Thursday, January 31, 2008

Day 59 And Counting

It is prospect list time! ESPN's Keith Law began rolling out his top prospects list. Yesterday, he posted his Top 5 prospects by organization. Tuesday, he posted his Top 5 by position, and, on Thursday, he posted his Top 100.

Unfortunately, all the lists are behind the Insider subscription wall. As a result, I will only post the top prospect. I'll try to answer any questions about a specific player's presence on the list, though.

1. Jarrod Parker, rhp

1. Jordan Schafer, cf

1. Matt Wieters, c

1. Clay Buchholz, rhp

Chicago Cubs
1. Josh Vitters, 3b

Chicago White Sox
1. Aaron Poreda, lhp

1. Jay Bruce, rf

1. Adam Miller, rhp

1. Franklin Morales, lhp

1. Rick Porcello, rhp

1. Cameron Maybin, cf

1. J.R. Towles, c

Kansas City
1. Mike Moustakas, ss

Los Angeles Angels
1. Nick Adenhart, rhp

Los Angeles Dodgers
1. Clayton Kershaw, lhp

1. Matt LaPorta, 1b

1. Carlos Gomez, cf

New York Mets
1. Fernando Martinez, cf

New York Yankees
1. Joba Chamberlain, rhp

1. Daric Barton, 1b

1. Carlos Carrasco, rhp

1. Andrew McCutchen, cf

San Diego
1. Chase Headley, 3b

San Francisco
1. Angel Villalona, 1b

1. Carlos Triunfel, ss

St. Louis
1. Colby Rasmus, cf

Tampa Bay
1. Evan Longoria, 3b

1. Elvis Andrus, ss

1. Travis Snider, rf

1. Ross Detwiler, lhp

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Day 60 And Counting

It is prospect list time! ESPN's Keith Law began rolling out his top prospects list. Yesterday, he posted his Top 5 prospects by postions. Today, he is posting top 5 by organization, and, on Thursday, he will release his Top 100.

Unfortunately, all the lists are behind the Insider subscription wall. As a result, I will only "tease" you with the top player at each position. I'll try to answer any questions about a specific player's presence on the list, though.

1. Matt Wieters, Baltimore

First base
1. Angel Villalona, San Francisco

Middle infield
1. Carlos Triunfel, Seattle (ss)

Third base
1. Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay

Center field
1. Colby Rasmus, St. Louis

Corner outfield
1. Jay Bruce, Cincinnati

Right-handed pitcher
1. Joba Chamberlain, New York Yankees

Left-handed pitcher
1. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Day 61 And Counting

Today's news about Joba Chamberlain's 2008 role continues the lede about whether he will start or relieve or a combination of the two. While I believe he should be in the starting rotation from the get go, the Yankees are toying with the experimental idea of conditioning him to start in the Spring then starting him in the bullpen and then putting him back in the rotation. All in an effort to not have him pitch big innings in 2008.

I see this as toyign with him. Is there precedence for this type of strategy? Should innings pitched limits be taken this seriously? How can he be a top starting pitching prospect but not durable enough to throw 180 innings?

A solution would be to write Joba in as the 5th starter and keep the other four pitchers on regular five-day schedule. This will keep Joba's innings totals to 180 or so as he wouldn't get more than 30 starts.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Day 62 And Counting

With the publication of Baseball America Prospect Handbook 2008, the fantasy world can get a look at the #1 rated prospect by each of the four BA analysts who collaborate on the eagerly anticipated Top 100 list BA releases at the end of February.

Here are the top prospects from each man.

Jim Callis: Reds' OF Jay Bruce
Will Lingo: Reds' OF Jay Bruce
John Manuel: Yankees' P Joba Chamberlain
Chris Kline: Rays' 3B Evan Longoria

None of these players should be forgotten on draft day, but I wonder which will be the best 2008 fantasy player? My money is on Joba. Alex Gordon is too much on my mind to think rookie hitters will perform at historical levels two season in a row i.e. Ryan Braun.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Day 63 And Counting

Francisco Liriano reports himself to be back fully from November 2006's Tommy John Surgery. Will this affect the Johan Santana talks? With feeling congealing around the twins having blown the chance to land major league ready players for Johan, maybe the appeal of Santana and Liriano at the top of the rotation will offer hope (false?) that the Twinkies can compete with Cleveland and Detroit. - Twins' Francisco Liriano says his arm feels great:
"His velocity? 'It's back. The past two weeks, I was (at) 95, 94 (mph),' the 24-year-old Dominican said.

His endurance? 'I'm throwing bullpens the same length as before surgery. I'm in shape.'

His pitch selection? 'I'm throwing all my pitches now. Sliders, changeups, everything - no problem.'"

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Day 64 And Counting

Baseball America's prospect guide is available. For an idea of which players are going to be amongst the most hyped over the next couple of months, check out the cover.

On it is CF Jay Bruce of the Cincinnati Reds, LHP Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, LHP Franklin Morales of the Colorado Rockies and CF Cameron maybin of the Florida Marlins. None should go undrafted in this year's fantasy baseball drafts.

To order the Baseball America Prospect Handbook 2008, click here.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Day 66 And Counting

FWIW, Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune told Charlie Steiner on his XM Radio show, "Baseball Beat", that Twins officials he has spoken with on the team's Winter Caravan would ideally want a Johan Santana trade completed by next week. Given all the ink spilled on this over the past two months, I hope it is true.

I like the latest trade iteration between the Mets and Twins - Santana for Fernando Martinez, Ryan Church, Phil Humber and a second pitching prospect. Church would immediately become a top sleeper in AL-only formats as the 43 doubles hit in pitcher-friendly RFK will be projected to turn into HRs in the more hitting-conducive Metrodome.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Day 67 And Counting

Am I the only baseball fan who saw the White Sox's $11MM signing of Octavio Dotel as a positive step for Daniel Cabrera in Baltimore? My apologiez, I forgot to preface that by saying I'd love to see Cabrera get a shot in the bullpen. Dotel would have precluded that.

After all, Daniel has not been very good starting and a switch to the 'pen may presage an Eric Gagne transformation. Minus the PEDs rumors.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Day 68 And Counting

Who are these pitchers?

Pitcher A: 230 IP, 3.95 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 140 Ks.
Pitcher B: 221.1 IP, 3.71 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 139 Ks.

If you guessed Joe Blanton for Pitcher A and Roy Halladay for Pitcher B, then you win. If you think you can get Halladay at the draft for the same price as Blanton, then I want to be in your league.

No way Blanton goes for much more than half of Halladay's draft salary. Yet they appear to be the same pitcher based on 2007' efforts.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Day 69 And Counting

The Denver Post - Baker eager to vie for 2B job

Jeff Baker is serious about switching to 2B. He's lost 18 pounds this off-season and is preparing as if he will be the 2B. After last year's crap of a season, I hesitate to get excited about him at 2B.

But he mashed in AAA in 2006, and even double digit HRs at 2B will make him a top NL 2B. While many fantasy teams will spend draft picks and money on Ronnie Belliard, Mark DeRosa and Yunel Escobar, a smart team could take a flyer at 2B and grab Baker from the free agent pool for nothing.

Assuming he makes the transition to 2B.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Day 70 And Counting

Anyone ever hear of this kid? If Cafardo's information is correct, then we just saw a glimpse of one of the most-talked about 2008 prospects.

It's dealers choice for Twins GM Bill Smith - The Boston Globe:

"A Japanese scout tells me 18-year-old righty Kenta Suda, recently signed by Seattle, throws 95 miles per hour - and that could increase when he matures"

Friday, January 18, 2008

Day 72 And Counting

What is Toronto Blue Jays' SP Dustin McGowan's value? I was recently told I could not acquire him for anything less than a $5 Joakim Soria. McGowan is $10, and both players have the same contract in an AL-only 4x4 keeper league.

The explanation was McGowan was a $25 starting pitcher. This would put him in the realm of John Lackey and Daisuke Matzusaka, two pitchers who went for $28 and $27 respectively in last year's auction draft.

Is McGowan going to be that good in 2008?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Day 73 And Counting

If the rise in AVG from horrendous to merely mediocre made Adam Dunn a Top 40 player in 2007, I wonder who else could be in store for that kind of leap in value. One player who appears to qualify is Arizona CF Chris Young. Despite an AVG in the .230s, he was the 77th best hitter in 2007.

If he gets that AVG into the .260s, his 30/30 potential should make him a Top 30 hitter. Maybe even better.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Day 74 And Counting

After doing my rankings based on three-year weighted averages, I did them for just 2007 and compared the two. One of the more interesting results was the improvement of Adam Dunn.

Everyone knows Dunn is good for 40 HRs and 100 RBIs every season, but his average has alwasy been a drag on his overall value. Using a three-year rank, he is still a Top 100 hitter albeit just barely (98th).

However, he was 39th amongst hitters in 2007. Why? He managed to raise his AVG from the .240 area to .264.

The question fantasy players need to ask is whether Dunn will hit that high again. Regardless of the answer, the perception of Dunn as a horrendous AVG contributor will keep his draft value lower than it would be if he actually hit .265 again.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Day 75 And Counting

Am I the only person surprised how well Orioles' OF Nick Markakis grades out? He is a Top 10 OF right now. The biggest key to that is the maintenence of his SB totals from last season.

My concern is he rides those to a Top 10 pre-season OF ranks and then steals single digits. It reminds me of what Albert Pujold did a couple off-seasons ago when he swiped 16 bases in 2005.

He was universally lauded as the #1 player becuase he stole bases too. In 2006 and 2007, he swiped 7 and two.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Day 77 And Counting

The Blue Jays are about to relieve the St Louis Cardinals of an organizational headache. The two teams are going to swap $12MM 3Bs Scott Rolen and Troy Glaus. I can't help feeling this will do wonders for Rolen's production as he will not be coming to work every single day ready for confrontation with his manager Tony LaRussa.

For Glaus, he is now htting behind a .400+ OBP Albert Pujols. That can't do anything but help him. If he hits ahead of Pujols, then Glaus could surprise. Despite the injuries and poor AVG, Glaus does take walks.

This could work in his favor to hit ahead of Pujols versus Chris Duncan, a player who strikes out more than Glaus in fewer ABs while drawing less walks. Hopefully, the Cards are as focused on Pujols' RBI totals as fantasy players are. If so, Glaus could very well find himself batting in front of Albert in a line-up starving for on-base skills.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Day 78 And Counting

Rumors have the Atlanta Braves seriously considering trading for A's CF Mark Kotsay with RP Joey Devine being the cost. While I can't believe the Braves would take Kotsay if the A's paid $9MM of his $8MM 2008 salary, the team may still do it for "veteran" presence.

This would slash current CF Josh Anderson value some, but recall Anderson's value is entirely wrapped-up in SB. He should still get 20+ SB in a part-time role. However, I expect Kotsay to be ineffective due to injury. Heck, his .296 SLG last season says he won't need an injury to be ineffective.

What I like about the Kotsay deal is it will suppress Anderson's perceived value at draft time and guarantee top prospect Jordan Schafer will not make the team out of Spring Training and be available in minor league drafts or the free agent pool if he makes a Furcal/Francouer/McCann ascension to the big club this summer.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Day 80 And Counting

In case anyone missed it amongst the Johan Santana rumors and steroids talk, Hank Steinbrenner has said Joba Chamberlain's talent is too great to waste in middle relief. For those hoping to add him as a starter for 2008, strike now while most believe he will be in middle relief.

Worst case scenario, he ends up a Jonathan Broxton-esque middle reliever.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Day 81 And Counting

A little break from rankings to note that Arizona reliever Chad Qualls is slated to pitch the 7th inning with Brandon Lyons and Tony Pena set to battle for the closer's job in Arizona, according to Dbacks' manager Bob Melvin. I like Qualls as a sleeper for saves, and this news will suppress his draft day value.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Day 84 And Counting

NL-only OF.

1Holliday Matt 16Green Shawndown31Jenkins Geoff 
2Lee Carlos 17Giles Briandown32Kemp Mattup up
3Soriano Alfonso 18Victorino Shaneup33Diaz Matt 
4Berkman Lance 19Jones Andruw 34Nady Xavier 
5Beltran Carlos 20Hawpe Brad 35Young Chrisup up
6Bay Jason 21Willingham Josh 36Roberts Dave 
7Rowand Aaron 22Gonzalez Luisdown37Church Ryan 
8Byrnes Eric 23Bonds Barrydown38Burrell Pat 
9Winn Randy 24Alou Moises 39Spilborghs Ryan 
10Dunn Adam 25Pierre Juan 40Taguchi Sodown down
11Cameron Mike 26Kearns Austin 41Ethier Andre 
12Hart Coreyup27Pence Hunterup42Hermida Jeremyup
13Francoeur Jeff 28Taveras Willy 43Murton Matt 
14Hall Bill 29Encarnacion Juandown down44Bautista Jose 
15Griffey Jr. Ken 30DeRosa Mark 45McLouth Nateup

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Day 88 And Counting

AL-only OF

1Guerrero Vladimir 16Ibanez Raul 31Bradley Milton 
2Sizemore Grady 17Cuddyer Michael 32Cabrera Melky 
3Abreu Bobby 18Ramirez Manny 33Stewart Shannon 
4Crawford Carlup19Upton B.J.up34Payton Jay 
5Rios Alexis 20Lofton Kenny 35Patterson Corey 
6Hunter Torii 21DeJesus David 36Gomes Jonny 
7Damon Johnny 22Crisp Coco 37Catalanotto Frank 
8Ordonez Magglio 23Guillen Jose 38Michaels Jason 
9Markakis Nick 24Teahen Mark 39Byrd Marlon 
10Suzuki Ichiro 25Brown Emildown40Monroe Craig 
11Granderson Curtis 26Drew J.D. 41Wilkerson Brad 
12Wells Vernon 27Jones Jacque 42Floyd Cliff 
13Dye Jermaine 28Young Delmonup43Johnson Reed 
14Matthews Jr. Gary 29Anderson Garret 44Stairs Matt 
15Matsui Hideki 30Swisher Nick 45Scott Luke