Posts Tagged ‘Elvis Andrus’

Starting Nine: American League West

January 13, 2010

The next division up in our Starting Nine series is the American League West. This division has undergone the most change from top to bottom this offseason, so it will be interesting to see which lineup looks the best headed into the season.

Here are the starting lineups as presently constructed for the American League West:

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

1. Erick Aybar, SS

2. Bobby Abreu, RF

3. Torii Hunter, CF

4. Kendry Morales, 1B

5. Hideki Matsui, DH

6. Howie Kendrick, 2B

7. Juan Rivera, LF

8. Brandon Wood, 3B

9. Mike Napoli, C

Quick Take – This lineup will miss Chone Figgins at the top of the lineup to an expect, but despite the Angels’ losses, this lineup is still pretty deep. Any lineup that has Napoli batting ninth should be able to score some runs.

Seattle Mariners

1. Ichiro, RF

2. Chone Figgins, 3B

3. Milton Bradley, LF

4. Jose Lopez, 2B

5. Ken Griffey Jr. DH

6. Franklin Gutierrez, CF

7. Casey Kotchman, 1B

8. Jack Wilson, SS

9. Rob Johnson, C

Quick Take – This lineup after the first four hitters is pretty bad. I don’t care how many runs you prevent in the field, you need to score runs to win. The Mariners need a better DH than Griffey Jr.

Texas Rangers

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. Michael Young, 3B

3. Josh Hamilton, LF

4. Vladimir Guerrero, DH

5. Nelson Cruz, RF

6. Chris Davis, 1B

7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C

8. Elvis Andrus, SS

9. Julio Borbon, CF

Quick Take – I love this lineup. I like Borbon in the nine-hole acting like a second leadoff hitter at the bottom of the lineup. The key to this lineup will be health.

Oakland A’s

1. Coco Crisp, CF

2. Rajai Davis, LF

3. Ryan Sweeney, RF

4. Jack Cust, DH

5. Daric Barton, 1B

6. Kurt Suzuki, C

7. Eric Chavez, 3B

8. Mark Ellis, 2B

9. Cliff Pennington, SS

Quick Take – This is the worst in the American League (yes, worse than the Kansas City Royals) and perhaps the worst in baseball. There isn’t a guy in this lineup that would start on the Baltimore Orioles. Michael Taylor better make it to the A’s soon.

Tomorrow, I will dive into the National League and look at the National League East.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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Chicago White Sox Sign Omar Vizquel

November 23, 2009

I love when teams make good personnel decisions. It makes me giddy.

Today, the Chicago White Sox signed SS and future Hall of Famer Omar Vizquel to a one-year, $1.375 million deal. Vizquel, who is 43-years-old hit .266 with a .660 OPS in 2009 with the Texas Rangers.

Vizquel can still pick-it at SS

I really like this move for the White Sox.

Vizquel will serve as a backup infielder and as a mentor to Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham. Who better to serve as a mentor to a young middle infielder than one of–if not the best defensive (cue Cardinal fan crying Ozzie Smith here) shortstop of all time.

The Rangers used Vizquel in this role last year for Elvis Andrus and that worked out quite well.

Not only will Vizquel serve as a mentor, but he can still pick-it with anyone defensively. He is not a washed up player, who is just looking to hang on. AKA: “A veteran presence.”

Vizquel played 62 games in the field last year at short, second and third, and didn’t commit an error. His UZR at shortstop was 5.3, which is very, very respectable. He also had a 3.3 UZR at third, which was better than Michael Young and David Wright.

The 11-time Gold Glove winner will be entering his 22nd season in the major leagues.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

A’s’ Andrew Bailey Wins American League Rookie Of The Year Award

November 16, 2009

My Preseason AL Rookie of the Year pick: Travis Snider

AL Rookie of the Year winner: Andrew Bailey

Here is what I wrote back in August about the AL Rookie of the Year award.

“Once I looked deeper into the numbers, I have realized there might not be a better choice than the Oakland A’s closer. His biggest competition will come from Elvis Andrus, Gordon Beckham, and fellow pitcher Rick Porcello. David Price and Matt Wieters will get some votes as well because voters will look at the names instead of the numbers.”

-snip-

“I know it’s hard to compare closers versus position players, but if I had a vote, I would vote for Bailey. Despite playing on a bad A’s team, he has had a great season, has been a stud at the end of games, and I think it should be recognized.”

Well today, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America recognized Bailey’s accomplishments in 2009. Bailey was voted American League Rookie of the Year today receiving 13 first-place votes and 88 total points.

Bailey won the AL ROY

Texas Rangers’ shortstop Elvis Andrus finished second with 65 total points.

This vote came down to–do you vote for the guy who had a great year on a bad team or do you vote for the guy who had an average year and was a key part of a good team?

The voters went with the guy who had a great year on a bad team.

Bailey appeared in 68 games for the A’s in 2009, finishing with 26 saves, a 1.84 ERA, a ridiculous 0.876 WHIP, and 91 K’s in 83.1 innings.

Bailey really came out of nowhere to win this award. He wasn’t even ranked in the top-10 A’s prospects in 2008 or 2009 by Baseball America. Heck, he wasn’t even the A’s closer going into the season.

That job was Brad Ziegler’s.

Bailey just proves that you don’t have to be a top prospect to have success in the major leagues. Bailey was drafted in the sixth round out of Wagner College in New York.

Minus the four years I went to college in Massachusetts, I have lived in New York my whole life and I have no idea where Wagner College is? It may be in Staten Island, but don’t quote me on that.

Bailey becomes the seventh A’s player to the win the Rookie of the Year award since 1986. That’s pretty impressive.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Is Andrew Bailey The American League ROY?

August 28, 2009

The other night, my friends and I were at dinner (Five Napkin Burger in NYC is very good) and we were talking about the Rookie of the Year candidates in both leagues and who would win the awards. It’s a pretty interesting debate considering there are a lot of great rookies in baseball this year.

In the National League, we talked about JA Happ, Andrew McCutchen, Colby Rasmus, Garrett Jones, Chris Coghlan, Dexter Fowler, and Casey McGehee. The NL is chalk full of rookie talent this year.

However, when it came to the American League we all kind of looked at each other with that blank stare similar to one we used to have in spanish class back in high school. My friend Justin said it has to be Andrew Bailey right? My first thought was Bailey is having a very good season, but there might be a better choice.

Bailey has been all A's for Oakland

Bailey has been all A's for Oakland

Once I looked deeper into the numbers, I have realized there might not be a better choice than the Oakland A’s closer. His biggest competition will come from Elvis Andrus, Gordon Beckham, and fellow pitcher Rick Porcello. David Price and Matt Wieters will get some votes as well because voters will look at the names instead of the numbers.

Out of the above group of players, Andrus figures to get the most first-place votes. He has had a decent year offensively (.266 with 24 SB’s and seven triples) and defensively, Andrus has already established himself as one of baseballs top fielding shortstops. Andrus also plays on a contending team which is a factor in Andrus’ advantage as well.

Amongst all the qualifying shortstops in the AL, Andrus ranks last in batting avg (.266), last in runs scored (52), last in hits (94), sixth in OBP (.331), and tied for first in SB’s (24).

I am not sure if those numbers will win him the award.

Bailey on the other hand, has really stood out amongst the games best relievers and closers all year. He ranks third in closers ERA (1.93), second in WHIP (0.91), first in strikeouts (75), third in games (55), and eighth in saves (19).

It’s the months of August and September where awards are won and Bailey has really turned it on in August. He is five-for-five in save opportunities, opponents are hitting .069 against him, and he has a 0.00 ERA in nine innings pitched.

I know it’s hard to compare closers versus position players, but if I had a vote, I would vote for Bailey. Despite playing on a bad A’s team, he has had a great season, has been a stud at the end of games, and I think it should be recognized.

Handing Out Some Midseason Awards…

July 14, 2009

With the 2009 baseball season officially hitting its halfway point, I think it is time to hand out some midseason awards.

From Randy Johnson’s 300th win, to Zack Greinke’s amazing April, to Albert Pujols’ first half for the ages it’s been a fascinating year so far with some great individual performances. Just like every year, there have been performances that have stood out amongst the pack.

Without any further adiue, here are my first half MVP’s, Cy Young award winners, and Rookie of the Years.

National League ROY

Candidates – JA Happ, Colby Rasmus, Casey McGehee, Randy Wells, Dexter Fowler

My Preseason Pick – Cameron Maybin

Midseason Pick – Colby Rasmus

Rasmus leads all rookies in hits (75), HR (11), and RBI (34). If JA Happ continues to pitch the way he has for the Philadelphia Phillies, he will make a run at winning the NL ROY in the second half.

American League ROY

Candidates – Andrew Bailey, Rick Porcello, Brad Bergesen, Ricky Romero, Nolan Reimold, Elvis Andrus

My Preseaon Pick – Travis Snider

Midseason Pick – Ricky Romero

Romero is 7-3 with a 3.00 ERA in 87 innings for the Toronto Blue Jays. He just beats out Andrew Bailey.

National League Cy Young

Candidates – Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Dan Haren, Josh Johnson, Ryan Franklin

My Preseason Pick– Cole Hamels

Midseason Pick – Dan Haren

I originally had Lincecum winning this award, but when you look at the numbers, Haren is having an all-world first half. Haren is third in wins (9), first in ERA (2.01), first in Quality Starts (17), and first in WHIP (0.81).

American League Cy Young

Candidates – Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, Josh Beckett, Zack Greinke, Felix Hernandez

My Preseaon Pick – Zack Greinke

Midseason Pick – Zack Greinke

Greinke is making me look like a genius with his first half. Greinke is second in wins (10), first in ERA (2.12), first in Quality Starts (15), and second in WHIP (1.08).

National League MVP

Candidates – Albert Pujols, Chase Utley, Adrian Gonzalez, Raul Ibanez, Hanley Ramirez

My Preason Pick – Albert Pujols

Midseason Pick – Albert Pujols

Pujols has a legitimate chance to win the triple crown this year. He heads into the second half fourth in the NL in batting average (.332), first in HR’s (32), first in RBI (87).

American League MVP

Candidates – Jason Bay, Mark Teixeira, Ben Zobrist, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Torii Hunter

My Preseason Pick – Grady Sizemore

Midseason Pick – Ben Zobrist

While Pujols has been the best player of the first half – Ben Zobrist has been the most “valuable.” Zobrist is second in the AL with a 1.012 OPS, has 17 HR’s, 11 SB’s, and 50 RBI.

All that while playing six positions. Where would the Rays be without him?

Other Awards

NL Manager of the Midseason – Joe Torre

AL Manager of the Midseason – Mike Scioscia

NL Comeback Player of the Midseason – Todd Helton

AL Comeback Player of the Midseason – Russell Branyan

NL Surprise Team of the Midseason – Colorado Rockies

AL Surprise Team of the Midseason – Seattle Mariners

NL Disappointing Team of the Midseason – Chicago Cubs

AL Disappointing Team of the Midseason – Cleveland Indians

10 Things We Learned In May….

June 2, 2009

The month of May is in the books, and it was quite the month. We saw one of the biggest stars in the game get suspended for using performance enhancing drugs, a couple of managers get the axe, some teams making surprising runs to the top and some great individual performances.

Here are the top 10 things we learned in May….

Zimmerman had a 30 game hitting streak

Zimmerman had a 30 game hitting streak

10. Joe D’s 56 game hitting streak is going to be really hard to break. One of the great early stories of May was Ryan Zimmerman’s pursuit of Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak record. Zimmerman made it to 30 games before having his streak stopped in San Francisco. Everyone got wrapped up in Zimmerman’s attempt, but what is amazing is that he still would have had to get a hit per game for another full month if he wanted to break the record.

Joe DiMaggio is safe for now. Speaking of Yankee players….

9. Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia earned their money.After a dreadful month of April, high-priced Yankee free agents Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia really turned it on in May. Teixeira hit .330 with 13 HR’s and 34 RBI at the plate, while CC Sabathia went 4-1 with a 2.56 ERA on the mound.

While Sabathia is in pinstripes, his former team is doing just fine without him…

8.  The Brewers can win without Sabathia and Sheets. Many people thought that after the Brewers lost both CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets in the offseason, they would regress this year. Not so fast. The Brewers are in first place and doing it with pitching.

The Brewers are fifth in the NL with a 3.98 staff ERA and their bullpen, led by Trevor Hoffman is second in the NL with a 3.22 ERA.

Staying in the central time zone….

7. Joe Mauer might be the best player in the game. Mauer came off the DL and just started tearing the cover off the baseball. In the month of May, Mauer hit a ridiculous .414 with 11 HR’s, 32 RBI, 27 runs scored and a .500 OBP. All that while playing maybe the hardest position in sports. That being a catcher.

Back in March, I wrote a post “Five players to start a franchise with.” Joe Mauer might be #1 after this season is over. Despite his great month of May, the Twins are trying to catch the Detroit Tigers.

That is because….

6. Edwin Jackson for Matt Joyce was a steal for the Tigers. Edwin Jackson for Matt Joyce was one of the more under-the-radar trades in the offseason. That trade is under-the-radar no longer. Jackson has been a stud for the Tigers and is one of the main reasons the Tigers are in first place at the end of May.

Jackson is 5-3 with a 2.30 ERA. What has been one of the keys to Jackson’s success? Throwing strike one.

Here is a free pitching lesson kids. Your best pitch isn’t a fastball or a curveball or a changeup. It’s strike one. Throw strike one and your career as a pitcher will be much better off.

When the count is 0-1, hitters are batting .182 against Jackson. When the count is 1-0, hitters are batting .275. That is almost a 100 point difference.

While Jackson has the Tigers in first place in the AL Central….

5. The Rangers are for real in the AL West. After about 25 years, the Rangers have finally realized that pitching and defense wins. The Rangers are in first place in the AL West by 4.5 games and are doing it with improved pitching and defense.

The Rangers are fifth in AL in defense with a .986 fielding percentage and are sixth in the AL with a 4.34 team ERA. Their defense has been solidified by one of the leading Rookie of the Year candidates, Elvis Andrus.

On the subject of rookies…

Price made his debut in May

Price made his debut in May

4. There is a lot of young talent in baseball. In the month of May we saw an influx of young talent come to the majors. Top prospects David Price, Matt LaPorta, Fernando Martinez, Daniel Bard, Mat Gamel, Gerardo Parra and of course Matt Wieters all made their season and in most cases, major league debut in May.

That is a pretty impressive group and we still might see Clay Buchholz (Red Sox), Andrew McCutchen (Pirates), Gordon Beckham (White Sox) and Tommy Hanson (Braves) in June. Right now Gerardo Parra is off to the best start for the Diamondbacks, hitting .319 with 1 HR and 16 RBI in 16 games.

While Parra has been a bright spot for the Diamondbacks, the rest of the team struggled….

3. It was a bad month for managers in the NL West. Both Bob Melvin of the Diamondbacks and Clint Hurdle of the Rockies got the axe in May. I agreed with the Melvin firing because something clearly needed to be done. However, hiring the VP of Player Development, AJ Hinch didn’t make sense to me.

On the other hand, I was torn about the Clint Hurdle firing. I saw reasons for keeping him and I saw reasons for firing him. The Rockies fired Hurdle and replaced him with bench coach, Jim Tracy. Again, a move I didn’t agree with.

Staying in the NL West…

2. Jake Peavy really likes San Diego. The biggest hot stove story in May was the potential trade of Jake Peavy to the Chicago White Sox. In the end, Peavy exercised his no-trade clause and rejected the trade to Chicago. Peavy clearly wants to stay in the NL and in a pitcher’s ballpark and Chicago is neither.

I still think Peavy will eventually be traded, but he is making it awfully tough for Padres GM, Kevin Towers.

Again staying in the NL West, the #1 thing we learned in May was….

1. Manny will always be Manny. Manny Ramirez, one of the biggest stars in the game was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. Ramirez blamed medication that a doctor prescribed to him for a personal issue. You know, that ole chestnut.

After quitting on the Red Sox last year, Manny got exactly what he deserved. Manny is eligible to return to the Dodgers the first week of July.

That’s a wrap for the month of May. It was a great month and things should only get better in June. One last fact about the month of May. Since 1995, 64 percent of the teams in first place at the end of May made the playoffs.

That means out of the Yankees, Tigers, Rangers, Phillies, Brewers, and Dodgers two of those teams are most likely to miss the playoffs. Which teams will it be? Time will only tell.

Predicting The Rookie Of The Year Winners..

March 31, 2009

Next up in Prediction Week is the AL & NL Rookie of the Year. Winning the Rookie of the Year award can be a springboard to a great career (Albert Pujols, Mike Piazza & Andre Dawson) or it could be the one shining moment in a player’s career (Bob Hamelin, Ben Grieve & Jerome Walton). Who will win this year’s award? Let’s take a look…

Qualifications for the Rookie of the Year are a pitcher can’t have more than 50 innings pitched and a hitter can’t have more than 130 career ab’s.

NL

Candidates – Cameron Maybin, Jason Motte, James McDonald, Jordan Schafer, Chris Dickerson & Jordan Zimmermann

Can Maybin steal the ROY?

Can Maybin steal the ROY?

ROY – Cameron Maybin

WHY – Maybin will be the Marlins starting CF from Day 1 which is an important factor in considering who will win. Maybin hit .500 in a 32 ab audition last year for the Marlins and has all the tools to be a star in this game. He should hit around .260 with 10-15 hr’s, 70-80 runs scored and 20-30 sb’s. That should be good enough to win him the award.

AL

Candidates – Matt Wieters, Travis Snider, Brett Anderson, Chris Getz, Elvis Andrus & Brett Gardner

ROY – Travis Snider

Why – I know it is taboo to not to think that Matt Wieters won’t hit .450/40/140 but I like Travis Snider for a couple of reasons:

1. While Wieters will be riding buses from town to town in Triple A until May, Snider will be the Blue Jays starting LF from Day 1. This will give Snider roughly a 100-120 ab advantage.

2. I know Longoria and Braun won the ROY after being called up in May, but they weren’t catchers. Not only will Wieters lose ground to Snider because he won’t be in the majors until May (maybe even June) but he will also lose ground because even when he gets to the majors, he won’t be playing everyday because he is a catcher. Wieters would have to put up astronomical numbers to win the ROY in roughly 400 ab’s.

Looking At Fantasy Shortstops In 2009….

March 28, 2009

Let’s take a look at fantasy Shortstops headed into 2009. This group is very top heavy. My strategy is, if you don’t get one of the top three, then wait. There is a Cecil Fielder sized drop off after you get past the big three. So in honor of the of some of the best (and worst) Shortstops of all-time, let’s see who are the best fantasy Shortstops in 2009.

Honus Wagner Division

The best of the best, Wagner is the greatest SS of all-time (Arod doesn’t count because he is a cheater) and these three Shortstops are by far and away the best Shortstops in this fantasy draft.

Ramirez is the #1 SS

Ramirez is the #1 SS

1. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins. One of the top 5 players in the game, Ramirez will go top 3 in most fantasy drafts. He can do it all. Hit for avg (.301 in 08), hit hr’s (33 in 08), get on base (.400 obp in 08) and steal a base (35 in 08). The only thing you can say he doesn’t do well is drive in runs. That will change in 2009 because Ramirez will be moved down to the 3 spot in the order.

2. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies. After winning the MVP in 2007, Rollins had a very disappointing 2008. I think he bounces back in 2009 and will have a better fantasy season than Jose Reyes. Look for Rollins to put up a .285/20/80 with 40+ sb’s and over 110 runs scored

3. Jose Reyes, Mets. While I question Reyes as a player (I don’t think he is a winner), there is no questioning his fantasy value. Reyes is a look for 110+ runs scored, 15+ hr’s and 50+ rbi

Alan Trammell Division

It’s not that Alan Trammell was a bad player. A matter of fact, Trammell was one of the better Shortstops in the game from 1983-1990. The point is that there is a major drop off from Honus Wagner to Alan Trammell. These next 10 guys are the last 10 guys you want to draft before you have to scramble.

4. Stephen Drew, Diamondbacks. I have Drew ranked higher than Jeter and Furcal because 1. He can stay healthy and 2. In Keeper Leagues he is a much better option due to his age (26). Drew seems to be getting better with age and it’s not out of the question that he approaches a 30 hr season.

5. Derek Jeter, Yankees. Jeter’s runs, hits, hr’s, rbi’s, avg and obp have declined in each of the last 3 years. But in the weak category of SS, Jeter still provides value. Expect Jeter to put up a .305/10/65 with 10 sb’s.

6. Rafael Furcal, Dodgers. Furcal was off to a rip roaring start in 2008 before his back gave out. Furcal hit double digit hr’s from 2003-2006 but with a bad back I am not sure he can reach double figures again. The Dodgers should have a very good offense, so 100+ runs and a .300 avg should be expected from Furcal in 2009.

7. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies.I had asked in a post, “Can Tulo Bounce Back?” My answer back then was yes and my answer no is yes. Will Tulowitzki be as good as his rookie year? Probably not but he can certainly put up a .285/20/80.

Don't sleep on Hardy

Don't sleep on Hardy

8. JJ Hardy, Brewers. Hardy has really come on with the power slugging 50 hr’s in the last 2 years. Hardy seems to be underrated in most drafts but he is good for a .280/28/80 in 2009.

9. Michael Young, Rangers. Young will qualify as a 3B and a SS but has move value as a SS. Last year was the first year since 2003 that Young didn’t have 200 hits. Will his switch from SS to 3B hurt his offense? I don’t think it will but his days of 200+ hits and 100 rbi are gone.

10. Jhonny Peralta, Indians. Peralta had a career year in 2008 putting up a .276/23/89 with 104 runs scored. Peralta is tearing up Spring Training hitting .435/3/11 in 46 ab’s. The Indians lineup looks to be improved in 2009 with the returns of Martinez and Hafner, so it’s possible Peralta could improve on his 2008 performance. If only he stole bases he would be much higher up on the food chain.

11. Alexei Ramirez, White Sox. Alfonso Soriano part 2. A tall, lanky 2B who has all the potential in the world? Sounds like Alfonso Soriano part 2 to me. Ramirez had a solid rookie year putting up a .290/21/77 in just 480 ab’s. Now moving over to SS, Ramirez still will qualify at 2B for fantasy purposes which raises his stock even more. The only stat Ramirez hurts you in is obp(.317 last season) but a .300/25/90 with 10+ sb’s is not out of the question for Ramirez.

12. Mike Aviles, Royals. Aviles qualifies at SS and at 2B but has more value at the 2B position. The New York native burst on to the scene last year and hit .325 with 10 hr and 51 rbi in just 102 games for the Royals. I like Aviles to hit .300 again but not .325. Look for a .310 avg with 15 hr and 60 rbi from Aviles in 2009.

13. Miguel Tejada, Astros. Tejada looks to be on the downside of his career as his avg, hr’s and rbi’s have declined each of the last 3 seasons. Tejada is going to bat 5th this year so a rebirth in rbi’s is possible. A .280/14/80 should be expected from Tejada this season.

Kevin Elster Division

Elster was mostly a good glove, no hit SS with the Mets, Yankees, Phillies, Rangers, Pirates and Dodgers. Elster did have one magical year by his standards in 1996, when he hit 24 hr’s and knocked in 99 runs for the Rangers. Most of these next 19 guys are either good glove, no hit or can marginally help your fantasy team in 2009.

14. Jed Lowrie, Red Sox. Now the starting SS will get you runs scored and a solid obp. Might lose ab’s when Lugo returns from the DL.

15. Orlando Cabrera, A’s. A very consistent player, you know what you are going to get. .280 batting average with 8 or 9 hr’s, 60-70 rbi and 20 sb’s.

16. Yunel Escobar, Braves. Don’t give up on him just yet. He is still only 26 and has has shown good patience at the plate in his short time in the majors.

17. Ryan Theriot, Cubs. Good average, solid obp and will get you 20+ sb’s.

18. Elvis Andrus, Rangers. The new starting SS in Texas, Andrus has good value in Keeper Leagues. He will probably go threw some typical rookie struggles but he can run (54 sb’s in Double A). Expect 25-30 sb’s in 2009.

19. Edgar Renteria, Giants. Clearly on the downside of his career but he is back in the NL where he belongs. Still capable of hitting 10 hr’s and driving in 55.

20. Jason Bartlett, Rays. Zero power what so ever but he will get you stolen bases (53 in the last 3 years).

21. Khalil Greene, Cardinals. An obp killer (.276 combined last 2 years) but leaving Petco should help him get back to the 20 hr mark in 2009.

22. Christian Guzman, Nationals. Will get you a .300 avg and maybe 50 rbi’s and that is about it.

23. Erick Aybar, Angels. 15+ sb potential but will have to hold off Izturis and perhaps Brandon Wood for playing time.

24. Yuniesky Betancourt, Mariners. See Khalil Greene but without the 20 hr potential.

25. Cesar Izturis, Orioles. Very much like Jason Bartlett and will get you 20 + sb’s.

26. Jeff Keppinger, Reds. Will replace Gonzalez at some point during the season. Is a better offensive option than Gonzalez

27. Alex Gonzalez, Reds. After missed all of 2008 with a fractured knee (ouch!!) he will be competing for playing time with Keppinger. Gonzalez could hit 10 hr’s but is an obp killer.

28. Nick Punto, Twins. One of the dubbed “Piranhas,” Punto is a typical good glove, not hit SS. He will get your team 15 – 20 sb’s

29. Jack Wilson, Pirates.At 31, Wilson is headed towards the end of his career. Not that he was any better when he was 26. Wilson might move into a platoon role to make room for Brian Bixler.

30. Adam Everett, Tigers. The only reason he is still in the league is because of his defense. The Tigers version of Jason Bartlett?

31. Marco Scutaro, Blue Jays. A better offensive option than John McDonald and that is not saying much.

32. Luis Rodriguez/David Eckstein, Padres. Uglier and ugliest. Neither of these players add any value to your team.

Keep An Eye On

Brandon Wood, Angels. I didn’t rank Wood because I have no idea what the Angels plan on doing with this guy. He is killing the ball this spring to the tune of .347/4/13 in 49 ab’s but the Angels have Figgins at 3B, Aybar at SS and Rivera at DH. Keep an eye on this situation. If he is able to get playing time over any of the above names, then Wood is a pick up you should make.

Recapping My Fantasy Draft….

March 14, 2009

I play in 2 fantasy baseball leagues. One league is mediocre at best and my other league is about as solid as you can get. 12 teams, 12 owners who know the game and it is very competitive. I try to play in no more than 2 because after that players start to really overlap and things get confusing.

So with the completion of my solid league draft, I thought I would give a recap of my team and here what your thoughts were on how I did.

The league is a 12 team, total points, keeper league. The draft is 26 rounds (yes, it’s a long one) and you keep 5 players. When you keep a player, you lose that pick in next years draft. For example, if I decide to keep my first round pick from this year, I lose my first round pick in our 2010 draft. So we added a little strategy to the keeper format.

Here is my team with the round I picked the player and his ESPN fantasy position ranking. I had the 8th pick. And oh, one last thing. I won this league by 1/2 a point last year. Yes, a 1/2 of a point because Joe Mauer struck out (K’s = -.5 points) in the 1 game playoff against the White Sox. Sorry Odie, had to bring it up.

Catchers

Chris Iannetta – 8th round. #9 ranked C

1st Basemen

Albert Pujols – 1st round. #1 ranked 1B

2nd Basemen

Brian Roberts – 5th round. #5 ranked 2B

Shortstops

Miguel Tejeda – 13 round. #12 ranked SS

Elvis Andrus – 26th round. #16 ranked SS

3rd Basemen

Evan Longoria – 2nd round. #2 ranked 3B

I am hoping Gordon can break out

I am hoping Gordon can break out

Adrian Beltre – 17th round. #9 ranked 3B

Alex Gordon – 15th round. #13 ranked 3B

Outfielders

Nick Markakis – 4th round. #7 ranked OF

Nate McLouth – 6th round. #17 ranked OF

Jay Bruce – 9th round. #27 ranked OF

Jayson Werth – 19th round. #39 ranked OF

Rick Ankiel – 15th round. #46 ranked OF

Cameron Maybin – 21st round. #48 ranked OF

Starting Pitchers

Lackey leads my rotation

Lackey leads my rotation

John Lackey – 3rd round. #10 ranked SP

Aaron Harang – 14th round. #40 ranked SP

Clayton Kershaw – 10th round. #47 ranked SP

John Danks – 11th round. #48th ranked SP

Jeremy Guthrie – 22nd round. #60 ranked SP

Manny Parra – 18 round. 64th ranked SP

Dana Eveland – 24th round. 92nd ranked SP

Paul Maholm – 20 round. 97th ranked SP

Kyle Davies – 25th round. 118th ranked SP

Relief Pitchers

Joakim Soria – 7th round. #4 ranked RP

Jose Valverde – 12th round. #6 ranked RP

Joel Hanrahan – 23rd round. #21 ranked RP

My goal was to get at least one top-10 player at each position and I accomplished that with every position except for shortstop. I reached a little for Iannetta in the 9th round but I think I got steals with Maybin (21st round) and Jayson Werth (19th round).

Strengths – Corner IF’s, OF’s and RP’s

I think I did very well at the corner IF spots with Pujols, Longoria, Gordon and Beltre. I am hoping for a nice season out of Gordon. If I can get a .275/20/80 with 10 steals out of Gordon, he would be a steal in the 15th round.

I should be all set with the closer situation with Soria and Valervde. If one of them falters or should get injured, I drafted Hanrahan who will be closing for an improved Nationals team for insurance. Between Soria and Valverde, I am expecting 80+ saves.

My OF might be the best part of my team led by Markakis, McLouth, Bruce and Ankiel. Maybe McLouth takes a step back, but the expected solid seasons from Bruce and Ankiel should make up for it. I like Ankiel this year due to his impending free agency after the season. Boras will have him ready for the season. I was also able to nab a ROY candidate in Maybin in the 21st round. That might be a steal.

Weaknesses – Starting Rotation and Backup IF’s

I went with the Billy Beane philosophy when it comes to starting pitching… Buy in bulk and hope that one breaks through. I am really banking on the progression of Kershaw and a bounce back season from Harang. If neither of those happen, I will be in big trouble. I am also hoping that out of the Maholm, Davies, Parra and Eveland foursome, one of them have a breakout season. Davies is having a tremendous spring (0.71 era in 4 outings) so maybe that will carry over to the regular season. Fingers are crossed.

With so many starting pitchers and outfielders I fell a little short on backup infielders. My only back up middle infielder is Elvis Andrus who is a 20 year old rookie. I am going to need to address this during the season. If Roberts, Pujols or Tejeda go down at any point during the season, I could be in trouble.

So how do you think my draft went? Who did I reach for and who may be a bust?