Category Archives: Position Battles

Closing Time (3/30)

rick-vaughn1By nichols33

A look at who is going to be getting save opportunities division by division. Average Draft Position courtesy of CBSSportsline.com.

AL East:

Boston: Jonathan Papelbon is downplaying concerns over his arm.  (ADP: 53.74) New York: Mariano Rivera is locked and ready to go. (ADP: 82.57) Tampa Bay: Troy Percival has looked very strong this spring coming off an injury shortened season. Take him late, but expect a trip or two to the DL. (ADP: 209.87) Toronto: B.J. Ryan is the man in for the Blue Jays. His poor spring might be a bit concerning but he is a very solid 2nd closer, not so much as your one. (ADP: 141.78) Baltimore: George Sherrill (ADP: 222.29) has looked horrible this spring and has even been quoted as saying he wouldn’t mind if Chris Ray (ADP: 231.02) started the season as the closer. Avoid both unless you are really digging for saves.

AL Central:

Chicago: Bobby Jenks is the big man for Ozzie. Lower end #1 closer, great #2. (ADP: 135.99) Cleveland: Kerry Wood is going one closer after Jenks in most drafts. I might take him ahead of Jenks but wouldn’t fault anybody for going the other way. Be sure to have a good back-up, Wood already has been injured. (ADP: 137.08) Kansas City: Joakim Soria is a top 5 closer. If Kansas City is as improved as Peter Gammons is saying…..more save opps! (ADP: 119.16) Detroit: Joel Zumaya is on his way to the DL. Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon (ADP: 230.60) are stinking it up…..avoid everybody in Detroit. Minnesota: Joe Nathan is money. Has a case to be the first closer taken. (ADP: 76.12)

AL West:

Los Angeles: I like Brian Fuentes this year, I like him a lot. Yahoo.com has concerns with his low velocity this spring, but I’m not. The Angels’ style of play is condusive to close games and lots of save opps for Fuentes. (ADP: 129.22) Texas: Frank Francisco is a sleeper, draft him as your 2nd closer and watch him outperform the 10 closers taken right before him. He’s going far too late. (ADP: 197.58) Seattle: Brandon Morrow is being moved to the bullpen and immediately jumps up to a top 15 closer. Only injuries are holding him back from being a top 6 closer. (ADP: 146.11) Oakland: Joey Devine (ADP: 199.10) and Brad Ziegler (ADP: 219.04) are going to split closer duties to start the season. Devine has the better stuff and will most likely be the one to take the job full-time at some point this season.

NL East:

New York: KRod is ready to take the big apple by storm. His celebratory style is going to win the fans over so long he converts the majority of his early season save attempts. The Phillies fans are going to HATE Rodriguez. (ADP: 47.53) Philadelphia: Brad Lidge is closing in on the consective save record after converting every save last season. Should be the 5th or 6th closer taken. (ADP: 85.55) Atlanta: Mike Gonzalez (ADP: 183.81) appears to have the job over Rafeal Soriano. But his velocity issues this spring are concerning. Nothing more than a back-up closer or a 2nd closer in a deep league. Florida: Matt Lindstrom (ADP: 203.30) still hopes to be ready by opening day after his WBC injury. Leo Nunez will get any save opps if Lindstorm is not ready but Lindstrom is the man when he is back. Washington: Joel Hanrahan is going after guys on the DL, guys who are pushing 50 years young….don’t make that mistake. He has no competition and the Nationals improved offense may keep them in more games this year….if their pitching hasn’t yet give up 10 runs. (ADP: 217.17)

NL Central:

Chicago: The Cubs have named Kevin Gregg (ADP: 199.92) the team’s closer over Carlos Marmol (ADP: 128.70) ruining a number of Fantasy team’s draft. You had to see this coming….Sweet Lou loves the veterans. Marmol will be the closer by July 1st…..mark it dude. Cincinnati: Francisco Cordero is a quality #1 closer. Nothing else to say. (ADP: 159.70) Pittsuburgh: Matt Capps is underrated. He is going after Chad Qualls, Trevor Hoffman and Huston Street in some drafts….why I do not know. (ADP: 188.72) Houston: Jose Valverde is one of the last #1 closers on the board. He, along with Broxton, should close out the run of top end closers. (ADP: 132.66) Milwaukee: Trevor Hoffman (ADP: 186.38) is going to start the year on the DL. Carlos Villanueva will get the saves to start the season. St. Louis: Chris Perez (ADP: 229.78) was sent down to AAA earlier today leaving Jason Motte (ADP: 225.44) appears to have won the job but Ryan Franklin could get some save opps.

NL West:

Los Angeles: Jonathan Broxton should be one of the top closers in the game for the next 5 years. Feel comfortable with him as your first closer. (ADP: 122.75) San Francisco: Brian Wilson has a near 5 ERA last season but is getting plenty of love from the fantasy world. The Giants are improved this year which may open up some vital save opps for Wilson. (ADP: 140.00) Colorado: The Rockies look to be playing it smart and showcasing Huston Street (ADP: 188.01) for trade bait later in the season. Street will start the year as the closer over Manny Corpas (ADP: 242.97). San Diego: Heath Bell is the closer but how many save opps is he going to get in San Diego. They’ll be lucky to win 60 games this year. (ADP: 201.40) Arizona: Chad Qualls excelled in the closer role late last season and will be the closer in the desert to start the season. Be careful though…he is one of those guys who was underrated in February but has swung to the overrated category rather quickly. (ADP: 183.36)

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Who is this Year’s Carlos Quentin?

By nichols33

A number of last year’s league winners struck gold with Carlos Quentin. Quentin was a former stud prospect (Baseball America ranking of the 20th top prospect in 2006 and 22nd in 2005) who came into last season with no guaranteed job and a career line of .230 avg, 14 HR, 63 RBIs in 395 ABs in the majors. He went on to have a monster season (.288, 36, 100) and if not for injury probably would have won the AL MVP last season.

Utilizing a late round draft pick or your last auction dollar on this year’s Carlos Quentin can send you straight to the top of your league. So we are looking for a player who was a stud prospect but has since had little success in the majors and is fighting for a role this spring. That would exclude guys like Cameron Maybin, Andrew McCuthcin, Reid Brignac or Travis Snider for they have yet to really have a shot at a full-time gig. Here are some players that meet the criteria:

Brandon Wood (3B/SS, LAA) – BA Ranking: 2008 #16; 2007 #8; 2006 #3

Wood has a career line of .191 Avg, 14 R, 6 HR, 16 RBI, 4 SBs in 183  major league at bats. At this point, Wood has been a major bust in the majors. Yet in the minors he has torn the cover off the ball hitting .296 with 31 HRs and 84 RBIs in 395 AAA at bats last season. He’s been hot this spring and may force Mike Scioscia’s hand to keep him up with the big club. If the Angels find a regular spot for him via injury, trade or benching, Wood could be this year’s Carlos Quentin.

Carlos Gonzalez (OF, COL) – BA Ranking: 2008 #22; 2007 #18; 2006 #32

Gonzalez has a career line of .242 avg, 31 R, 4 HR, 26 RBI, 4 SB in 302 major league at bats. He was rushed to the majors last year while on the A’s and has since been traded to the Rockies. Gonzalez is fighting for a starting left fielder spot and given the compeition (Matt Murton, Scott Podsednik and Dexter Fowler) he should get a fair shot. Ian  Stewart could steal some at bats as Clint Hurdle will try to get him in the line-up as much as possible. The change of scenery combined with benefits of Coors Field could help Gonazalez be this year’s Carlos Quentin.

Andy LaRoche (3B, PIT) – BA Ranking: 2008 #31; 2007 #19; 2006 #19

LaRoche has a career line of .184 avg, 33 R, 6 HR, 28 RBI, 4 SB in 316 major league at bats. LaRoche is the starting 3B for the Pirates this year after a trade from the Dodgers last year uniting him with his brother. He hit over .300 in nearly every stop in the minors with decent power and very low strike-out totals. If everything clicks for LaRoche he could be this year’s Carlos Quentin.

Ian Stewart (3B, COL) – BA Ranking: 2008 #38; 2007 #46; 2006 #16

Stewart has a career line of .252 avg, 36 R, 11 HR, 50 RBI, 1 SB in 309 major league at bats. Stewart saw some significant time at 3B last season when Todd Helton went down with an injury and Garrett Atkins moved accross the diamond to 1B. It seems like Stewart has been a prospect for a decade. Stewart will see some time in the OF this season, possibly some time at 2B and will certainly see some time at 3B. With Todd Helton’s injury history, it’s pretty likely that Atkins will see some major time at 1B leaving 3B for Stewart and that could cause Ian Stewart to be this year’s Carlos Quentin.

A number of guys will have breakout seasons. Some of those may be Jay Bruce, Colby Rasmus, Cameron Maybin, Travis Snider, Matt Wieters, Andrew McCutchen, Elvis Andrus, Matt Laporta, Reid Brignac or Dexter Fowler. But those guys are stud prospects who have not yet tasted the sour taste of major league failure like Carlos Quentin did before his breakout season. Good luck in finding that diamond in the rough…..it could make your season.

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Closing Time

By nichols33wild-thing

One last call for alcohol, so finish your whiskey or beer…..

Here is a guide to let you know who is getting the saves across the league. This list will be updated throughout the year as players go down to injury or lose their jobs.

Keep an eye on some of the on-going battles through the spring. Once the season starts you have to be quick on the trigger to pick up a soon-to-be closer.

closers

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Good News – Bad News 3/4

By nichols33

gnbnGood News:
Manny Ramirez: Scott Boras and Manny have worked out a deal with the Dodgers. It appears to be for 2 years with an opt-out clause after the first year. FANTASY BASEBALL ADVICE: This is great news for Manny owners in keeper leagues. Manny is a fantasy stud and one of the top OFs on all lists.

Clay Buchholz & Justin Masterson: Brad Penny is having shoulder issues, which should not shock anybody. FANTASY BASEBALL ADVICE: If Penny isn’t ready to go when the season starts, Masterson or Buchholz will most likely be the 5th starter. Each have huge upside if they have a spot in the rotation.

Jeremy Hermida: Herminda is hitting .416 this spring with 3 HRs. FANTASY BASEBALL ADVICE: People have been waiting for this talented OF to bust out and become a fantasy stud. Although his results have not caught up to his talent, he is still only 25 years old. He could be a huge find on draft day.

Robinson Cano: Off to a torid start this spring hitting .556 with 10 total bases in 4 games. FANTASY BASEBALL ADVICE: Cano was a disappointment last year with many expecting him to be a top 3 2B. Fantasy experts are quick to point out that if you removed his slow start in April last year he had a pretty good year. I like Cano this year but I will take Utley, Kinsler, Pedroia, Roberts & Phillips over him.

Joey Votto: The 25 year-old 1B for the Reds is making a statement early in the spring. He’s hitting .538 with 2 HRs thus far through 5 games. FANTASY BASEBALL ADVICE: Most people are not aware of the numbers Votto put up last year. He hit .296, 24 HRs, 84 RBIs and stole 7 bases. At 25, this kid is about to bust out. At the end of this year he will be a top 6 1B, maybe crack the top 5. Don’t be the last to know about this future stud.

Bad News:
Juan Pierre:
With Manny signing on again in LA, Pierre is back to being a 4th OF. FANTASY BASEBALL ADVICE: Manny, Matt Kemp & Andre Ethier will get the bulkload of the playing time leaving Juan Pierre virtually useless in all fantasy leagues. Unless one of the other 3 get injured or the NL installs the DH, do not go near Mr. Moustache.

Alex Rodriguez: Arod WBC stint is in jeopardy with news about a sore hip. Word is that Arod has a cyst in his hip that is causing the stiffness. Joe Girardi said that this problem goes back to last year. FANTASY BASEBALL ADVICE: If Arod had this problem last year it doesn’t look like this cyst will impede his performance too much. I have Wright #1 at 3B, if you have Arod, you may want to make the swap, but I wouldn’t let this news change your thoughts on Arod all that much.

Bobby Crosby: Orlando Cabrera signed a one year deal with Oakland this week moving Crosby into what the A’s are calling a “super utility role.” FANTASY BASEBALL ADVICE: Crosby’s performance in recent years should show you he warrants little to no consideration outside of AL only leagues. With this news, drafting him in AL only leagues would be a mistake.

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Good News – Bad News 3/2

By nichols33

Good News:

Johan Santana: He will not fly to New York for a MRI after all. Bullpen session on Sunday appears to have gone well. FANTASY BASBALL ADVICE: Still a Top 5 SP, my #1 if healthy.

 

Brandon Webb: The Arizona Republic quoted Webb as saying he “felt great” after a Sunday bullpen session. Webb will throw again on Wednesday and appears to be fine. FANTASY BASBALL ADVICE: Stiffness is very common early in spring, and this good news should erase all fears on Webb. Take him before all pitchers but Sabathia, Lincecum and Santana.

 

Carl Crawford: Crawford hit 2 triples on Sunday and has started the spring off hot. FANTASY BASBALL ADVICE: Crawford suffered through bum hamstrings last season and was a major fantasy disappointment. Crawford is still young enough (27) to have his best season yet. If he’s healthy he will be a top 10 OF in all leagues.

 

 

Bad News:

Jeremy Bonderman: The Tigers are shutting him down for 2 to 3 days after experiencing stiffness in his pitching shoulder. Bonderman had surgery on the shoulder last year. FANTASY BASBALL ADVICE: If you had thoughts of taking a flyer on Bonderman hoping he returned to his 2006 form (he threw 214 innings with 202 Ks and an ERA of 4.08) hold off until he shows he’s healthy. At this point he should not be drafted.

 

Justin Duchscherer: Duchscherer has reported a sore elbow and has yet to throw in a spring game. FANTASY BASBALL ADVICE: Huge surprise last year as he converted from a reliever into a starter and had great success early on. His season ended abruptly with hip surgery. Only draft him if you play in a league with plenty of bench spots. If you are expecting anything better than last years stats (10-8, 2.54 ERA, 1.00 WHIP) please join one of my leagues!

 

Rich Hill: He was scratched from his Sunday start with elbow and forearm stiffness. Early rumblings don’t sound good. FANTASY BASBALL ADVICE: Rich Hill ruined a number of fantasy owners’ drafts last year as going into last season he was a potential stud and ended up in the minors. Hill should be avoided at all costs. If he does pitch this season, he’s now pitching in the AL East.

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Can Posada catch?

By nichols33

The Yankees could have a major dilemma on their hands. Jorge Posada, who is coming off of shoulder surgery, had a set-back in his rehab and will have to shut it down for a few days. Posada hit a homerun in his first at-bat of the spring which certainly raised some eyebrows in the fantasy and baseball world. The rumor is the Yankees are not concerned with Posada’s bat this year but they are concerned on his defense and whether he can throw would-be base stealers out at an acceptable rate.

FANTASY BASEBALL ADVICE: This could have a huge impact on a number of fantasy players. The Yankees have 5 players for 4 spots in the OF/DH (H. Matsui, Damon, M. Cabrera, Swisher & Nady). If Posada cannot play catcher he will most certainly see the majority of time at DH leaving the other 5 guys to fight for the 3 spots in the OF.

For leagues where position eligibility is established based on last year’s games played by position, Posada will still be a catcher and as long as he gets his at-bats he will be useful to a fantasy team as a starting catcher. But for leagues that base their position eligibility on this year’s games played, Posada may not be eligible for catcher until a good portion of the season is already over.

The Yankees will play Damon if he is healthy. I’d be very cautious to draft Matsui in even the deepest of leagues and I’ve already moved Nady, Swisher and M. Cabrera down a few notches on my lists.

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