February 24, 2010

Player Snapshot: Clayton Kershaw

I live in LA right now, and while stuck in the hideous traffic that inhabits this city I turned on sports radio to hear what was going on in the world, or at least stuff that I would care about. The topic for the day: What chance do the Dodgers have at winning a World Series this year? This of course led to the string of Dodger homers calling in and saying what every fan says about their team, "we got this in the bag" and the ever famous, "this is our year". But one comment that really struck me was one talking about Clayton Kershaw. The guy was talking about how missing on Halladay was ok, because they had Kershaw who was ready to become an ace of their rotation, despite being 21. I thought ok, I guess that makes sen... 21?! Now, I knew that Clayton was young, and I knew he had talent, but I mean the guy is exactly 1 year and 2 days older than me. This might have been more of an personal crisis as a player outside of the NBA was just about my age, but it still caught me off guard just how young Clayton really is. So I decided to sit down and break down my contemporary as to what his season might look like.
Last year, Kershaw's numbers were out of this world. 185 Ks, 2.79 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 8 Wins. Wait 8 wins? That can't be right. This guy made me do two double takes. Now that is a feat in itself. All of the stats behind this guy make it seem like he is the guy who will challenge Lincecum for Cy Young Awards for the rest of their careers, but 8 Wins? Ill touch on that in a bit, but let's take a look at some other stats of his from last year. He posted a great 2.03 K/BB ratio, which is big in the NL where every runner counts, and brought his HR/9 down from .92 to .37. That means if he threw 3 complete games, the other team might only see 1 homer. That's unheard of in the age of steroids. The only stat which will hurt him this year is the BABIP, which was already under the league average, in part due to a great defense behind him, but with the loss of Orlando Hudson and Manny sitting in left, I don't think he will be so "lucky". But that is only one stat. I mean the guy was a monster last year at age 20!
Alright, so about that whole wins thing. Now, on my lowly Padres I would understand a guy putting up those numbers and only winning 8 games (just look at Jake Peavy's early years), but Clayton's on a playoff team. It makes no sense. According to fangraph's pitch type analysis, the three pitches he threw most last year (fastball, curveball and slider), all increased his team's chance to win. He also added 2.94 to the probability the Dodgers would win. To put that in perspective, Javier Vazquez put up a 2.41 in that category and won 15 games all while playing for a team that won 9 less games than Kershaw's Dodgers.
Clayton might not have the hottest girlfriend on the team (damn you Matt Kemp!) and he might not be the most intimidating pitcher in the world since he looks like he could get pulled over for not looking old enough to drive, but the guy can flat out pitch. He's gonna put up huge stats, and the wins will come, I guarantee it. So go out and get him for your team, especially if its keeper. And if you ever see Kershaw walking around LA offer to buy him a beer since most bartenders probably won't serve him.

Projection: 15-6, 190Ks, 3.00 ERA, 1.25 WHIP

February 22, 2010

My Draft Process

I might not have been on this Earth for all that long, but I've done my fair share of fantasy drafts. I've done in-person, on the computer and slowly on message boards. I've called out bids in auction drafts, and gone traditional with serpentine. Roto, H2H, Points, the combinations to your fantasy baseball league can be endless, and I've done my best to explore all of the different settings to find what I like best. With that, this is the way I like to play, from setting myself up for a championship to the day of the draft.

Spreadsheets, spreadsheets, spreadsheets. I use Excel more than I use Word, which probably explains some of the grammatical mistakes I make here... and unfortunately, in my school work. I put together a list of my rankings, alongside those of magazines or sites I find reputable. I usually use a simple formula to help weight the different rankings, thus giving me a list that is not just my picks, helping to minimize any biases I might have.
Probably the most useful feature within this sheet, is the ability to filter by position. From there, all I need to do is assign numbered tiers to each of the players, and voila the tiers section is done. This comes in handy the most during the middle to late rounds, when you need to know who you would still be happy with starting on your team at a position in need.
Finally, the newest addition to my rankings spreadsheet, and my favorite thus far, is a list for each team, where their picks can be recorded. After that, I set up a conditional formatting setting for the lists, to work with the rankings so that each selected player will be crossed off the sheet. If you want to know how to do this, leave me a message and I'll be more than happy to help you get a sheet like this.
After that, its time to pick a league.

League Settings that I like:
First off, there is nothing better than having a group of people that you know, and can be competitive with in your league. Everyone has been in the league where it is down to 2 people at the end of the season, because the others forgot it was there. Plus, the best part of knowing your opponent is the trash talk. There's nothing better than telling the guy who is right behind you in the standings that if you win you're taking his sister out to dinner.
Now, with these friends, I usually like to keep leagues at the standard 12 teams. Otherwise, a lot of the advice you will find out on the internet won't mean much to you, and it is a number that will leave you with your fair share of talent, while making you work to fill out your roster with sleepers.
After that, I like to play roto more than anything. Yes, Head-to-Head allows for more trashtalking and is a bit more exciting on a day to day basis. But let's face it, rotisserie is a season long challenge that makes you pay close attention to your team at all times. I feel a lot more accomplished winning a roto league rather than streaming pitchers or punting categories in H2H.
The last thing I've really started to enjoy are keeper leagues. This is one way to not only get to know your leaguemates from year-to-year, but also adds another twist to the game, as you don't just have to know what's going on in the league this year, but down the road as well.

Draft Day:
Finally, the day has arrived, its right up there with getting your driver's license and going to prom (I'm only 20 mind you, so in a year or so I'm sure I'll have better analogies). But this is the time to put all of the hard work back in the preparation section to work. All that I bring to draft day with me is my laptop, or a printed out version of my list so I wont look like too big of a nerd. Other than that, I'll bring something to drink and a relaxed mind. While live is definitely the way to go, since you can actually carry real conversations with your draftmates, online works well just because everyone doesn't have to be in the same place. Let's face it in this age, that's near impossible. But after that, just enjoy yourself. The game is meant to be fun, and I always remind myself of that. Just sit back, relax and lay an absolute whooping on everyone else.

February 20, 2010

Guys I'm Buying: Dissecting ADPs

Alright so the title may make it seem like I'm entering the slave trade, or some other human trafficking, but remember the focus of this website people! Think about fantasy! Oh god that just sent you back to the human slave thing huh? Alright, well, once you get your mind out of that gutter, take a look at this list of guys that I think are going too low in mock drafts, so snag 'em now while they're still cheap!

Ichiro Suzuki OF, Seattle Mariners (ADP: 40.29)
With the abundance of power in the first round, finding a good speed threat in the first few rounds is a good idea. It is rare for players to have a higher batting average than this guy, but what makes him so invaluable is how many ABs he does it over. Ichiro is a lock for 200 hits, and that's the number which will carry your team. Those hits will help you offset guys like Mark Reynolds or Ryan Howard and allow you to pick up their great power stats without worrying about them ruining your BA column. The Mariners have started to reload offensively, and with the addition of Chone Figgins, Ichiro could drive in more runs and show off the power a lot of scouts and coaches say he secretly possesses. Ichiro is an extremely valuable asset to have, and getting him in the 3rd round is a steal in my opinion.
My Bold Prediction: 65/12/100/30/.325

Ian Stewart 2B/3B, Colorado Rockies (126.90)
The last few mock drafts I've done, Stewart hasn't gone anywhere near this spot. As a matter of fact, I was able to snag him in the 18th round in one. Ian is a masher at a position which does not have many. He plays two valuable positions and plays in one of the friendliest hitter's parks for half of his games. His downside, of course is his average, but hes coming out of a year with a low BABIP, he's only 24 and plays in a deep park with tons of gaps. While he may never come close to hitting .290, Stewart is one of those guys in the Ichiro column who will give you great power production from a shallow position and be complemented by a good average hitter.
My Bold Prediction: 80/25/85/10/.268

Corey Hart OF, Milwaukee Brewers (ADP 195.85)
Last year, Hart was one of the top 25 OFs and people expected him to explode onto the scene after a 20/20 season in 2008. The poor suckers who bought him in 09 had to watch as he went out and put up pitiful numbers, as he battled injury and went through a season-long slump. Oh... wait... I was one of those suckers. Its hard to bet on the same guy after he failed you the year before, but I like Hart to make a comeback. His power and speed numbers fell, but the guy is a physical beast, at the ripe age of 28 and has protection from two of the biggest power hitters in the game. If he can work his way up to the #2 spot where he started last year, and can bring back a little bit of the 2008 magic, I really like him as a last-round flyer for a consistent outfielder.
My Bold Prediction: 80/20/80/22/.270

Ben Sheets SP, Oakland A's (ADP 234.97)
When it comes to starting pitching there's a rule I like to follow. ERA and WHIP will fluctuate, wins are flukes but K's you can count on. I know Sheets' injury woes precede him, but the guy can rack up the strikeouts when he's healthy. I mean this guy had 264 in one year... 264! Throw in the fact that he is moving to one of the best pitchers parks and Big Ben could really do some damage. Now, I know that his ADP is very low in part because of his late signing, but if Ben can just show up for a majority of his scheduled starts, he could put up good numbers in every category. Sheets could very well spend the year on and off the DL, but if you can get him in the last round, a return to his old Brewers form could land you a solid pitcher to round out your staff.
My Bold Prediction: 11-6/150 IPs/140 Ks/3.80/1.25

February 19, 2010

Behind the Numbers: Votto vs Gonzalez

The 3rd round of your neighborhood draft rolls around to you. Your Yankee-homer friend Steve has already knocked back his fair share of brew and just picked Andy Pettitte, because "he's a winner". Thankfully, the rest of the guys in your draft are taking it seriously, so you've gotta buckle down. You've already got a speedy outfielder, and a high-quality middle infielder, but now you're looking for a good power hitter. You look down your list and see the top two guys who aren't crossed off are the slugger from Cincinnati and the soon to be ex-Padre Adrian Gonzalez. You know that they have been going off the board at around the same time in most mocks (Votto-30 and Gonzalez-31 according to Mock Draft Central's ADPs) So what do you do now?
Well I'll tell you what I would do, snatch up A-Gon even if he remains in sunny San Diego all year long.

First off, while Votto may seem like the up-and-comer in this situation, let's not forget the Gonzalez has yet to turn 28, so he has tons of good days in front of him despite what his 40 year-old face and 6 years of major league play may tell you. The two are fairly even in statistics as well, as Votto showed he could hit for a better average while Adrian will hit for more pop. They will both put up around the 100 mark in both RBIs and Runs, and neither is a real threat to swipe bags.

So what sets Gonzalez apart from Votto in my mind, you ask? Gonzalez's durability, but more importantly, the stats which lie underneath the ones that count in roto. What if I told you that there was a player who could put up the numbers of a high-quality first basemen all while playing 160 games in a year, is that something you might be interested in? If you didn't get that reference, please go buy Entourage now. Now watch all the seasons. Done? Ok good. You can now actually live life. Now back to the baseball. Votto is coming off a year where he missed 31 games, mainly due to stress. Now, I don't know about you but the first guy sounds a lot more secure than the one who had trouble with the pressures of major-league ball.

The durability is great and all, but what I focused on when I made my decision was the numbers which show how the player got to his final stats last season, mainly BABIP. Last year, Votto hit a very respectable .322 over the entire 131 games he played, which is one of the major selling points by guys drafting him this year. But while he did that, he hit an astonishing .372 on balls in play. That kind of a number is only seen by guys like Michael Bourn, who have tremendous speed. Votto certainly does not fit that category, so its almost a guarantee for him to hit a lower number next year and cause the average to drop. On the other side, Gonzalez hit a reasonable .278 on balls in play, which is very reasonable since he hit .277 over the course of the season. As long as he evens out to accepted average of .300, he could see a healthy rise, especially if he finds his way out of the hit destroyer that is Petco Park. Finally, a look at Adrian's BB-to-K ratio shows just how much the Padres lineup is hurting him as it jumped from .52 to 1.09, showing a patient hitter waiting for pitches he would get in most lineups.

So, when your leaguemates turn to you, waiting for you to go up to the board and record your pick, get up, put on your best Sly Stallone impression and yell "Adrian! Yo Adrian!"

February 18, 2010

2010 Fantasy Baseball Rankings #11-20

Here are the next 10 guys that I am targeting in 2010. Let me know what you guys think.

11. Evan Longoria 3B, Tampa Bay Rays- This guy was flat out mashing to start the year last season, with 12 HRs and a .327 average through May. He slowed down after a minor hamstring injury in June, but the guy still ended up with tremendous numbers, especially from the 3B spot. Throw in the fact that he did this at the ripe old age of 23 and that's a player I'd love to get at the turn in my draft.

12. Tim Lincecum SP, San Francisco Giants- If I wasn't so sure that he was some sort of superhuman being I would expect this guy to just fall apart one day with how fast he throws and how small he is. But, he has proven everyone wrong so far, so why prove me right? Lincecum is the #1 SP hands down, and if you feel comfortable taking a pitcher this early Lincecum is not a bad choice. However, don't go reaching for him in the top 8 like I've seen in some mocks, pitchers can only contribute in 4 categories and have a much bigger risk factor allocated to them.

13. Carl Crawford OF, Tampa Bay Rays- Four years ago, if you had asked me how many Tampa Bay Devil Rays would be in the top 2 rounds of this year's draft I'd have bet my left foot on zero. Last year, Crawford showed just how great he can be by contributing in all five categories and dominating the SB column. Even if he doesn't improve, as long as there isn't a major drop-off, Crawford is a definite top round pick.

14. David Wright 3B, New York Mets- Even after the tremendous down year that Wright had last year, he still put up mediocre stats. There aren't many players out there who can say that. With the amount of talent this guy has, its hard to argue against using a top pick on him. I know I'm probably dooming myself with this comment but look for the Mets to make a bit of a bounce back in the right direction, starting with the big guy at the hot corner.

15. Matt Holliday OF, St. Louis Cardinals- What's not to like with this guy? He hits behind the best hitter in baseball, he has a proven track record of putting up huge numbers (even outside of Coors) and he drops easy pop-flies. Alright so maybe the last one isn't a good thing, but that's why we don't have fielding in fantasy, it's no fun.

16. Jacoby Ellsbury OF, Boston Red Sox- There aren't many players in this game who can help you win a category single-handedly, Jacoby is one of them. He led the league in steals, by a pretty wide margin, and got tons of hits and runs. There's no reason to think he will slow down, so I'm buying Jacoby.

17. Justin Upton OF, Arizona Diamondbacks- I'm probably never going to get this guy in a draft, despite the fact that I think he is going to blow down the doors on this season. People are moving him up into the end of the first round, and I am just not prepared to take him there. He is a 22 year old masher, but he is still too inexperienced for me to bet big, there have been way too many players who have turned around and flopped after a season like Upton's 2009.

18. Troy Tulowitzki SS, Colorado Rockies- Any time the Rockies unload their best hitter, like Holliday last year, there will always be someone to step up and be a terrific fantasy player. Even a little league team that spent 81 games in Coors would have someone put up a 90/20/90 line. Tulowitzki is that guy, and the best part is that he is a shortstop, a position severely lacking power. The man named Troy will put up a 20/15 line on one leg, and if you can get that from a SS, do it.

19. Ian Kinsler 2B, Texas Rangers- Another young, middle infielder, playing in a great hitter's stadium. He will probably put up a line very similar to Tulo's, so if you were lucky enough to land Hanley in the 1st, you can lock up the double play combo with a great 2B.

20. Joe Mauer C, Minnesota Twins- This is the guy everyone is arguing where he should go. Ranging anywhere from the 1st-3rd rounds, Mauer has been seen going off the board as a star or a quality backstop. I think he should fall in the middle of where he's been going. Mauer will be the best catcher, a position where its hard to find a great hitter. Even after overcoming his initial injury last year, the king of the Twin Cities made teams shoot up in the batting average rankings. He will help your team no matter what, but don't overpay for a guy who will be mediocre in power numbers and run the risk of missing games at baseball's most physically straining position.

February 16, 2010

My Sleepers for the Year

Most players agree that fantasy drafts are not won in the first few rounds, but rather in the middle to late rounds when value picks are made. When it comes to sleepers, I break them down into 4 categories. This year, I decided I would select one player from each of these classifications and target them in the middle rounds.

The idea of buying low is the key to... well, life. These players are seen for less than their talents would say they worth. This knock against the player is usually something that is hard to notice. Whether it is minimal coverage or an injury from a long time ago which people still think lingers, always target guys you think people are undervaluing so you can enjoy the spoils.
Matt Wieters- A lot of people would think that with the hype that surrounds Wieters, that he is a highly priced commodity. However, with an ADP in the 8-9th rounds, if Wieters were to come into the unbelievable talent that everyone believes he has, he could be a 5th round value hidden in the middle of your draft.

Emerging Stars- These players are definitely talented, but have only shown a bit of what they can do. Normally they will come in the form of 1st round MLB draft picks who have performed well, but just not off the charts.
Jay Bruce- This guy was projected to be a great pro, and made quite a splash in his first few games in the bigs. But Bruce really cooled down over the last year, while still putting up quality numbers. With how much raw power and hitting ability this guy has shown, I am willing to put some money on him busting out this season, and if he happens to end up giving me the same value as last year, I'll take it with my 11th rounder.

Post-Hype- These classifications might seem redundant, but these players are young players who everyone has given up on because of a bad season. These players' values are driven down by that value, but if you believe that it was just growing pains.
David Price- Yet another top pick who I believe is ready to explode. Price certainly underwhelmed last year, but it is hard to argue against a lefty with the pitches that he has in his arsenal. There is no reason why Price can't explode onto the scene this season and show everyone why they got so excited about him last year.

Bouncing Back- This is the section dedicated to veterans. Whether it is an injury or some other down year in terms of statistics, guys who fit this bill have shown a good season or two in the bigs, but scared owners off last season. If you are comfortable gambling on a recovery, then they will pay off huge if they can return to previous forms.
Carlos Quentin- Carlos really exploded in 2008, only to continue his injury woes in 2009 and missing the last half of the season. While that may be a downer, the stats he posted prior to the plantar fasciitis were impressive with the exception of his BA. But if a guy can generate that much power with a problem in his foot, there is definite talent there. Quentin would be a first 5 round pick if he hadn't been hurt, so jump on the commodity before it gets too hot.

February 15, 2010

Behind the Numbers: Prime Pairings

Going into a Ruth's Chris and ordering the biggest steak they have would be amazing. Pairing that glorious chunk of meat with a heaping glass of moldy milk will really spoil that experience. That's how I look at the first 3 rounds of my fantasy drafts. The 1st pick is designed to be the steak whereas the other picks are meant to be the wine you pair with it that will help to make a glorious meal that you can sit back and enjoy.
One of the goals I like to make is to target 75 HRs and 75 SBs within the first 3 rounds. With that in mind, these are some of the players I'm looking to pair with this year's 1st round picks (according to Mock Draft Central).

1. Albert Pujols - Grady Sizemore(2nd round)
Pujols has a built in insurance policy which will get you 40 HRs and heaps of RBIs, Rs and an Avg out the roof. Sizemore uses these tools well. He will help to boost your steals numbers, contribute some more power and will provide you with good value as people pass over his mediocre BA, which you can afford to absorb.
2. Hanley Ramirez- Dustin Pedroia/Ryan Zimmerman (3rd) If you can seal up two of the shallower positions in the first 3 rounds I call that a win. If you pick Pedroia the next pick wold be a quality 1B or OF who can hit for power, whereas Zimmerman would go with an OF with speed.
3 & 4. A-Rod/Chase Utley- Jimmy Rollins/Jose Reyes (2nd) This goes along the same lines as the Hanley line, only in reverse. You get the power guy in the 1st and couple it with some speed, while filling two difficult positions.
5. Ryan Braun- Carl Crawford (2nd) Even though they play the same position, these guys work together well Braun provides the pure power and Crawford the pure speed. Pair them with a 20/20 guy in the 3rd and you'll be on the right track.
6 & 8. Mark Teixeira/ Prince Fielder- Jacoby Ellsbury (2nd) Both of these guys will have very similar lines, high HRs and no sign of speed. But that will be fine as long as you pick up a guy like Jacoby in the 2nd the stats will balance out in the end, at a very high level i might add.
7. Matt Kemp- Justin Upton (2nd) Kemp and Upton would make for an excellent start as they both will contribute heavily in all five categories. Kemp will provide more SBs and Upton will help to up the HRs. They may play the same position, but they do it well.
9. Evan Longoria- Ian Kinsler (2nd) Same story as the A-Rod/Utley/Hanley pairs. You'll get a high HR/SB total, good production in every other category and two tough positions filled.
10. Ryan Howard- Ichiro (3rd if you can get him there) Ichiro would be the perfect pair for the big Ryno. They contribute where the other person lacks. You'll end up with an even line, which is what you should be shooting for in roto.
11. Miguel Cabrera- Ian Kinsler (2nd) I know I recommended him for Longoria, but he actually fits a little better here. Whenever I get someone with a high BA, I look to find a guy who hits for a lower average but contributes elsewhere. Cabrera's overwhelming number of hits makes it easier to absorb Kinsler's lower number and get you great 4-cat production at 2B.
12. Tim Lincecum- David Wright (2nd) If I were to ever reach for a pitcher in the 1st round it would be here at the turn with Lincecum. It is a given that he will dominate. My next pick would have to be someone I could count on to provide all sorts of production. That's why I'd stick with someone like Wright. Even in his down year last season, he still got owners a high BA and a fair amount of HRs and steals. He has nowhere else to go but up, so if I can get vintage David Wright in the 2nd with the complete pitching package in the 1st I will be happy.

So there are my picks for pairs. If you have any thoughts don't be afraid to comment. I'd like to know I'm not just talking to myself.

February 12, 2010

2010 Positional Rankings: Catcher

Here's my first look at the backstops in this year's draft. From the big dog Mauer to a few of the Molina bros., these are the guys I'm looking to take, the place where I'd like to take them and their respective tiers.

The King Behind (and at) the Plate
1. Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins (21)- I dare you to find someone who thinks this guy isn't the #1 guy at this position. It just can't be done. While my Packer allegiances might hold me back from supporting a Minnesotan, I'll admit I've got a bit of a man crush on him. I'm still not a supporter of taking him in the first round, however, since catchers have the most risk built into them.

The Guys who would be Great if not for Mauer
2 and 3. Victor Martinez, Cleveland Indians (47); Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves (48)- I could make a case for either of these guys to come off the board at the same time. But I put V-Mart in front of McCann for a few reasons. First, I'm a disgruntled McCann owner from last year and the whole eye-surgery thing still scares me. V-Mart has an amazing lineup surrounding him, whereas the next most intimidating hitter in the Braves lineup may be an aging Chipper Jones. Finally, Martinez's stints at first really help his longevity throughout the season and give him a bit of versatility in your lineup.

4. Matt Weiters, Baltimore Orioles (111)- I call him Neo, because everyone has dubbed him the "Chosen One" as the next masher at the catcher position. I'm not going to lie, the guy has really impressed me. I also nearly jumped for joy when I got him in the 11th round in this year's draft, but you still have to worry about how young he is. But trust me, if he does come into the Neo form this season he could propel you to a championship.

Guys I'd live with
5. Miguel Montero, Arizona Diamondbacks (145)- What's not to love about a young guy who has shown what he can do? There's only room to improve (knock on wood) with a player like Montero, and that's why he lands so high on my list.
6. Russell Martin, Los Angeles Dodgers(154)- A lot of people think this guy has fallen off the map. Hard to think that could happen to a guy in a city like LA. But Joe Torre has definitely done some damage to this guy by putting him out there so often. However, I still have confidence in a catcher with speed though, so go ahead and have confidence in a catcher who has shown he can hit, hit for power and steal a few bases along the way.
7. Jorge Posada, New York Yankees (155)- You know what you're getting when you pick Posada. While he does have his age working against him, you still get a good hitter in the middle of a top lineup in one of the best hitter's parks. Even if he was 60 with a newly replaced hip, I'd still think about taking this guy with his situation.
8. Mike Napoli, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (157)- Napoli is going to miss some games, that's a given. But when he is in the lineup he's a force. He will hit for .270 and I see his slugging coming back up this year to help him hit in the 25 HR range.

The 27s-
9. Geovany Soto, Chicago Cubs (166)- Soto has a special place with me after his breakout season in 2008 helped to propel me to a championship. Had I owned him last year, I probably would not feel any confidence in him. But the guy is entering the magical year of his 27th birthday, and if there was ever a time for him to turn his career around it would be now.
10. Kurt Suzuki, Oakland A's (195)- Alright, this might be cheating a little since he doesn't turn 27 until October but I'm going to lump him here anyway. Suzuki is a solid, durable catcher who will help to make sure you aren't slacking at that position. While Kurt may not blow up for any huge numbers he will allow you to focus on your other positions without having to worry about the first guy on your lineup sheet.

I hope this quick review of a few of my favorite catchers helps. Look for more rankings concerning each position, as well as more depth into the guys behind the plate.

Player Snapshot: Ben Zobrist

I recently took part in a mock draft and came away feeling pretty confident. With the studly Matt Kemp, getting good value out of Greinke in the 4th round and being able to take a chance on Rajai Davis in the 20th, it felt good. But when I went back to look over my picks, one of them stood out, in a Lindsay Lohan type way, it was just sad. I took Ben Zobrist in the 5th round at pick 46. Some people would argue that I made a fair pick, but I'm really starting to second guess this guy. While everyone loves the underdog tale of a star emerging from the bench, I'm not ready to dub this guy a legitimate first 5 rounds guy. To his credit, Zobrist does play a shallow position in terms of talent and he showed his power capabilities in both 2008 and 2009, but that just isn't enough. It took him until he was 28 to show his stuff at the major league level, despite an impressive minor league career. He needs to show that last year's speed and average weren't just flukes, but instead the beginning of his break onto the scene. That's why I'm going to wait a year and see just what Ben is really made of before I make the same mistake I made in this mock.

February 11, 2010

2010 Fantasy Baseball Rankings #1-10

This is officially my first post here on FSS. With football season having just come to a close, it is time to turn our focus to baseball. So without further ado, here are my rankings for the top 10 players in this year's Roto drafts... with a little blurb about why they are there:

1. Albert Pujols 1B, St. Louis Cardinals- If there was a way for me to ensure that I had this guy on my team, I'd do it. Sell my unborn child, yes. Stick nine-inch nails through each one of my eyelids? You betcha. Be forced to watch my hometown Padres? We'll talk.

2. Hanley Ramirez SS, Florida Marlins- He hits for average, for power, steals bags and plays at a very shallow position. He's the only guy I'd even question Albert Pujols with, but I don't want to commit blasphemy.

3. Alex Rodriguez 3B, New York Yankees- Even though last year was filled with steroids, injury and Kate Hudson, A-Rod still turned in a quality season in minimal at-bats .My mouth is watering at the possibility of him returning to the guy he was before A-Roid.

4. Chase Utley 2B, Philadelphia Phillies- Not only did he explode in the Series when it mattered most, but the guy can flat out rake. Like Hanley, he is the king of his position and this year 2B is definitely one of the weaker spots.

5. Ryan Braun OF, Milwaukee Brewers- You could really make an argument for any of these #3-5 guys for the right to be picked after the Big 2. Even though I have no doubts that Braun will put up the best numbers of the three guys in question, he still plays outfield, and positional scarcity is a big one with me.

6. Matt Kemp OF, Los Angeles Dodgers- This guy is the real deal. It is hard to find players who can legitimately contribute in all 5 roto categories. This guy is one of them. Take him in the 1st round and be happy.

7. Mark Teixeira 1B, New York Yankees-He must love New York. He plays in one of the best hitter's stadium, has some of the best protection in the bigs and enjoys Broadway musicals, according to Wikipedia (take that college professors).

8. Miguel Cabrera 1B, Detroit Tigers- Miggy C is just too good of a hitter to escape the 1st round like I've been seeing in some mocks. If you are able to catch him at the turn go buy a lottery ticket.

9. Prince Fielder 1B, Milwaukee Brewers-If I had a copy of the Guiness Book of World Records I would put money on the fact that he is the there under biggest vegetarian. All that tofu sure hasn't affected his power though, that's for sure. He'll put up nasty numbers.

10. Ryan Howard 1B, Philadelphia Phillies- I know I said I was a big believer in positional scarcity and yes, I know this is the 4th straight first-baseman. But this guy has a satisfaction guarantee symbol tatooed on his arm. The guy will provide heaps of HRs, RBIs and Rs. Get him and pair him with a speed guy with a high BA later and you will be more than happy.