Tag Archives: Alex Rodriguez

Fantasy Baseball 5 Category Players

ARod loves 5 Category Players

ARod loves 5 Category Players

By nichols33

Any seasoned fantasy baseball owner will tell you to target 5 category players early in the draft in 5×5 leagues. There are some strategies where you pick pitching early and others where you don’t pick pitchers until the 6th round at the earliest. Some try to get power early and pick up steals late. Regardless of which strategy you choose, in a 5×5 league guys who can drive in runs, hit for average, hit the long ball, score runs and steal some bags are gold. Here are some buckets based on last year’s stats:

Players who hit over .280, 75 R, 20 HR, 75 RBI, 10 SB

Player BA R HR RBI SB
Carlos Beltran (OF, NYM) .284 116 27 112 25
David Wright (3B, NYM) .302 115 33 124 15
Lance Berkman (1B, HOU) .312 114 29 106 18
Chase Utley (2B, PHI)  .292 113 33 104 14
Matt Holliday (OF, OAK) .321 107 25 88 28
Alex Rodriguez (3B, NYY) .302 104 35 103 18
Nick Markakis (OF, BAL) .306 106 20 87 10
Jason Bay (OF, BOS) .286 111 31 101 10
Bobby Abreu (OF, ANA) .296 100 20 100 22
Ryan Braun (OF, MIL)  .285 92 37 106 14
Alfonso Soriano (OF, CHC) .280 76 29 75 19

These guys just missed that list last year:

Player BA R HR RBI SB
Hanley Ramirez (SS, FLA) .301 125 33 67 35
Curtis Granderson (OF, DET) .280 112 22 66 12
Alexei Ramirez (2B, CHW) .290 65 21 77 13

You can bet Hanley will be make the list this year, especially if he moves to the 3 hole in the Marlins line-up.

 

20 / 20 Players (20 HRs & 20 SBs)

Player BA R HR RBI SB
Bobby Abreu (OF, ANA) .296 100 20 100 22
Carlos Beltran (OF, NYM) .284 116 27 112 25
Corey Hart (OF, MIL) .268 76 20 91 23
Matt Holliday (OF, OAK) .321 107 25 88 28
Nate McLouth (OF, PIT) .276 113 26 94 23
Brandon Phillips (2B, CIN) .261 80 21 78 23
Hanley Ramirez (SS, FLA) .301 125 33 67 35
Grady Sizemore (OF, CLE) .268 101 33 90 38
Jayson Werth (OF, PHI) .273 73 24 67 20

 

If you are willing to pick up steals later in the draft or plan on picking up the hottest young speedster during the year here are 4 Category guys (R, HR, SB, RBI):

Players who hit over .300, 75 R, 20 HR, 75 RBI

Player BA R HR RBI SB
Albert Pujols (1B, STL) .357 100 37 116 7
Manny Ramirez  (OF, LAD)  .332 102 37 121 3
Milton Bradley (OF, CHC) .321 78 22 77 5
Matt Holliday (OF, OAK) .321 107 25 88 28
Kevin Youkilis (1B, BOS) .312 91 29 115 3
Lance Berkman (1B, HOU) .312 114 29 106 18
Mark Teixeira  (1B, NYY) .308 102 33 121 2
Josh Hamilton (OF, TEX) .305 98 32 130 9
Xavier Nady (OF, NYY) .305 76 25 97 2
Aubrey Huff (1B, BAL)  .304 96 32 108 4
Vladimir Guerrero (OF, ANA) .303 85 27 91 5
Alex Rodriguez (3B, NYY) .302 104 35 103 18
David Wright (3B, NYM) .302 115 33 124 15
Justin Morneau (1B, MIN) .300 97 23 129 0
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Filed under Draft Position

Injury Update

By mrcane and nichols33redcross

Do you have a draft this weekend? Don’t be the one to call out a guy that is out for the year or waste an early round pick on a pitcher that won’t pitch until June. Here is a rundown of the major injuries to impact fantasy baseball players heading into the 2009 season:

Catchers:

Joe Mauer – Kidney – Status: Late March

mrcane: Kidney, back, not really sure but the situation should be monitored closely.

nichols33: Watch this situation closely. The way the Twins are handling this makes me think that this is more serious they we may all know. I’ve already moved Mauer to 4th on my list behind McCann, Martin and Soto.

Jesus Flores – Elbow – Status: Mid March

mrcane: Should be ok to go.  Flores is an option for larger mixed leagues.

2nd Basemen:

Chase Utley – Hip – Status: Day to day

mrcane: Has been playing, a top 10 pick in my book.

nichols33: Hope that he slides in your draft due to injury concerns, he is money.

Dustin Pedroia – Oblique – Status: Late March

mrcane: Closely monitor the MVP’s progress, this can be a lingering issue.

nichols33: I already expected a bit of a letdown season for Pedroia and this just could be the start. Still a top 4 second baseman.

Shortstops:

Hanley Ramirez – Shoulder – Status: Day to day

mrcane: No worries, the number one pick in fantasy.

nichols33: #1 in my book

Julio Lugo – Knee – Status: Mid April

mrcane: Could permanently lose his job because of the surgery, waiver wire.

nichols33: shouldn’t be drafted unless it’s a Redsox only league

3rd Basemen:

Alex Rodriguez – Hip – Status: Early May at best

nichols33: ARod is already off his crutches and says he’s rehab is going great. If ARod is back sometime in early May, he is still a Top 4 3B. Only take Wright, Longoria and Ramirez over him.

Chipper Jones – Strained Oblique – Status: Day to day

mrcane: Same old story with Chipper, goes too early, draft at your own risk.

nichols33: Chipper will drive you nuts if you own him. He’ll miss games here and there. If you are in a daily line-up change league, you have to be on top of things everyday to ensure you play him when he plays and sit him when he sits. He is still probably the 5th best 3B.

Garret Atkins – Hip – Status: Day to day

mrcane: Atkins should be okay.

nichols33: Overrated clap clap clap clap clap. Overrated. Stewart has that job by the end of the year. Atkins is either at 1B or traded.

Troy Glaus – Shoulder – Status: Mid April

mrcane: Same old story with Glaus, constantly dinged up.  Nothing unusual.

nichols33: not a bad late flyer. Stash him on your bench until he’s back then enjoy the dingers.

Outfielders:

Ryan Braun – Ribcage – Status: Day to Day

nichols33: Braun is staying with team USA who are fighting to make the semis of the WBC. The fact that he is staying with the team rather than going back to Brewer camp leads me to believe this is not serious at all. Braun is a top 10 pick in all leagues.

Manny Ramirez – Hamstring – Status: Late March

mrcane: We know how Manny injuries can linger, should not effect his draft status.

nichols33: Is this just the start of Manny being Manny? Agree with mrcane, still draft him in the 2nd/3rd round.

BJ Upton – Shoulder – Status: Early April

mrcane: Should only miss the first week, no concerns here.

nichols33: Be prepared in the early season with a good replacement.

Vlad Guerrero – Knee – Status: Mid March

nichols33: Vlad is having a tough spring. He’s aged one complete year, he’s had to shut it down for injury and he is a soon-to-be free agent in a horrible market for players. Slide Vlad down a few spots on your list but don’t get too carried away. When he plays…he hits.

Vernon Wells – Hamstring – Status: Late March

mrcane: The often injured centerfielder should be monitored.

nichols33: when he played last season, he hit. Just needs to stay on the field.

Garret Anderson – Calf – Status: Late March

mrcane: Should be a very minor injury.

nichols33: Should not be drafted unless you are in the deepest of NL only leagues. Platoon player along with Matt Diaz.

Eric Byrnes – Hamstring – Status: Day to day

mrcane: If Byrnes doesn’t have his legs then he has nothing.  Monitor progress.

nichols33: 4th OF in Arizona. Only useful in NL only leagues as a stash away and hope for injury guy.

DHs:

Hank Blalock – Quad – Status: Day to day

mrcane: Blalock has been designated to AL only leagues.  He won’t play a full season.

nichols33: Is getting drafting in every draft I’ve seen. Not a bad late round flyer but certainly don’t count on anything. Played well when he came back from injury the last few weeks of the season.

Starting Pitchers:

Johan Santana – Elbow – Status: Day to day

nichols33: It appears as though Santana is set to pitch on opening day (April 6th). The nightmare appears over for Mets fans and Johan owners. Johan should be one of the top three pitchers off the board along with Lincecum & Sabathia.

Cole Hamels – Elbow – Status: Day to day

mrcane: Went back to Philly for testing. Proved to be inflammation in his left elbow. No structural damage.

nichols33: Warning, warning, warning!! Even though this checks out OK, Cole will most likely be on the DL at some point this year. His increase in innings over ’07 and the fact that he pitched deep into the fall are red flags. Still a top 10 pitcher, just don’t be shocked to see him go down.

Ervin Santana – Elbow – Status: Mid April

mrcane: Not a good sign, draft a healthy arm and let someone else worry about Santana.

Erik Bedard – Glute – Status: Day to day

mrcane: I’m sticking by Bedard as a steal, don’t overpay, word is he’ll be ok.

nichols33: Seems to going right where I’d expect him to go in most drafts. Not a bad risk/reward guy as your #3 or #4. I’d prefer he my #4.

Max Scherzer – Shoulder – Status: Mid April

mrcane: Very concerning, monitor closely, don’t waste a valuable pick.

Brandon Morrow – Forearm – Status: Late March

mrcane: Forearms never go away and many times lead to the elbow.  Be careful.

Randy Johnson – Bicep – Status: Day to Day

nichols33: Johnson’s Tuesday start is being skipped. Giants are saying this is just precautionary and no biggie. I like Johnson this year and if he can stay on the field he could be a very good 4. I appear to not be alone in that opinion as Johnson goes in most drafts earlier than expected.

Shawn Marcum – Elbow – Status: Out for Season

mrcane: No fantasy value

nichols33: I’ve seen this guy drafted twice now…….Don’t be that guy/girl

Jeff Francis – Shoulder – Status: Out for Season

mrcane: No fantasy value

Tim Hudson – Elbow – Status: Out until August

mrcane: No fantasy value

Ben Sheets – Elbow – Status: early June (free agent)

mrcane: Could be useful in larger AL only leagues.

Kelvin Escobar – Shoulder/calf – Status: Mid-May

mrcane: Monitor progress, useful in larger mixed leagues.

John Smoltz – Shoulder – Status: Mid May

mrcane: Mid may seems optimistic, AL only leagues.

Dustin McGowan – Shoulder – Status: Early May

mrcane: Shoulder injuries are difficult to come back from, don’t expect much from Dustin.

Justin Duchscherer – Elbow – Status: Mid April

mrcane: Stay clear of Duchscherer on draft day, the news keeps getting worse.

Jason Schmidt – Shoulder – Status: Start on 15 day DL

mrcane: No value in any format.

Tom Glavine – Elbow/Shoulder – Status: Mid April

mrcane: Has little value when healthy except for larger NL only leagues.

Rich Hill – Elbow – Status: Late March

mrcane: Avoid in all formats.

Jeremy Bonderman – Shoulder – Status: Late March

mrcane: Bonderman should only be drafted in large AL only leagues.

Brad Penny – Shoulder – Status: Late March

mrcane: After being injured all of most of last year, monitor his progress.

Relief Pitchers:

Mariano Rivera – Shoulder – Status: Day to day

mrcane: Word is that Rivera will just fine. I’m a fan.

Matt Lindstrom – strained rotator cuff – Status: Shut down for 7 – 10 days

nichols33: Bad news for a possible sleeper for saves. Lindstrom, if healthy, will be the Marlins closer, but rotator cuff soreness for a power pitcher is never a good sign. Leo Nunez will be the closer until Lindstrom gets back. Only take Lindstrom after the other 20 or so closers that are guaranteed to have the job are off the board.

Joey Devine – Elbow – Status: Late March

mrcane: Should be closer with injury history should be ok.

Billy Wagner – Elbow – Status: out for the season

mrcane: No fantasy value

Chad Cordero – Shoulder – Status: Mid April

mrcane: My vote as the closer by the end of April, check the waiver wire.

Joel Zumaya – Shoulder, neck – Status: Mid April

mrcane: Lyons has the job and Zumaya is never healthy, avoid Zumaya.

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Good News – Bad News 3/10

gnbn

By nichols33

Good News:
Bobby Crosby (SS/3B, OAK): 
Surprise, surprise, Eric Chavez is hurt. Chavez is out “for the time being” according to ESPN and Bobby Crosby will be filling in at 3B.  FANTASY BASEBALL ADVICE: With rumors surrounding Crosby being traded to the Yankees or Cardinals it looks like his best bet might be to stay in Oakland. Chavez can’t stay on the field and Crosby could be a useful player in AL only leagues as a 3B or a SS.

Pedro Martinez (SP, Free Agent): Pedro threw 3 innings of one hit ball on Saturday with 4 Ks versus the Netherlands in the WBC. He followed that up with 3 perfect innings tonight with 2 Ks. FANTASY BASEBALL ADVICE: Pedro is pitching for a job and his results in the WBC (Dominican Republic was eliminated tonight) probably secured him a spot on some major league roster. Depending on where he signs, Pedro is somebody to keep an eye on, especially if he signs with the Dodgers or Mets, both rumored suitors.

Francisco Liriano (SP, Twins): Liriano threw four perfect innings the other day improving his spring stats to 9 innings pitched, 2 ER, 7 Ks and 1 BB. FANTASY BASEBALL ADVICE: Liriano is showing he is healthy and has his command and can still be effective with a slightly slower fastball. His spring stats combined with the way he finished last season should erase all worries in prospective fantasy owners. He may never be the fantasy ace he once was, but he could very well be a very solid #2. Take him before Justin Verlander, Dice-K, Eric Bedard, Chien-ing Wang and Matt Garza among others.

Bad News:
Ervin Santana (SP, Angels):
 The LA Times reported today that Santana may miss the entire month of April with a sprained ligament in his pitching elbow. FANTASY BASEBALL ADVICE: This is horrible news for a guy coming off a monster season. I had him ranked as the #17 Starting Pitcher before this news. He certainly needs to be moved down all lists and should not be considered until you have at least 3 other healthy options in your rotation.

Chipper Jones (3B, Braves): Chipper pulled his oblique muscle in WBC action this week. It does not appear too serious as he is staying with Team USA with hopes of playing in the next round. FANTASY BASBALL ADVICE: Get used to this if you are going to be an owner of Larry. When he’s in the line-up Chipper is as good as they come at 3B minus the guys in the Big Apple. He can be absolutely maddening for leagues with weekly lineups….he could get hurt on Monday or Tuesday and you are playing a player short for that week. Chipper is my 5th 3B with Wright, Longoria, Ramirez and ARod being ahead of him. If you think ARod will be out longer than Mid-May and it’s not a keeper league, move Chipper to #4. I wouldn’t hold it against you if you passed on Chipper and took Adrian Beltre, Michael Young or Garrett Atkins with a later pick or less auction dollars.

Fausto Carmona (SP, Indians): Keith Law of ESPN.com  had a great note on Carmona today. He is throwing great out of the wind-up but as soon as he allows a base runner and has to throw from the stretch his fastball is elevated and he becomes far less effective. FANTASY BASBALL ADVICE: Carmona still has plenty of time to refine his mechanics but this is some great data that you won’t see in the box scores this spring. Carmona had a dreadful season last year and he is a very nice bounce back candidate. Don’t buy too high on him. I have him as the #55 SP behind Scott Baker, Jered Weaver & Brandon Morrow and right ahead of Aaron Cook, Joe Saunders and Armando Galarraga.

Joe Mauer (C, Twins): Mauer’s back is acting up on him and he was going in for some magnetic tests that required him to be injected with dyes. He is out indefintely. FANTASY BASBALL ADVICE: Mauer has had his fair share of injuries in his young career. Catcher is not a very forgiving position and it appears that Joe has a little “Mr. Glass” in him. A back injury is never good for a guy who makes his living with a bat. I immediately move him behind Russell Martin and Brian McCann and strongly consider Geovanny Soto over him until I hear some more news.

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Filed under Good News / Bad News, Injuries

The AL at a Glance

By mrcane

As we finish another week of preseason baseball and roll toward the starting point some players are performing above and beyond expectations and others are faltering.  Let’s get the most scrutinized player of the year out of the way…Alex Rodriguez will now miss 6 to 9 weeks as reported by most major sources.  From a fantasy perspective if your going to draft him then you better have a reasonable back up because Arod won’t be gracing your lineup until as late as May.  It is reasonable to expect upon his return there will be some muscle atrophy and his numbers will not be what we have come to expect from Alex

….has anyone noticed Ryan Sweeney is leading the AL in hits this spring, and with Oakland’s lack of punch he could find his way into the lineup on a regular basis.  Keep him in mind for AL only leagues and deep mixed

….Jason Lane has resurfaced in Toronto and has 3 spring home runs!  He was a decent option only a few years ago and his performance might be worth monitoring

super prospect Brandon Wood has only 1 strikeout in 17 at bats!  He is batting .471 and with his ADP at 341 he could be a steal on draft day

….in the battle of the Texas backstops J. Saltalamacchia is dominating Teargarden with a tune of .438 BA 3BB 4K to Taylor’s .200 0BB 5K

…..On the downside the highly regarded Chris Davis leads the AL with 11K’s in 22 AB.  Davis is going very early in most drafts because of his power potential at a weak position.  Something to consider would be taking a player like Adrian Beltre and his 20-25 homeruns up to TEN rounds later!  Any player who strikes out that much is going to need time to adjust at the big league level

….Mike Jacobs new team has not helped his numbers, he is batting .208 for his new team

Andruw Jones has continued where he left off last year and is batting .273 with a ton of strikeouts, avoid Jones in all mixed formats

…..Kelly Shoppach has done little to help his case of stealing AB’s away from Travis Hafner, Ryan Garko andVictor Martinez in what could be some kind of rotation for him and V-Mart, Shoppach is batting an awful .133 and because of his position still warrants consideration on draft day in deep mixed leagues and AL only formats

…Alex Gordon just can’t seem to get it in the bigs, his ADP is 176 and for that spot there are better options later on like the previously mentioned Beltre

….Remember Phil Hughes?  How does 6 strike outs in 5 IP with a 0.00 ERA sound?  Hughes has fallen to a 343 ADP and could be a steal on draft day pitching for the Yankees

….Francisco Liriano one year removed from surgery is doing a fine job with 7K to 1BB; he will regain the form of two years ago.  Draft him as a fantasy ace for the K’s, era and whip

…..another super prospect from the Tampa organization Jeff Niemann has had a stellar spring with a 7:1 K:BB ratio, he doesn’t warrant any consideration at this point but if a starter struggles, get’s hurt or David Price stays in the bullpen Niemann might get the call

….John Danks get’s very little respect among fantasy owners being drafted behind the likes of Jeff Weaver and Zach Grienke (who I am a fan of) but Danks has continued where he left off last year with 6K’s and no walks this spring, oh ya his era is 0.00

….and two more words for you “Erik Bedard” has been pretty good, that could be the steal of the draft

….On the downside Justin Verlander remains very hittable and has more BB than K’s this spring

…Jeremy Sowers went from big-time prospect to big-time nothing, he warrants no consideration in any format

….three guys with very high hopes coming into this spring were Cliff Lee, Joba Chamberlain and Brandon Morrow, what they all have in common is an 18.00 era through 1 inning pitched.  Now we shouldn’t let spring stat’s influence our decisions that much but they should make us evaluate our personal rankings. Last year Cliff Lee was lights out during the spring, he should still be drafted in all formats I just think he falls into the 2nd tier of pitchers, not an ace.  Joba has had trouble staying healthy in the past so it will be interesting to see how he does as a starter and Morrow will move into the closer role if he falters, Morrow is the most intriguing of them all.  You can get Morrow late and worst case scenario is he racks up 25 saves in 4 months because he wasn’t a good starter, definately worth a late round pick.

That was quite a glance, and one more time…keep an eye on Bedard.

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The real top 10 players?

By mrcane

Here is a set of rankings that further illustrates the importance of the SB. I gave everything point values, which in 5×5 roto leagues is difficult because who’s to say one category is more important than the other. From a 15 team league I was in last year the category leaders were as follows: 

.284 BA 274 HR 1096 RS 1035 RBI 179 SB

With 13 players on the roster offensive I found the league would need 195 hitters so I found averages in the following categories to be:

.294  19.5  76.7  74.3  12.6   (Benchmark numbers)

Then I took a player 2008 stats and divided it by the benchmark numbers. This gave me a percent of change. I figure to keep all the numbers positive so if a player fell below the benchmark it would just count less, none count ed negatively. After I find the percent of change per category I total my percentages and multiply it be 20 allowing the middle player to fall somewhere around 100. Here is the top 10 players …

J. Reyes

 

173.2728

G. Sizemore

 

162.9574

H. Ramirez

 

160.5074

W. Taveras

 

149.724

C. Beltran

 

147.0903

J. Ellsbury

 

145.849

M. Holliday

 

143.5109

D. Wright

 

141.5651

J. Rollins

 

140.4278

A. Rodriguez

 

139.8572

M. Kemp

 

138.4529

 

I will exclude Willy T. just out of common sense. This is just an indicator of how valuable a stolen base really becomes in fantasy baseball.  We wouldn’t take everything we see as gospel, but it does make you view numbers through a different set of lenses.

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Arod to miss the first month plus.

By notebookguy

Word came down today that Alex Rodriguez will have surgery on his hip to remove a cyst.  The surgery will take place in Colorado on Monday according to ESPN.com.  Recovery and rehabilitation from the surgery takes 10 weeks.  This puts Arod’s return around mid-May if there are no set backs and recovery goes as expected.

FANTASY BASEBALL ADVICE:  He is certainly no longer a top 5 pick.   I will play it conservatively and expect Arod back June 1st, so 4 months of games for Arod, assuming no set-backs.  In keeper leagues you have to bite the bullet and still keep him.  He’s the best stat filler in the game when healthy, too valuable to let go because he’ll miss 2 months.  In drafts from scratch I would not make Arod one of my first 2 picks, if he’s still hanging around in the 3rd or 4th round he’s awful intriguing.  4 months of Arod is still as good as alot of guys can put up in 6 months.

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Big time players with question marks.

By notebookguy

The first 5 rounds of any draft is key to building the core of your offense and pitching staff.  Teams that lose one of their top 5 picks have a hole to dig themselves out of and though it can be accomplished, it’s easier to do your best to avoid being in that situation.  Here are some players that will go in the first 5 rounds of your draft that may dissapoint.  Average Draft Position(ADP) courtesy of mockdraftcentral.com.

Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees, ADP 2.85

I have Arod ranked 5th overall right now behind Hanely, Pujols, Wright, and Reyes.  I did have him 2nd overall behind Hanley until the steroids story broke and now there is word that he’s having trouble with his hip.  The pressure of the steroid story and the hip injury make me shy away from him slightly and go with a surer bets in the top 4.  I’m not saying avoid Arod, I would take him if he slipped to 5, but be wary of his situation with steroids and keep a close eye on the hip news.

Manny Ramirez, OF, Dodgers, ADP 22.85

The idiot savant of hitting turns 37 in May and plays in cavernous Dodger Stadium.  Without the luxury of DH’ing to give his old legs a break you can expect Manny to miss time at various points in the season with a strained hamstring or sore knee as he did in Boston.  Don’t expect a full season like his final 2 months for the Dodgers, you will be dissapointed.  Take players like Prince Fielder, Carlos Beltran, Justin Morneau, Jason Bay, and Carlos Lee before Manny, you’ll get more production and less headaches.  I’d wait till the 3rd round on Manny but he probably won’t make it out of the 2nd round.

Cole Hamels, SP, Phillies, ADP 40.58

The World Series Champion’s ace thew 265 innings last year including the postseason, an astounding 80 innings more than he pitched in any other season in his career.  This is an extremely large jump in innings for such a young hurler and history tells us that players with this big a jump don’t fair as well the following season.  He is only 25 years old and he is one of the best pitchers in the game, but don’t be surprised if that work load catches up with him a bit this year and the numbers are a little down or he misses some time.  I think he’ll be one of the best pitchers in the game for many years, but this year I’d proceed with caution.  Alternatives could be Brandon Webb, Roy Halladay, CC Sabathia, or Dan Haren safer bets with consistent innings over the last 3 years.

Jake Peavy, SP, Padres, ADP 45.21

Peavy was limited to 27 starts in 2008 due to elbow inflammation, 2 words you never want to hear in connection with your ace.  Combine the recent elbow woes with a terrible offensive team behind him and you can see why I think Peavy will dissapoint those that take him as their ace.  Webb, Halladay, CC, and/or Haren are better alternatives then the Pads ace.

Vlad Guerrero, OF, Angels, ADP 42.28

It’s tough to put him on this list.  He guts it out almost every year with knee, shoulder, and back problems getting 520+ AB’s every year he’s been an Angel but eventually the injuries pile up too high and the player succumbs.  I’m afraid that’s where we are at with Vlad the Impaler.  Offseason knee surgery has him taking it slow this spring training and he lost his protection in the lineup with Mark Teixeira cashing his checks in the Bronx.  So a weaker lineup, offseason surgery, and another year off the calender make Vlad riskier than ever.  Great alternatives to Vlad are Nick Markakis, Curtis Granderson, Alex Rios, Corey Hart, Carlos Quentin, and Shane Victorino.  All are younger and in or entering their primes, Vlad is well past his.

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