Tag Archives: Lance Berkman

Opening Day

by mrCane

One of the best day’s of the year, besides draft day of course, is baseball opening day.  It’s when fantasy owners finally get to the see rosters they’ve assembled put into action.  Some teams and players will get off to amazing starts while others will inch out of the gate.  Keep your emotions stable and enjoy the ride.  Here are just a couple of things to look for today, opening day.

Aaron Harang gets to take on Johan Santana and the NY Mets.  It will be interesting to see how Harang fares after his awful 2008 season.  On the other side, Johan is not pitching in nice weather right now.  I will be curious to see if the cold has any effect on his arm tightening up over the course of the game.  Remember that Johan did have elbow stiffness earlier this spring.  A couple other young players to watch are Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, who I predict will both struggle a great deal with Johan.  I think the mets take this one 4-2.

Cliff Lee is going to get pounded by the Texas Rangers.  Look for Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz to have big games.  Micheal Young is over at third base adding to his eligibility this year.  Let’s see how Travis Hafner responds to offseason shoulder surgery.  I predict Hafner hits less than 20hr, say 17 this year. 

Ricky Nolasco is going to have a day with the Washington Nationals.  The Nationals have far too many guys who whiff, most notably Adam Dunn.  Nolasco should strike out 9 while the Marlins kick this season off with a win.  Its time to Cameron Maybin excite fantasy managers across the nation.

Toronto and Detroit square off where Justin Verlander will no doubt lose to Roy Halladay.  I don’t like Verlander this year, not one bit.  There are about 40 or more pitchers I would take before him.  I think Verlander struggles to get through 5IP and then the Detroit bullpen gets lit up by the Toronto bats.

In a battle of Aces, King Felix duals Francisco Liriano with two teams who’s offenses need work.  I like the Twins in this, because they are at home and their team has the ability to manufacture runs when needed.  Twins take this one 3-2 on opening day.  I am curious to see who the Mariners send out to the mound in the 8th and 9th inning if they are ahead. 

Another battle of aces are Roy Oswalt and Carlos Zambrano.  I like the Cubs all the way in this one.  Lance Berkman is still struggling with his shoulder and without him in the lineup, its a different Astros team.  Soriano was red hot to end the spring and Oswalt got off to a slow start last year, it will be interesting to see what happens this year.

These are just some of the games that are going to be fun to watch in what should be another great fantasy baseball season.  Good luck to all!

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5×5 Draft Recap – Part 4

By notebookguy

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.

Team: Named after Hamsterdam in “The Wire”

Draft Position (Typical Serpentine Draft): 15th

My strategy going into the draft was to load up on bats early, preferably 5 category bats, and wait to fill out my pitching staff until the later rounds. Having the last pick in the draft, having a double pick, meant I couldn’t really set my sites on a particular player not knowing who would fall to me. In my mock drafts I mostly drafted 2 of Soriano, Beltran, and Prince, so that was the group I was prepared to take from, two 5 cat guys, and a slugging 1B, all 3 of which I obviously liked a lot. Position was not a huge concern but I did want to grab a decent SS before they all fell off the board.

Well my first 2 picks I never expected to fall to me. At the 15th and 16th picks I drafted Ian Kinsler(ADP 9) and Lance Berkman(ADP 15), 2 guys that rarely fell to me in my mock drafts. In fact, I never saw Kinsler at 15 in my mocks, and Berkman occasionally got to 15 but not very often. I was ecstatic about these picks a 5 category 2B, the best 2B in fantasy baseball in my opinion, and a slugging 1B that is a rock for 30 HR’s and 100 RBI’s, not to mention contributing very well in the other 3 cats most of the time.

I continued to get 5 category producers in the 3rd and 4th rounds with Brandon Phillips and Alex Rios. Phillips(ADP 30) being around 15 picks after he’s usually picked was a nice surprise, although I already had a 2B, I had to scoop this underrated potential 30-30 man, because everyone starts in this league and the numbers were too good to ignore. Rios fell into my plan as well, a 5 cat OF with upside. Needless to say I loved my first 4 picks, all fell into what I was looking for and were good values at the places I got them.

For my pitching staff I grabbed an ace, John Lackey, in the 5th round, filled out my top 3 of my pitching staff with Matt Cain(9th rd.), and Derek Lowe(11thrd.). Not a dominant top 3 but a good top 3 with some upside in Cain. Grabbing BJ Ryan(10thrd.) and Heath Bell(13thrd.) was better closers than I expected, but it may have cost the back end of my rotation because I ended up with Manny Parra(15th rd.) and Wandy Rodriguez(17thrd.) both of which I would’ve liked as a 5th starter but needing one of them as my 4thstarter was not in the plan, a problem I will fix with a deal for a starting pitcher.

The offense rounded out nicely getting some thunder in the middle rounds, Carlos Pena(5th rd.) and Jermaine Dye(8th rd.), will be nice power compliments to my top 4 picks. I also picked up one of the SS’s I was eyeing, Rafael Furcal(7th rd.), which was key giving me more SB’s, just have to keep an eye on his health. Jason Werth was a steal in the 12th round, another 5 category player to add to the mix.

My late round bats were guys I snagged late in most of my mock drafts Edwin Encarnacion(14thrd.) a 20+ HR 3B with upside, Shin-Soo Choo(16th rd.) a big upside OF, and Mike Jacobs(18th rd.) couldn’t believe this 30 HR 1B was still sitting there in the 18th round.

I am very happy with how my draft went. I would’ve liked to have drafted a better 4th starter and 3B, but no draft is going to go perfectly. I feel I have good balance in power and speed, good closers, and a good top 3 to my rotation, and I think I’m right there with anyone from day 1.

Projected Finish*: 3 out of 15 (89 total points)

(R: 14, HR: 12, RBI: 12, SB: 6, BA: 8, W: 2, Sv: 6, K: 6, ERA: 14, WHIP: 9)

* Based on Sportsline.com projections

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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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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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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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