: Pablo Ozuna, Ross Gload, Alex Cintron
MIN: Terry Tiffee
CLE: Eduardo Perez, Jason Dubois
KC: Aaron Guiel, Chip Ambres
DET: Marcus Thames

LAA: Macier Izturis, Robb Quinlan, Edgardo Alfonzo
OAK: Bobby Kielty, Antonio Perez, Marcus Scutaro
SEA: Mike Morse, Willie Bloomquist
TEX: D'Angelo Jiminez

This list of possible DL replacement players is a little more extensive because I find it difficult to cull the $1 end-of-draftees from the undrafted players. Chip Ambres andD'Angelo Jiminez are two sleeper players I have mentioned a couple/few times this off-season, but does that mean they go for $1 or does a bad srping (Ambres) and no job (Jiminez) keep them off the draft radar?

One factor that did contribute is the perception of available playing time. In New York, Andy Phillips should get drafted and get drafted for a few dollars. Bernie Williams is the 4th OF which will free-up DH ABs for Giambi which will put Phillips at 1B more frequently than anticipated. However, this may not be as well-known which could leave Phillips undrafted in favor of a player who looks like he will get more PT or a better chance to compete.

The perceptual factor also applies to Damon Hollins who had an awesome pool pick-up season in 2005 and leads the spring with 8 steals, but he has nowhere to play in TB and is lost in all the super prospect hype.

This is also the reason I have Bobby Kielty and Antonio Perez listed. The A's have an abundance of 1B/DH types with Frank Thomas, Dan Johnson and Nick Swisher. All will get ABs with Swisher going to the OF while Thomas DHs and Johnson plays 1B. Pushed out of playing time is Jay Payton, a more accomplished major leaguer, and Bobby Kielty.

Antonio Perez had a very good season as a utlity player with the Dodgers but he has nowhere to play behind Chavez, Crosby and Ellis. He is sort of the Miguel Cairo of the AL West.

Perez' top contender for that title is D'Angelo Jiminez who would have to back-up Hank Blalock, Michael Young, and Mark Texeria. It is only the presence of a rookie at 2B, Ian Kinsler, that keeps Jiminez away from the crown.

In both players' favor in going undrafted is the fact they came over from the NL. In AL-only leagues, this keeps them under the radar more so because neither started for their NL clubs.

As a result, this list looks a lot better. If not for those, Marcus Thames, Terry Tiffee, Eduardo Perez and Jason Dubois would top the list with Pablo Ozuna's SB and postional flexibility putting him there.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Tony Womack

As a Yankee fan, I watched him stink and get killed daily by the New York press.

As a Roto player, I traded him after his hot stolen base spell, and prior to his status as the new whipping boy, for Craig Monore.

Now he is in Cincinnati with Ryan Freel and Rich Aurilia to compete against for ABs at 2B.

He is certainly worth a $1 for the chance for double digit steals and 2B/OF eligibility, but I wonder if Freel's use as an outfielder after the Pena trade doesn't boost Tony's value north of $5.

This is a situation I am going to monitor even though I have no reason to draft SB with Furcal and Pierre on my keeper list along with Hermida and Utley. (Yes, I am considering trading SB prior to the draft.)

Home Stretch

This is the home stretch (compound word?) before keeper lists have to be in.

The upcoming week will finally clear-up any positional battles and minor leaguers making the team will disrupt preliminary mock minor league drafts.

For me, Craig Hansen's scoreless spring and Nick Markakis' good one have a chance to make the 5th pick no more valauable than 6 through "x".

The top five picks, in no particulur order, will be ALex Gordon, Brandon Wood, Andy Marte, Craig Hansen and Howie Kendrick. The 5th pick is as arguable as good as the 1st if you assume, as I do, that there is little Roto difference between any of them.

I rank Markakis at #6. the problem for the 5th pick arise if two of those six make the team.

Who do you take?

Andy Phillips

Yankees first baseman out of options

Within this article is a telling piece of information:

... General manager Brian Cashman believes he [Phillips] is worthy of regular at-bats as the designated hitter. Manager Joe Torre will start the season with Bernie Williams in that spot.

If the organization could not see that the only way Bernie Williams doesn't get as many ABs as possible is to not have him on Joe Torre's team, then it deserves whatever it gets.

I have always said Torre loves Williams. To the point I would not be surprised to see a Brokeback Mountain sequel called Brokeback Stadium!

Ryan Klesko

With the Padres moving in the RCF fence 11 feet at Petco, Ryan Klesko looked to be poised to improve his 18 HR performance from last season.

However, reports he has shoulder problems that existed since 2003. Normally, this would not concern me as an existing condition is something that has been adapted to.

In this case, Klesko's pending free agency raises red flags. This could lead Klesko to conclude surgery, something he says will wait until next off-season, is better sooner rather than later.

Drop him even lower than he previously had been, and keep an eagle's eye trained on Adrian Gonzalez at AAA. His time may come even sooner than expected.

Jeremy Reed

Ouch. Reed wasn't a superstar, but he was a very nice 4th OF on Roto teams with the possibility of moving up to 3rd.

I had been anticipating a slight improvement on his 2005 counting stats, but that has now become very unlikely.

With full-time ABs opening-up, Joe Borchard has upticked in value as has Roberto Petagine via Carl Everett possibly moving to the OF and opening DH Abs

Another possible beneficiary is Jose Lopez. This would occur because the M's may not be able to stop themselves from playing Willie Bloomquist in the OF. This leaves all the 2B ABs to the 22-year-old Lopez.

It was safe to bid $8-$12 on him prior to this development. Now I feel completely comfortable doing so - not that I think it would take that much to grab him. (Also contributing was the recent release of Fernando Vina.)

Friday, March 24, 2006

DL Replacements

Every draft, there are players drafted who begin the year on the DL. At the end of the draft, his owner can elect to replace him immediately and have the replacement player stats count from season's beginning or replace him at a later time when possibly an undrafted player emerges.

I tend towards waiting because there is usually a playing time situation or two that changes in the first couple weeks of the season.

That does not mean I wouldn't replace a player on the DL right after the draft. My list typically consists of any extra players I have ranked who weren't drafted. Many times these players are indistinguishable from the final 20+ players drafted at $1.

Some of the players I think will go undrafted but could still be helpful are listed below.

ATL: Jeff Jurries or whomever is the nominal rightside platoon partner of Adam LaRoche, Wilson Betemit
NYM: Ramon Castro, Endy Chavez
FLA: Chris Aguila, Robert Andino
PHI: Alex Gonzlaez
WAS: Damian Jackson, Daryle Ward

STL: Aaron Miles, Hector Luna, the 5th OF, Brian Daubach
CHI: John Mabry
HOU: None
MLW: Gabe Gross
PIT: Freddie Sanchez, Jody Gerut
CIN: None

LA: Ricky Ledee, Jason Repko, Hee Seop Choi
SF: Todd Linden
SD: Eric Young, Geoff Blum
COL: None
AZ: Luis Terrero, Jeff Davanon, Damion Easley

With a list like this, no questions need to be asked why I usually wait around to see if something better comes along. If I have priority to select from this type of group, I will usually do so. In this case, I would be focused on the STL OF and 2B job - neither of which are without considerable issues.

Freddy Sanchez is a nice player, too, because he should step in and get regular ABs if Randa or Castillo come-up lame.

I also like the SB plays like Endy Chavez and Damian Jackson.

All that said, the relative merits of any of these tyes of players needs to be kept in perspective. The best of these are still not great.

Sleeper Alert

Dewon Brazelton was dealt to the Padres in an exchange of disappointing prospects. The Padres used Sean Burroughs to acquire him from the Devil Rays.

In 12 innings this spring, Brazelton has struck out 14 batters and walked 4.

In 253 major league innings, he struck out 136 and walked 142.

I know it is spring training and the quality of line-ups are inconsistent, but something happened.

I have little doubt Brazelton would go for $1 or undrafted and will look to grab him myself after the Spring training Cy Young awardee, David Bush.

Joel Guzman

The Dodgers sent OF Andre Ethier to AAA. With Delwyn Young recently sent there, two of three outfields spots are taken.

Assuming Joel Guzman stays in LF, will Young make the switch to the outfield and play CF with Ethier moving to RF? Would the Dodgers move Young to the outfield and begin him in RF and leave Ethier in CF?

To me, the picture is becoming more clear that Joel Guzman has made the roster unless the Dodgers send him down and put him in right field.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Neil Cotts

Cotts is Guillen's go-to guy if Jenks struggles

I guessed the Matt Thorton acquistion was done because Cotts would be moving towards the closer role, and Ozzie Guillen confirmed it.

"Guillen used Neal Cotts in the ninth inning and said Cotts is his first option after Jenks."

Cotts is left-handed so I would not be surprised to see Ozzie use him less frequently due to match-ups, but, for now, Cotts is certainly worth a mid-single digits bid.

David Weathers & Kent Mercker

The answer to the question, "Who would close for Cincinnati if the season started today?"

Mercker is a safe $1 pick most years anyhow. If this situation holds (How could it?), then he is worth a couple more dollars, and woe is be the team with no closer near the end of the draft and money to spend!

John Thomson

Welcome to AJC!

The AJC reports it is John Thomson being shopped for a reliever.

I thought it surprising that Sosa was being shopped as he is younger and cheaper. I would imagine he'd garner a potential closer.

Thomson may, too, but a Rheal Cormier-type seems more likely.

Kyle Davies

According to this report, Kyle Davies has won the 5th starter spot and a trade of either JohnThomson or Jorge Sosa is in the offing.

This seems logical but just as logical would be preserving your starting depth by moving Sosa to long relief to begin the season and allow him to build-up his arm strength.

If an injury arise to one of the 5 starters, the Braves can move Sosa right into the rotation - just as they did last season.

Or move Ramirez or Davies out if they struggle.

Alphonso Soriano

He says he is going to play left field this season.

With that uncertainty cleared-up, I am bumping him up to the $30+ range. 36 HR/30 SB last season is impossible to ignore.

His 2B-eligibility is also.

I know his splits were bad last year, but even if you assume he hits .224 for the year, he'd still go 22/32. Of course, he won't hit that poorly and become 2006's Corey Patterson.

What is not facotred into splits, and why is is false to just double away stats, is the comfort a player develops playing in one place for 81 games. I do not think Soriano will be a .300+ hitter in RFK, but I do not think he will be a .220 either. Without the crutch of a good hitters' ballpark, I also do not believe he will develop habits at home that won't translate on the road. (See Colorado.)

As vital for Roto is his SB ability, and that will not go away regardless of ballpark. And there is no reason to believe Soriano has lost any base-stealing skill. He stole 30 in 32 attempts last season. Even the sabremetricians would say he should steal bases!

Until Vidro and Guillen get hurt, there will be considerably fewer ABs available for Ryan Church, Marlon Byrd and Brandon Watson. Those are three players vying for 650 plate appearances at one position. Adjust all three downward accordingly.

Russ Martin

With Dodgers manager Grady Little declaring Dioner Navarro's chances of being ready on Opening Day long, Russ Martin becomes a decent $1 or $2 draftee.

The NL catchers situation is at its nadir right now, but Martin is part of the upswing begun last season. His OBP should assure an opportunity.

Grabbing him in a minor league draft is good, but drafting him for less than the farm player price is better. He will be cheaper, but more important, you can use the pick that would have been spent on Martin on another minor leaguer.

With only Sandy Alomar impeding a full-time gig until Navarro is ready, an injury to Alomar, or ineffectiveness, in the first couple weeks could mean Martin sticks and splits time with Navarro this year.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

St Louis OF

Quite a back-to-back-to-back and belly-to-belly-to-belly string of St Louis outfield updates at Rotoworld.

Jim Edmonds has soreness in his non-throwing elbow and numbness in his forearm.

So Taguchi has soreness in his throwing elbow.

Larry Bigbie fears his lingering foot pain is a stress fracture which would keep him out for six weeks.

Right now, Bigbie looks most likely to start the season on the DL. That would make Taguchi and John Rodriguez the main benficieries of the LF ABs.

If Edmonds or Taguchi joined Bigbie though, what would the Cards do?

Maybe trade one of the extra back-of-the-rotation starters for a decent OF?

Jesus Colome

Major League Baseball : News : Major League Baseball News

Back from the dead? In an off-season dominated by Chad Orvella-philia, the Devil Rays look to be staging a serious closer competition.

Today's article on Jesus Colome is glowing. The question is how much is just positive encouragement and how much is a signal that Colome is the favorite to win the competition.

At the outset of the article, I would think Shinji Mori began the spring as the favorite.

"We scouted [Mori] well," Maddon said. "I'd seen the videos and all that stuff. We were kind of excited about having him..."

Early in camp, Mori, using an impressive splitter, looked like he had the right stuff to become the closer. Catcher Toby Hall called Mori's stuff "explosive."

Unfortunately, there is nothing similar to that about Colome from Maddon's mouth.

What is clear is Colome wants the job. He asked to pitch yesterday after throwing the previous day versus minor leaguers, and he struck out the side albeit an unimpressive side - Kevin Youkilis, Mike Lowell and Josh Bard. What better way to impress your manager.

The article ends with Colome expressing his desire for the job and sounding like a good teammate if he doesn't get it.

"All of Spring Training, I've been thinking about how I want to close. That's why I work hard every day, I want the job. ... If [Maddon] gives it to me, I'll take it. But I'll do whatever he wants."

I would move him up a couple notches.

Ben Sheets

JS Online:A wicked curveball

Sheets is headed to the DL. This will deflate his draft day value.

The question is how long will he remain on the DL. Right now, the Brewers believe he should be available by the end of April.

If that gets delayed, and if it does, hopefully prior to your draft, then drop him a little further in value. Afterall, it is a shoulder injury.

Personally, I would stay away, but at the right price, he would be too hard to pass up.

Somewhere in the $15 range would be the sweet spot. That is not too much to risk on a gamble, and it will reduce your salary cap when you pluck a pitcher option from the pool.

Also, with the DL spot, you can hold it open for a week or two and see if a reliever emerges as a closer candidate.

Joel Guzman

Check out this quote from Dodagers' manager Grady little and ask yourself whether Guzman is in a good place or a bad place in the manager's mind.

"I'm a little disappointed in (Joel) Guzman. When we put him in to pinch hit in the eighth or ninth inning and he's the tying run, we're not looking for a base hit to right. I thought he was going to hit one up on that (clubhouse) roof (in left). I just had a vision in my head."
- speaking tongue-in-cheek about the 6-foot-6, 252-pound Guzman, who has monstrous power but poked a harmless single into right field with a runner on and the Dodgers down by two in the eighth inning.

The longer this infatuation continues, the more likely Guzman begins the year with the Dodgers.

Another clue would be Delwyn Young's OF position in AAA. If this is reported as LF, Guzman is a Doger on April 3rd.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

John Hunt

I picked-up my copy of Sports Weekly's Fantasy Guide this afternoon prior to boarding the train home. This is something I have enjoyed while working in NYC. (However, I am still sore about it no longer being Baseball Weekly.)

Regardless, I do look forward to the issue because the old schoolers in one of my league's use the drafted values in the NL LABR draft as a guide to their values. (Juan Pierre $32! I have made him available at $33. Now I expect a little more interest.) They do this despite the fact the LABR draft is 5X5. (A change that did not thrill me either.)

What makes this year's issue bittersweet is the announcement by John Hunt that he will no longer be contributing his weekly fantasy column - by far the mustest must-read in Rotisserie baseball prior to the ubiquity of the internet, and even, then a must-read.

I became aware that something may be amiss late last week when I went to the USAToday website to get an idea of when the Leviathan would be on the newsstand. On the website, Stephen Gardner was listed as the Roto expert. When I bought the issue, I worriedly leafed through the issue for by-lines as I walked to Track 104. I saw Mr. Hunt's name and thought maybe Mr. Gardner was only filling in.

Once I in my seat (a window one so I can get better XM Radio reception to listen to Spring Training games) and my knees up against the all-too-close seat in front of me, I went to the intro to the fantasy section.

At the end of the third-to-last paragraph, my worries were realized. Mr. Hunt will no longer be the fantasy baseball columnist. I was a little saddened as a piece of an important part of my life will exist only as a fond memory. For those, I owe thanks to John Hunt.

However, after devouring the results of the drafts, I went back to the beginning and read in the FAQ section on page three that John Hunt had a blog. After putting the kids to bed, I checked it (and added a link to it) and realized he just started the blog!

Hopefully, he will post more frequently than once a week the Publication Formerly Known As Baseball Weekly provided.

Thanks for the good times and the confidence that I could offer advice and analysis.

To the AL via trade or free agency:

Hitters: Wily Mo Pena, Mike Lowell, Alex Gonzalez, Mark Loretta, Corey Patterson, Ramon Hernandez, Lyle Overbay, Troy Glaus, Jim Thome, Tony Batista, Luis Castillo, Jason Michaels, Andy Marte, Reggie Sanders, Milton Bradley, Brad Wilkerson

Pitchers: Kyle Farnsworth, Josh Beckett, Kris Benson, AJ Burnett, Javy Vasquez, Esteban Loaiza, Jeff Weaver, Adam Eaton, Todd Jones

To the NL via trade or free agency:

Hitters: Edgar Renteria, Aaron Rowand, Hanley Ramirez, Alphonso Soriano, Jacques Jones, Cory Koskie, Tony Womack, Chris Young, Bill Mueller

Pitchers: Tom Gordon, Dave Bush, Bronson Arroyo, Chris Young, Danys Baez

It is clear the AL added more impact bats and arms than the NL.

This should serve to make NL draft prices higher (decreased supply) and AL ones lower (increased supply).

This is an important fact to keep in mind in the first round of the draft when the highest priced players are being bid upon.

In the AL, one can sit back and be confident that there will be good bargains later in the draft. While letting Glaus or Chavez go at $35 won't feel good, you will improve later in the draft when you get Adrian Beltre for $24 or Joe Crede for $11.

In the NL, one cannot sit back and feel the same. When the $17 players are going for $25 and $25 are going for $30+, you will feel good about going $41 on Todd Helton early or $39 on Carlos Beltran. Or when you go $19 on Jeremy Hermida, you will feel much better than having gone $17 on Bill Mueller.

Matt Thorton

Baseball America: Trade Central

Matt Thorton was dealt to the White Sox for OF Joe Borchard.

Borchard is the bigger name in the deal and likely the more valuable fantasy player this season. With only Matt Lawton in the OF, he can play there and at DH when Carl Everett is unavailable for 40-50 games.

Thorton won't have much value, but his acquistion could be seen a signal that Neil Cotts is moving closer to the closer.

With Hermanson out, Cotts should move into the 8th inning based on his success last season. If he does that, then a lefty will be needed in the earlier innings.

Cotts and Politte should be drafted regardless, but this just provides a little more information to keep in mind.

Brian Roberts

Roberts Will Play First Spring Game

So much for a $5-$10 draft day discount.

If he begins the season on the Opening Day roster, expect him to go for $23+ at your draft.

I had hoped he'd begin on the DL and grab him in the high teens, but that seems unlikely.

Also in the same link, the Cubs seem to be Jonesing pretty hard for Luis Matos. If this gets done, Jerry Hairston's value will jump north of $10 based on his decent spring - 9-29 with 2 SB.

Florida OF

Center field 3-way battleremains close

Eric Reed, Reggie Abercrombie and Chris Aguila are competing for the CF job.

Wes Helms and Jason Stokes are in competition for the LF one.

I would be surprised to see Stokes make his major league debut learning a new position. I think he'll go to AAA and be on speed dial for a call-up.

That would make Wes Helms the starting LF, which I don't believe. However, I do think he is going to get a lot of ABs this year. He can back-up 3B, 1B and play semi-regularly in the OF. That type of flexibility makes him an excellent option for a Roto team.

If Stokes does begin in AAA, the three CF competitors should make the team. Only Reed and Abercrombie offer excitement on the upside, but Aguila can't be dismissed if he garners 300 ABs.

He should be good for near-double digit HR and SB in that amount of playing time, and for $1 or a pool pick-up, that is great.

Joel Guzman

Widely reported, the Dodgers met on Sunday to hammer out their likely roster. I checked Monday's papers and for some follow-up.

There was nothing except likely line-ups which included Jose Cruz in LF. Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway), Guzman looked like he was headed to AAA.

Today, the LA Times reports, Guzman is one of three hitters the Dodgers want to keep primarily as a pinch-hitter.

I find it implausible that Guzman would make the team and remain a pinch hitter for an extended period of time. His presence would signal an imminent trade of Jose Cruz or a decrease playing time for him.

And to back-up my assertion, I quote Grady Little:

"There are few people who don't think he can help the team right now. Standing in the outfield, he looks a lot like Dave Winfield, and at the plate he looks like Dave Winfield too."

Does that jibe with a Lenny Harris role?

Fortunately, Guzman is SS-eligible for the draft so carrying him as a middle infielder is acceptable while waiting for him to be the next Dave Winfield!


Soriano Refuses to Take Left Field

I am trying to find an alternate view to my gut instinct.

He refuses to go the left field?

He refuse to go to left field during practice but goes to 2B and takes ground balls?

"Insolent" is my reaction, but maybe he is just really simple.

Anyhow, there is no amicable solution, and he will be traded. Given his defensive deficiencies, he is AL-bound.

Monday, March 20, 2006


Neither Ryan Freel nor Tony Womack nor Rich Aurilia get any uptick in value with the pena trade.

Scott Hatteberg goes from undrafted to $5 as the Reds intend to move Dunn back to the outfield and start Hatteberg at 1B.

Hatteberg is close to acquiring the Craig Counsell of 1B tag - a scrapper who plays ahead of other players who offer more fantasy production/potential.

Arroyo for Pena trade

Wow! Another NL hitter goes to the AL without equal Roto value returning to the NL.

Wily Mo would have been a $17+ draftee in the NL.

Arroyo is an end-of-draft gamble pitching in Cincy's ballpark. He was hittable last season in the AL. I don't expect anything better in the NL.

This means Chris Denorfia rockets up the sleeper lists, as do all the other back-up OF.

Maybe it means Ryan Freel goes to the OF, and Tony Womack plays 2B, which would rocket him up the draft lists.

Or Rich Aurilia gets more PT at 2B, which sends him up the draft lists. (HR are less exciting than SB.)

Sal Fasano

Philadelphia Inquirer 03/20/2006 Fasano likely to be Lieber's catcher

ESPN's Eric Karabell recently wrote about Sal Fasano as his #2 catcher.

That looks like a viable strategy now that he appears to be Lieber's personal catcher.

Also worthy of note, Fasano has been told he will catch more than your average back-up. With 8-10 ABs per week, he could be one of the top HR sources for catchers in the NL.

I can see my two catchers now. Humberto Cota and Sal Fasano for two dollars in total!

AL Starting Pitchers

Generally, I don't like starting pitchers. Mostly because they can kill your ratios with the large number of innings they pitch. Add-in the unpredictability of Ws, and their three categories are a big bag of fu....uncertainty.

Obviously, starting pitchers are necessary for a top finish in wins and punting starting pitching means punting wins. Unless you truly believe you can punt any category and finish in first (I do not), then you have to do your best.

For me, this means limiting the number of SP I have to 4 or 5. Given my discomfort, I will not reach for a SP if I find myself with 3 near the end of the draft. I will simply take a middle reliever and look towards the free agent pool or trades to address the necessity of a 4th SP.

One way I attempt to mitigate the dangers of SP is to have one stud a la Johan Santana. This way I can use his high innings/low ratios to help off-set a flyer for my 4th or 5th SP a la Nate Robertson or Kris Benson.

Even this strategy doesn't work if the ace blows up a la Curt Schilling.

Another mitigating action is to stay away from SP with WHIPs higher than 1.35. Doing this, I hope to have relievers with better WHIPS that help pull the team WHIP to the sub-1.30 level. I may take a flyer on one SP with a WHIP slightly higher than the 1.35 threshhold a la Scott Kazmir or Ervin Santana with hopes of a breakout. Usually, this flyer will be on a team with a good chance of winning (Santana), but occasionally, potential plays a bigger role (Kazmir).

If that flyer is bombing, I cut bait.

In the "Ace" category there are a few options. Johann Santana is the top one. Following him in no particular order are Roy Halladay, Randy Johnson, Mark Buerhle, Rich Harden and Felix Hernandez. All of these pitchers should go for $30+.

At the next level there are many more options. Unfortunately, some of these pitchers will go for higher prices than they should. Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett, AJ Burnett, Scott Kazmir, Jose Contreras, Freddie Garcia and Jon Garland, CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee, Barry Zito, Bartolo Colon, and Kevin Millwood. These generally go in to $17+ range

After that tier of SP, most of the draft dollars allocated to them have been exhausted. This makes teams look at their hitting and determine they have neglected it. Teams then focus on getting the best hitters available and allocate their remaining dollars to fixing that.

Here is where I like to step in and buy pitchers. This is where the majority of draftable starting pitchers reside. Many will go for low double digits but many more will go in the $5 range as teams are marshalling resources to address hitting. Amongst my favorites are Shawn Chacon, Tim Wakefield, Jon Papelbon, Josh Towers and Gus Chacin, Javy Vasquez, Eric Bedard, Bruce Chen, Daniel Cabrera, Bran McCarthy, Brad Radke, Carlos Silva, Francisco Liriano and Scott Baker, Paul Byrd and Jake Westbrook, Kenny Rogers, Justin Verlander and Jeremy Bonderman, Joe Blanton, Dan Haren and Esteban Loaiza, Jarrod Washburn and Jamie Moyer, Kelvim Escobar, John Lackey and Jeff Weaver.

A quick sorting of pitchers by teams shows I do not like the Royals staff in the slightest and have almost as much disdain for the Devil Rays and Rangers. With the Royals and Devil Rays, I see little potential for double digit wins and high risk in getting 175+ innings of nearly 5.00 ERAs and 1.40+ WHIPS. There are wins to be had in Texas, but I do not see the ratios being good.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Josh Willingham

I read today that Willingham has yet to appear in left field this spring. Girardi is focused on making him a catcher and, said if he plays 130 games there, he does not want him playing the outfield on his days off.

Frustratingly, I cannot recall or link exactly where I read that.

If this holds true, then Willingham should be the best NL catcher this year on a HR/RBI basis, and really, is there any other metrics involved with catchers?

Jenks & Burnett

Ready! Fire! Aim!

This morning two reports refute the direness of the recent posts on AJ Burnett and Bobby Jenks. (If they didn't seem dire, it is only because I didn't write them that way but I certainly was thinking that way.)

1st, Burnett's elbow is being called a case of scar tissue breaking-up. Great for him and the BJays, but a warning shot across the bow nonetheless.

I wasn't going to draft him anyhow, but I would lop a few dollars off his value regardless. Maybe this sets-up a potential bargain, but unlike the Jays, I won't take that chance.

2nd, Bobby Jenks has lost no velocity unattributable to Spring training. More interestly, the rumor was started by a respected baseball writer, Tracey Ringolsby, and was erroneous.

So much for my post about Cliff Politte being this season's Arthur Rhodes circa the Oakland A's - opens the year as the closer and is out of a job by April's end.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

AJ Burnett

I hope JP Ricciardi enjoys his contract extension because it is about to look like the second worst thing he did this off-season (from management's POV.)

His prized signing, AJ Burnett of the previously rebuilt right elbow, left today's exhibition game with pain in that previously rebuilt area of his arm.

Will the East Coast finally have their version of Darren Dreifort?

Does Blue Jays ownership feel even stupider for giving 29 year-old Roy Halladay 3years $40 million for the 2008-2010 seasons?

Adrian Gonzalez

The Padres look like it will send Adrian Gonzalez to AAA to begin the season. This isn't great news for AGonz, but it is for Roto teams.

There was no chance he was going to start at 1B over the Padres' ten million dollar man, Ryan Klesko. What a Roto team could do was draft AGonz for a $1 and wait for the inevitable locking-up of Klesko's back. This would then usher in some full-time ABs.

Now, one needn't use a roster spot for a player who would only get 5 or so ABs per week. You can draft a back-up corner with a better chance of more ABs (like Wes Helms) and patiently wait for Agonz to be recalled.

Then pounce and grab him from the pool! He will be the 1B for the Padres in 2007. (For that reason, Adrian Gonzalez is worth drafting for a $1 even if he only gets a handful of ABs per week.)

Friday, March 17, 2006

AL East Closers

NY: Mariano Rivera
Back-up: Kyle Farnsworth, Octavio Dotel

BOS: Keith Foulke
Back-up: Mike Timlin, Craig Hansen

TOR: BJ Ryan
Back-up: Justin Speier, Jason Frasor

TB: Chad Orvella
Back-up: Dan Micelli, Jesus Colome

BAl: Chris Ray
Back-up: Latroy Hawkins

Kyle Farnsworth is being paid like he is the back-up closer. If Mariano went down, he would get the first chance to step in. If he can carry over his Atlanta success, then the Yankees wouldn't need to deal for a closer. If he struggles at all, I would expect the Yankees to try Dotel and acquire another closer to share the duties with his rebuilt elbow. Wow! Three consecutive sentences beginning with "if."

I have a sneaking suspicion Keith Foulke is not going to be an effective pitcher this season. As such, Mike Timlin should close initially with Craig Hansen breaking-in in the 7th and 8th inning. By season's end, I expect the Red Sox to know whether or not Craig Hansen is the next Huston Street. Or the next Ryan Wagner.

The Blue Jays have no expectations that BJ Ryan won't close at any point this season. If their $50 million closer goes to the DL, I'd expect a closer-by-commitee with Justin Speier at its chair.

I have little doubt that Chris Ray is going to open the season as the Orioles' closer and expect him to be OK. If he can't make the jump from AA closer to major league one, watch Latroy Hawkins. I am very aware of his past closing failures, but he has the Leo mazzone factor working for him. This could be one of the biggest surprises in 2006 - the rebirth of Latroy Hawkins as a viable closer under the tutelage of Leo Mazzone!

The Tampa Bay bullpen is still nominally a commitee, but I expect Chad Orvella to eventually settle in as the full-time closer. In the mean time, I expect some magnificent blown saves from 1996 Pirates closer, Dan Micelli, and perpetual closer-in-waiting Jesus Colome. Shinji Mori could surprise, but taking the entire Spring off so far with a sore shoulder is not a good omen.

Bobby Jenks

Rocky Mountain News: Columnists

A stunner:

...and Jenks has lost up to 10 mph off his fastball. Scouts say he doesn't look as free and easy in his throwing.

He's done if this turns out to be true and/or permanent.

Cole Hamels

I consider Hamels an excellent sleeper candidate and keep repeating he can fill a power reliever role similar to what Madson has done the past couple seasons. And I consider him a darkhorse back-up closer. (Now I have to sneak him into a trade to acquire him.) has an article about Hamels. Basically, it deals with his back and its effects on his professional career. There was one nugget that caught my attention though.

If not for the injuries, the Phillies believe that their prized prospect would be in the Majors and be a key member of the team's 2006 starting rotation.

What this tells me is the Phillies' brass knows he is arm-ready and will look to him when the need arises. This behavior will be congruent with their beliefs, and whenever cognitive dissonance can be avoided, it will be.

Jeff Baker

Jeff Baker - Baseball Statistics - Biography, Minor League Stats and Baseball Cards

With Ryan Shealy unable to convert to the outfield and possibily beginning the year on the DL with an elbow strain (the same one he had surgery on already), the Rox need a righty OF to nominally platoon with Brad Hawpe.

Eli Marrero looks like he will serve as a super-utility player, but an intriguing player is Jeff Baker. He started in RF a couple days ago, and I expect to see that entering the season.

Making this more likely is the plantar fasciitis of steroid flunky Jorge Piedra. If the problem persists, then Piedra has little use as one of the back-up OF as he will be hampered patrolling the vast Colorado OF.

Additionally, Cory Sullivan looks OK and may be capable of playing a lot of CF with no competition. Jeff Salazar was his main minor league competition, but he is out with an elbow tear that may need TJ surgery.

From this mess, Jeff Baker looks likely to emerge. All he has to do is stay healthy. A tall order, but his persistent college and minor league success bodes well for a successful rookie campaign.

NL East Closers

ATL: Chris Reitsma
Back-up: Joey Devine, Oscar Villareal

NYM: Billy Wagner
Back-up: Duaner Sanchez

PHI: Tom Gordon
Back-up: Ryan Madson, Cole Hamels

WAS: Chad Cordero
Back-up: Luis Ayala, Gary Majewski

FLA: Joe Borowski
Back-up: Travis Bowyers, Kerry Ligtenberg

I do not have a solid grip on the back-up closers in Philadelphia or Washington. Heck, the two listed for the Phils are starting pitchers at the moment. But I do say that I whole-heartedly believe Hamels is going to be a power reliever in the majors this season. It is too much to ask him to close, but he may be perfect for the role in Philly - just the right mix of redneck and talent. The Philly fans will identify - minus the talent.

The Nationals would turn to either Ayala or Majewski as both have proven to be FRob favorites, and he is a loyal manager who will reward players who perform for him.

Florida will begin with Borowski and deal him for a top prospect. If the club is smart, Joe B will be gone in mid-May so the team can give the role to Ligtenberg and then deal him for a decent prospect. Two decent prospects for Borowski and Ligtenberg? You have to love the glamor of saves!

In Atlanta, I am convinced Devine will get a chance to close. So much so that protecting him at $10 if starts 2006 in AAA is a risk worth taking. Afterall, he can be replaced at the end of the draft with a quality middle reliever anyhow. Possibly even Oscar Villareal from the same bullpen. Devine's outstanding spring will basically shut out any other back-up closer posiibilities.

The Mets have no intentions of Wagner not closing at all, but Sanchez successfully closed at the end of last season and would be a decent first option. If he was just a fluke, then Aaron Heilman could do the job and do it well.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Schilling & Lowell

Peter Gammons provides a couple of important tips on two 2006 rebound candidates, Curt Schilling and Mike Lowell.

He reports Schilling isn't missing any bats in his minor league starts, and his weight is still up. I'd think he offers a lot of risk on any bid over $20. Even there he could disappoint.

Gammons also reports Lowell isn't catching up to major league fastballs. The chances of him rebounding with lots of doubles is looking bleaker. He is still attractive at $10, though.

However, as more teams pare down their rosters, he will face better and better pitching. If he continues to struggle, he may not be worth more than a flyer at the end of the draft.

AL Central Closers

CSX: Bobby Jenks
Back-up: Dustin Hermanson, Cliff Politte, Neal Cotts

CLE: Bob Wickman
Back-up: Fernando Cabrera, Guillermo Mota

MIN: Joe Nathan
Back-up: Jesse Crain

DET: Todd Jones
Back-up: Fernando Rodney, Franklyn German

KC: Mike MacDougal
Back-up: Ambiorix Burgos

I don't expect anything from Dustin Hermanson. An epidural per week for three weeks makes me think he is in a lot of pain. That could be a false conclusion I draw from my only experience with epidurals - my wife's pregnancies. If his back pain nears that level of pain, then he is done.

I have Politte and Cotts as back-up closers because they did the best last season, and Ozzie Guillen has shown he will not hesistate to yank a pitcher from the closing role. Some would call him capricious with that decision-making. To remind you, last season began with Shingo Takatsu closing, then Hermanson and Marte with Marte being ripped every day by Guillen, and finally settling on Jenks. My concern is I didn't list enough White Sox relievers!

I know Mota has been named the 8th inning guy in Cleveland and he has past success closing, but his arm issues last season and Fernando Cabrera make me hestitant to say Mota will get the job if Wickman fails.

If Mota does recover, I believe Wickman will be the beneficiary of Mota's and Cabrera's success. He will not be entering games with men on-base because both set-up men should effectively shut down the opposing team in the 7th & 8th inning.

For 2007, I'd prefer to have Cabrera even if Mota got the closing gig some time this year.

The Detroit middle relief core will be a very popular place for Roto teams to fish for potential closers because no one believes Todd Jones will repeat his 2005 dominance. Fernando Rodney ended 2005 as the closer, but he was hindered by shoulder issues at the beginning of the season and elbow ones at the end. I had hoped Venezuela would have won a game or two in the WBC because Rodney was the closer, but alas, they stunk and did not provide me the chance to see Rodney close in an ultra-competitive environment.

Franklyn German has been a disappointment seemingly forever. His ERA, hit rate and K-rate improved over 2004, but that is only relative to the low levels set in 2004. While I do not like him much anymore, I cannot forget the Looks-Like-A-Closer factor. Afterall, it worked for Tyler Walker last season in SF, and Jim Leyland is old school enough for it to be considered this season.

Speaking of the chain-smoking breath of fresh air, he has had a history of using bullpen by commitee. In his 14-year managing career, he has used one closer five times and commitees the rest. Also, he used a solo closer and made the play-offs only once- 1997 with Rob Nenn. As past behavior is all we have to judge future behavior, do not be surprised to see a 60/20/20 split in saves in Detroit this season.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Jerry Hairston

Jerry Hairston - Baseball Statistics - Biography, Minor League Stats and Baseball Cards

If the rumors of Todd Walker being dealt turn to fact, Jerry Hairston and Neifi Perez will be the recipients of more ABs at 2B.

Perez can't help with more ABs, but Hairston could turn into a cheap source of 15+ SB. He has said that he played last season at less than full strength following an injury-ended 2004. If one assumes he will be better than he was in 2005, then an increase in AVG and SB success shouldn't be an unreasonable expectation.

Ronny Cedeno is struggling mightily in his first spring as the nominal starting shortstop (3-21, .143 SLG). If he does not improve, the Cubs may be forced into playing Jerry Hairston at 2B and Neifi Perez at short.

This arrangement would benefit Hairston and Dusty Baker to the detriment of Cedeno and Cubs fans.

As long as you avoid Perez and get Hairston, you would benefit, too!

Ryan Shealy & Jeff Salazar

Rocky Mountain News: Rockies & MLB

The Shealy to OF experiment is over. This knocks him way down my list of sleepers (but not so far that a late pick flyer is out of the question.)

His elbow can't handle the throws. Oh well.

Another sleeper of mine is done, too. Jeff Salazar has an slight tear in his elbow . He hopes to play half-a-season if surgery is unnecessary and won't know that for another month.

I'd drop him completely.

Alex Gordon

Kansas City Star 03/15/2006 Gordon shows promise, but the Royals won?t rush him

This article certainly makes it seem as if Gordon will be changing positions.

The author writes Teahan is "undoubtedly" a cornerstone for the Royals rebuilding effort. Given Teahan can't hit enough to play 1B, OF or DH (but man! would that bat play at catcher!), he will remain at 3B.

With Justin Huber at 1B and Billy Butler at DH, a move to the OF seems inevitable. That would delay his arrival somewhat.

Garret Anderson

Anderson Has Foot Injury - Los Angeles Times

If this injury does limit Anderson to DH duties, it will push Juan Rivera into the field more.

The major repercussion would be the drying up of DH ABs for anyone else but Anderson.

Dallas MacPherson? Downgrade.

Kendry Morales? AAA.

NL Central Closers

STL: Jason Isringhausen
Back-up: Braden Looper

HOU: Brad Lidge
Back-up: Dan Wheeler, Chad Qualls

PIT: Mike Gonzalez
Back-up: Roberto Hernandez, Salomon Torres, Damaso Marte

CHC: Ryan Dempster
Back-up: Bobby Howry

MLW: Derek Turnbow
Back-up: Matt Wise, Jose Capellan

CIN: David Weathers
Back-up: Todd Coffey, Ryan Wagner, Matt Belisle

I remember dealing Brad Lidge a month before the Astros reversed course and dealt Octavio Dotel to the A's and made Lidge one of the best closers in the game.

During the Miguel Tejada "crisis" this winter, Lidge was rumored to be included in a deal to the Orioles for Tejeda. With the Astros previous actions in mind, I did not dimiss the deal because the players rumored to be involved (Lidge, Everett, Lane/Tavares) would have been a no-brainer for the O's to accept, and the fact they did not must mean it was an internet-generated rumor.

Oh no. I am convinced Lidge is available and, if he doesn't quickly rebound from his disastrous season's end, I can see the Astros dealing him just as quickly as they dealt Dotel. Because of this, I would grab Wheeler or Qualls. Wheeler has the slight edge because his strikeouts were better and he was the statistically-better pitcher last year. One caveat though, Wheeler does have more service time, so the Astros may be more inclined to keep the less expensive Qualls instead and deal Wheeler, too!

I have expressed concern about Pittsburgh's Mike Gonzalez, but a look at potential closers in the Pirates' bullpen makes me think his job is safer than his walks would indicate. However, Jim Tracy went through Brazoban and Schmoll before settling on Duaner Sanchez last season with the Dodgers, and the Pirates 'pen looks like it may provide the same "opportunity" for several pitchers to grab saves if Gonzalez struggles.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Rafael Furcal

Major League Baseball : News : Major League Baseball News

Furcal will make his 1st spring appearance tomorrow after February surgery. With 2 and a half weeks until Opening Day, he will have more than enough time to get up to speed.

Hopefully, you traded for him because in a couple days, he is going to be right back to full-value.

Mark Prior

Mark Prior may be the first major casualty of the Spring.

Of course, he has always been a non-elite starter to me. He was great in 2003, but hasn't sniffed that level since.

Fortunately, he has never been available to me. He was the top pick in our minor league draft and had his 2003 season in his second year of his Roto contract.

That off-season he was unobtainable and signed to an additional two years by his owner.

Now at $20, he was hurt in 2004 and made only 20 starts. He was undesirable to me at that level with injury concerns.

Las season, he lookd better but I didn't shake the injury concern.

Now he is hurt again. Too bad for the team that carries him and his Roto contract. He will have to take a salary cap penalty.

Who'd have thunk Brett Myers would be the better pitcher right now? (He went #2 in the same minor league draft that Prior was taken #1.)

Elijah Dukes

Another Dukes' post? Oh yeah.

This is an article focused solely on Dukes. It is worth reading if only for this quote from the now-affable, previously-surly Dukes:

"You've got guys like [Albert] Pujols, who nobody ever talked about and he just came out of nowhere. And that's kind of what I see myself as -- one of those guys who breaks in and is just one of those good ballplayers."

From your lips to God's ears!

One important note, other than Dukes expression of confidence in his ability, the article quotes Dukes saying the game has slowed down for him and he can judge the pitches as the leave the pitcher's hand.

He's going to be a good player. There are two questions, though. Where? When?

Todd Walker

Walker's statements that he was told he'd start at 2B for the Cubs and that "they" lie has stamped his ticket out of Chicago.

A report credited to the Baltimore Sun by Rotoworld says he could soon become an Oriole.

This makes a lot of sense. Chris Gomez is currently the infield back-up. Walker would be a nice improvement over that.

Walker's value would take a slight hit, but really, how much can that hit really be when you were an under $10 player with the Cubs due to the presence of Neifi Perez and Jerry Hairston?

He will be an excellent pick-up at the end of the draft.

Corey Patterson

Patterson Is Filling a Gap in Center Field

Looks like Patterson will be a $20+ draftee. If he gets 400+ ABs, I expect close to a 20/20 season. Recall he went 13/15 in the nightmare that was 2005 (and hit .215!)

If Patterson thrives away from Chicago, he could have a careeer year. His highs are 24 HR and 32 SB.

That would easily make him a $30 player in the SB-starved AL.

AL West Closers

OAK: Huston Street
Back-up: Justin Duchscherer, Kiko Calero

SEA: Eddie Guardado
Back-up: JJ Putz, Rafael Soriano

ANA: Francisco Rodriguez
Back-up: Scot Shields

TEX: Francisco Cordero
Back-up: Akinori Otsuka, Joaquin Benoit

Cordero was shut down earlier this spring with some shoulder tenderness. If anything comes from it, Otsuka would get the first chance to close. However, Joaquin Benoit has the statisitcs that would lead me to think he could successfully relieve and maybe close.

His overall numbers were good - a 3,72 ERA and 1.23 WHIP with nearly a K per inning pitched. But when you look at his numbers as a reliever, you really see piqued curiousity. 42 innings and 42 strikeouts, 20 hits and one HR compared to 45 IP 36 K 49 H and 8 HR as a starter.

Because Otsuka is first in line, Benoit should go for $1. Maybe $2. Grab him!

Scot Shields is no secret as a middle reliever. He has thrown 90+ innings in each of the last three seasons with good ERA and WHIP, and, in the past two, he has won at least 8 games and garnered 4 and 7 saves. He is a better than the majority of SP available. He is easily worth between $5-$10 on performance alone. Because he is the back-up closer, a draft value of $10+ is merited.

In Seattle, Rafael Soriano is the choice of the Rotocommentariat to close after Guardado's contracts ends at the end of this season (or he is dealt.) I would tend to agree except Soriano has not pitched much in the the past two seasons (23 total innings 27 Ks in 2004 and 23.1/33 in 2005), and I wonder if he will ever be healthy for a long enough time to have the role.

Huston Street is locked into the role for a few seasons, but Justin Duchscherer is a quality middle reliever who should be drafted regardless. He could fill a Scot Shields-type role minus the strikeouts. He has won 7 games each of the last two seasons and saved 5 last year. A $5 salary is within reason. Kiko Calero may get a shot as I recall he got a couple save opportunities in StL back in 2004, but Duch looks like a better bet.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Nick Johnson

MLB Trade Rumors: Nick Johnson Signs Extension

With the three-year contract, there is no chance of Vidro moving to 1B and Soriano playing 2B in 2007 and beyond.

Vidro is a $23 Million 2B who I would be surprised to see get more than 425 ABs in any season going forward.

There is no chance of Soriano garnering a long-term deal from the Nationals in exchange for part-time OF/ part-time 2B/ full-time ABs in 2006 with full-time 2B ABs afterwards.

Of course, that was Soriano's likely 2006 defensive role anyways except his spouted off immediately about not playing the OF. Hopefully, the only advisor he had for that advice can be found in the same place OJ finds the killer every morning - the bathroom mirror!

Mike Gonzalez

Bucco Blog: Pirates 2005 Most Balls Award Winner

I have raised cautionary flags about the Pirates' nominal closer. (Here)

Now Bucco has done an analysis that demonstrated Mike Gonzalez threw the 2nd highest number of non-strikes last season - 42% of his pitches!

He is not long for the role with a steady parade of right-handed hitters to face every night in pressure situations.

Elijah Dukes & Alex Gordon

FOX Sports - MLB- Yankees finally have pitching options

Dukes gets more positive press from FOXSports' Ken Rosenthal, and he conjectures that Dukes' emergence makes it more likely a Joey Gathwright deal will be done.

He also quotes an anonymous scout as saying Alex Gordon is the Royals best hitter right now. A bit hyperbolic, but noteworthy nonetheless.

Jason Stokes & Josh Willingham

Today's Miami Herald reports Jason Stokes will try playing left field.

This is not a good signal about Josh Willingham's capability out there. If he is limited to catching and spot starts at 1B, I can not see him being a $17+ catcher. That valuation was based upon full-time ABs spread across three positions - C, 1B and LF- with LF garnering most of the ABs.

This bears watching.

Joey Devine

14 strikeouts in 7 innings is impressive regardless of the level of competition.

Something to keep in mind comes from the website for the Braves.:

More importantly, he's regained the strength that late-season fatigue had erased and consequently displayed a much more effective sinker and slider.

Right now, he looks like a lock to begin the season with the Braves. If he does, he is worth a $8+ bid on closing potential alone, and, if a team is shut out of drafting a closer, a bid in the mid-teens isn't unreasonable.

NL West Closers

LAD: Eric Gagne
Back-up: Danys Baez, Yhancy Brazoban

SD: Trevor Hoffman
Back-up: Scott Linebrink

AZ: Jose Valverde
Back-up: Greg Aquino, Brandon Lyon

SF: Armando Benitez
Back-up: Tyler Walker, Tim Worrell

COL: Brian Fuentes
Back-up: Jose Mesa, Mike DeJean

As a general rule, I expect top closers to go for $30+, mid-range ones for $20+ and lowest rung ones to go in the high teens.

In the NL West, Hoffman is the only lock for $30+. Gagne normally would be, but he has some injury concerns that would preclude him from that area. The other three will go in the $20s but likely at the low end of that range.

Fuentes scares me, as every Colorado pitcher does, but the two seasons out of the last three in which he was healthy were good ones. As a result, some teams will ignore the Coors factor. I won't. Plus, he is 30, and there is no reason to think a nagging injury like the one in 2004 will not re-occur.

Despite my own concerns, I believe he will for for $20+. I'd only be confortable in the high teens, but how do I lump him with Joe Borowski?

When I look for back-ups, I note whether they have prior experience successfully closing and what their strikeout rates are. Neither criteria is a secret, but I tend towards more weight on past experience than good strikeout rates.

There are no surprises in my list of back-ups. I do note, though, that all the current closers, with the exception of Hoffman, have had recent injury concerns. Even Hoffman was shelved in 2003 with a shoulder injury.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Adrian Beltre

Beltre hit his 4th homerun of the World Baseball Classic.

With most projections calling for a repeat of 2005 (19 HR), keep in mind he has crushed the ball in better competition this spring.

I think he may surprise to 30 HR.


He touches on the fact new Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon wants to be agressive on the bases paths. If he does carry through with this, expect all the Devil Rays to be good sources of SB.

Travis Lee stole 7 last year. He could steal double digits.

Jonny Gomes swiped 9 with the Devil Rays and 16 total between the majors and AAA. 20 SB is not out of the realm of possibilities. And so on.

Staying with the Devil Rays. Mr. Gammons remarks on the great impressions Elijah Dukes has made this Spring. (A little behind the curve, sir?)

"Scary ability", "terrific outfielder with a plus arm", "a falt, powerful swing" "chance to be an impact talent" are the phrases used to describe him.

Joel Guzman

The march towards the Opening Day LF job continues.

Two hits yesterday has him at .364 - not great as he does not have a lot of ABs but certainly a signal that he is not letting the learning of a new position affect his hitting.

Yesterday, Dodgers manager Grady Little said, "I see the kid becoming more comfortable all the time."

Said Guzman of his new position: "I kind of like it. I'm not loving it, like McDonald's."

Uh-oh. We have to watch him for weight problems!

Ben Sheets

JS Online:Sheets breathes sigh of relief

The Journal Sentinel headline says it all, but I'll add something anyhow.

Sheets' reported reaction was one of dismay/worry/fear, and it was apparent to all who saw him.

This may seem to be one of weakness (or a projection of my own reaction.) But for fantasy baseball purposes, this is a there could be something wrong.

Once the season gets underway, any change in demeanor on Sheets' part will signal there may be arm troubles nearby and should lead his owner to prepare alternative plans to deal with an injury to a $20+ starting pitcher - an unpleasant course of action indeed.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Ben Sheets

This is disturbing.

"On Friday, he [Sheets] reiterated that he was not in the same type of pain he experienced last year.

"We took a chance at self-healing, and we're going to see where that takes us."

Surgery was an option last year? Is that the course now?

Hitter Values

My hitter price ranges are done. I will revisit particulars as the mood hits me.


OF commentary


Luis Castillo


His excellent OBPs caused the baseball commentariat to laud the move by the Twins.

I was of a more cautionary tilt.

Now even Castillo states what should have been as obvious as not trading for Soriano if he wasn't going to play 2B. The turf will be hard on him.

Don't expect much better than a .300 AVG with 10 SBs, which happens to be what he did last season.

Jayson Werth

Los Angeles Dodgers : News : Los Angeles Dodgers News

With Joel Guzman moving to left field, I am down on the Dodger OF Triumvirate of Werth/Repko/Ledee and this bit of news regarding Werth's wrist injury does not help.

"After a good Thursday catching balls with his repaired wrist, Jayson Werth was discouraged Friday when he was unable to rotate the wrist without pain while trying to wave a fungo bat. "

Maybe the question should be why I was high on any of them to begin with? Injuries and the necessity of $1/pool pick-ups who grab 250 ABs and contribute in the counting categories in order to succeed in an NL-only 4X4.

I expect Cruz Jr to be the best back-up OF in LA with him getting time at all three spots. If I had confidence he would continue to hit the way he did after coming to the Dodgers last season, then I would put him at the top of my back-up OF list.

I guess if the Dodgers thought that too, they would not have given the LF job to Guzman.


There are a lot of outfielders currently residing in the <$6 bin right now. I have no doubt a couple/few of them will turn out to be $15 ones.

Does Victor Diaz or Xavier Nady grab 500 Abs? Do they split 600 of them? If the former, that player will be a $10+ outfielder. If the latter, then both players will remain under $6.

Does Larry Bigbie live-up to his 2004 season or does To Saguchi get 400 Abs? Does John Rodriguez grab them?

How about Atlanta? With Ryan Langerhans and Kelly Johnson both lefty hitters, do they split the 450 or so ABs the lefty side of the platoon gets? Does Matt Diaz get all the righty ones? Does either Langerhans or Johnson hit so well as to displace some ABs from Jeff Francoeur?

Will an injury in the Philadelphia give former Rule 5 draftee and reigning International League MVP, Shane Victorino, the regular ABs he needs to become a cheaper, faster version of Aaron Rowand?

How about Chris Denorfia in Cincinnati? Does he have the incredible bad luck to be the 4th outfielder in the season Wily Mo Pena, Austin Kearns and Ken Griffey Jr stay healthy for 150+ each? Or should I have said the team drafting him for a $1 has the bad luck?

The Dodger OF hodgepodge has already had their luck turn with the move of Joel Guzman to LF, but which one benefits from Loften’s age and Drew’s $55 million contr…I mean, his well-established pattern of being injured?

Can Ryan Shealy make his professional debut in the outfield as a major leaguer and play the position well enough to grab 350+ ABs?

Does Geoff Jenkins extend his streak on injury-free seasons to two and deny 6’6 31 SBs in AAA Corey Hart the 300+ ABs he deserves?

I’d say something about Giants’ baby, 27-year-old Jason Ellison, but he’d need one of the dinosaurs in the outfield to get hurt (or retire from the game under a cloud of controversy) and the 4th OF dinosaur, Steve Finley, to not have rediscovered the fountain of HG.I mean, youth upon his landing in Pacbell Park or whatever it is called now.

Friday, March 10, 2006

NL OF $$$ Ranges

$30+ Andruw Jones, Carlos Beltran, Bobby Abreu, Juan Pierre, Lance Berkman, Carlos Lee, Jason Bay, Adam Dunn

$23+ Pat Burrell, Matt Holliday, Jim Edmonds, Barry Bonds, Willy Tavares, Mike Cameron, Wily Mo Pena, Brian Giles, Ken Griffey, Austin Kearns, Chad Tracy

$17+ Cliff Floyd, Jason Lane, Shawn Green, Josh Willingham, Geoff Jenkins, Dave Roberts, Jeremy Hermida

$13+ Jeff Francoeur, Juan Encarnacion, Ryan Klesko, Matt Murton, Brady Clark, Chris Duffy, Jeromy Burnitz, Cory Sullivan, Joel Guzman

$7+ Ryan Church, Eric Reed, Craig Wilson, Kenny Loften, Brad Hawpe, Eric Byrnes

<$6 Reggie Abercrombie, Ryan Langerhans, Kelly Johnson, Chris Denorfia, Nate McLouth, Tony Womack, Xavier Nady, Victor Diaz, Jayson Werth, Jason Repko, Rickey Ledee, Marlon Byrd, Larry Bigbie, Jose Cruz, So Taguchi, Ryan Shealy, Chris Burke, Jorge Piedra, Shane Victorino, Steve Finley, Matt Diaz, Jason Ellison, Corey Hart, Termel Sledge

Spring Training Stats

Major League Baseball : Sortable Player Stats

I added a link to spring training stats.

I know I could have easily just noted where they were. (How hard is it to say But I wanted the ease of just clicking from my site.

Ben Sheets

JS Online:Sheets' scare no laughing matter

This would not be good for the trendy 2006 sleeper team, the Milwaukee Brewers. No matter how good Mike Maddux may be as a pitching coach, no team loses a pitcher of Sheets' caliber and does not suffer.

In the best case scenario, this injury turns out to be only a scare, but one that would cut the draft day price $5 or. This is actually the best type of injury there is.

Worst case, he's done and a Roto team now must readjust to the lack of a 200+ IP stud.

NL 3B $$$ Ranges

$30+ David Wright, Miguel Cabrera, Morgan Ensberg, Aramis Ramirez

$23+ Scott Rolen, Chad Tracy

$17+ Chipper Jones, Ryan Zimmerman, Pedro Feliz, Garrett Atkins

$13+ Corey Koskie, Edwin Encarnacion

$7+ Bill Mueller, Bill Hall, Joe Randa, Vinny Castilla

<$6 David Bell, Abraham Nunez, Alex Gonzalez, Freddie Sanchez, Rich Aurilia, Wilson Betemit

David Wright is the best of the lot. His 15+ SB puts him ahead of Cabrera. Scott Rolen is not in the top range due to my concerns about his shoulder injury. As I am not a doctor, these are only based on my ability to intuit.

Chipper Jones could easily be near the top if he stayed healthy all season, but that has not occurred since 2003.

Garrett Atkins could be higher, but he has the Ian Stewart factor deflating his value, and his Coors-aided stats just weren't that impressive - 13/89/.287. I could see him breaking the $23 barrier, though. I just do not believe he is worth that once the Coors effect is wiped from your eyes. 13 HR? What's that translate into away from Coors?

Edwin Encarnacion is in an intriguing player. He has 5 HR this spring and hit 9 in 211 ABs last season. Those pro-rate nicely to 20+ in 500 ABs.

In the minors, he also had double-digit stolen bases every season except his first as a 17-year-old in the GCL in 2000. Also notable is his walk rate which is not horrendous at 10:1. It is certainly not great, but he is no Angel Berroa (18 walks in 608 ABs last season with the Royals.)

As a result, I do not see his AVG being any worse than last season's was and expect a slight improvement. If this occurs, he could provide a season similar to Felipe Lopez's last year - 20+ HR 15 SB). And if he continues to hit this spring, I can see him entering the $17+ range by draft day.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Adam Stern

Adam Stern has a nice game yesterday for Team Canada versus the US.

All of Red Sox Nation must be smiling now that they know there is a "legitimate" outfielder backing-up Manny and Trot.

If the Red Sox let a part-time player run, then he could be worth a $1, but I do not see that happening right now.

Someone, sowewhere in fantasy land, just got their $1 sleeper because another team took Adam Stern instead.

NL SS $$$ Ranges

$30+ Jose Reyes, Jimmy Rollins, Rafael Furcal

$24+ Felipe Lopez

$17+ None

$13+ Edgar Renteria, Adam Everett, Omar Vizquel, Clint Barmes, Joel Guzman

$7+ Hanley Ramirez, Dave Eckstein, Ronny Cedeno, JJ Hardy, Jack Wilson, Khalil Greene

<$6 Chrisitan Guzman, Royce Clayton, Neifi Perez, Rich Aurilia, Cesar Izturis, Alberto Callaspo

Shortstop is not the position to use to add power to your team. Even the $30+ ones are there mainly for SBs. I must say, though, that Rollins and Furcals' low double digit HR do add that extra umph to breach the $30 levee.

Felipe Lopez had the best HR year last season. That may puch him north of $30, but I have a hard time seeing it actually happening. 20 or so HRs does not a $30+ player make.

You could put all the $13+ and $7+ together and make it $7-$17 range. I can see all of them going for $12 or $13 and none would be too overvalued or too undervalued.

The one player to note is Joel Guzman. He played SS last season for AA Jacksonville. If you draft before the regular season begins, this will be the position where he qualifies. If so, a $15 bid on potential is not out of the question. He should hit 20 HRs as a SS-eligible and that would get him close to the Felipe Lopez range.

Joel Guzman

Gagne Makes Short Work of Debut - Los Angeles Times

At the end of this notebook, it is reported that Guzman homered yesterday - "...a towering shot that landed far beyond the fence in center field."

Jose Cruz $6. Ricky Ledee $1. Jayson Werth and Jason Repko free agent poolies.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Joel Guzman Update

Guzman Makes Graceful Shift to Left - Los Angeles Times

The title of todays' LA Times article says it all.

Bench coach Dave Jauss:
..... A couple plays right to him, got him broken in, and nice, easy throws for him. He looked smooth out there...

Manager Grady Little, smiling:
....How about ol' Guzman out there in left field.....

...he handled all the plays that he had to make very easily. I thought he was impressive....

The hopes of a hodgepodge of LA OFs getting 300 ABs and contributing in fantasy baseball for $1 or as a pool pick-up are fading.

(If the title said it all, why did you add the quotes?)

NL 2B $$$ Ranges

$30+ Chase Utley, Alphonso Soriano

$24+ Ryan Freel, Richie Weeks, Jeff Kent

$17+ Marcus Giles

$13+ Craig Biggio, Jose Vidro

$7+ Ray Durham, Dan Uggla, Todd Walker, Josh Barfield, Luis Gonzalez, Junior Spivey, Orlando Hudson, Jose Castillo

<$6 Kaz Matsui, Anderson Hernandez, Mark Bellhorn, Josh Wilson, Jerry Hairston, Aaron miles, Neifi Perez, Tony Womack

There are a lot of 2B in the NL. This is a function of having two more teams than the AL. For this reason, there is are not many back-ups listed. No doubt some of those non-listees will make a fantasy contribution, but why draft them when you can get the starter and then pluck the non-listees from the free agent pool once you know who will contribute?

Several of the 2B listed in the $7+ range are at the high end and could conceivably been placed in the $13+ range. These are Ray Durham, Orlando Hudson and Jose Castillo. Only Durham slid due to age/injury concerns. The other two resulted from hesitations on my part to advance them beyond their proven production.

Both could improve. I can see Hudson stealing 10+ more bases versus last season after being freed from Billy Beane Wanna Be Land, and Castillo was young when he broke-in and injured since. If he stays healthy, he could be a $17+ hitter. The Pirates love his defense so there is ample playing time even if he starts slowly.

I also hesitated to list Soriano in the $30+ range, but backed-off because he should still steal 30 bases even disgruntled. Hitting in RFK will suppress his HRs and likely his AVG. A .265/21 HR/33 SB doesn't quite get me over the $30 barrier. None of the numbers are strong enough to bury the competition in any category early i.e Jose Reyes can hit .265 but his 60+ SB will capture the category early. Also, 21 HR acts the same way as 33 SB, and the .265 AVG in 600+ ABs will have to be compensated for at some point in the season.

However, his past performance history will make him overtop the $30 barrier and that is why he is there.