Category:Fantasy Baseball
Posted on: September 5, 2010 5:53 pm

What Does it Take to be Number One?

As we all know, there's a certain status or aura surrounding the first pick in a fantasy baseball draft. Next season will be no different.
There are the first round constants. Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Carl Crawford, Hanley Ramirez, David Wright, and then there are the break out first time first rounders. Guys like Joey Votto, Carlos Gonzalez, and Robinson Cano, have had monster seasons thus far and are poised to be amongst the first 5-6 players drafted in 2011 drafts.

But as the blog title asks, what does it take, and just who is next years number draft pick.

There is a differing of opinions on what kind of player/what position you should target with your first pick/picks. In the first round, I don't bother with targeting positions. If  Miguel Cabrera is there with my first pick, doesn't matter to me that I can grab Adrian Gonzalez or Prince Fielder in the second round, I'm taking Miggy Cab, regardless, because he's just that damn good.

For many managers who follow this draft strategy it's all about the numbers.  With my first pick, I'm looking to stack as many categories as I can.

I NEED 100 R, 30+ HR, 100+ RBI, .300+ AVG. I could care less about stolen bases with the first round, I'm of the thought process that I can find stolen bases later on in the draft, after all guys like Nyjer Morgan, Rajai Davis, Juan Pierre, Cliff Pennington, Chone Figgins, etc are all cheap enough that I don't need to use up a first round pick on Carl Crawford- no slight to Crawford who is a legit stud, and I'd never pass up the opportunity of the value is there.

So let's check the stats and see the guys who fit my requirements thus far.

Well no one, just yet.
Mark Teixeira is the only player with 100 R so far this season, but there are 11 players  just shy of the mark (90+), to date.
Jose Bautista leads the bigs with 43 big flys, and there are 11 total guys with 30+ HR, and another 14 players within striking distance (24+).
Miggy Cab, and Jose Bautista sit 1-2 in RBI with 110 and 103 respectably. Yet another 14 players are within 10 or the century mark.
22 players are hitting .300 plus but we all know that the difference between a .300 hitter and a .280 hitter is roughly one hit per week.

So now that we've seemingly "narrowed" down the field, just who are the leading candidates. Or simply who ranks in the top ten in one or more categories. (For the sake of argument I've included ties)

Those few players- Mark Teixeira 3/4, Miguel Cabrera 4/4, Josh Hamilton 4/4, Robinson Cano 2/4, Joey Votto 4/4 , Jose Bautista 3/4, Albert Pujols 3/4, Carlos Gonzalez 4/4

According to that strategy, the first four picks of the 2011 draft would see Miggy Cab, Hamilton , Joey Votto and Carlos Gonzalez! selected.

While I don't see it playing out exactly like that, it should be close. I don't think that Albert Pujols will slip to the 5th pick in any drafts, thanks in large part to concerns about Josh Hamiltons injury history and major concerns of a repeat performance from Carlos Gonzalez. I'm not one of those guys with production concerns as far as Cargo is concerned. I own Hamilton in a keeper league and he'll be kept no doubt.

But just who is next years number one pick?

Drum roll please............

1a- Miguel Cabrera- Yes you're seeing a changing of the guard. Miggy Cab is the ultimate player. Sure he may not steal as many bases as Albert Pujols, but the ability to generate runs, and score them at a proficient rate is the swing factor for me oh did I mention that he's 28? Yeah I'll take it.

2011 Projection- 115 R, 35 HR, 120 RBI, 3 SB, .325 AVG

1b (or 2 if you're keeping track)- Albert Pujols- Damn thats a terrible consulation prize now isn't it. I don't see a dramatic drop off in production any time soon. Pujols still has Matt Holliday "protecting" him in the lineup. He swipes the occasional bag and the best player that this generation has ever seen. There's still plenty left in the tank and another monster season is 99% bankable.

2011 Projection- 110 R, 35 HR, 120 RBI, 12 SB, .305 AVG

3- Joey Votto- Way to go kiddo, Putting Canada on the baseball map! Talk about a tremendous jump in value. Those in keeper leagues that own him, have to be excited at the prospect of owning 2 1st round players. See there are still positive cases of gambling on upside. Votto is just entering his power prime, is in a loaded lineup- Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, Johnny Gomes, Drew Stubbs anyone? and the guy can swipe a bunch of bags. Yes you're seeing this right, he's a top 5 pick.

2011 Projection- 100 R, 35 HR, 115 RBI, 15 SB, .320 AVG

4- Josh Hamilton This is the one player that could be drafted in the top 5 or fall all the way to the second round based on his health in April. That question always will exsist. But no one, and I repeat NO ONE doubts this kids talent. If it weren't for the injury concerns he'd be the run away number 1 pick, and it's not even close.

2011 Projection- 110 R, 30 HR, 110 RBI, 10 SB, .315 AVG

5- Carlos Gonzalez- THIS is the player that the Athletics, and the Diamondbacks saw when they traded for and drafted him. I'm not going to lie, I've been a big fan of the guy since his minor league days, each year I've bought into the hype during the draft, attempting to grab him in as many drafts, as late as possible. Next year will be no exception. The pedgiree of a stud is there, and so is the production. Power, speed, everything is there. He could very well be the 2012 first round pick, if he repeats. I think he will.

2011 Projection- 100 R, 30 HR, 110 RBI, 20 SB, .290 AVG

6- Mark Teixeira- What can you say about the guy? Sure the batting average leaves something to be desired, but really if that's all you're worried about, draft Joe Mauer and you're all set. The guy is like clock work, he struggles, managers and the media write him, you trade peanuts to get him, and win your league. The guy puts up his numbers- and they're always good.

2011 Projection- 115 R, 35 HR, 120 RBI, 1 SB, .270 AVG

7- Robinson Cano- Well it's a damn shame you don't be able to pair the two Yankees together. Long thought of as a table setter with a bit of power, Cano has emerged as a legit power threat. He's the top 2b in the game now- move over Chase Utley- he's got power, hits for a great average, and will score runs, no matter where he is in the lineup.

2011 Projection-  115 R, 30 HR, 100 RBI, 5 SB, .320 AVG

8- Hanley Ramirez- He hasn't fallen that much, but his stock has faded. His final numbers will still be strong and he gets a minor push up thanks to his position, and stolen base prowess. He's still the top dog at short stop and you've got to expect more of the same from "Han-Ram" as the Marlins mature as a team- Gaby Sanchez, Logan Morrison, Cameron Maybin, Dan Uggla etc

2011 Projection- 95 R, 20 HR, 85 RBI, 35 SB, 310 AVG

9- Carl Crawford- I'm a big time fan of the guy, decent pop, great speed, great lineup- Carlos Pena, Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton, Ben Zobrist, Jason Bartlett anyone? If I get a pick in the last half of the first round I would take Carl Crawford. There's nothing wrong with this kid at all. But alot depends on where he signs, if he ends up in a hitters park like Texas, Chicago, etc he could be a top 5 pick.

2011 Projection- 100 R, 15 HR, 85 RBI, 45 SB, .300 AVG

10- Ryan Braun- This pick and the rest from the 10-20 range is a little bunched up. Guys like Prince Fielder, David Wright, Matt Holliday, Joe Mauer, Evan Longoria, Adrian Gonzalez, Alex Rios, Chris B. Young, Kevin Youkilis, Ryan Zimmerman, Alex Rodriguez etc are all relatively close in value, but Braun sits just a bit ahead of them in 2011. He's a legit power threat who's having a down year. This call for me is a bit of a gut call.

2011 Projection- 90 R, 25 HR, 100 RBI, 15 SB, .300 AVG

You'll notice the absence of Blue Jays slugger, Jose Bautista from the first round. That's because I don't think he can repeat- to the same level. He's got power, but I would never bank on 40+ HR next season. I could see 30 with another .260 AVG, solid and definately draftable but not first round worthy. Odds are though, that you can get him at a relative value. Managers will be fearful of drafting him next season out of fear of him being a flop. I'll be one of those brave managers that will be willing to spend a mid-round pick on the Bautista Bomb in 2011.

That's my take on the first 10 picks of the 2011 draft, though note they're subject to change at any point in time. Let me hear your feed back.
Posted on: September 1, 2010 8:44 pm

Player Spot Light- Gregor Blanco

Now every, by a show of hands, let's see how many people knew about the Kansas City Royals, Gregor Blanco before the start of the season?
Kind of a trick question, at the start of the season he was an Atlanta Brave, but you get a C for effort, I'm not an easy marker. I'm even more strict when it comes to proclaiming early sleepers for next season, but I'll go out on a limb and proclaim Gregor Blanco as a 2011 sleeper candidate.

Here's why.

1- Full time player. In Atlanta he was a part time OF/Pinch Runner. Limited AB aren't conducive to fantasy production. The move that saw the Braves acquire Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth in exchange for Blanco and minor leagues, saw Blanco thrust into the spot light....well as much spot light as there can be in Kansas, and he's responded.

2- Magical Age 27- Yeah it could still be a myth but there are more then enough seasons in fantasy history to show that it may not be just a fluke.

3- Very few people will pay attention- The fact that he's owned in 2.8% of ESPN leagues , 7% in CBS, 1% on Yahoo! That means he likely won't be highly valued come draft day. The perfect kind of guy to target with your final pick.

So just why do I like him so much?

Here are his stats over the last 30 days, compared with a much higher regarded outfielder.

Blanco- 11 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 9 SB, .255 AVG, .336 OBP, .330 SLG, .666 OPS
Player B- 15 R, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 9 SB, .250 AVG, .370 OBP, .321 SLG, .691 OPS

I'll give you a hint. He plays for an AL team, he's also a center fielder, and his team is in first place. Give up?
It's 100% owned Brett Gardner.

Yeah that's right, Blanco has posted nearly identical numbers as Gardner has over the last month!

Now granted Gardner has a higher OBP, which is always important and is nearly guaranteed to score more runs in the Yankees lineup, but it does demonstrate two things- managers tend to be blinded when it comes to players, after all stats are stats, and two value can come from anywhere so don't be afraid to add a player that will make others ask, "WTF?", when they see it on the transaction list.

Just smile sheepishly as your waiver wire gem swipes as many bags as their mid-round stolen base fiend does.

The biggest knock/knocks against him are his lack of power and good but not great speed. He also has an inability to hit lefties, as do most left handed hitters do, and he performs much better at home, check out the splits. .216 AVG, 501 OPS vs Lefties, .297 AVG, .786 OPS vs Righties. .314 AVG, .786 OPS at home, and .232 AVG, .594 OPS on the road.

Come March/April drafts make sure to remember Blanco when you're looking at the later rounds, you could very well end up player that posts 70 R, 5 HR, 40 RBI, 25 SB, .275 AVG in 500 AB, that's not bad for a 23rd round pick, after all what did your 23rd round pick this year produce?

Posted on: August 16, 2010 3:32 pm

Player Spot Light- Drew Stubbs

Heading into the season, Red's center fielder, Drew Stubbs was a popular a late round pick, in many  fantasy baseball leagues. He was projected to be a late round stolen base threat, one with a power upside, some thing that is rare amongst the cheap thiefs. Which is ultimately what made Stubbs such an attractive option.

So far this season, managers opinions have been mixed. The power and speed have been present, but the soul draining batting average and low OBP have been major causes for concern. But should they be?

Well of course, that was pretty much a retorical question. An inability to get on base at a high, or even average amount, limits his stolen base opportunities, minimizing or reducing his SB threat.

While looking at Stubbs' numbers thus far this season, I kept drawing mental comparisons to one player in particular. A quick look at their stats shows just how similar these two players are.

Drew Stubbs-
Current- 58 R, 15 HR, 54 RBI, 18 SB .235 AVG, .301 OBP, .411 SLG
On pace- 79 R, 20 HR, 74 RBI, 24 SB, .235 AVG, .301 OBP, .405 SLG
Current .298 BABIP, 31.8% K rate, 8.1% BB rate,
38 % owned

Player B-
Current- 62 R, 10 HR, 42 RBI, 33 SB .238 AVG, .326 OBP, .408 SLG
On pace-85 R, 13 HR, 58 RBI, 45 SB, .238 AVG, .325 OBP, .403 SLG
Current- .308 BABIP, 29.1% K rate, 11.3% BB rate
93 % Owned

+4 R, -5 HR, - 12 RBI, +15 SB + .003 AVG, +.025 OBP, -.003 SLG= 55% ownership difference?

It's nearly ludacris that Stubbs is owned in 55% less leagues then the player in question.
Clearly player B is the bigger SB threat, and has/will score more runs, but why the excessive love, and just who is that player?

Player B is none other then Tampa Bay Rays center fielder, B.J. Upton.
Yeah that's correct, Drew Stubbs and B.J. Upton are strikingly similar players. Both have similar high strike out rates, soul draining batting average, but both offer a nice mix of power and speed. But why the ownership discrepancy?

Could be their age? Of course not. Stubbs is a couple months younger then Upton.

To me this a clear display of paying for potential, and the "what have you done for me lately" syndrome.

The power that Upton displayed in the post season two season's ago, must be what's driving up Upton's "value". The fact that he plays for a team that has expose to a wider range of fans could be the reason, but honestly I'm still perplexed.

Given that both players display nearly identical skill sets, one would think that their ownership should be nearly identical.

What are your thoughts? Which player would you rather have, the remainder of this season and next?
Posted on: August 14, 2010 1:01 am

Triumphant Return

Wow! It's been damn near a year since the last time I updated this blog. I've been pretty busy with all the great things in life, hanging out with the lovely girlfriend, hitting the gym getting ripped, playing fantasy baseball etc, and the not so great

But enough about the back story, let's get to the blog.

With the end of season drawing near, and the vast majority of trade deadlines having past I'd like to concentrate this article on keeper leagues.

As you know the work in a keeper league is never ending. If your league trade deadline hasn't passed, now is the time make a move. You must decide whether your team is a contender or a seller. In doing so you must fully commit to that direction. There is nothing more frustrating then receiving that league wide email from the manager in 8th place. It usually goes something like,

"Well guys I pretty much have no chance at winning this league this year, and I"m looking to part ways with every on my roster, including the hot hitting- (insert name). Just looking for solid keepers to carry over for next season."

When I see this, I'm automatically looking to make a deal. I know that a keeper style player on my team is worth two players (or more) from his roster.

In my case this season, the aforementioned "seller" owned Jose Valverde. His only closer, with no chance to gain any points in saves, Valverde is merely a wasted roster spot. Knowing this, and knowing that adding Valverde to my lineup could potentially see me gain 2-3 points in the standings, I sent an offer.

Johnny Damon and Jose Valverde in exchange for Ian Kinsler. A player that would potentially be a keeper on my team, a player that by default would be a keeper for him. His response?

"I feel I could get more in return for a closer like Valverde." Really? I pointed out that Valverde had been struggling mightily. Which he is, and still the offer was poo-pooed.

The end result? The manager made no improvements to his team, and will begin the season with marginal keeper options, and will finish no higher then 13th . I on the other hand will finish no better then 4th, granted it is a 16 team league, and injuries and ineffectiveness have plagued my season (let's not get started on that).

That was a pretty round about way to get to my point. In a keeper league, one mustn't over value your players. When you're presented the option to improve your team, and you have no statistical chance of winning, set yourself up for future success.
There is no shame in rebuilding. Over time every team will have to rebuild, hell major league teams are constantly rebuilding. Right Kansas, Pittsburgh?

It's always a good idea to take on the highly touted prospect, and draft picks for good, not great players. Players like Raul Ibanez will always have value late in the season, maybe not on your roster, but someone else would be willing to trade for him, if he's going to make the difference between 1st and 3rd.


Of course there is always a the option to give up the superior keeper in order to address other team needs.

In my 14 team, 5 keeper league I parted ways with the fantastic Matt Holliday, Denard Span and Kelly Johnson. In return I received C.C. Sabathia, Matt Capps and Adrian Beltre.

The break down, I gave up the best player in the deal, but I addressed two major team needs. Starting pitching and saves. In the process I traded from my team's biggest strength, that being outfield depth.

Two days after the trade was completed, fellow outfielder, Nyger Morgan was placed on the DL. Cruel irony! In a knee jerk reaction, I traded Brett Anderson, and Brad Lidge to a team playing for next season, and in dire need of saves in exchange for the previously mentioned Raul Ibanez.

See I told you, managers would be willing to pay for guys like him.

But it gets better from there. With my team comfortably situationed in 6th in saves (9pts), I fielded offers for closers. With 7 (seven) of them on my roster I figured I could I part ways with 3-4 of them. In two seperate trades I dealt Carlos Marmol and Michael Wurtz for Phil Hughes and Matt Garza! Talk about a starting pitching upgrade. In the other deal, I sent Jose Valverde and Aaron Heilman packing in return for Paul Konerko.

That's right I turned two closers and two "interim" closers into two young #2 hurlers and a power hitting 1b. Now granted my RP is lacking major depth, with Matt Capps,  Drew Storen, and Joel Hanrahan as my shut down, I'm not too worried, after all my SP now features, Sabathia, David Price,  Shaun Marcum, Phil Hughes, Jonathan Sanchez, Javier Vazquez and Gio Gonzalez! That's pretty deep if you ask me.

The end result of those deal? I have more coming in then going out. I added some elite starting pitching, added one keeper, and only parted ways with one truly elite player.

In my next blog, believe I'll post another one soon, I'll highlight a few players I'm keeping an eye on down the stretch, with the intent of making them 2011 draft day targets.

Posted on: June 11, 2009 8:30 pm

Waiver Wizard

Last week I struck gold with one great pick- Scott Podsednik- whom in the last week hit .307, 6 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 SB. So I'm going back there this week. Leading things off the aforementioned...

Scott Podsednik-15% Ownership- Next Matchups- Milwaukee, Chicago (NL), Cincinnati- Well as I mentioned earlier Pods was a very good addition this week, especially for me personally. I'm well on my way to winning to two Head to Head Matchups on the strength of his two stolen bases against the Indians. This week, I'm looking for more of the same from a guy who is still available in far to many leagues.

Last 10 games- .289 AVG, 6 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 5 SB

Nolan Reimold- 43% Ownership- Next Matchups- Seattle, Atlanta, NEw York (NL)- It's a shame that this young power prospect hasn't gotten as much fantasy love and hype as other bigger name prospects have (I'm looking at you God aka Matt Weiters and Tommy Hanson) yet he's still shown very good power. Unfotunately he's still a little raw at the plate with just 6 walks (16 K) Though it's still a small sample size to accurately judge his batters eye. So far he's demonstrated that he can hit for power and average. Those in keeper leagues may want to add him before it's too late. I know I just did.

Last 10 games- .310 AVG, 3 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI

Lyle Overbay- 42% Ownership- Next Matchups - Texas, Florida, Philadelphia- The double power is back, and so are the RBI. Well let's hope that they are. It's been a while since Overbay was fantasy relevant outside of AL Only leagues. With this recent tear he's seen his batting average rise 26 points from .274 to .301.  He's currently on pace to have this best season since 2006. Though I expect him to fall a little short in the RBI and HR departments everything else should be right in line with his 2005 results. Not great but you could do worse. He has a three game set in the band box known as Citizen Bank Park, so a HR or two could be on the horizon.

Last 10 games- .393 AVG, 2 HR, 10 RBI

CJ Wilson- 21% Ownership- Next Matchups- Toronto, Los Angelas (NL), Houston- With all his up coming games being played in Arlington, there should be plenty of save chances for this fill while. Of course Frank Fransisco owners (such as myself) are upset that he's likely to land on the DL again, astute managers have quickly grabbed Wilson and been repaid nicely with 1 W, 3 SV, 5 K, 2.45 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, in his last seven apperances. Before it's too late I'm going to put my FAAB bids in for the current Texas Rangers stopper, and so should you.

Ryan Madson- 51 % Ownership- New York (NL), Boston, Toronto- With Brad Lidge on the DL due to a knee injury Ryan Madson is the new closer. Though there was some thought that this move should have been made a few weeks ago, who am I to argue with the Phillies? This season Madson has been phenominal. 9.52 K/9, 2.76 BB/9, 3.44 K/ BB ratio, while posting great 2.15 ERA, and 1.02 WHIP ratios. Did I mention the 2 W and 3 SV? Well if that's not clear enough indication you should add him, then I don't know what is.

Remember folks, the free agent wire is your friend. If you've got a guy like Garrett Atkins *cough, cough* wasting on your bench, then make the smart move, cut some extra weight and add the red hot Lyle Overbay. It's amazing the difference a .393 avg will make.

Till next time, keep those eyes peeled.
Posted on: June 7, 2009 1:10 am

Trade Targets

Here we go around the horn, identifying players to target in trades. Generally these are players playing below expectations and have proven track records to say that they will start producing at or near their original draft value. In some causes there may be pure speculation involved regarding younger players. Those targets and ideas are aimed more at managers in keeper leagues.


Geovony Soto-
This is almost a no brainer, generally a top five catcher entering the season, Soto has found himself out produced by lesser valued catchers (Jason Varitek for example). It may have something to do an injury, that's likely the root problem, or it could potentially be that he was a flash in the pan. After all his minor league numbers (discounting his final season) were nothing to be impressed by. I'm not a big believer but the skill set is there, and his value has never been lower. If you're in the market for a catcher propose a trade, especially those in keepers leagues (value is a bit higher).

10 R, 1 HR, 12 RBI, 0 SB, .209 AVG

First Base-

Adam LaRoche-
Well it's nearing that time of year when the Elder LaRoche starts to hit the ball. His average may not reflect at this moment, but let's just consider that over the past two seasons LaRoche has hit 57 R, 27 HR, 79 RBI, .308 after the all star break in 116 games. Compared to 80 R, 24 HR, 94 RBI, .245 in 172 games. A difference of 56 games and a noticable difference in counting stats, thanks in large part to the departures of Xavier Nady and Jason Bay, coupled with an injury last season. Now is the time to target LaRoche his value is low, and his owner will likely be pleasantly surprised to see some interest for a player on his bench.

32 R, 7 HR, 24 RBI, 0 SB, .244 AVG

Second Base-

Ian Stewart-
There was plenty of hype entering this season about this guy. Two month in and he finds himself owned in only 52% of leagues ( his original ownership was far lower then I expected -49%) The only draw back to a player with 2b, 3b, OF, CI,MI eligibility and 30hr power is the soul draining batting average. Those in deeper keeper leagues may want to make a speculative power buy. He's in the right home environment and is only blocked by Clint Barmes and Garrett Atkins for full time playing time. Make the offer, gut out the batting average and be thankful for the next 20hr.

20 R, 9 HR, 27 RBI, 2 SB, .214 AVG

Short Stop-

Elvis Andrus- Another young prospect who is only owned in 50% of leagues. Andrus unlike Stewart is a speed demon. He doesn't have much power to speak of but the youth, and speed to swipe 40+ bags a season. A full time role in a potent offense will lead to plenty of runs. There will be growing pains and plenty of streaks but those in keeper leagues should be keeping an eye on this youngster.

25 R, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 9 SB, .278 AVG

Third Base-

Adrian Beltre- 
There are few players in baseball more consistent then Beltre. Of course the numbers aren't gawdy so you may not take notice, but a ho-hum 83 R, 25 HR, 88 RBI, 11 SB, .269 AVG is standard fair for this multi-purpose third bagger. There is never much upside with Beltre but the safety play makes him a nice addition to any team. Also take note, Beltre is heating up so the window to get him cheap is slowly closers. Make an offer, and don't be surprised that it's accepted. Owners will only see the AVG and figure he's expendable. Now is the time to own him.

25 R, 4 HR, 25 RBI, 6 SB, .245 AVG


Dexter Fowler- 
Everyone remembers that five stolen base against the San Diego Padres, that was Fowlers potential on display for everyone to see. This too is a purely speculative play. Given his home ball park, he could accidently hit himself 10 HR on the high end. Though that's obviously not his game. He's got the potential to be a 10 HR, 40 SB threat. Though that's not likely to happen this season. But those in keeper leagues he's guy you may want to target in trade talks as his asking price will be low, if you're lucky he may well be a throw in depending on the trade situation.

26 R, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 11 SB, .256 AVG


Gavin Floyd- 
After a terrible start to the season, and subsequently being cut by owners everywhere (myself included) Floyd has rebounded strongly in this previous three outtings. surrendering just 5 ER, while striking out 24 batters in 23 innings. We know that Floyd has the skill set to be a strong fantasy option thanks to his good command and dominance, and a 7.89 K/9 ratio and a 2 K/BB ratio will have a home on my fantasy any time. His value is sky rocketing right now (73% ownership- 86% in 4 weeks) so the asking price may be a bit higher then expected. Of course you can always exploit the beginners by simply pointing out his sky high ERA and WHIP.

3-5. 59 K, 30 BB, 5.75 ERA, 1.53 WHIP
Posted on: June 6, 2009 6:50 pm

Bullpen Briefs

Since last weeks entry one thing has become extremely evident to me in regards to my own fantasy teams. I either dominate with my pitching staff or lose because of it. All this of course can be related to closers. If I draft two or three of them, it's nearly impossible for me to be below third in pitching categories. If I for go closers I'm usually tops in strike outs, and wins, be near or at the bottom in WHIP, ERA and SV of course. So what's a happy balance? Do you draft closers or do you wait for the waiver wire?

Naturally this is all a matter of opinion but from now on, I'm drafting at least two sure fire guys in the middle rounds, and going from there. Never again will I go into a draft with the intention of speculating for saves. Which means no Chris Ray/Chris Perez/Jason Motte/ anyone not a closer drafted to my team.

On that note let's get to the business.

Randy Choate of the Tampa Bay Rays now has three saves on the season, making him a popular pick up in AL only leagues and in standard mixed leagues alike for those speculating for saves. Given how unsorted and ineffective the Rays bullpen has been this season I've completely passed on this situation. I still fell the Grant Balfour, and Dan Wheeler are better suited for the job but he could potentially be this years George Sherrill.

Andrew Bailey may very well be the best pitcher in the world. Ok that's a great exaggeration but can you really argue against a guy that has 4 W,3 SV, 2.12 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 40 K in 34 IP AND is eligible at SP and RP in some leagues. In my ESPN head to head league when I saw that he was available he was a must add after all if I can pick up a couple saves form a starter there can't really be any harm can there?

Francisco Cordero has just many saves as Jonathan Papelbon does over the past three seasons. Each with 92 SV, though Cordero generally is thought of as the lesser talent, and thus is available four rounds later or for the equivilant of $10 at the draft table.  The smart, thrifty owner puts their money in the Cordero basket.

Top Ten Saves Leaders-

1- Heath Bell- 15 SV, 26 K, 1.27 ERA, 0.94 WHIP
2- Brian Fuentes-  15 SV, 22 K, 4.95 ERA, 1.50 WHIP
3- Francisco Rodriguez-  15 SV, 28 K, 0.70 ERA, 0.97 WHIP
4- Francisco Cordero-  14 SV, 22 K, 1.57 ERA, 1.17 WHIP
5- Trevor Hoffman-  14 SV, 15 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.44 WHIP
6- Jonathan Papelbon- 14 SV, 28 K, 2.25 ERA, 1.46 WHIP
7- Brian Wilson-  14 SV, 28 K, 3.71 ERA, 1.35 WHIP
8- Jonathan Broxton- 13 SV, 45 K, 1.29 ERA, 0.68 WHIP
9- Ryan Franklin- 13 SV, 16 K, 1.29 ERA, 0.81 WHIP
10- Brad Lidge- 13 SV, 27 K, 7.20 ERA, 1.84 WHIP

Surprise Save of the Week-

Chris Sampson- 2-0, 3 SV, 15 K, 1.91 ERA, 1.24 WHIP- Well let's face it, I'm not really surprised by this anymore. Sampson now has three saves on the year, filling in when LaTroy Hawkins was injured. If you were/are looking for a middle with a chance to pick up a save then Sampson deserves some consideration. But in all reality he doesn't figure to factor into any saves when Jose Valverde returns to action.

Guys to Watch-

Tony Pena- 5-2, 1 SV, 21 K, 3.12 ERA, 1.38 WHIP- With Chad Qualls battling fore arm stiffness Pena is the obvious choice to be the fall back option. He's already matched his career high in wins with five, but wins are hard to speculate for relievers so it's almost not worth mentioning. What is worth mentioning is near 2.5 K/BB ratio (2.45) and his solid 6.59 K/9 career ratio, which is up this season to 7.27 K/9. With good dominance and control Pena could easily step in as a stop gap closer.

Posted on: June 4, 2009 9:35 pm

Waiver Wizard

Welcome to the latest feature blog the Waiver Wizard. Where we take a quick look at some waiver wire guys that you should be rostering.

Of course there has to be some criteria involved, player must be owned in less then 50% of CBS leagues. So without further ado away we go.

Stat's correct as of June 4th day games

Scott Podsednik- 4% Ownership- Next Matchups- Cleveland, Detroit-   If you're in the market for a fifth outfielder and could use a handful or speed and runs then Pods is a guy you should eyeing. Given that the White Sox don't really have any other option in center field Podsednik will get plenty of playing time. His batting average. OBP, and SLG are right in line with his career numbers, so there are clear indications that he can continue on this pace.  In his past 10 games- 8 R, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 1 SB, .311 AVG.

Gary Sheffield- 45 % Ownership- Next Matchups- Washington, Phiadelphia, New York (AL)-  If you haven't already you need to pick up Shef. Drop Francisco Liriano, drop a middle reliever, do what ever just make sure you can get this guy into your lineup. Sure there are always concerns about his health and age, but there should never be a concern regarding his production when he's healthy. After all the New York Mets on the whole are banged up and someone has to get those AB it's not going to be Ryan Church after all. Last 10 games- 10 R, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 1 SB, .343 AVG

Andy LaRoche- 39% Ownership- Next Matchups- Houston, Atlanta- Could it be? The emergence of the good LaRoche! Well it's been a long time coming for this one highly touted prospect. Unfortunately for those that are looking for power LaRoche may not be the best option having a career high 5 HR in the majors. He's only on pace to pop 6 out of the yard. But if you don't mind rostering a high average corner infielder then LaRoche is a great option, even better in keeper league formats. Last 10 games- 4 R, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 1 SB, .361 AVG

Andrew McCutchen- 41% Ownership- Next Matchups- Houston, Atlanta- There's always a flip side to the coin when a player gets traded. There are three possible outcomes, a- the recieve a player in return and he starts, b- they have a bench player or FA pick up take over the role, c- you promote your best prospect and see what happens. That's what happened when the Pittsburgh Pirates jettisoned another star to the Atlanta Braves for James Parr, Charlie Morton and Gorkys Hernandez. The move immediately opened up a role for McCutchen. A highly touted prospect who seems to me to be another Juan Pierre clone albeit with a bit more pop (2 is more then 1 after all) If you're in the market for a dirt stolen base threat, then you may want to take note. Especially those in keeper leagues. 2009 debut- 3 R, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1 SB, ,500 AVG

Clint Barmes-43% Ownership- Next Matchups- Houston, St.Louis, Milwaukee- For all those Ian Stewart owners quick question. How's that panning out? While Stewart got all the fantasy love, Barmes has quietly gone about his way and stolen a ton of playing time away at 2b. Proving to be a little more proficient at the dish, despite possessing less raw power. In the long run, the safe play is usually the best play. Last 10 games- 5 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 SB, .342 AVG

Joe Blanton- 53% Ownership-Next Matchups- Los Angelas- Ok I cheated a bit here, but this guy has been good his past couple of starts. It's also worth mentioning his good control this season a 2.65 K/BB ratio. He's won his past three outtings giving up a combined 8 runs. Nothing to write home to mom about but the 20/4 K/BB ratio is. Now I'm not proclaiming Blanton to be much more then he is (that being a 5 K, 1 BB, 6 IP) guy but in the right matchups he's worth a flier. His next start is in LA against Hiroki Kuroda.

J.A. Happ- 50# Ownership- Next Matchups- New York Mets- Only just does Happ make it. Though given his numbers he shouldn't even be on this list. Sporting a 4-0, 30 K, 2.48 ERA, 0.97 WHIP line one begins to wonder what does it take to get peoples attention? Granted he's only made three starts this year, but 18.1 IP, 13 K, 5 BB in those starts should make you take notice. His next start will be a true test against the Mets and Johan Santana. I'd consider sitting him out this time, but he's a great option for spot starts.

Diligence is the key to waiver wire gems, take advantage of market over sights and exploit them. That's how I've managed to wrangle up 15 R, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 1 SB, .354 AVG since May 15th courtesy of the Sheff's fine cooking.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or