Tag Archives: Carlos Quentin

Early Season thoughts…

by notebookguy

Baseball season is finally here, let’s take a look at some of the early developments.  I know a game or 2 doesn’t mean much but when looking for the next McLouth, Quentin, Cl. Lee, and so on, it’s time to start looking.

Adam Jones, the speedy CF for the O’s, was on base 5 times against CC and the Yanks on opening day, with 3 hits and 2 walks.

Fantasy Baseball Advice:  Jones had alot of hype behind him coming into the year, I was one that was buying it but not completely sold, this is a good start.  If you grabbed him in your draft, see if an overzealous owner is will to buy high, if not, take a wait and see approach, a sleeper for 15-20 HR’s and 20+ SB’s.

Jay Bruce put a nice swing on a Johan Santana pitch to hit it out of the park.  A very encouraging sign for the young left handed slugger considering Santana is the best pitcher in the game and is also left-handed.  Bruce also was hitting 5th after Brandon Phillips, a great spot, better than the 2 hole as it was initially thought to be his spot in the Reds lineup.

Fantasy Baseball Advice:  Love Bruce this year.  Hanging in and homering against Johan is great for the lefthanded hitter as well.  If you snagged Bruce in you draft, nice job, I’d just ride the wave, drafted as a number 3 OF that could produce number 1 OF numbers.

The Braves and fantasy baseball owners alike got a raw deal in the person of Jeff Francoeur last year.  This much hyped youngster came into last season tabbed the next young Brave to explode onto the scene.  He fizzled big time with a Jason Varitek-esque year.  He’s off to a nice start this year though, homering on opening day, driving in 2 more runs already in todays game.

Fantasy Baseball Advice:  Great post hype buy.  Still a very young player at just 25 years old, he could still fulfill some of the promise he showed 2 years ago.  If you grabbed him in the very late rounds of your draft, you may have steal on your hands, at the very least enjoy the nice first 3 games.

Kevin Millwood, you may remember him as a Brave the last time he had much relevance, but he put together a very nice 7 inning, 1 earned run, 5 hits against,  5 K performance for the Rangers on opening day.  He was a borderline ace in his Braves days, he hasn’t been much since signing with the Rangers.

Fantasy Baseball Advice:  If you are dealing with some injuries to your staff, he may be a guy to look at.  He is also useful in leagues with benches that you pick a starting lineup, could be useful to mix in when he has 2 starts.  I am in no way declaring Kevin Millwood is as good as he was back with the Braves, but he could be a useful pitcher with good win potential with that offense backing him up, and can still rack up K’s at times.  His peripherals, WHIP and ERA, will probably be high, but he can contribute to your team.

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Filed under Observations, Pickups

NL Round Up

By nichols33

A quick trip around the National League team by team.

Oliver Perez (SP, NYM) Ollie is in the Mets doghouse after returning to the team from the WBC where he pitched horrible for Team Mexico. Mets coaches commented that he is “overweight” and did not do his conditioning during his time away froris m the team. Hopefully that explains his 6 BBs and 6 ERs yesterday.

Kenshin Kawakami (SP, ATL) The Japanese import got back on the mound yesterday and threw 5 innings of 1 hit, 1 ER ball. The injury scare appears to be behind him and Kawakami could be a very useful fantasy pitcher this season. Don’ t draft him as a starter but take a flyer on him for your bench.

Cameron Maybin (OF, FLA) Maybin is hitting .313 this spring and will hit leadoff for the Marlins. Spring stats normally are not indicative to how well a player is going to perform during the season but it is nice to see a kid of this talent having success against major league pitchers. A very nice sleeper in all leagues, but don’t be counting on him as a starter.

Jayson Werth (OF, PHI) It looks like Charlie Manuel likes Werth in the 5 spot in the lineup breaking up the left handed bats (Utley, Howard & Ibanez). This should create more RBI opportunities for Werth but also allow him to hit quasi-leadoff at least 50 times a game (after Howard homers) where he can get on and steal a bag.

Nick Johnson (1B, WAS) It appears as Nick Johnson will be starting regularly at 1B for the Nationals. He may be a nice pick up during the season but he should not be drafted in any league outside a NL only league. Dunn, Milledge and Dukes appear to be the OF with Willingham & Kearns on the outside looking in.

Ryan Braun (OF, MIL) The apparent minor injury Bruan suffered in the WBC looks like it could be something of concern. Braun is headed in for an MRI today after being pulled in the 4th inning yesterday for a pinch hitter. Bruan insists it’s nothing but the Brewers staff seems very concerned. Perhaps that is why Braunfell to me at pick #11 in a 5×5 league this past weekend. He should be a top 8 pick in all drafts even with this injury.

Jason Motte (RP, STL) Looks like Motte has a leg up on the competition for the closer role in St. Louis. Chris Perez has been injury and Motte has outperformed veteran Ryan Franklin thus far. If you take Motte in a draft take him after nearly all other closers are off the board. He may open the season as the closer but Perez will be given an opportunity at some point this season.

Andy LaRoche (3B, PIT) LaRoche will be the starting 3B for the Pirates this season and he is having a fine spring. The former Dodgers prospect is hitting .375 albeit mostly singles (13 singles, 2 HRs). He is a breakout candidate and should be stashed away on a bench in every league that has benches. Perhaps he is this year’s Carlos Quentin.

Kevin Gregg / Carlos Marmol (RP, CHC) The Cubs have yet to name a closer but are said to be close to a decision. Kevin Gregg has out pitched Marmol this year but it’s hard to ignore Gregg’s failures last season in Florida. If Gregg wins the job, it won’t be long before Marmol is given a shot. Fantasy wise, I would take Marmol but I’m seeing him go far to early in nearly every draft. He should be the 16th or 17th closer off the board, not the 10th.

Jonny Cueto (SP, CIN) Cueto threw 6 innings yesterday with 5 Ks and 0 ERs against a number of Red Sox starters. Cueto had an excellent spring last year andtook his lumps during the season. With a full year under his belt, expect better numbers from Cueto and draft him as your 4th starter at the earliest. He’d be a better gamble as your 5th.

Ivan Rodriguez (C, HOU) Don’t let Pudge’s torrid spring fool you. He had an outstanding spring last year hitting 6 HRs in the spring only to hit 7 HRs during the season. Rodriguez is nothing more than a backup catcher in the fantasy world and even then, you have better options (Napoli, Pierzynski, Navarro, Suzuki).

Kyle Blanks (1B/OF, SD) Did I read that right?!? The Padres are trying Kyle Blanks in the OF? This is a very large man who scouts have said may not even be able to play 1B and the Padres are trying him in the OF due to Adrian Gonzalez being comfortably set at 1B. While he may be relatively fast for a big man, don’t expect Blanks to find a permanent home in the OF. He may be San Diego’s 1B in the near future if the cost-cutting franchise decides to move Gonzalez. Blanks will probably have no fantasy value in 2009 but keep an eye on him for 2010.

Manny Ramirez (OF, LAD) Manny played the OF yesterday with no complications, he even man a slick play cutting off a ball before going to the wall holding the runner to a double rather than a would be triple. Manny will be ready when the season starts and will be an absolute monster when in the lineup. Manny should go late in the 2nd round or early in the 3rd in most drafts.

Ryan Spilborghs (OF, COL) Spilborghs appears to have the CF job in Colorado andis hitting .386 this spring with 5 SBs. He does not strike out and provides some speed that could be very useful to a fantasy team. Take a flyer on him late in the draft if you have a bench or a number of OF spots to fill in your starting lineup.

Matt Cain (SP, SF) Cain is really struggling this spring giving up 9 runs and 12 hits in his last 2 starts. Not that spring stats matter all that much to a guy that has a job but as you get closer to the start of the season you like to see young pitchers put together some solid starts especially when they disappointed as much as Cain did last year. Cain would be a solid 4th starter in most leagues but I’d be very nervous if he was my 3.

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Filed under Injuries, NL News

5×5 Draft Recap – Part 1

By nichols33

If you have read the “About Us” page on this blog you know that we are 5 guys that have been doing fantasy baseball together for over 10 years and this weekend was a BIG weekend. Saturday was a 12 team H2H points league draft that all 5 of us participated in and Sunday was a 15 team 5×5 Rotisserie league that all 5 of us participated in.

Since the H2H points league is a keeper league that allows draft pick trading it would be tough to explain why we did things where since each team had vastly different situations on draft day. But….the 5×5 draft was a start from scratch 5×5 league with 20 rosters spots where everybody starts. Over the next few days each of us will give a recap of our draft and hopefully provide some insight on what we were thinking and how it all panned out.darryl-strawberry

Team: Named after the great Darryl Strawberry

Draft Position (Typcial Serpentine Draft): 11th

Having the 11th pick I was hoping on scoring either Jimmy Rollins or Chase Utley. Well, mrcane was sitting with the 6th pick and we all know he loves Rollins so he went #6. In position #9, dtb23 (a Phils fan) was ready to scoop up Utley but he went one pick earlier at #8. Since I really wanted a 2B or SS I was planning on taking Kinsler….but Ryan Braun fell into my lap at pick #11. I thought about Beltran for a brief moment but went with Braun.

Coming back at pick #20 I was hoping on Evan Longoria but he went a couple picks early so I kind of went a bit early on Dustin Pedroia but I wanted a top 3 2B or top 3 SS and this was my only chance.

Going into the 3rd round I was happy to see a number of SPs flying off the board as my strategy was to put off pitching until at least the 6th round. For my pick in the 3rd I was eyeing Carlos Quentin and Matt Kemp but both went before it got back to me. With Aramis Ramirez sitting on the board I ensured my team of having a strong infield by snagging him in that spot.

For the 4th round I had some power and a bit of speed in Pedroia but I was looking to get a speedster and was eyeing Carl Crawford or Jacoby Ellsbury. Crawford went 3 picks before me so I settled in with Ellsbury.

For the 5th round I really wanted Stephen Drew to fall to me. He went about 8 picks before it got to me so I passed on the temptation to take Rafeal Furcal and instead solidified some power with Adam Dunn. I would have taken Bobby Abreu but he went 5 picks earlier to mrcane. Victor Martinez was also a consideration but I figured I’d be able to get him next pick about 10 picks away.

Turns out I was wrong as VMart went to tallkid1 and I chose Carlos Delgado because 1Bs were flying off the board and he was the only one left that I would be happy on as my starter.

Heading into the 7th I really needed to take some pitching since I planned on starting that in the 6th. There was still a number of “aces” on the board (Billingsly, Lester, Shields, Zambrano, Liriano, Gallardo, and F. Hernadez) all of whom went before my pick. I then chose Scott Kazmir for his Ks and followed up with Josh Johnson for his upside in the 8th round.

9th round I continued my quest to fill out my staff by selecting Joba Chamberlain. I was scouting Brett Myers but he went 2 picks earlier which I was fine with since I got him in my points league draft on Saturday. I really like Myers this year.

For the 1oth I was going to take my 1st closer and planned on Brian Fuentes. Mike Scioscia loves giving save opportunities only to his closer and their style of play really sets up a number of close games  so I think Fuentes is in line for quite a few saves this year. He went 2 picks before me and I reluctantly selected Kerry Wood.

Wood and I have a history. During his prime when he was the next Roger Clemens I once traded Nomar Garciaparra for Wood and Barry Larkin in a keeper league.  Wood proceeded to tear ligaments in his elbow 2 months later and Nomar became one of the top fantasy players for the next few years while I sat with an aging Barry Larkin. I must say I’m not a big fan of Wood.

My next few picks I took Ryan Doumit (can’t believe he was still there in the 11th), Matt Capps (wanted to ensure I got 2 guys guaranteed the job), Lastings Milledge (still wish he was a Met, love his power/speed combo) and Oliver Perez in the 14th (Ks!!! and his inconsistency doesn’t hurt as much in a total year tally league like it does in a H2H league).

For the rest of the draft there was slim pickings so I wanted to focus on young upside guys and guys who may be under-valued due to previous injuries. In the 15th I took Jeremy Hermida (great spring, last chance for this one-time stud prospect). I then took Max Scherzer (upside!!) and Todd Helton (great spring, is his back OK?).

I still did not have a shortstop and guys I was targeting for late in the draft (Yunel Escobar, Elvis Andrus, Ryan Theriot) had just come off the board so I continued to punt that category and took Jason Kubel (full time DH in Min, 27 years old). In the 19th I finally took a SS with Christain Guzman over Khalil Greene because I needed the avg more than the power.

I rounded out my draft with Edwin Jackson of the Tigers. I love this guy this year as a sleeper and I’ve so far got him in all 3 drafts I’ve done. I plan on scoring him as well in my 4th and final draft tomorrow night.

Overall I think my team came out pretty good. I wanted a better ace and I think I abandoned stolen bases a bit too much after the Milledge pick but I can pick some SBs during the season. If Josh Johnson and Joba Chamberlain bust out into super stardom this season and Kazmir stays healthy, I will have a real good team and do Darryl Strawberry proud!!

Projected Finish*: 6th out of 15 (81 total points)

(R: 9, HR: 9, RBI: 5, SB: 5, BA: 10, W: 6, Sv: 9, K: 14, ERA: 9, WHIP: 5)

* Based on Sportsline.com projections

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Filed under Draft Position, Draft Recap

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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Filed under Position Battles, Prospects

Position Depth Scarcity

By nichols33

Any experienced fantasy baseball player will tell you that they take into account the depth at certain positions when drafting or placing an auction value on a player. Stephen Drew’s .291 avg. last season with 21 HRs was far more valuable than Derrek Lee’s .291 avg. with 20 HRs because Drew plays shortstop and Lee plays first base. Lee is an average 1B at best while Drew is arguably a Top 5 SS. How can that be you ask? It all comes down to the options available at each position and the difference between the top producers over the non producers who are forced to start due to lack of options.

My colleague tallkid1 wrote a great piece, Third Base, The New Second Base, where he asked the question which position has the least depth or most depth scarcity. This inspired me to try and put some analysis together and attempt to solve this question for the upcoming fantasy baseball season.

I based my analysis on a 12 team Head-to-Head Points league that starts 1 C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, U/DH, 3 OF, 5 SP, 2 RP. I took the average points scored for the season for the top “starters” at each position. So I averaged the top 12 scoring catchers, the top 36 scoring OFs, top 60 scoring SPs, etc. The data rolled up like this:

Pos Avg Starters Pts
C 321.7
1B 488.4
2B 418.0
SS 417.4
3B 412.0
OF 439.4
SP 411.5
RP 236.3

This analysis obviously assumes that the top 12 scorers at 1B are all on different teams and also does not factor in the U/DH spot but directionally this data proves very helpful.

As you might expect the top 12 scoring catchers are greatly outscored by the top scorers at other positions. MLB teams place great emphasis on defensive minded players at the catcher position and even the best catchers sit roughly every 5th game. What is rather telling is tallkid1 was onto something. 3B was actually lower scoring than SS and 2B.

Surprising no one, 1B is the deepest position but by how far ahead it was over OF was quite shocking to me. OF felt a little weaker than normal going into last season but some breakout seasons (Kemp, Quentin, Hamilton, Victorino, Ethier, McLouth, Ludwick) really added to the depth of that position.

When drafting or placing auction value on a player you must keep in mind the position depth scarcity. You can be sitting pretty after 5 rounds with Mark Teixeira, Lance Berkman, Carlos Lee, Adam Dunn and Vladimir Guerrero but after round 15 you’ll feel nauseous looking at Bengie Molina, Alexi Casilla, Miguel Tejeda and Melvin Mora in your starting lineup.

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Filed under Position Analysis

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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Filed under Draft Position

Damaged Goods, Buyer Beware

By dtb23

Q: What’s more frustrating than wasting a draft pick on an under performing player? 

A: Using that same pick on a player who is physically unable to take the field.

Injuries are a critical aspect of every fantasy league and can strongly influence a team’s position in the standings.  Every owner needs to take this into account when they are preparing for the draft as well as managing their team throughout the season. 

Freak injuries happen every year, like when Utley broke his hand when he was hit by a pitch.  All you can do in this instance is do what the Phillies did. Find the best replacement you can and try to tread water while you wait for your fantasy stud to return. 

Other injuries are more predictable.  Certain players have a higher risk of missing time than others.  The best way to avoid drafting damaged goods is to monitor your fantasy sources and check out the readily available injury reports.  Here are some players you may want to avoid on draft day or at least move them down a few spots on your draft board;

C – Jorge Posada – Jorge is recovering from rotator cuff surgery on his throwing arm. His status for opening day is uncertain but the 37 year old catcher is on the decline and his days as a top tier fantasy catcher are over.
1B – Nick Johnson – Larry Bowa’s nephew is a great contact hitter but he has only recorded 500 at bats once in his career. He is currently recovering from surgery on his wrist.
2B – Chase Utley – The Phil’s GM, Ruben Amaro Jr, is so pleased with Utley’s speed of recovery that he has publicly stated Chase may be able to play in a few spring training games. If Chase continues his current pace it should be safe to draft him as the #1 second baseman in all of baseball.
SS- Rafael Furcal – Back issues are scary because there is no telling when there may be a reoccurrence. The prospect is even worse for a player who relies so heavily on his speed.
3B – Eric Chavez – Too many injuries to list. This player should not be drafted in any league.
OF – Carlos Quentin – Wrist injuries can be devastating to a power hitter. Expect his numbers to suffer until he regains full confidence in his surgically repaired wrist.
OF – Gary Matthews Jr – The OF will definitely start the year on the DL and will most likely miss up to 8 weeks to start the year.
OF – Milton Bradley – It’s too bad this guy can’t stay healthy. He is coming off of a career year and now that he is wearing a Cubs uniform could mean even better numbers across the board. The fact that he has already missed games due to injuries does not sit well.

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Filed under Injuries