Tag Archives: Cubs

Observations (4/13)

By nichols33

Citi Field, the new home of the New York Mets, plays big…..real big. Both David Wright and Carlos Beltran smoked balls to dead center but they were just a can of corn for center fielder Jody Gerut. Down the lines are short but power alley to power alley, that place is big. Comparable to Petco park in San Diego.

Josh Johnson and Johan Santana had a good ole fashion duel in Miami on Sunday. One of the best games I’ve had a pleasure to watch recently. Johan struck out 13 Marlins and was only done in by a Daniel Murphy horrendous error. Johnson matched him frame for frame going the distance and nearly pitching a shutout. Peter Gammons predicted Johnson to win the NL Cy Young award this year. Some of Gammons’ recent predictions have been WAY off, but this one may come to fruition.

The Padres pitching staff after Jake Peavy and Chris Young might as well be a page ripped out of the yellow pages. Who are these guys? Frankie De La Cruz, Jae-Kuk Ryu, Kevin Correia, Luke Gregerson, Justin Hampson, Cla Meredith, Edwin Moreno, Edward Mujica, Luis Perdomo, Walter Silva!!??!?!? Bueller? Anyone?

Kevin Gregg will not be the closer for the Cubs on May 1st. It was ridiculous that he even won the job in the first place but you can see the frustration in Lou Pinella’s face as he watching Gregg pitch. Gregg had a 4 run lead last night versus the Brewers and had to strike out Prince Fielder who was the tying run to end the game. Carlos Marmol looked unhittable in the 8th.

Aaron Harang is an ace again. He threw a complete game shutout yesterday versus the Pirates after a very nice start against the Mets on opening day. He looked very good against the Mets in bad weather and followed that up with the gem yesterday. Harang will get a number of starts against poor teams like the Pirates, the Astros and the Brewers and is a low end #1 fantasy pitcher.

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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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Overrated and Underrated Part Deux.

by notebookguy

Here’s a look at some more guys that are going too early in drafts and guys that are hanging around too long in the draft.
As always Average Draft Position(ADP) courtesy of mockdraftcentral.com and all round estimates are based on a 5×5, 15 team league.

Overrated

Carl Crawford, OF, Rays, ADP 29.3
His 3 year averages of .300 BA, 12 HR, 71 RBI, 84 R, and 44 SB are nice numbers but he has been consistently declining since 2006 with his OPS going from .830 in 2006 to .719 in 2008. A one hundred plus point drop in OPS is alarming, even more so when the player was quoted last year as saying he felt like “the oldest 27 year old ever”. Not exactly an encouraging quote from a guy you are gonna’ be relying on for SB’s. He goes nearly a round before Brian Roberts, Matt Kemp, and Alex Rios and 2 rounds ahead of Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino I’d rather wait and take any one of these players. Use that 2nd or 3rd round pick on a big bat or a big time ace then grab a player that will be as good or better than Crawford a round or two later.

All Closers

I can not stress this enough.  They are one category players.  Papelbon, Lidge, K-Rod, and Nathan all are usually off the board in the draft in the 5th or 6th round, that is a wasted pick.  You can not pass on a player that helps you in 4 or 5 categories for a guy that is a one category specialist.  If you have a choice between Papelbon and Dan Haren, take Dan Haren.  Brad Lidge and Magglio Ordonez, take Magglio Ordonez.  There is a popular misconception out there that closers help you in WHIP and ERA as well, it’s a myth.  Most leagues require 900 IP as a minimum.  A closer pitches 60 innings, that is 7% of the MINIMUM IP, most teams exceed that number so it’s even less a percentage than that.  This will have a very minimal affect on a teams WHIP and ERA.  Another mark against closers is that a third of the closers that start the year as their teams closers don’t end the year as their teams closers.  That’s an awful lot of volatility for one category.  Now I’m not saying punt the category, you never want to punt a category, I’m saying be patient, you’ll be able to get saves late in the draft and off the waiver wire once closers start imploding.

Derrek Lee, 1B, Cubs, ADP 73.63

.301 BA, 17 HR, 67 RBI, 71 R, 7 SB is his 3 year average.  Now I really shouldn’t need to say more, but just in case you don’t understand why that’s not worth a 5th or 6th round pick, I’ll expound.  Those numbers look eerily similar to players like James Loney(ADP 96.45), Conor Jackson(205.72), and Carlos Guillen(226.31) who all go MUCH later than D. Lee.  That 2005 MVP caliber season is a distant memory, do not trick yourself into thinking he may rebound into that type of player again, not going to happen.  He is 33 years old this season, an age when a player starts exiting his prime, it could get worse from here.  Let someone else pay for the name.

AJ Burnett, SP, Yankees, ADP 99.33

This is a man who loves to get paid, not play baseball.  Burnett’s two best seasons have just so happened to be the years he could hit the free agent market 2005 and 2008.  In Burnett’s six other full seasons since 2001 he has averaged just under 21 starts a season.  So outside of the 2 years he was looking at a big pay day he’s missed a third of his starts in those 6 seasons.  The Yankees were foolish to give him a 5 year 83 million dollar deal and you’d be foolish to take him as your ace or 2nd starter in the 7th round.  He is going to sit back, get out there when he feels like it, collect his checks, and be Carl Pavano: The Sequel.  He goes ahead of solid starting pitchers that will get you 30 starts with real good numbers like Jon Lester, C. Zambrano, M. Cain, Dice K, D. Lowe, and Javier Vazquez; inury/bounce back candidates Justin Verlander, Yovani Gallardo, Adam Wainwright, Br. Myers, A. Harang, and C. Young(Pads); and youngsters that may take another step up Edinson Volquez, R. Nolaso, and Greinke.  I recommend all these starters over AJ Burnett.

Howie Kendrick, 2B, Angels, ADP 124.41

Now a 9th round pick may not sound like much but this part of the draft is crucial, you can’t afford to give away a pick like this.  Anyone can pick pick productive players early in a draft, it’s getting impact players in the 9th-17th rounds that make a draft.  Howie Kendrick is the furthest thing from an impact player.  A 3 year average of .306 BA, 4 HR, 35 RBI, 41 R, and 7 SB, averaging 315 AB’s per season.  Do you really want to take a 2B that plays half of a season with unimpressive numbers in the 9th round?  Wait 100+ plus picks and take Polanco(ADP 229.96), Weeks(ADP 233.36), M. Ellis(ADP 256.36), O. Hudson(ADP 275.91), or Akinori Iwamura(ADP 284.31).  These players will give you more than Kendrick and are more likely to stay healthy, though Ellis and Weeks have had their health troubles, you can afford that risk in the 15th or 16th round, not the 9th.

Underrated

Cameron Maybin, OF, Marlins, ADP 264.2

This speedy prospect is set to be the Marlins CF and leadoff hitter on opening day this year, with the clear #1 pick in this years drafts Hanley Ramirez moving to 3rd in the lineup.  While I agree the move in the lineup is clearly due to Hanley’s RBI potential in the 3 spot, it also shows the Marlins confidence that Maybin can handle the leadoff duties at the major league level.  He will struggle, as most rookies do, with batting average as well as overall consistency, but Maybin can be a great SB and R source and can be had in the 18th round.  30+ SB’s that late is a steal on it’s own, combine that with Maybins overall offensive upside and you will have yourself a gem for one of your last picks.

Rick Ankiel, OF, Cardinals, ADP 221.12

Ankiel does come with injury risks, but the 15th round is a great time to be taking those types of risks.  Ankiel is the starting pitcher turned OF that slugged 25 HR’s in just 413 AB’s last year.  He is smack in the middle of the prime of his career and if he can reach the 500 AB plateau he will hit 30+ HR’s.  Finding a 30 HR bat at this point of the draft is grand theft, snag Ankiel around the 14th or 15th round and possibly get top 25 OF production.

Conor Jackson, 1b/OF, Diamondbacks, ADP 205.72

The Diamondbacks number 3 hitter this year will be Conor Jackson.  A line of .300 BA, 15-20 HR’s, 100 R’s, 100 RBI’s, and 10 SB’s is very atainable hitting in the middle of that lineup in a hitter friendly park.  Jackson will be 26 this season, just entering his prime, is ready to take his game to another level, don’t miss the boat.  He can be had for a 13th or 14th round pick and will far outproduce that spot.

Ted Lilly, SP, Cubs, ADP 199.79

This lefthander is as steady a SP as you’re going to find, how does he go in the 14th round on a regular basis?  He has averaged 16 W, 173 K, 4.07 ERA, and a 1.29 WHIP, that is solid 4 category production.  Injuries are not a concern either as he has averaged 33 starts a season for the last 3 years.  He is 33 years old so don’t expect him to exceed these numbers, but you can expect more of the same steady production for the next few years.  Grab him in the 12th or 13th round as your 4th starter and get borderline 2nd starter stats.

Aaron Harang, SP, Reds, ADP 158.91

Bounce back special on the big right hander this year.  From 2005-2007 Harang was one of the top pichers in the game averaging  14 W, 199 K, 3.78 ERA, and a 1.23 WHIP, great 4 category production.  I give him a mulligan for last year due to injury, he’s 30 years old in his prime, he will bounce back fine.  Grab him in the 9th or 10th round and get borderline ace production.

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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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Overrated and Underrated in the draft.

By notebookguy

Every year there are players that go far too early in a draft and there are players that seem to slip too late.  This list will help you avoid the pitfalls of wasting a high pick on an overhyped player and help you find talented players  late in the draft. I’ve done hundreds of mock drafts this offseason, as my beyond patient girlfriend can begrudgingly attest to, and these are the overrated/undderrated players I’ve identified.

Talk of rounds picked in this article is based on a 5×5 15 team format.  I will give you an Average Draft Position of a player, this is the number pick the player goes at on average at a draft at mockdraftcentral.com.  Average Draft Position(ADP) Courtesy of mockdraftcentral.com.

Overrated:

Josh Hamilton, OF, Rangers, ADP 11.53

He is an immensely talented player but injuries and off the field issues make him far too big a risk to spend your 1st round pick on.  He regularly goes ahead of great bats such as Ryan Howard, Mark Teixeira, and Lance Berkman in drafts and those players  have none of the headaches Hamilton brings to the table.  In the first round go safe, Hamilton’s upside is great, but you know you’ll get 1st round production out of those 3, you can’t say the same for Josh, you may, but why roll the dice?

Raul Ibanez, OF, Phillies, ADP 116.15

A late 7th/early 8th round pick in a 15 team draft for Raul Ibanez is not a good move for your team.  I understand that he is moving to the band box in Philly but he’s 37 years old, people don’t have huge years at 37 years old unless it’s chemically induced.  Also going to the NL eliminates the possibility of him DH’ing to give the legs a break, increasing the possibility of a DL stint, obviously his age plays into that as well.  He goes around the same time as guys like Johnny Damon, Torii Hunter, and Andre Ethier and goes at least a round before guys like Brad Hawpe, Jason Werth, and Pat Burrell.  All these players bring alot more to the table than Ibanez, let someone else make the mistake.

Miguel Tejeda, SS, Astros, ADP 116.43

I will not go anywhere near this guy at all, never mind in the 7th or 8th round.  An “alleged” roid guy, an old 32 years old, and his possible deportation for legal troubles mixed in with steadily declining numbers across the board for years render this former MVP undraftable in my book.

Joba Chamberlain, SP, Yankees, ADP 99.56

I think Joba has great potential, but some arm injuries very early in his career, probably due to being jerked between the pen and the rotation, make him extremely iffy to make 30 starts, I think he makes closer to 20.  A 20 start number 2 in your rotation isn’t going to help you win too many leagues.  He goes the same time as guys  like John Lackey and Felix Hernandez who are much safer bets and put up great numbers.  Joba goes ahead of guys like Dice, Lester, Zambrano, M. Cain, and J. Vazquez all starters you know you’ll get 30 starts out of with very good numbers, pass on Joba.

Rich Harden, SP, Cubs, ADP 119.8

Similar argument that I made for Joba except this guy has a much longer history of injuries making it more likely for that trend to continue.  The spot where he goes in the draft will likely make him the number 2 starter on a team, way too important a spot to take a risk on.

Underrated:

Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, Red Sox, ADP 59.21

Getting Ellsbury at the end of the 5th/beginning of the 6th round is an absolute steal.  Jacoby is Jose Reyes in CF.  A projected line of .290+ BA, 10-15 HR’s, 110+ R’s, 70+ RBI’s, 50+ SB’s is very reasonable and he may exceed those numbers.  I understand Reyes has the position advantage over Ellsbury but I think other than position, they’ll end up looking very similar.  Snag Ellsbury this year in the 3rd or 4th while you can, he’ll be a 1st or 2nd round pick next year.

Johnny Damon, OF, Yankees, ADP 114.13

The only Yankee OF of any worth this year is a great value in the 8th round.  He is the only OF in the Bronx that will get 550+ AB’s and he’s a consistent 5 category contributor.  His age is starting to factor in at 35 years old, but he’s averaged 560 AB’s over the last 3 years, going to the DL for the first time in his career last year, I think he’s got a year or 2 of good production left in him before he really starts breaking down.  He’s going to be hitting at the top of a very good lineup and has averaged .286, 18 HR’s, 71 RBI’s, 101 R’s, and 27 SB’s in pinstripes over the last 3 years.  Being a Sox fan, I don’t like the man personally, but you can’t ignore that type of 5 category production and Damon should be going earlier in the draft than he is.

Erik Bedard, SP, Mariners, ADP 179.6

Remember this guy?  Bedard was probably a top 5 pitcher on most lists this time last year, now he’s going in the late 12th/early 13th round of drafts.  I know missing last year is the cause of this and a shoulder injury is nothing to ignore, so be sure to keep an eye on him in Spring Training.  Reports so far are encouraging.  Keep this in mind:  13 W’s, 3.16 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, with 221 K’s all in the AL East in 2007, a great year for a pitcher in a bear of a division.  Well worth a shot as a number 3 or 4 starter, but know the risks and pay attention to his Spring.  You could get an ace in the 2nd half of your draft.

Adrian Beltre, 3B, Mariners, ADP 201.01

Now I realize the chemically induced Dodger year is far behind Beltre but he is an absolute bargain at 3B in the 14th round.  Beltre regularly goes 100+ picks after Aubrey Huff, Ryan Zimmerman, and Edwin Encarnacion, he is more than capable of matching the numbers of these players 6+ rounds after they come off the board.  Don’t forget that Beltre is in his free agent year, his other walk year he was an MVP candidate, don’t expect those numbers, but a line of .270, 25 HR’s, 90 R’s, 100 RBI’s, and 10 SB’s is attainable.

Chien-Ming Wang, SP, Yankees, ADP 218.6

The 15th round is far too late for the Yankees number 2 starter to go in the draft.  He is not going to give you big K numbers but 18 W’s, sub 4 ERA, and a good WHIP make him very valuable.  I expect his K’s to keep moving up as well.  His injury was a broken foot which is fully healed and he’s looked good so far this spring.  Scoop him up as your 4th starter and get 2nd starter production.

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