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MLB Notes
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 1/28/2008 7:59:00 PM
View more posts by this author


Albert Pujols is falling down my draft board. Donít get me wrong, Iím normally all about drafting guys coming off down years, and Pujols is still unquestionably one of the three best hitters in the game. However, if his lineup protection was concerning, his health woes are flat-out worrisome. I donít know about you, but I donít want to spend a top-5 pick on someone who is already talking about surgery in January. Right now, Iíd take David Wright, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and maybe even Miguel Cabrera over him.

Dan Uggla is unlikely to be on any of my fantasy teams this year. The counting stats are nice, but do not underestimate how much of an average-killer the strikeout prone second baseman is. Good luck scoring 113 runs again with a .326 OBP, especially with Miguel Cabrera no longer around. Iíd rather a boring option, like Jeff Kent. I wouldnít even be surprised if Kelly Johnson has a better fantasy season than Uggla.

Iím hardly stepping out on a limb here, but I expect Alex Gordon to be a top-10 fantasy third baseman in 2008. So he failed to live up to big expectations as a 23-year-old - big deal. The talent and swing are still there. Kansas City is actually a very good environment for hitters, and his 25-steal potential is underrated. Gordon is absolutely someone to target.

Here are the results of a recent industry draft I represented RotoWire in. Honestly, Iím pretty stoked about my team.

Iím baffled participating in leagues where Dontrelle Willis is still being drafted in the mid-rounds. Maybe some velocity will return, and maybe the league switch will result in early success thanks to the unique delivery, but really, thereís not a lot to be optimistic about. Heís had poor WHIPs and K:BB ratios for consecutive seasons, including last year, when he allowed a disgusting 29 homers in 177 innings versus righties. A switch to the AL means things might actually be even worse in 2008.

No oneís going to have the same impact Ryan Braun did as a rookie last season, or even Hunter Pence, for that matter, but Evan Longoria might be the closest thing in 2008. If he is given the opportunity, nice numbers should follow.

If you donít like Band of Horses, then you probably think up is down, left is right, short is tall, right is wrong and Rachel Bilson is ugly.

Felipe Lopez is a solid bounce back candidate. One year removed from a 44-steal campaign, Lopez was a massive disappointment last season, thanks in large part to joining the Nationals. In fact, he was limited to just two homers in 309 at-bats at RFK Stadium. Their new confines should be much more friendly to hitters, and as long as he can beat out Ronnie Belliard, Lopez is an excellent value pick in fantasy leagues.

Here are Scott Kazmirís numbers after the All-Star break last season: 2.39 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, .222 BAA, 124:31 K:BB ratio over 94.1 innings. A simple change in mechanics combined with maturation led to Kazmir finally reaching his vast potential. His small frame will always bring health questions, and pitching in the AL East is far from ideal, but that type of strikeout ability can only be matched by Erik Bedard. Itíd be nice if Kazmir could become more efficient, but after turning just 24 years old this week, thereís still even more room to grow. At worst, consider him a top-10 fantasy pitcher in 2008.

If Iím the Dolphins and Iíve been offered Marion Barber and multiple high round draft picks for the rights to Darren McFadden, my biggest worry would be the cops showing up to arrest me for robbery.

The Tim Lincecum versus Yovani Gallardo debate is not easy. On one hand, Gallardo has better command, poise, an improved Brewers defense behind him and the far superior lineup. On the other hand, Lincecum, although less safe, comes with even more upside. He posted 9.24 K/ 9 IP as a rookie, plays in a pitcherís paradise and has an elite outfield defense behind him. Obviously, the wins category will be in Gallardoís favor, but Lincecumís devastating 95-98 MPH two-seam fastball, curve and developing changeup make him simply one of the toughest pitchers to hit in the game. In the end, both are top-20 fantasy options.

Last yearís numbers hardly suggest it, but Delmon Young could jump into the fantasy elite this season. If he finds himself batting in between Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, he can remain an average regular and still beat last yearís solid counting stats. Of course, he might also start tapping into that unlimited potential and become a star. A 25/25 season is hardly out of the question, and because his swing produces so many line drives, his average should approach .300 despite less than ideal strikeout totals. Remember that heís still just 22 years old.


3D, if I threaten to drop my subsciption, my witty commentary on blogs, and again my subscription, will they let you have feature articles instead of blogs? Now my criticism, Reyes also possibly over Pujols (he can win you a category by himself, and is due for a rebound). OK that's all the criticism. Your dead on about Willis, he will put up good numbers initially, but eventually pitching to an extra hitter every inning will cost him (just as no one has seen him pitch in the AL, he hasn't seen any of the hitters either). Outside of wins, I'd rather have Lincecum than Gallardo. Again your dead on, he's a gamble compared to Gallardo, picking one-it's like who to date: Jessica Biel, Alba (ok throw in Simpson now....your not going to lose). Who will be worse this year, SF or FLA? Speaking of Miggy Cabrera, he is someone I don't think you can overpay for this year. Again great stuff.
Posted by kevinccp at 1/28/2008 9:50:00 PM
Thanks Kevin, I appreciate the compliments very much. Oh, and I assumed ARod, H. Ramirez and Reyes were the obvious top-3 picks. So really, you arenít even criticizing me. We are in an accord.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 1/29/2008 12:36:00 AM
I am leaning toward Lincecum over Gallardo as well, but the Giants offense is going to be historically bad this season. Truly atrocious.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 1/29/2008 12:37:00 AM
I wonder if Pujols is really as hurt as the recent report suggests or if he is just trying to make sure people know how tough he is and that he played hurt last season. Right now, I agree with ARod, HRamirez and Reyes to start a draft, but I could see myself changing my mind in spring training.

I like DWillis much more in a points league. His WHIP and ERA won't hurt you and he could win a bunch of 9-7 games.
Posted by MPStopa at 1/29/2008 5:45:00 AM
Off the top of my head, I could only think of four Giants' starters on offense, so I looked at their depth chart. (Before anyone mocks that, I challenge you to come up with more than 3 without looking). Wow is that ugly. I think I'll be looking to spot-start guys against SF and FLA for most of the season.
Posted by MPStopa at 1/29/2008 6:17:00 AM
Call me crazy, but I don't think Rachel Bilson is all that. But given that I'm soon to be 39, I'm not the market anyway.
Posted by spianow at 1/29/2008 1:07:00 PM
I also think D3's work deserves the largest audience possible, and I've said so in the past, but one advantage to blogging is that he can post stuff literally seconds after he thinks it - type, click, viola. It's more immediate. That's one advantage to this format.
Posted by spianow at 1/29/2008 1:10:00 PM
I like Gallardo just a touch more this year, though the margin is razor thin - better run support, improved defense, bigger frame / less risk of injury, better command (at least last year), etc. Either one could outperform the other though.

Rachel Bilson? Nah....gimme Shannon Doherty in Charmed...

D-Train: overrated in non-expert drafts, underrated in leagues where guys "know their stuff"?

Giants projected infield: Dan Ortmeier, Ray Durham, Omar Vizquel, Kevin Frandsen. That's just putrid.

Agreed on Felipe Lopez. Here's another: Bill Hall. He'll be 3B/OF eligible early next year and while 2006 will probably prove to be an outlier, look for him to be more comfortable in the infield. Hall also had some injuries last year and was much better after the break when he started taking a few more walks. I could see .270-25-85-10.

Good stuff as always Triple-D.
Posted by vtadave at 1/29/2008 1:34:00 PM
"D-Train: overrated in non-expert drafts, underrated in leagues where guys 'know their stuff?' " . . . .

This is always an interesting theme to me, how the values of players fluctuates greatly, based on who the opposition is and how the opposition thinks. I'm always looking for "stink players" in the industry leagues, players everyone else hates for one reason or another, and conversely, there will always be some incredibly-trendy guys you can easily avoid because of the crummy value (think Vincent Jackson, 2007 FFL).

Dan Uggla 2007 is a great "stink player" example - he was so universally panned off his free-swinging second half, there was a monumental profit possibility there if you were willing to swim against the tide.

Don't interpret any of this as a vote for or against Willis; I'm still making up my mind on everything 2008. But when everyone gangs up on a player, I become more curious, I'll admit it.

Posted by spianow at 1/29/2008 1:40:00 PM
D, the team you drafted looks good. Bedard and Mauer staying healthy is key. Did you punt saves?
Posted by MPStopa at 1/29/2008 3:49:00 PM
Yeah let's just say I play my cards a bit different in College buddy leagues vs. leagues where the knowledge level is quite a bit higher.

Posted by vtadave at 1/29/2008 4:11:00 PM
Looks like you did "tank" saves. The big league I'm in is 23 teams and has been around 25 years, and I absolutely won't draft 2 closers. Every year there is an opportunity to pick up/speculate on a closer if you keep on top of things during the season. For example, last year I drafted Isringhausen as my only closer (with Crain and Farnsworth), and picked up Kevin Gregg and Jose Mesa during the season. The point is, even in a league with that many owners, year in and year out closers emerge from nowhere, saves are really overrated when drafting, imho.
Posted by kevinccp at 1/29/2008 4:17:00 PM
Love the strength at catcher, both guys should beat last years numbers.
Posted by kevinccp at 1/29/2008 4:18:00 PM
Agree saves are overrated. But in an expert league, everybody will know the possible sleepers for saves, so you really have to trust your ability to play the FA market if that's what you are relying on. I'd probably want at least one "safe" closer and then take a gamble or two, either at the end of the draft or in FA.
Posted by MPStopa at 1/29/2008 4:30:00 PM
Exemplification of Pianow's "pick up the guy everyone's beating on" theory: Soriano moving from Texas to Washington in 2006.
Posted by bscwik at 1/29/2008 10:13:00 PM
Thanks for the comments, guys. I agree about Hall being a good buy-low option...And yes, I punted saves in that league. I'll talk more about that strategy later on. We'll see if I'm crazy or not.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 1/29/2008 11:05:00 PM
And you guys are crazy for hating on Bilson.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 1/29/2008 11:06:00 PM
Jennie Garth *** Bilson *** Barton....may be dating myself here a bit.
Posted by vtadave at 1/30/2008 1:20:00 PM
I spend all this time reading, searching, crunching numbers in excel to develop these opinions, and some guy has to spew all my secretes to the world. Thanks man, at least I feel like I am not wasting my time.
I have stayed away from Albert the last two seasons and he manages to play through issues. I still wonít take a chance. ďthe sky is fallingĒÖ..still?, maybe next year, who knowsÖ. He has the same risk as a 3-4 year healthy pitcher to me now (50/50).
Gallardo will be better 5x5 this year but Lincecum has great stuff. He may be small but he doesnít over through so he should be fine (being a Seattle guy, I have no bias).
I hate to say it but I like Belliard for some ABís this year. Maybe Lopez drops 100 ABís to lessen the impact on the ole batting average. Then again, ďthe GuzĒ will get hurt again, darn it.
SSSHhhhhh, I am hunting Kazmirís, Donít say a wordÖ..
Great job!

Posted by ronmcmanamy at 1/31/2008 3:52:00 PM
Thanks Ron.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 1/31/2008 7:41:00 PM

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