Ramblings…

Some random baseball thoughts before this monk heads out on vacation (which will involve seeing a live Giants game at AT&T…yes!)

– Still super impressed with Brandon Crawford. The rumor mill is churning and it looks like Tejada is out when Pablo comes back. Good riddance.

– Fantasy tidbits: my boy Yovani Gallardo pitches tonight and I hope the turn around continues. My other favorite draft day gold mind right now is David Ortiz: AMAZING production for an 11th round pick!

– I think I may have to give up on my A’s prediction. They’ve gone in the tank and lost 9 in a row and might be losing their best pitcher for the rest of the season.

– The Red Sox have passed the Yankees now for first place in the East. I am still amazed at how “good” the Yanks pitching has been so far this season. Statistically they are among the top 3 in the AL. Sorry, but no way that continues.

– What about Jake Fox as a catching option? He had a ridiculous spring training (which doesn’t mean much) and was released by the Orioles yesterday (probably because of some guy named Matt Weiters). Anyway, he has some pop, but I have no idea what kind of catching skills he has (it appears not much). Could be a cheap way to upgrade the offensive production from that position.

– Still think it’s going to be the Rockies and Giants for the West. Colorado’s pitching has been well above league average (which surprised me) while their offense is as bad as the Giants (also surprising). You know they will score runs at some point, and I just can’t see Arizona hanging in there all season.

That’s all. Hope to keep the weekly rundowns coming even while I am away.

(-SB)

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An Ode to James Shields

There is plenty to be frustrated with as a fantasy owner. There are always decisions to second guess, players to curse, and outrageous fortune to question. This year I have spent a lot of time questioning my sanity regarding two players: Hanley Ramirez and Yovani Gallardo.

I took Hanley with the third pick in my winners league. Albert Pujols and Troy Tulowitzki were off the board. I had banked on Tulo being there at three, so I was thrown off by that, and my gut instinct was to go for Adrian Gonzalez. That would have been early for Adrian (a sure-fire first rounder, but more in the 8-12 range), but my gut said do it…my head said “Hanley”, so I picked Hanley. Hanley may still have  a great year, but Adrian! Regret.

I took Yovani around round five or six on both of my teams. Drafted him to be the ace. Drafted him with full confidence that this was the year. Look out Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum, 2011 belongs to Yovani. Again, there is a lot of year left and plenty of time for him to turn in a solid effort (he has already begun the turn around in many respects). But there have been some ugly, ugly moments thus far. Regret.

With those regrets in mind I would like to point out how right I was about James Shields. He had a rough year in 2010 but he was incredibly unlucky and still struck out 187 guys. He was going very, very late in drafts…going at the same time as fringe closers and second catchers. After yesterdays masterpiece Shields is 5-2 with an ERA of  2.00, a WHIP of 0.93, 73 Ks in 76.2 IP. He’s striking out 5 times as many guys as he is walking. He’s keeping the ball in the park. Nasty. No regrets and definitely a sanity restorer!

(-SB)

Spring Fantasy Pt. 2

As promised two weeks ago, here are the six guys (3 hitters, 3 pitchers) I would love to grab in the middle rounds of this years’ fantasy draft (picks 6-15). These are the rounds where championships are won. In my experience everyone gets at least three studs, one dud, and one injury in rounds 1-5. But the winners separate themselves with their picks after the top five. So be wise and do your research on the middle of the pack, not on the cream of the crop!

Hitters:

1) Pablo Sandoval: my Zimmerman fantasy has not been working out in any of the mock drafts I’ve done so far. As a result, I’ve found myself getting as far the 10th round without a third baseman. Almost every time Pablo has been there. This is a guy who was often drafted in the second round last year! We all know about his crappy year and his weight loss, and I am not alone in thinking this will be a nice bounce back year, but I’ve been able to pick up the Panda in rounds 8-10, which should turn a nice profit and prove to be a steal.

2) Drew Stubbs: here’s a great example of knowing your draft/league. I’ve seen Drew go as early as round five and as late as round 9. Some are wary of his propensity to strike out (and to end up in Dusty Baker’s doghouse) and others are salivating over his 30-30 potential. I think 25 home runs, 40+ stolen bases, and a better overall batting average are in line. I’m not a big steals guy, and when I draft for steals it almost always is for guys with power (bj upton over jose reyes, for example). As a result, I’ve been trying to get him in the 7th round, but have picked him in the 6th as well. Classic boutry fantasy pick.

3) David Ortiz: last year Big Papi hit 32 home runs, drove in 102 runs, and had an OPS of .899. His ADP (average draft position) has him going in the 12th or 13 rounds. Yes please. Ortiz is a cheap way to pick up power and if you can get him there you take it. Never really been a fan of Papi in fantasy, but his value is low right now and so I’m a buyer. Red Sox hitters will produce a lot of fantasy value this year!

Pitchers:

1) Yovani Gallardo: The Brewers added two studs this year in Greinke and Marcum but Gallardo is the best play on their staff in my estimation. Plus you can get him 2-3 rounds after Greinke is off the boards! My general strategy is to take 7-8 postion players with the top ten picks, so getting Gallardo as my number two guy in every draft (usually in the 7th or 8th rounds) is awesome. I expect him to be a top 10 pitcher this year.

2) Daniel Hudson: I’ve noticed his value creeping up as the spring has gone along. In my first mock I drafted him in round 17. Now I’m stoked if I can grab him at 13 or 14. That’s fine. I think this guy will be among the best 20 fantasy pitchers this year (a slightly better/more expensive version of what Clay Buchholz was for me last year). He’s nasty and he’s going to be my fourth starter!

3) Joel Hanrahan: Closers are a crapshoot. I usually try to get one guy I’m sure will be in the position all year and get a lot of saves (the last two years this was Brian Wilson, but he is not longer a secret…he’s going in rounds 4-6 which is mariano rivera territory and too rich for my blood). I try to fill my other two closer spots with someone from a team I think will get a lot of wins/save opportunities (Brian Fuentes was this for me when he closed for Anaheim), and then someone from a crappy team who will strike out a bunch of dudes. Last year this was Carlos Marmol, this year it is Joel Hanrahan. Hopefully he keeps the walks down and stays the stopper for the full season. You can get him later than 15 but I’ve taken him there just to be safe. Side note: Joe Nathan has also been going late (rounds 11-14), not a bad gamble there at all!

There you go. Who are your middle round gems?