Posts Tagged ‘utley’

h2h Corner ~ I’m a Believer: July Edition

Welcome to July’s “I’m a Believer” column. Yes, I got the name from a Monkees’ song. And yes, I like the song. Did you know that Neil Diamond wrote it, as well as many other songs by the Monkees? Isn’t Neil Diamond cool (Red Sox fans)?

Like the song teaches us, this column attempts to be a fun, quick read, mostly focused on what performances we can/can’t believe in.

Without further ado, I’m a believer that:

It is only going to get hotter in Texas – barring injuries, Vlad Guerrero and Josh Hamilton will remain fantasy stalwarts. Continue reading

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h2h Corner ~ I’m a Believer: June Edition

Welcome to June’s “I’m a Believer” column. Yes, I got the name from a Monkees’ song. And yes, I like the song. Did you know that Neil Diamond wrote it, as well as many other songs by the Monkees? Isn’t Neil Diamond cool (Red Sox fans)?

Like the song teaches us, this column attempts to be a fun, quick read, mostly focused on what performances we can/can’t believe in.

Without further ado, So I’m a believer that:

Ryan Braun will be the #1 fantasy hitter for the season. Last month I said he could challenge, I’ve upgraded my belief.

Injuries suck. Good bye Andre Ethier remaining a top 10 hitter for the balance of the year. Good bye Jacoby Ellsbury being valuable.

Alex Rios has finally put it all together. He is a top 40 hitter at the worst, perhaps top 20. I was two years too late on this prediction.

Robinson Cano will end up the number one second baseman.

Six of the current top 10 hitters will not finish the year in the top 10. Those (oceanic) six are: Vlad Guerrero, Justin Morneau, Andre Ethier, Alex Rios, Joey Votto and Jose Bautista. They will be replaced by Albert Pujols, Robinson Cano, Matt Kemp, Troy Tulowitzki, Chase Utley, and Nelson Cruz (if his hamstring is better).

Jack Sheppard died in the bamboo forest (after smokey stabbed him) – not in the plane crash or the atomic bomb. (That was a ridiculous sentence). The flash sideways was corny but absolutely awesome. That nothing in the flash sideways actually happened (in a I think therefore I am kind of way).

It’s incredibly fun to own Miguel Olivo (four SBs), but I’d be mighty worried about Chris Iannetta.

The catching position is incredibly frustrating, to wit: your top five backstops: Olivo, Rod Barajas, Joe Mauer, John Buck and Jorge Posada. One is on the DL, two were drafted, one barely drafted and two were afterthoughts. This won’t continue, but the catching position is too volatile to spend an early draft pick on.

None of the late first-round first basemen darlings (Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard and Mark Teixeira) will finish among the top 5 at the position. Also this should remind you that you can wait on first basemen. All first rounder 1bs (including Pujols) have put up worse fantasy seasons than Paul Konerko. In addition, Ty Wigginton, Billy Butler and James Loney have performed better than Howard, Fielder and Teixeira. Meanwhile Jorge Cantu, Adam LaRoche, Nick Swisher, Martin Prado, Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz have performed better than Teixeira and Fielder.

Adam LaRoche will have an under-the-radar awesome season.

I can’t buy Alberto Callaspo as anything other than a Placido Polanco clone – I just won’t do it.

You deserve a pat on the back for buying low on Ben Zobrist.

Come this time next month, I’ll be patting those on the back who bought low on Chone Figgins.

Elvis Andrus is the next Jose Reyes.

The original Jose Reyes is starting to look good, buy while you can.

Orlando Cabrera has played himself into consideration to be a top five SS option for the rest of the year.

You can sell high on Scott Rolen, but you don’t have to. He seems to hold up better playing on grass versus turf. He’ll get dinged up, but might avoid a massive DL-stint this year.

I’m not sure if I believe what I just wrote.

Adrian Beltre is proving me wrong. Those who bought him late deserve some kudos.

I hope you traded Chase Headley when he was stealing all those bases. He has stolen 2 bases since April 26.

Jason Heyward is awesome, but I’d still trade him. Listen, there is no way to quantify how he’ll hold up for a 162-game season (in a potential Wild Card/Pennant Race, no less). What happens when he sees pitchers for the third, four, fifth time? Odds are he’ll continue to succeed. However, he is only 20. I’d rather someone else take the risk and enjoy his rookie year from afar.

You all everybody!

Shin-soo Choo remains criminally underrated. Ditto Denard Span.

Andrew McCutchen is basically Carl Crawford with a bit more pop, a lot less hype and a much worse supporting cast.

Brett Gardner is everything I thought Nyjer Morgan would be

Russell Hantz will never win Survivor. Parvati is the best player ever.

I wish I listened to myself and drafted Ubaldo Jimenez on more teams. I said “I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up more valuable than Beckett, Clayton Kershaw, Josh Johnson or Chris Carpenter.”

Josh Johnson can become the next Roy Halladay. They’re both consistently awesome.

I’d trade Jaime Garcia – it can’t get better than this.

Jon Lester is the best pitcher in the American League – and his competition comes from the Rays (Matt Garza, David Price and James Shields).

You should trade Barry Zito. He will start to give up HRs, it’s a certainty.

Tim Hudson doesn’t strike out enough batters.

The American League East is brutal on pitchers AND hitters (three of the top five K pitchers are Ricky Romero, Lester and Shields).

Jonathan Broxton might make me wrong, as I predicted Carlos Marmol would end up the top ranked reliever. Broxton is equally as nasty and less volatile.

While Brett Michaels is cornier than the Lost finale, he’s still cool. His performance on Celebrity Apprentice was imminently likeable. Holly Robinson Peete has aged really well.

You can’t give up on Brian Matusz (which explains why I’m an unqualified Orioles homer), Cole Hamels, Randy Wolf, Carlos Zambrano, Rick Porcello and Gavin Floyd.

You can give up on Scott Kazmir, Jake Peavy, and Derek Lowe.

Alfredo Simon will get the most saves of anyone who is SP-eligible.

I’m going to be incredibly sad when I finish the samosa I am eating.

FB101’s 411: Stick to your guns. Don’t stop believing.

All stats as of May 27.

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h2h Corner ~ 2010 Second Basemen Rankings

There are well-defined tiers at second base this year. If you want to get a tier one player (Utley and Kinsler), you’ll most likely have to use one of your first two picks. If you’re willing to settle for a tier two player – as I am – you can wait a bit longer. For full rankings, check here. Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ I’m a Believer: All-star Game, National League Batters Edition

Welcome to June’s “I’m a Believer” column. Yes, I got the name from a Monkees’ song. And yes, I like the song. Did you know that Neil Diamond wrote it, as well as many other songs by the Monkees? Isn’t Neil Diamond cool (Red Sox fans)? Therefore – fantasy baseball love notwithstanding – aren’t I cool (hello, transitive property)?

Didn’t think so. But at least you now have “Then I saw her face, now I’m a believer…” stuck in your head (Co-Stan-Za, by Mennen).

For this month’s version, I’m focusing on your Major League All-stars.

I’m a believer in:

Yadier Molina – St. Louis Cardinals – Yadier hasn’t had the fantasy season that his brother Bengie has. While Bengie has posted an abysmal .269 OBP, he has twice as many HRs and 21 more RBIs than his younger brother. However, over Yadier’s last 94 ABs, he has posted a .356 OBP, scored six runs, and knocked in ten. Not as far off Bengie’s pace than you would think. If you’re looking for a backstop that won’t kill you, Yadier isn’t bad. Still, there are probably 10 – 15 backstops that are more useful. I believe Yadier is a good real life catcher, fantasy? Not so much.

Albert Pujols – St. Louis Cardinals – There isn’t anything I could say to put in perspective how good Pujols is. Don’t trade him unless you get a first and second rounder. Don’t trade him for a pitcher unless you really need those stats. Basically don’t trade him.

Chase Utley – Philadelphia Phillies – Utley slipped on draft day because of lingering concerns about his injury. Well, his line of 59 runs, 20 HRs, 61 RBIs and eight SBs has made his owners smile from ear to ear. Utley is on pace to have a career year. As long as he stays healthy, he could be the second most valuable fantasy player.

Hanley Ramirez – Florida Marlins – Hanley, the 9th ranked player in the Yahoo! game, has been just about the only highly touted shortstop to deliver this year. Derek Jeter, Ben Zobrist, Jason Bartlett and Miguel Tejada round out this year’s top five shortstops. There is a bit of an injury concern at the moment. But, like with Utley and Pujols, you shouldn’t be moving Ramirez unless you get ungodly returns.

David Wright – New York Mets – I ranked Wright number one overall coming into the year. I thought he would display a lot more power this year, though a combination of Citi Field and “poor” performance have limited him to just five HRs. Still, even with his poor performance, he has 54 runs, 43 RBIs, and 20 SBs. He’s been good in the ratio categories as well: .324 AVE and .412 OBP. I think his batting average will come down a bit over the second half, but his power should improve. He could be a decent buy low at the moment (or maybe I’m just stubborn).

Carlos Beltran – New York Mets – Beltran won’t be playing in the All-star Game and probably shouldn’t have been voted a starter. He has had a decent year, especially considering the injury. Unfortunately, according to Jenny Vrentas at the Newark Star Ledger, Beltran will not be coming off the DL anytime soon. I believe he’ll score runs in bunches when he finally returns.

Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers – Aspiring GM, Braun has been incredibly useful this year and is the third best OF in the game. He’ll probably be the top OF down the stretch now that Hunter is on the DL and Crawford isn’t stealing as much as he was. He is on pace to eclipse most of his previous offensive numbers and is being useful in all five categories. This makes Braun, perhaps, the fourth most useful player in fantasy.

Raul Ibanez – Philadelphia Phillies – Ibanez was activated from the DL on July 10 after being sidelined for nearly a month. Ibanez, the fifth best outfielder, will give Braun a run for his money to be king of the outfield mountain at the end of the year. If people are wary about his return from injury and you can buy for $0.90 on the dollar, I’d be jumping on that. I believe in his productivity.

Brian McCann – Atlanta Braves – Holy moly, did you know there are 33 players on each All-star team? Brian McCann has been the ninth best catcher so far this year – behind, among others, Inge, Pierzynski, Suzuki, and Bengie Molina. His ratios are right in line with his career, so, as long as he is healthy and can see, he should see an increase in his counting stats. If you can use his slightly down first half to buy him for $0.50 on the dollar, go ahead. Still, don’t mortgage your team for a slightly above average catcher.

Prince Fielder – Milwaukee Brewers – Fielder is the second best first baseman for the year, behind the immortal Pujols. Fielder has been gobbling up RBIs like they’re veggie wraps. He has really improved his ratios this season, posting a .313 AVE and a .435 OBP. It’s likely they might not continue to be so high, but there won’t be a precipitous drop either. Enjoy the top 10 returns.

Adrian Gonzalez – San Diego Padres – It is hard to quibble with Gonzalez’s season so far: 49 runs, 24 HRs, 52 RBIs, and a .393 OBP. Still, a lot of that was owed to an amazing start. Over his last 96 ABs, he has just seven runs, two HRs, and nine RBIs. The Padres just traded Scott Hairston, which further hurts the Padres lineup’s run producing ability. Gonzalez is seeing the ball well and is posting the highest OBP for his career. The run and RBI totals likely won’t be at the elite level, but he’ll get on base and hit enough HRs to make you a happy owner. I believe he’ll begin to hit some more out of the park after this brief respite.

Ryan Howard – Philadelphia Phillies – I guess when you have so many talented first basemen you need to have four on a team. Howard is his usual self: low ratios, high counting stats. You knew what you were getting when you drafted him and he hasn’t disappointed. As the summer heats up, we could see some hot streaks down the stretch.

Orlando Hudson – Los Angeles Dodges — I’ve never liked O-dog, seeing him as little more than a Placido Polanco clone. In his last 95 ABs, Hudson has scored 11 runs, hit 12 RBIs, stole just two SBs, and posted a .221/.269 AVE/OBP. For the season, he hasn’t been bad, but at this point going forward I might even prefer Martin Prado over him. If you can trade Hudson for decent value and pick up a Prado or someone similar, that’d be a good way to maximize your roster.

Freddy Sanchez – Pittsburgh Pirates – Speaking of Placido Polanco-like players, Sanchez is the 15th ranked second basemen in the Yahoo! game. I don’t like players that derive most of their value from average or on base percentage. Sanchez hasn’t been exceptional in average (.318) or OBP (.356) to warrant being rostered in anything but deep leagues.

Miguel Tejada – Houston Astros – Tejada, the fifth ranked shortstop in the game so far, has had a Phoenix-like rise this season: 48 runs, 47 RBIs, a .330 AVE and .360 OBP. Still the lack of power – just seven HRs – limits his value. He should be eclipsed in the second half by several shortstops: Furcal, Rollins and Tulowitzki. His career BAbip is .298, his first half BAbip is .339. So there will be some correction in his ratios. I don’t think Tejada will continue to be as valuable as he is at this point.

Ryan Zimmerman – Washington Nationals – After Zimmerman’s amazing start he has cooled to be the seventh best third basemen over the first half. While Zimmerman is on pace for more than 100 runs and RBIs and near 30 HRs, it is not likely he will reach these numbers. Over his last 112 ABs, Zimmerman is batting just .232 with a .283 OBP. If you can trade him based on his impressive start, do so. I doubt Zimmerman will live up to those paces above.

Brad Hawpe – Colorado Rockies — Where did Hawpe come from? His 2009 numbers (.327/.401/.584) make his 2008 season (.283/.381/.498) look pedestrian. Hawpe is on pace for a similar HR total to last year – 25, but he should greatly eclipse his career average for runs and RBIs, right? Not necessarily, his 2009 BAbip is .375, and while hitters aren’t subject to the .300 rule like pitchers are, the best hitters in baseball, like Tony Gwynn (career BAbip: .341) and Wade Boggs (career BAbip: .344), never approached .375. Hawpe’s career BAbip is .342, so expect some regression in average and OBP, which could affect his run and RBI totals. A lot of his increased value is also derived from his ability to hit lefties this year: .288 AVE, .362 OBP, .538. His career line against lefties: .250/.323/.445. I don’t believe this can continue.

Hunter Pence – Houston Astros – Would it surprise you that Hunter Pence is the 33rd best fantasy outfielder this year? Pence has had a good year and could be a 20-20 player by year’s end, especially if he continues to steal at his rate. Last season Pence had 11 steals in 21 attempts, which is horrible. This year he has nine in 15 attempts, which, while not good, is almost serviceable. Pence is who he is and will end up with about 100 runs, 20 HRs, and 100 RBIs. Definitely a serviceable number three outfielder.

Justin Upton – Arizona Diamondbacks – Upton, at just 21, has become a better fantasy player than Bossman Junior. He has also posted the ninth best first half among all outfielders. Upton is on pace for a 30 HR, 25 SB season, oh and he also scored 53 runs and knocked in 50 batters. Upton, to quote Christina Aguilera, just keeps getting better. Enjoy the early returns on your faith.

Shane Victorino – Philadelphia Phillies – I need to finish this column quick before another Phillies outfielder is added to the All-star squad. I had Victorino as the 32nd ranked hitter coming into the season and he hasn’t disappointed: 62 runs, 42 RBIs, 15 SBs and a .314/.379 AVE/OBP. Victorino, the 31st ranked player in the Yahoo! game, has been the 10th best outfielder over the season. Victorino continues to be an underrated fantasy commodity and will continue to produce. If others don’t believe, happily pay $0.75 on the dollar for him.

Jayson Werth – Philadelphia Phillies – I had Werth as the 54th ranked hitter coming into the season and apparently I undersold his potential. Werth was the 16th ranked player and sixth best outfielder over the first half of the season. The latest Phillies player to hit 20 HRs has also scored 59 runs and knocked in 56, while adding 12 SBs. Werth is finally fulfilling the potential of being a first round pick by the Dodgers in 1997. He’ll continue to be a top 20 OF in the second half.

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