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MLB Notes
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 1/24/2008 12:13:00 AM
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Hanley Ramirez versus Jose Reyes is the biggest debate entering the 2008 season. Ramirez should hit for a higher average and much more power, but heís coming off shoulder surgery and bats in a far inferior lineup, especially with Miguel Cabrera gone. Reyes was brutal during September, but his price tag should be slightly lower, can single-handedly win you the steals category and has shown an improved walk rate. In the end, the guess here is that if you end up with either player, youíll be quite happy.

Catcher is incredibly thin this year, even more so than usual. After the top-5, thereís a precipitous drop off. There are some decent sleepers to be had later on, but if youíre playing in a two-catcher league, you better address the position fairly early.

I could make a decent argument that B.J. Upton deserves to be a first round fantasy pick this year. Heíll be available at second base, posted an .894 OPS as a 22-year-old and nearly went 25/25 last season despite playing in fewer than 130 games. Sure, his high K-rate and BABIP from last year suggests a lower batting average is in store, but he also started to develop a keen batting eye after the All-Star break. When you combine his age with his power/speed potential, few can match that upside. I wouldnít be all that surprised if he were a top-3 pick next year.

Howie Kendrick and Casey Kotchman are going to seriously outperform their ADPs this season. Neither will be a big help in the power department, but average is the most underappreciated category, and both of these Angels have the ability to hit .310-.340 as soon as this season. In fact, neither have a batting average. They have a batting outstanding.

Travis Hafner is a confounding player, as thereís no telling whether Pronkís 2007 was the beginning of a decline or just an aberration. His OPS dropped a full .160 points from the prior season, and heís about to turn 31 years old. His body type isnít exactly conducive to aging gracefully. Still, his plate discipline remained strong last year, and he was arguably baseballís best hitter from 2005-2006. It would have been nice had an injury been to blame, but no major one was reported, and the huge decline in slugging is cause for concern. Draft him only if it comes at a significant discount.

Right now, Erik Bedard sits No. 3 on my SP rankings, and Iím closer to moving him higher than lower. After April of last season, he posted a 2.34 ERA and 0.92 WHIP. He also limits homers and flashed an incredible 10.9 K/9 IP. His oblique injury also limited his innings, making him more likely to enter 2008 with a fresh arm. Moreover, a trade is a real possibility, and a move out of the AL East (into the NL?) would be a major boon to his stats as well. Go get him.


Reyes walked last year and struck out the same, yet his average went down. This year I bet his improved walk ratios get his average back above .300, or at least close to it. I think he'll be a bargain if anybody gets him where Erickson has him right now in his Top 200.
Posted by MPStopa at 1/24/2008 8:46:00 AM
Maybe Hafner was distracted last year by the contract negotiations.
Posted by MPStopa at 1/24/2008 8:48:00 AM
Contract negotiations are overvalued as part of an individual player's season-long play. It could impact short-term mindset, but I wouldn't credit it too much. Didn't Bill James refute the "walk year" assumptions a few years ago?
Posted by jarnold at 1/24/2008 9:21:00 AM
I doubt Reyes falls out of the top-3 in most drafts.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 1/24/2008 9:22:00 AM
Ya, studies show players performances typically change very little during contract-years, but of course, the situation affects everyone differently. Some get motivated and work extra hard during the offseason, others press too hard and fail (see: Andruw Jones).
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 1/24/2008 9:24:00 AM
ARod's slugging fell 120 points from 2005-2006, then in 2007, at age 31, he was MVP. I'm not saying that Hafner is as good as ARod, or that Hafner will have a career year at age 31. But when somebody has an established history like these guys, I'm more inclined to think that Hafner's 2007 was just an off year. I say he'll be closer to his 2006 stats than his 2007 ones.
Posted by MPStopa at 1/24/2008 9:39:00 AM
Andruw Jones - Poster child for the fact the "walk year" theory doesn't work.
Posted by schoenke at 1/24/2008 10:37:00 AM
On a different note, if you were drafting in an NL-only league today, would you draft Santana (on the hopes that he got traded to the Mets or another NL team)? I would think so, but the question becomes "when?"
Posted by MPStopa at 1/24/2008 12:28:00 PM
Hafner very well could blow up this year, I'm not disputing that. He does have a sweet swing...Absolutely draft Santana in an NL-only league right now. He'd be even more valuable in a Mets uniform. Couldn't tell you when exactly, however.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 1/24/2008 1:27:00 PM
Most NL-only leagues I've heard of wouldn't allow drafting of AL players.

Pujols' elbow problem should ensure Reyes is in the top 3 in all drafts now. I'm not sure I take Pujols over Wright or Holliday at this point.
Posted by vtadave at 1/24/2008 10:03:00 PM
vtadave, why not? You draft the player and if he stays in the AL, he gets no points, whereas if he goes to the NL, he does.

Yeah, that's alarming about Pujols elbow. Makes you wonder why he didn't have offseason surgery if it was that big of an issue.
Posted by MPStopa at 1/25/2008 5:44:00 AM
There's no way I'd take Pujols over Wright. Injury, steals, teammates - it's become an easy call.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 1/25/2008 10:46:00 AM
You bet Triple-D. It's looking like Pujols' 18 sb a couple years ago were an aberration. Throw in 15 and I'd take him over Wright, but don't see that happening.
Posted by vtadave at 1/25/2008 4:39:00 PM
I actually like the idea of being able to draft opposite-league players in NL/AL only leagues, but our commish is rather resistant to any form of change.
Posted by vtadave at 1/25/2008 10:03:00 PM
Kendrick is underappreciated. After this year he won't be!
Posted by gamblers at 1/26/2008 3:14:00 PM
vtadave, I can't imagine why it would be against the rules to draft an AL player in an NL-only league, or vice versa, so long as it is understood that no points are accumulated unless and until that player actually plays on an NL team.
Posted by MPStopa at 1/26/2008 4:53:00 PM

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