Posts Tagged ‘Russell Branyan’

The Five Best Free Agent Hitters Left On The Market

February 6, 2010

Pitchers and catchers report to spring training in less than two weeks. Can you believe it!!! It seems like yesterday the World Series was being played.

Despite the fact that spring training starts in less than two weeks, there are still a lot of quality major league hitters who still have not found a home. Due to the economy, teams are trying to wait out players as much as possible (unless you are the Houston Astros, who gave $15 million to Brandon Lyon).

Everyone is looking for a bargain these days.

Here are the five best free agent hitters remaining on the market.

Hitters

1. Johnny Damon, OF. Damon hit .282 with 24 home runs, 36 doubles, 12 stolen bases, and .365 OBP in 143 games for the New York Yankees last year. Damon priced himself out of New York and now his options are limited.

Damon is a terrible defensive outfielder and his power numbers were just a product of playing in a ballpark perfectly suited to his swing. His agent Scott Boras is trying to get the Detroit Tigers to bite on Damon, but I see the Atlanta Braves as a darkhorse for his services.

2. Felipe Lopez, 2B. It’s pretty remarkable that a guy who is only 29-years-old and is coming off a season where he hit .310 with 9 home runs, a .383 OBP, and played outstanding defense (7.8 UZR) can’t find a job. That is the dilemma that Lopez is facing right now.

Lopez should find a home soon

You don’t hear too many teams in on his services, but this guy is too good not to have a starting job in the major leagues. The St. Louis Cardinals might be a landing spot for him, if they don’t feel comfortable with David Freese at third.

3. Hank Blalock, 1B/DH. Blalock hit .234 with 25 home runs and a .277 OBP in 123 games in 2009 for the Texas Rangers. The 123 games were the most Blalock played in since 2006.

Blalock can hit a home run, but other than that, he doesn’t do anything else particularly well. He doesn’t get on base, he is injury prone, he is not a good defensive player, and he faded in the second half last season.

He did hit 19 of his 25 home runs off of right-handed pitching, so maybe a team can use him like Mike Scioscia did 2003 All Star Game. That being a left-handed power hitter off the bench.

4. Russell Branyan, 1B/DH. Coming off of a career year, Branyan thought he would finally get paid. So far this has not been the case.

Branyan could end up with the Marlins

Branyan hit 31 home runs last year in just 116 games, but teams have been mostly scared off by Branyan’s back. A 34-year-old with a bad back and no track record prior to 2009 is not attractive to most teams.

I thought he would end up back with the Seattle Mariners at some point, but now it looks like the Florida Marlins might be interested in him.

5. Jermaine Dye, OF. Dye has finished in the top-15 in American League MVP voting two out of the last four years, but his market has been really quiet this winter.

Dye hit .250 last year with 27 home runs and a .340 OBP. Which isn’t the worst hitting line in the world. However, there are a couple of things working against Dye this offseason.

He is 36-years-old, he can’t field a lick anymore, and he is coming off a second half where he hit .179 with just seven home runs. His options are limited, so he might end up on a team as a fourth outfielder or DH-type player.

Tomorrow, I will cover the five best remaining pitchers on the free agent market.

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

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With Recent Moves, Russell Branyan’s Options Dwindling

January 8, 2010

After 11 years of injuries and being considered a bench player/pinch-hitter, Russell Branyan finally got everything he wanted in 2009.

For the first time in his major league career, Branyan got an opportunity to be an everyday player. In 2009 with the Seattle Mariners, Branyan played in a career high 116 games and had a career high 505 AB’s.

Branyan's options seem limited in 2010

In those 116 games, Branyan hit .251 with 31 home runs and an .867 OPS. His .867 OPS ranked seventh amongst American League first baseman.

It was a pretty good time for Branyan to have a career year as he was a free agent after the 2009 season. However, things haven’t gone according to plan since Branyan filed for file agency back in November.

Branyan thought he was worthy of a multi-year deal and rejected the Mariners’ one-year deal early in the free agent period. As it appears right now, the Mariners’ offer might have been Branyan’s best.

A lot of teams have filled their first base or DH hole with low-cost options this offseason limiting Branyan’s options. The Atlanta Braves filled their need by signing Troy Glaus, the Mariners traded for Casey Kotchman, and the A’s re-signed Jack Cust.

These moves, coupled with a bad back, have seriously limited Branyan’s options in 2010. So where could Branyan end up? Here are a couple of landing spots for the 34-year-old.

New York Mets – I don’t think they will go into the 2010 with Daniel Murphy as their first baseman. However, I would be shocked if the Mets didn’t bring back Carlos Delgado.

San Francisco Giants – GM Brian Sabean is talking about putting Juan Uribe in the starting lineup and moving Pablo Sandoval to first and Mark DeRosa to third. If the Giants come to their senses, they will leave Uribe in the utility role.

If this happens, the Giants could have an opening at first. Branyan would bring some power and some plate discipline to the lineup.

Pittsburgh Pirates – The Pirates have talked about moving Adam LaRoche to first once Pedro Alvarez is ready. However, Alvarez isn’t ready yet and the Pirates have an opening at first.

Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles would rather move Garrett Atkins to first, but if they can’t find another third baseman, then they will keep Atkins at third and look for a first baseman.

Like the Mets, they are interested in Delgado, but if they can’t land him Branyan could be a nice fallback option.

Kansas City Royals – I would give Kila Ka’aihue a chance, but I get the sense he is not a favorite of GM Dayton Moore. The Royals could leave Billy Butler at first and sign Branyan to be their DH.

So as you can see, Branyan doesn’t have too many options out there. If I was a betting man, I would say he ends up with the Giants.

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

Juan Uribe The Starter?

January 6, 2010

When the San Francisco Giants re-signed Juan Uribe to a one-year, $3.25 million last week, many envisioned Uribe becoming a super-utility player for the Giants in 2010.

As the great Lee Corso always says “Not so fast my friends.”

In an interview with the San Jose Mercury News, Giants’ GM Brian Sabean suggested that Uribe could be the Giants’ starting third baseman in 2010. The move would allow the newly signed Mark DeRosa to play left field and Pablo Sandoval would shift to first base.

Uribe should not be starting in 2010

This suggestion stems from the fact neither Sabean or manager Bruce Bochy feel comfortable with a Eugenio Velez and Andres Torres platoon in left.

Despite Uribe having his highest batting average in 2009 since 2001 (.289) and his highest OBP (.329) of his career, Uribe can’t be the Giants starting third baseman in 2010.

Uribe is a career .257 hitter with a .298 OBP. There is a better chance of Uribe doing that in 2010 than him hitting .289 again. Some guys are just better suited to be a bench player and Uribe is one of them at this point in his career.

Like Sabean said in the interview, the Giants have until opening day to figure things out. If I was Sabean, I would figure things out by finding a scenario where Uribe is not my everyday third baseman.

There are plenty of low-cost options out there like Xavier Nady, Aubrey Huff, and Russell Branyan that would allow the Giants to maximize their roster. I think someone like Johnny Damon might be out of the Giants price range, so signing someone like Branyan would be a smart move.

Now some of you might be saying “Hey Adam, the Chicago White Sox won a World Series with Uribe as their starting shortstop in 2005.”

While that is true, the White Sox also had a very deep lineup that year. Paul Konerko hit 40 home runs, Jermaine Dye hit 31 home runs, Scott Podsednik stole 59 bases, and even “Crazy” Carl Everett hit 23 home runs. Uribe was an afterthought in that lineup.

The Giants’ lineup is so mediocre that Uribe would be exposed in 2010. He would be counted on to provide offense and I just don’t see it happening.

The Giants should exhaust all available options before deciding to hand over the starting third base job to Uribe in 2010.

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

Lyle Overbay: What’s His Trade Market?

December 19, 2009

Now that the big four-team trade between the Philadelphia Phillies, Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays, and Oakland A’s is officially completed, it’s time to take a look at some of the fallout from the trade.

One of the players moved in the trade was 1B/3B Brett Wallace from Oakland to Toronto. While Wallace came up in the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization as a third baseman, he is widely viewed as a first baseman in the future.

With Wallace seemingly ready to take over the first base duties in Toronto, it means current first baseman Lyle Overbay might be out of a job. With just one year remaining on his contract and the Blue Jays in complete rebuilding mode, Overbay seems like a prime trade candidate either this offseason or during the regular season.

Overbay could be traded

That being said (cue Larry David), lets take a look at the pros and cons of Overbay and what teams might be interested in trading for the former University of Nevada, Reno star.

Pros

At 32-years-old, Overbay has been a pretty consistent player over his nine-year major league career. You can usually pencil Overbay in for a .275 average with 10-15 home runs and an OBP above .350.

Here is a surprise about Overbay–his OPS has increased each of the last three years (.706 to .777 to .838).

Where Overbay really shines is on the defensive side of the ball. Overbay is one of the better defensive first baseman in the game.

During the 80’s and early 90’s, guys like Keith Hernandez, Don Mattingly, Mark Grace, and Will Clark showed us the value of having a great defensive player manning first base.

The value of a good defensive first baseman was lost a little during the late-90’s and early 2000’s when slugging, DH-types were playing first base. Now with guys like Mark Teixeira, Kevin Youkilis, and Adrian Gonzalez, playing great defense at first is in vogue again.

Overbay can help any team defensively.

The last pro for Overbay is his contract. As I mentioned above, Overbay has one-year remaining on his contract and is owed $7 million for that one year. It’s a very reasonable contract for what Overbay should produce.

Over the last three years, Overbay has been paid $13.2 million by the Blue Jays and according to Fangraphs, Overbay has been worth $18.5 million to the Blue Jays.

Cons

Overbay has been consistent alright–consistently average. Wasn’t this guy supposed to be a big star? He is a poor man’s John Olerud.

Perhaps Overbay was never supposed to be a star. Perhaps he was just meant to hit like I said, .275 every year.

While Overbay’s contract doesn’t seem prohibitive at $7 million, in this economy it might be. $7 million in today’s economy is probably the equivalent to $12 million a couple of years ago.

Every team is looking for a bargain these days and the Blue Jays might have to eat a couple of million on Overbay’s contract in order to trade him.

Now that we have looked at the pros and cons of Overbay, lets take a look at what teams might be interested in the native of Centralia, WA.

Atlanta Braves: Talks between Atlanta and Adam LaRoche seem to be going nowhere. The Braves need a bat and could replace LaRoche with Overbay.

New York Mets: The Mets have current first baseman Daniel Murphy still on the roster, but I don’t think Murphy will be the Mets’ full-time first baseman in 2010.

The Mets are talking about bringing Carlos Delgado back, which would be a mistake. Overbay would help improve the Mets’ below average infield defense.

San Francisco Giants: I have no idea what Brian Sabean is doing at this point. The Dan Uggla to the Giants trade, which seems like has been rumored to be happening for the last five months, is on life support.

Overbay wouldn’t be a bad Plan B. The Giants need a first baseman and a gap-to-gap hitter like Overbay could hit 40+ doubles in AT&T Park.

Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox are in full defense first mode this offseason. GM Theo Epstein is determined to improve the Red Sox defensively in 2010.

The talk now is that the Red Sox are comfortable going into 2010 with Casey Kotchman as their first baseman. Overbay is just as good defensively and is a better offensive player.

Seattle Mariners: The Mariners could be waiting for last year’s first baseman Russell Branyan to lower his demands of a two-year deal. Overbay could be a nice fallback option.

Overbay fits GM Jack Zduriencik’s defense first mentality.

I am going to say there is a very good chance Overbay gets traded at some point. However, he’s more likely he gets traded during the regular season.

The Blue Jays will most likely have Wallace start the season in the minors in order to increase his service time. Overbay will start the season as the first baseman and then will be moved in June or July once Wallace is ready.

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

Is Branyan’s Rejection Of One-Year Deal A Mistake?

November 11, 2009

It was a really slow day in baseball yesterday, but there was one bit of news coming out of Seattle that I found interesting.

According to various sources, Seattle Mariners free agent 1B Russell Branyan rejected a one-year deal from the Mariners. No terms of the deal have been disclosed, but Branyan rejected the deal because he feels he can get a multi-year deal on the open market.

Russell Branyan

Did Branyan make a mistake rejecting the Mariners offer?

My initial reaction to this is that Branyan has overplayed his hand.

Let’s look at the facts facing Branyan this offseason:

He will be 34-years-old in December (the 19th to be exact).

In 116 games in 2009, he hit .251 with 31 homeruns and a .867 OPS.

He missed all of September because of a herniated disk in his back.

He has been going to therapy three days a week to correct his back issue.

Branyan made his debut on September, 26th 1998 and up until 2009, he really hadn’t accomplished anything at the major league level.

That’s almost 11 years of being nothing more than a pinch-hitter/role player. That’s a long time.

There are plenty of 1B/DH-type players on this year’s open market.

We are still in a bad economy.

The last two facts are probably the most concerning for Branyan’s camp. Did they not learn anything from last year? Take the money now while they can!

The longer Branyan waits on a two-year deal, the likelyhood increases that he will wait himself into a corner and he will be forced to take a one-year deal that isn’t worth as much as what the Mariners just offered.

I don’t think there is going to be a team out there (not even Omar Minaya) willing to give a 34-year-0ld a multi-year deal who has a bad back and doesn’t have much of a track record.

If you are a GM, why would you give Branyan a two-year deal when you can give Hank Blalock, Carlos Delgado, or even Xavier Nady a one-year deal and get pretty similar production?

I have no problem with a player or trying to get the most money possible. As I have said several times, everyone in this country should try to get paid what they think they are worth.

However, we are in a unique period in our country’s history. As we learned last offseason, this country’s economic problems can even trickle down to baseball.

Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and realize that there are obstacles in your way that you can’t control.

Maybe Branyan will get more money on a one-year deal than the Mariners were offering–who knows?

But if last year has taught us anything, Branyan made a mistake rejecting the Mariners’ offer.

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

Brad Hawpe: What’s His Trade Market?

October 14, 2009

When Troy Tulowitzki struckout on that nasty slider from Brad Lidge, the Colorado Rockies’ offseason officially began. Just like with every team, the Rockies face some difficult offseason decisions.

One of those difficult decisions for the Rockies is whether or not to trade RF Brad Hawpe. 

The Rockies also have a surplus of young, talented outfielders. Seth Smith, Dexter Fowler, and Carlos Gonzalez seem to have the three outfield spots locked down for 2010.

Hawpe could be dealt this winter

Hawpe could be dealt this winter

And with Hawpe due *$7.5 million in 2010 and having a club option for $10 million in 2011 (if Hawpe is traded, he can void the 2011 club option), Hawpe seems to be the odd man out in Colorado.

I think the Rockies will make every effort to trade the 2009 All-Star. But what type of player are they trading and who would be interested in Hawpe?

Let’s a look at Hawpe and what he brings to the table…

Positives

Hawpe is a remarkably consistent offensive player. For the last four years, Hawpe has averaged .288/.384/.518 with 25 HR’s in 146 games. And if you look at his numbers on a year to year basis–he does that every year.

It’s kind of freaky to be honest.

Hawpe also crushes right-handed pitching. In 357 AB’s against right-handed pitching in 2009, Hawpe hit .303/.403/.552 with 17 HR’s.

And for those of you who think Hawpe is just a product of Coors Field–he is not. He hit more HR’s on the road in 2009 than he did at home (14 to nine). For his career, Hawpe has hit 54 HR’s at home and 57 on the road.

Also, his OPS for his career at home is .887 and on the road is .864. Not much difference.

Negatives

While Hawpe might a remarkably consistent offensive player, his defense is flat-out offensive. He might be one of the worst defensive RF’s in baseball.

His UZR/150 in 2009 was -19.5, which puts him amongst the bottom of major league RF’s. What ever he brings to the table offensively, he takes away from it with his defense.

Hawpe can’t hit left-handed pitching. Hawpe’s career OPS vs. left-handed pitching is 158 points lower than it is against right-handed pitching. If Hawpe plays against a lefty and with his defense, you might as well just bring back Terry Shumpert to play the OF.

Here is another thing that bothers me about Hawpe and is a negative. Every time the Rockies are in prime time, Hawpe just disappears. He only has two extra-base hits in 42 career postseason AB’s.

How telling was it that Hawpe only got four AB’s against the Phillies in four games? He was one of the Rockies best offensive players throughout the year and he didn’t even sniff the batter’s box in the postseason.

Jim Tracy didn’t even go to Hawpe against righties. He used Jason Giambi as his primary left-handed pinch hitter off the bench.

Now that we looked at Hawpe as a player, what teams would be interested in trading for Hawpe? Here are some teams that makes potentially make sense for Hawpe…

Boston Red Sox – If they don’t re-sign Jason Bay and Matt Holliday re-signs with the St. Louis Cardinals, who is going to play LF for the Red Sox? If the Red Sox could live with Bay’s defense in LF, they could certainly live with Hawpe in left.

New York Mets – The Mets are desperate for any type of power infusion and need a left fielder. However, having an OF of Hawpe, Carlos Beltran (bad knees), and Jeff Francoeur (-3.2 UZR/150) means a lot of balls will be dropping in at cavernous Citi Field.

Chicago Cubs – The Cubs will do their best to trade Milton Bradley this offseason, leaving a hole in right field. Hawpe could give the Cubs the left-handed power hitter they have wanted since last year.

Atlanta Braves – If the Braves had their perfect world, their OF in June of 2010 would look like Nate McLouth in left, Jordan Schafer in center, and Jason Heyward in right.

If the Braves feel Schafer is still not ready for prime time yet, the Braves could look to Hawpe to take over for Garrett Anderson in left.

Kansas City Royals – The Royals need some offense and the Rockies would like some young relief pitching. Dayton Moore trades young relievers for DH-types all the time.

One of the issues the Rockies would run into if they decide to trade Hawpe is that there are a lot of DH-type players (Carlos Delgado, Russell Branyan, Hank Blalock, etc…) available on the open market this winter. Why would an American League GM trade prospects and add salary, when they can just add salary via free agency?

Hawpe figures to be one of the most talked about names on the trade market this winter. We will just have to wait and find out if the Rockies trade their right-handed crushing, poor fielding right fielder.

*All contract information was supplied by Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

Looking At Fantasy 1st Basemen In 2009…

March 27, 2009

It’s time to take a look at the big boys of baseball….the 1st basemen. There are some serious sluggers in this group of 1st basemen which include Albert Pujols, Mark Teixeira, Adam Dunn and Prince Fielder. In honor of the 25th anniversary of WrestleMania (April 5th from Reliant Stadium), let’s see who the top fantasy 1st basemen are. 4 Horseman style!!!

Ric Flair Division

These are the world champions. The best of the best. Look for these guys early in your draft and let them drive your limousine. WOOOOOOOOO!!!

Ric Flair

Ric Flair

1. Albert Pujols, Cardinals. With Arod shelved for 1 month, Pujols is clearly the best player in baseball headed into 2009. He should go either 1 or 2 in your draft. If he is still there after that, grab him!!

2. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers. If Pujols doesn’t go #1 it is because someone took Cabrera instead. Now that Cabrera has adjusted to the AL, he should be a force in 2009. If the Tigers can compete in the very average AL Central, Cabrera might be in line for the MVP.

3. Lance Berkman, Astros. One of the most consistent hitters in baseball. You know what you are going to get with Berkman. .300 avg, 25-35 hr’s, 100 rbi’s and an obp hovering around .400

4. Mark Teixeira, Yankees. As I wrote in my first ever post here at The Ghost of Moonlight Graham, “The Unexciting Teixeira,” I felt Teixeira was highly overrated. That thought hasn’t changed but he will put up .300/30/110 hitting in the Yankees lineup. With Arod out, it will be interesting to see how Teixeira reacts to being “the man” in New York.

5. Justin Morneau, Twins. Morneau has finished in the top 2 in MVP voted 2 out of the 3 years and there is no reason to think he won’t put up MVP numbers in 2009. His numbers might suffer if Mauer misses significant time, but not to the point where you would be turned off by him.

6. Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox. Youkilis had a career year in 2008 putting up a .312/29/115/.390. I think Youkilis can repeat those numbers in 2009. Youkilis qualifies as a 3B and a 1B

Arn Anderson Division

Solid. Dependable. Never the star on the team but someone you knew always produced. Like Arn Anderson, these next 6 guys fit that description.

7. Ryan Howard, Phillies. Howard would be higher if A. he didn’t kill your team with K’s (199 the last 2 years) and B. he didn’t kill your team in batting avg. and obp. I am not trying to kill Howard, but know what you are getting into before drafting him. Great hr’s and rbi’s. Below average avg., obp and a massive amount of K’s.

8. Prince Fielder, Brewers. Seriously, go back to eating meat!!!

Mr. Dependable

Mr. Dependable

9. Derrek Lee, Cubs. OK Cubs fans, Derrek Lee is not going to return to his 2005 form when he hit .335/46/107 ever again. At this point in his career, Lee is a .300/20/90 hitter. Which is good but nowhere near his 2005 season.

10. Adrian Gonzalez, Padres. Gonzalez is quickly moving into the Paul Molitor category of “if he played in NY, he would be a superstar.” How good is Gonzalez? He drove in 119 runs on a team that only scored 637. That is incredible. Gonzalez is getting better with age and should have no problem putting up .281/33/110 in 2009.

11. Chris Davis, Rangers. Everyone’s mancrush headed into 2009. The term “sleeper” no longer applies to Davis because I think even my mother knows who he is. Davis will put up his numbers hitting the Rangers lineup but don’t jump the gun and draft him too early.

12. Joey Votto, Reds. Love this guy. The runner up in the ROY voting should improve on his .294/24/84 in 2009. The 25 year old, who hits like a seasoned 29 year old will be an All Star in 2009. You heard it here 1st.

Barry Windham Division

Windham was a great, great wrestler but is often overlooked when talking about the best wrestlers of all time. Mainly because he was overshadowed by Ric Flair and left the WWF right before it exploded in the late 80’s. Don’t overlook these next 6 guys as they can be solid contributors to your team.

13. Garrett Atkins, Rockies. Many people don’t realize that Atkins played 61 games at 1B last season so he qualifies at both 1B and 3B. Atkins’ hr’s, rbi, avg and obp have dipped each of the last 3 years so don’t go crazy over Atkins. Expect a .285/25/95 season from Atkins in 2009.

14. Carlos Pena, Rays. Interesting note…In the same amount of ab’s (490) in 2008, Pena had 15 less hr’s, 19 less rbi’s, and hit 35 points less than he did in 2007. So the question is can he hit like he did in 2007 in 2009? Ummm no. 2007 for Pena was one of those magical seasons that won’t be repeated. Expected something similar to his 2008 of .247/31/102 in 2009.

Huff is Windham

Huff is Windham

15. Aubrey Huff, Orioles. If anyone screams Barry Windham it’s Huff. Often overlooked but nobody realizes he just put up a .304/32/108 last season and qualifies at both 1B and 3B.

16. James Loney, Dodgers. Loney quietly drove in 90 runs last year with the Dodgers. Loney should benefit from having Manny Ramirez in the lineup for a full year. 100 rbi’s is a possibility in 2009.

17. Adam Dunn, Nationals. Dunn played in his postseason during the WBC. Now he will go play for the last place Nationals and hit .240/42/105/.380. Dunn also qualifies as an OF.

18. Hank Blalock, Rangers. I am higher on Blalock than most. I believe Blalock will have a year similar to is .276/32/110 of 2004 season. Blalock also qualifies as a 3B.

Steve McMichael Division

Now you are getting into some of the shakier 1B options out there. McMichael was a mediocre member of the 4 Horsemen and these next 6 guys would be mediocre members of your team.

The mediocre McMicheal

The mediocre McMicheal

19. Conor Jackson, Diamondbacks. Doesn’t Conor Jackson look and sound like he should be better than he is? He looks like he should be a .290/25-30/90-100 type guy. But instead he is a .290/15/75 type guy.

20. Adam LaRoche, Pirates. One of the few draftable Pirates, LaRoche has hit more than 20 hr’s in each of his last 4 seasons and more than 85 in each of his last 3.

21. Carlos Delgado, Mets. Let’s get this out of the way right now, Carlos Delgado is not going to hit .271 with 38 hr’s and 115 rbi’s again. It is just not going to happen. .255/26/92 seems more like it.

22. Jorge Cantu, Marlins. After being useless in 2006 & 2007, Cantu surprised everyone with a 29 hr and 95 rbi season in 2008. Cantu will not sneak up on anyone again in 2009 and I expect a little drop in 2009.

23. Pablo Sandoval, Giants. Another “sleeper,” Sandoval qualifies at 1B, 3B and in some leagues may qualify as a C. Sandoval hit .345 in 145 ab’s last year and with a full season under his belt a .310/15/80 is not out of the question. Just don’t expect obp as Sandoval only walked 4 times in those 145 ab’s.

25. Billy Butler, Royals. I have Butler this high for 2 reasons. 1. His age, he is only 23 and 2. His potential. If you are in a keeper League and can afford to let Butler develop on your bench while occasionally giving him a spot start against left-handed pitching (.340 the last 2 seasons), then it might pay dividends in the future.

Paul Roma Division.

Roma was the worst member in 4 Horsemen history. These last guys are your worst options for fantasy 1st basemen

26. Paul Konerko, White Sox. Terrible year last year and he is not getting any younger

27. Jason Giambi, A’s. Giambi will give you hr’s and obp and that is about it.

The worst of the horsemen

The worst of the horsemen

28. Mike Jacobs, Royals. Start only against righties and don’t complain about your team’s obp (.299 for Jacobs last season) after you draft him.

29. Casey Kotchman, Braves. A younger version of Lyle Overbay

30. Lyle Overbay, Blue Jays. Wasn’t he supposed to be a great hitter?

31.Todd Helton, Rockies. Smoking the ball this spring (.423/4/11 in just 26 ab’s) but can his back hold up?

32. Carlos Guillen, Tigers. Guillen will qualify at 3 positions this year (1B, 3B and OF) but has age caught up with this versatile player?

33. Gabby Sanchez, Marlins. Potential Rookie of the Year candidate

34. Kendry Morales, Angels. The has big holes to fill replacing Teixeira

35. Russell Branyan, Mariners. This years Carlos Pena?

36. Chad Tracy, Diamondbacks. In a battle for playing time in the desert but could still hit between 10-15 hr’s.

37. Nick Johnson, Nationals. Mr. Injury. At least you will get obp with him.

38. Ryan Garko, Indians. Will be really hard pressed for playing time.

39. Travis Ishikawa, Giants. Officially your worst choice as a fantasy 1B. If you draft him, just call it a day

 

 

Looking At Fantasy 3rd Basemen In 2009..

March 20, 2009

In honor of March Madness, I am going to do a tournament to determine who is the best fantasy 3B in 2009. This is a 36 player tournament and seeds are broken down from 1-8 in 4 regions. The 4 regions are the Mike Schmidt Region, George Brett Region, Eddie Mathews Region and the Brooks Robinson Region.

Since there are 36 players who will be participating in this tournament, the last 2 seeds in each bracket (8 players total) will play in a play-in game to determine who advances to the actual tournament. Let the tournament begin….

Mike Schmidt Region

Play In Game

Bill Hall vs Andy LaRoche. Winner – Andy LaRoche

Longoria is a #1 seed

Longoria is a #1 seed

1st Round

#1 Evan Longoria vs #8 Andy LaRoche

#2 Garrett Atkins vs #7 Scott Rolen

#3 Ryan Zimmerman vs #6 Mark Reynolds

#4 Chone Figgins vs #5 Mike Lowell

Winners – Longoria, Atkins, Zimmerman, Lowell

Analysis – Longoria hit 27 hr’s and drove in 85 runs in only 122 games in 08. Baring injury Longoria should put up 35+ hr, drive in 120+ runs and even swipe double digit steals in 09. He is the #1 seed in this region and should be one of the 1st 3B on your draft board.

Mark Reynold’s K’s (204 last year) were too much to overcome against Zimmerman, who should have a nice bounce back year. Figgins has been injury prone the last 2 years (hasn’t played in more than 116 games) and I believe his 07 season was a fluke. Lowell looks good this spring and that enables him to pull off the upset against Figgins.

Brooks Robinson Region

Play In Game

Eric Chavez vs Russell Branyan. Winner – Russell Branyan. It is pretty amazing how far Chavez has fallen in such a short period of time. Branyan qualifies as a 3B but will get 1st crack at being the Mariners everyday 1B. Maybe Branyan will be the Mariners version of Carlos Pena?

1st Round

#1 Alex Rodriguez vs #8 Russell Branyan

#2 Chipper Jones vs #7 Casey Blake

#3 Aubrey Huff vs #6 Pablo Sandoval

#4 Mark DeRosa vs #5 Carlos Guillen

Winners – Rodriguez, Jones, Huff, DeRosa

Analysis – Despite probably missing the 1st month of the season, Rodriguez still remains 1 of the 4 best fantasy 3B in baseball. He still should be able to put up 30 hr’s and 90 rbi, which is better than most.

Chipper Jones, headed into his 16th season still has a lot to offer fantasy owners. His batting avg. has increased each of the last 3 years and he can single handily win you OBP in a head to head league.

Aubrey Huff is often over looked in fantasy drafts but all he did last year was smack 32 hr’s, drive in 108 runs and hit .304. Expect the same from Huff this year, as the Orioles will have a solid lineup in 2009.

George Brett Region

Play In Game

Jed Lowrie vs Chris Johnson. Winner – Jed Lowrie

1st Round

#1 David Wright vs #8 Jed Lowrie

#2 Chris Davis vs #7 Troy Glaus

#3 Adrian Beltre vs #6 Melvin Mora

#4 Alex Gordon vs #5 Jorge Cantu

Winners – Wright, Davis, Beltre, Gordon

Analysis – David Wright goes into 2009 as the #1 fantasy 3B. Wright has finished in the top 10 in MVP voting the last 3 years and that trend should continue in 2009. What separates Wright is 1. His durability (160 games played in 3 of the last 4 years) and 2. His ability to steal a base. Wright was a 30/30 man just 2 years ago. I don’t think he will go 30/30 again but 20 sb’s can be expected.

A lot has been expected from Alex Gordon ever since the Royals drafted him the 2nd pick overall in the 2005 draft. Gordon showed some progress last season by raising his avg. 13 points and his OBP by 37 points. If he can continue this trend maybe a .275/20/80 is doable in 2009.

Chris Davis has been the hot name going into fantasy drafts due to his 17 hr and 55 rbi performance in just 60 games last year. Is he another Kevin Maas or will he break out in 2009? I think hitting is contagious in that Rangers lineup and Davis will put up a nice .282/33/101 in 2009. Davis also qualifies as a 1B as well

One last note on this bracket. Jed Lowrie is probably the best #8 seed in this tournament. With Julio Lugo going down with a knee injury, Lowrie becomes the starting SS in a powerful Red Sox lineup. Lowrie qualifies as a 3B but has more value as a SS.

Eddie Mathews Region

Play In Game

Brandon Inge vs Josh Fields. Winner – Josh Fields. Fields wins based on his sleeper potential. You know what you are going to get with Inge…which isn’t very good

1st Round

#1 Aramis Ramirez vs #8 Josh Fields

#2 Kevin Youkilis vs #7 Joe Crede

#3 Kevin Kouzmanoff vs #6 Edwin Encarnacion

#4 Michael Young vs #5 Hank Blalock

Winners – Ramirez, Youkilis, Kouzmanoff, Blalock

Analysis – Aramis Ramirez has been one of the most productive 3B in the league since joining the Cubs in 2003. You can pretty much lock Ramirez in for 25+ hr’s and 100+ rbi every year.

Youkilis is the strongest #2 seed in this tournament and if Arod was out longer, would move into a #1 seed. Youkilis also qualifies at 1B but has more fantasy value at 3B. If your league has OBP as a category, then Youkilis (.380 or better 4 years in a row) is a must grab.

Blalock upsets Young in the first round because I believe Blalock will have a year similar to is .276/32/110 of 2004 season.

Mike Schmidt Region – Sweet 16

#1 Evan Longoria vs #5 Mike Lowell

#2 Garrett Atkins vs #3 Ryan Zimmerman

Winners – Longoria and Zimmerman

Analysis – Atkins batting avg, OBP, hr’s and rbi have dropped each of the last 3 years. That is not a good sign and to make matters worse, Atkins will be hitting in a lineup without Matt Holliday and has Ian Stewart breathing down his neck. Zimmerman will revert back to his 06 and 07 seasons when he averaged 22 hr’s and 100 rbi.

Brooks Robinson Region – Sweet 16

#1 Alex Rodriguez vs #4 Mark DeRosa

#2 Chipper Jones vs #3 Aubrey Huff

Winners – Rodriguez and Jones

Analysis – I will bet a lot of money that DeRosa will not have 21 hr and 87 rbi again in 2009. Last year is what we call a “career year.” I look for more DeRosa like 15 hr and 65 rbi in 2009 and thus ending DeRosa’s tournament run.

Even knowing that Jones is going to miss at least 20 games, I would still take him over Aubrey Huff and that is the reason he advances.

Wright is a top 4 3B

Wright is a top 4 3B

George Brett Region – Sweet 16

#1 David Wright vs #4 Alex Gordon

#2 Chris Davis vs #3 Adrian Beltre

Winners – Wright and Davis

Analysis – Gordon might be improving but he is no match for Wright. Davis vs Beltre is an interesting matchup because Beltre is a free agent at the end of the year and you know what happened last time Beltre was a free agent. Beltre lit up baseball with a .334/48/121. I don’t think Beltre will put up those numbers but I think Beltre will be better than he was last year. However, Davis edges Beltre in the end due to his age (keeper consideration) and his potential for a great year.

Eddie Mathews Region

#1 Aramis Ramirez vs #5 Hank Blalock

#2 Kevin Youkilis vs #3 Kevin Kouzmanoff

Winners – Aramis Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis

Analysis – Ramirez and Youkilis advance pretty easily to the Elite 8. What hurts Kouzmanoff is his OBP. Last year it was a pretty pathetic .299. If Kouzmanoff can learn a little plate discipline, he would be more highly regarded in fantasy drafts.

Elite 8

#1 Evan Longoria vs #3 Ryan Zimmerman

#1 Alex Rodriguez vs #2 Chipper Jones

#1 David Wright vs #3 Chris Davis

#1 Aramis Ramirez vs #2 Kevin Youkilis

Winners – Rodriguez, Longoria, Wright, Youkilis

Analysis – Youkilis pulls off the upset due to him hitting in a better lineup than Ramirez and Youkilis’ ability to play 1B. Having players who can play multiple positions is a bonus to any fantasy roster. So the Final 4 is set with the 4 best fantasy 3B in baseball. Longoria, Rodriguez, Wright and Youkilis. These are the 4 guys who should on the top of your list come draft day.

Final 4

#1 Evan Longoria vs #1 Alex Rodriguez

#1 David Wright vs #2 Kevin Youkilis

Winners – Longoria and Wright

Analysis – Due to Arod’s injury Longoria gets the nod on draft day. In the other matchup in the Final 4, David Wright gets the edge on draft over Youkilis. Wright’s sb potential sets Wright apart.

Finals

#1 Evan Longoria vs #1 David Wright

Winner – Wright

Analysis – Wright went into this tournament as the #1 3B and comes out of this tournament the #1 3B. If Wright is available to you on draft day, don’t hesitate to grab him.

I hope you enjoyed this fantasy 3B tournament and good luck in your NCAA Basketball bracket.