February 15, 2011

Player Snapshot: Mat Latos

Well ladies and gentlemen, its that time again. I am emerging from my mancave hibernation/ Packer Super Bowl Stupor to bring out the big stick. And this one has yet to be photographed by Brett Favre's cell phone. No, this big stick is made of maple or oak or cork... thanks to good ole Sammy Sosa. It's that beautiful time of year again, fantasy baseball season! No longer do we have to wait until Sunday to see how many points we will crush the competition by. We get to tally up a homer or two EVERY DAY. I mean, who doesn't love watching a longball on Sportscenter and saying to yourself, "yeah that's one for me baby!"

Unfortunately, this article isn't going to focus on homers. Instead, lets turn our attention to the land where home runs go to die, Petco Park. The only true offensive threat from 2010 is dawning new Sahx, but one man still stands tall in San Diego. Literally. Mat Latos is a 6'6", 225 pound man-beast. I saw him at a restaurant one time, and I instinctively cowered a little. And I'm 6'5". Imagine what it would feel like to be staring him down knowing that he is aiming a 95 MPH projectile in your general direction. I guess that's why you only need to succeed 3 out of 10 times as a hitter to be a Hall-of-Famer.

But I digress, sure the guy is an imposing figure on the mound, but what makes him such a contender for all of my fantasy teams this year? His potential. I mean, Mat probably still has to get carded to buy cigars but he set an MLB record with 15 straight starts with 5+ innings and 2 or less earned runs. In other words, barring an incredible collapse, this dude should be a stud.

Don't believe me? Let's look back at last year's campaign and delve into the numbers a bit:

184 IP:
Normally you have to worry about young arms being held back. However, given the firesale Jed Hoyer is putting on, who stands in Latos' way of 200+ innings?

2.92 ERA:
If it hadn't been the "Year of the Pitcher" this type of figure would have set off major alarms across the country. Playing in Petco with either an improved or somewhat similar defense behind him almost assuredly keeps it in the sub- to low-3.00 territory.

189 Ks:
More innings should mean more Ks. Plus, a major rule to follow when drafting pitchers is, "they can always fall back on strikeouts". Even if his ERA were to float up a little, you can undoubtedly hang your hat on 190 Ks.

9.21 Ks/9:
Just in case you needed more proof.

.78 HRs/9:
Do you hear that? That's all of us Padre fans weeping with joy... and a little bit weeping because we have a ballpark that results in zero fun.

 Those are some eye-popping digits. Sure his BABIP of .273 might signal a bit of luck falling on Mr. Latos' side, but with the ballpark and defense he has behind him its not out of the picture that his BABIP will naturally be lower than the league average. Either way, I see Latos as being a high-quality pick in upcoming fantasy drafts, and he will certainly have a 6'6" star next to his name on my draft sheet.

January 28, 2011

The Recent Lack of Posts

I apologize to the readers of FSC for this long break in posts. School has gotten the best of me these past few weeks and unfortunately that comes first. I should get back into the swing of things in the upcoming weeks and will be providing tons of quality info for the approaching MLB season.

Thanks for the continued support,

December 31, 2010

Top 5 Picks for 2011

As I type this, it is still technically 2010 across the United States. But in a mere 4 hours, the continental US will be in a completely new year. So you can forget about how Randy Moss screwed you this year and erase the memory of trading Greg Jennings for Terrell Owens before his latest diva breakdown. Hopefully 2011 won't be so cruel.

So with that, let's take a look forward to who should be the top 5 players taken in next years' drafts:

1. Adrian Peterson RB, Vikings-

Arian Foster was by far the best runningback this year, but All Day is the definition of consistency. Let's take a look at 2010 as an example. If you had a choice to redraft, would you rather have taken Chris Johnson, MJD, Ray Rice, Andre Johnson or Adrian Peterson. My point exactly.

2. Arian Foster RB, Texans-

This was the year of surprises, and Arian was one of the biggest ones. He never looked back after his spectacular Week 1. Sure Gary Kubiak might be out, but as long as Foster is the feature back, his numbers should continue to be out of this world.

3. Chris Johnson RB, Titans-

CJ2K will have to find a new nickname next year, but his monstrous TD total following up a 2000 yard season makes Johnson a major target in all leagues.

4.Jamaal Charles RB, Chiefs-

Last year when I did this exercise, Charles was one of my top picks. My confidence started to fade with the emergence of Thomas Jones, but I should have stuck with my gut. The Chiefs' young star has excelled during the last 2 fantasy playoffs, and showed that he can produce despite limited carries. If the ball starts to find Charles in favor of Jones, he will be a definite RB1.

5. Michael Vick QB, Eagles-

As Kevin Kolb took the opening snap against Green Bay this year, it looked like Michael Vick was destined for bench duty in 2010. But boy did he prove the skeptics horribly wrong. Vick was absolutely explosive down the stretch, and if your league values rushing TDs more than passing ones, he could have very well been the highest scoring QB despite missing a handful of games. Durability issues will continue to haunt him considering how often he gets hit, but if Michael Vick isn't the first quarterback picked in your 2011 draft, I would seriously examine your competition's mental state.

Well that's all I've got for now. Be sure to check back for a hefty amount of fantasy baseball info as the season approaches. We have big things in store. Good luck if your fantasy season is still going, and most importantly, have a great new year!

December 24, 2010

Rashad Jennings Could Be a Savior this Sunday

I can slowly feel guilt creeping up on me after that title. Almost as much as I can hear the "Keep the Christ in Christmas" crew tapping at their keyboards. But I'm serious right now, if your fantasy hopes were dashed by a Big Ben- Mike Wallace tandem, allow Rashad Jennings to help resurrect them.

I'm sure you've seen the news that MJD is listed as doubtful against a deteriorating Redskins defense, and most of the time doubtful is not a good sign (unless your last name rhymes with Marv). If MJD rests this weekend, it opens a major door for Jennings, who hs been a tremendous goal line TD poacher and has shown some explosiveness over the past few weeks. I mean, the guy had 100 yards on 4 carries a couple weeks ago. If that's not a reason for your mouth to water, I don't know what is. Hand the ball to Jennings 20+ times a game, and it could lead to some dangerous numbers.

So if you are still alive for some prize in your fantasy league -- including the $5 bounty from the toilet bowl-- you should snag up Jennings (especially if you are an MJD owner or playing against one). If the little ball of Jacksonville lightning can't go, it could be a great day for this backup running back.

December 17, 2010

If Aaron Rodgers Should Sit...

With Green Bay's A-Rod most likely resting while nursing a concussion this week, the Packers' championship chances are fading fast. And as a fantasy titan falls, shockwaves radiate through our community. So let's analyze the impact a Rodges-less week 15 could have:

Matt Flynn becomes a last-ditch effort for those fighting for consolation prizes, or are Rodgers owners in very deep leagues. But facing a menacing Giants pass rush could cause major problems.

Brandon Jackson should see a few more carries since the aerial attack should be less of a threat.

Greg Jennings might not see the dropoff many pundits foresee. Flynn seemed to develop a minor dependence on him last week, plus he is by far his best option.

Donald Driver gets a small downgrade in my books. He obviously still has the goods after he juked out the entire 49ers squad, but with a mediocre QB his age might show.

Andrew Quarless could be a sleeper play this week. Flynn looked the TE's way early and often after relieving Rodgers last week. It could turn out to be a fluke provided by the porous Lions' D, but I'm willing to bet Flynn and Quarless could have the rapport Rodgers could never seem to find following Jermichael Finley's surgery.

So don't automatically discount all of Green Bay's fantasy contributors if Rodgers is a no go. Capitalizing on this stud's injury could propel you to a championship.