Category:Fantasy Baseball
Posted on: April 15, 2009 12:28 am

NL Only Player Spot Light- Javier Vazquez


Steve walks warily down the street,
With the brim pulled way down low
Ain't no sound but the sound of his feet,
Machine guns ready to go
Are you ready, Are you ready for this
Are you hanging on the edge of your seat
Out of the doorway the bullets rip
To the sound of the beat

Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
Hey, I'm gonna get you too
Another one bites the dust......


If you were born anytime within the last 20 years you'll have surely heard this Queen classic Another One Bites the Dust . To me it's a great anthem, it's a song that ought to be played at all big sporting events (boxing, mixed martial arts, football, basketball, hockey, baseball, curling, bowling you name it) but of all things it should be reserved for ace pitchers, lets take it a step further it should be reserved for strike out artists.

A mocking exit for the hitter and a forboding message for the man on don't mess with this.

Every time I watch the Atlanta Braves new K-Master Javier Vazquez take the mound, I start singing this song. I just can't help myself. Nothing excites me more then watching a pitcher mow through the lineup whilst picking up 9-12 strike outs in the process. Sure I know that it leads to high pitch counts and early exits yadda yadda, but I can't help it. I'm a slave to the strike out.

That is the one facet of the game that Javy excels in, check these out.

2006- 11-12, 4.84era, 1.29whip, 184k, 56bb, 8.17K/9, 3.29K/BB

2007- 15-8, 3.74era, 1.14whip, 213k, 50bb, 8.85K/9, 4.26K/BB

2008- 12-16, 4.76era, 1.32whip, 200k, 61bb, 8.64K/9, 3.28K/BB

2009- 0-1, 4.50era, 1.25whip, 17k, 5bb, 12.64K/BB, 3.40K/BB

From those stats we can see a few trends thathave true through out Javy's career. A- He's not going to be a huge 20 win starter, or much better then a .500 guy for that matter (127-129 life time), so counting on him for more then 12 wins is a bit much. B- His ERA and Whip, could both be better but's a career spanning stat so expect improvement, and finally, though not displayed a propensity to serve up the long ball. Surrendering  23, 29, 25 in the previous three seasons it at least indicative that he's creative. So with these knocks against why do I like him?

1-K/9 Ratio- Anything higher then 7K/9 amongst starters is a great, 8+K/9 is fantastic. So you know that no matter what you're going to get a bunch of strike outs each outting.

2- Very good control- A base line for starters is a 2/1 K/BB ration, when a guy boasted a career 3.32K/BB ratio you know he's pretty good.

3- A Pitcher Park- After years of pitching in hitters havens Yankees Stadium, Chase Field and US Cellular, Javy is moving into a pitchers park, which should help knock down the 1.19HR/9 ration he's sported over his career.

4- Durability- Not to many pitchers can say that they've averaged 208.2 innings over the last 3 seasons. Combine that with an average of 199 strike outs, and you've got yourself a war horse.


In your drafts this year if you took Javier Vazquez as your ace, unfortunately you're going to be disappointed but if you made him your number 2-3 knowing that what you see is what you get then you'll get your money's worth. There may be a new breed of strike out artists on the horizon, but as long as this horse is still over powering hitters, he'll remain a favourite of mine, and on my fantasy rosters.

Posted on: April 13, 2009 3:37 pm

Al Only Player Spot Light- Aaron Hill

 Last week I profiled the Oakland Athletics second basemen Mark Ellis, whom I like alot, unfortunately this week hasn't been that stud that I've made him out to be. I still like Mark Ellis, but there is another second baseman that I like even more, blame it on country homerism, or the fact that he's far exceeded his draft slot so far but the Toronto Blue Jays Aaron Hill is this week's subject.

After posting an impressive line in 2007, Hill was primed for a huge 2008, unfortunately he missed the majority of 2008 due to a concussion after a collision with former Jays short stop David Eckstein, Hill has returned to his 2007 form and continued to push himself toward the front of the second base rankings.

Check out his numbers-

2006- 70r, 6hr, 50rbi, .291ba, 5sb, 42bb, 66k, .349obp, .386slg .735ops

2007- 87r, 17hr, 78rbi, .291ba, 4sb, 41bb, 102k, .333obp .459slg,  792ops

2008- 19r, 2hr, 20rbi, .263ba, 4sb, 16bb, 31k, .324obp, .361slg, .685ops

2009- 5r, 2hr, 8rbi, .300ba, 1bb, 7k, .313obp, .600slg .913ops

What's amazing is that after only 30ab his 2009 ratios are better then his 2008 stats. But in reality it's not so amazing when you realize that he was struggling to produce even before his injury.

So why do I like Hill this season?

1- A BABIP rebound- After posting solid BABIPS in 2006-2007 of .323 and .327 his .302 in 2008 was partially to blame for his decline. Expect that to rebound. Right now he's sitting at  .318. That could still go up.

2- Batting Order- Hitting behind Marco Scutaro and ahead of Alex Rios and Vernon Wells is bound to give you a few rbi and plenty of run chances.

3- Increased Fly Ball Rate- 34.6%, 38.9%, 47.4% increase over the past three seasons. Can only lead to a few more home runs.


So if you're looking for a cheap option at second base, you may want to snap up Hill now.


Posted on: April 9, 2009 11:48 pm

Bullpen Briefs

The closer.

Highly sought after, highly prized, highly infuriating.

Heading into the season managers were excited about new, fresh closers like the Oakland Athletics Joey Devine, the Chicago Cubs Carlos Marmol  and the St.Louis Cardinals Jason Motte. While others were looking for insurance plans when incumbent closers like the Detroit Tigers Fernando Rodney and others succumb to their usual mediocrity and give someone else a shot at closing out games.

So what has happened to these guys? Well Devine is on the 60 day DL, Mamol remains the set up man in favour of Kevin Gregg and Jason Motte blew his first save attempt. Where as Rodney was surprisingly effective, despite recording no save (none save situation)

So here's a quick Bullpen round up;

Top 10 saves leaders.

1- Heath Bell-  2sv, 3k, 0.00era,

2- Jonathan Broxton- 2sv, 4k, 0.00era

3- Matt Capps- 2sv, 1k. 0.00 era

4- Fransisco Rodriguez- 2sv, 2k, 0.00era

5- Joakim Soria- 2sv, 2k, 4.50era

6- Brad Zeigler- 2 sv, 3k, 4.50era

7- Grant Balfour- 1sv, 1k, 0.00era

8- Fransisco Cordero- 1sv, 4k, 0.00era

9- Frank Rodriguez- 1sv, 2k, 0.00era

10- Brian Fuentes - 1sv, 1k, 13.50era


Surprise Saves of the Week

1- Grant Balfour- 1sv, 1k, 0.00era- Picks up a 4 out save after coming in with the sacks drunk in the 8th inning.

2- Denny Reyes- 1sv, 1k, 0.00era- LaRussa says it was for the lefties match up. Maybe he's previewing available options. Keep an eye on the situation.


Players to Watch

Given the uncertainty of the closer role, and the volitility of the closers outside the top tier there are plenty of guys that could lose their jobs without a moments notice, so here are five guys to keep an eye on.

1- Ryan Perry-1k, 0.00era- Well it was only one inning but the guy has a 95mph fast ball, and Rodney is no stud and Brandon Lyon well he's Brandon Lyon

2- Rafeal Soriano- 1k, 0.00era- Not quite the picture of health but neither is current closer Mike Gonzalez when healthy he should rostered.

3- Ryan Franklin- 2k, 0.00era- We know that LaRussa doesn't trust young players, Franklin could get a shot again this year if Motte isn't lights out next time out.

4- Grant Balfour- 1sv 1k, 0.00era- As you can tell I like this guy, but given Troy Percival's injury past he's a guy to watch for.

5- Jose Arredondo- 2k, 13.50era- Kind of an obvious choice but it wouldn't be the first time that Brian Fuentes has been replaced in season for the younger arm.


That's your quick Bullpen Brief, remember you can always find saves, they're just not always pretty.

Posted on: April 8, 2009 9:13 pm

NL Only Player Spot Light- Chris Snyder.


 Catcher, arguably one of the weakest positions on your fantasy roster. Ranking right up there with short stop and second base. The most common throught process in regards to drafting catchers dicates that one should grab a stud early or wait until the very end of the draft.

There are three types of catcher you can draft. The studs, a very exclusive group including Brian McCann, Russell Martin, Joe Mauer and Geovony Soto. There is the second tier, less sexy, still productive, which includes among others, Chris Iannetta, Victor Martinez, Ryan Doumit, Benjie Molina et al. Finally there are the crap shoot catchers, the catchers you draft in the last rounds just to fill out the position, this includes guys like Jesus Flores, Kurt Suzuki and today's spot light player, Arizona Diamondbacks, Chris Snyder.

If you're just a casual fantasy baseball fan, you likely won't know who Chris Snyder. But if you play in deep mixed leagues with two catchers then Chris Snyder's name was on your draft prep sheet somewhere, though not very high.

That's the thing with little known, limited value catchers they can help you a bit in a couple categories and hurt just bad in other categories. Just like Chris Snyder does.

2006- 19r, 6hr, 32rbi, .277ba, 22bb, 39k, .349obp, .424slg, 773ops

2007- 37r, 13hr, 47rbi, .252ba, 40bb, 67k, .342obp, .433slg, .775ops

2008- 47r, 16hr, 64rbi, .237ba, 56bb, 101k, .348obp, .452slg, .800ops


There is an odd trend occuring here inregards to the dropping batting average and the increased strike out totals. So why does a guy who's seen his batting average drop .040 points in 3 years and his strike out rate rise from 21.2% to 20.6% before skyrocketing up to 30.2% in 2008 get any attention from me?

Here's why-

1- Rising walk rate- 10.7%, 10.9%, 14.4%. Snyder has always known how to take a walk

2- A constant OBP- For those in OBP leagues, Snyders .345obp is about as safe as you can get late in the draft.

3- That HR power- Only five catchers had more homers then Snyder. Six if you include Molina who had just as many.

4- The improving counting stats- The homerun totals have risen in each of the past three years. As have his runs and rbi. An improving D-Backs line up should provide Chris with a few more RBI opportunities.


With the way things are shaping up Chris Snyder could be one of the more undervalued catchers this season. With the chance to belt 20+hr in full time duty this season. I'd be looking for 55r, 18hr, 70rbi, .245avg, but I wouldn't be surprised if he surpassed those projections.



Posted on: April 8, 2009 1:24 am

AL Only Player Spot Light- Mark Ellis


This blog is my time to highlight and talk up any player of my choosing. Since everyone else likes to highlight and praise all the super stars I figured I'd do the exact opposite. Give praise and some insight into lesser known players. Players that are generally owned in single league formats, players like the under rated and highly undervalued Mark Ellis of the Oakland Athletics.

Now when I say Mark Ellis, if you know who he is, you might cringe at the very thought of having him on your roster. Me on the other hand, I'm rushing to head of the line to get his attention, because he's sure gotten mine.

Quick tell me how many American League second basemen hit double digit home runs? 6 of them. Alexie Ramirez, Ian Kinsler, Jose Lopez, Dustin Pedroia, Robinson Cano and Mark Ellis.

Even quicker this time, how many American League second basemen stole double digit bases? 6 again. Brian Roberts, Ian Kinsler, Dustin Pedroia, Mark Ellis, Alexie Ramirez, and Howie Kendrick.

Only four of them found themselves in both groups, three of them are sure fire studs and widely known, appeciated and highly sought after (Kinsler, Pedroia, Ramirez) the other is a late round, waiver wire, $1-$3 roster filler. So why do I like him so much?

Aside from providing some solid pop and speed from a shallow position, it's the possibility of a bounce back this season. Remember folks in 2007 Mark Ellis was a must own in all formats.

Here's a quick break of his past three seasons.

2006- 64r, 11hr, 52rbi, 4sb, .249ba, 40bb, 76k, .319obp, .385slg, .704ops

2007- 84r, 19hr, 76rbi, 9sb, .276ba, 44bb, 94k, .336obp, .441slg, .777ops

2008- 55r, 12hr, 41rbi, 14sb, .233ba, 53bb, 65k, .323obp, .373slg, .694ops

Now you've likely noticed that Ellis' power is good for double digits having reached that plateau 4 years running, the oddity is the increasing stolen bases on he gets on in age. But arguably the biggest factor hurting his fantasy value is his poor batting average, hell even the Arizona Diamondback's 3b Mark Reynolds .239 mark was better.

So what was behind that drastic fall in batting average? Well how about a dramatic .053 fall in babip down from a solid .302 to a miserable .249 mark. A return to the mean of .300 in the babip department could mean a return to a .260 batting average.

So we've discovered the mystery behind the falling batting average, here a couple other reason to like Mark Ellis this year.

1- A rising walk rate - 8.3%, 7.0%, 10.7%- A willingness to take a few free passing can only mean more stolen base opportunities and run scoring chances.

2- A declining strike out rate- 17.2%, 16.1%, 14.7%- If you don't strike out you're more apt to get on base.

3- Better Line Up- Though not a skill on can possess, you can only imagine that having Jason Giambi, Matt Holliday and Jack Cust hit behind would help on improve their run totals.

So if you find yourself in a jam in AL only leagues you may want to quickly snap up Mark Ellis off the waiver or, trade him on the cheap, as he has the ability and chance to turn a big profit this season.

Posted on: April 7, 2009 12:53 am

This Year's American League Rookie of the Year

Yesterday I posted my pick of the National League rookie of the year (Jordan Schafer- incase you missed it), and this blog features my pick for the American League Rookie of the year.

Now since not many of you guys know me, you likely won't know that I'm from Canada so I get to see more then my fair share of Toronto Blue Jays games on tv. There's nothing wrong with that, it builds a little country pride, and gives me someone to root for when the Atlanta Braves aren't playing. 

As many know that Blue Jays haven't been much of a champion threat in recent years, but that could all change.

Meet the cast of characters behind this "resurgence" if you will. Key stars, Alexis Rios, Vernon Wells, Roy Halladay, and Aaron Hill are returning, and they're helping to break in the young 'uns. Guys like DH/LF Adam Lind, and the 2009 rookie of the year, Travis Snider.

The hype has surrounded this kid since the Blue Jays took him in the first round 14th overall back in 2006. Since then he's batted his way through five different minor league levels (Rookie, Single A, High A, Double A, Triple). All the while displaying the great power to all fields.

Here's a quick look at his minor league numbers.

2006- Rookie- 36r, 11hr, 41rbi, 6sb, .325ba, 35bb, 47k, .412obp, .567slg, .979ops

2007- Single A- 72r, 16hr, 93rbi, 3sb, .313ba, 49bb, 129k, .377obp, .525slg, .902ops

2007- High A- 15r, 4hr, 7rbi, .279ba, 1sb, 5bb, 22k, .333obp, 557slg, .891ops

2008- Double A- 65r, 17hr, 67rbi, 1sb, .262ba, 52bb, 116k, .357obp, .461slg, .818ops

2008- Triple A- 9r, 2hr, 17rbi, .344ba, 1sb, 4bb, 16k, .386obp, .516slg, .901ops


So what do these number mean? Well aside from having very good power, and a solid OBP, they tell us that Travis Snider can have some trouble at the plate, especially in the strike out department, after having posted K rates of 24.2%, 28.2%, 36.1%, 32%, 25%, you might begin to wonder if that will limit his potential. Well we're not worried about Adam Dunn or Ryan Howard and their K rates are we? Granted they are proven vets but Jays skipper Cito Gaston has made a commitment to a youth movement centered around Snider.

A player with a strong arm in the outfield, and average range, is by default a left fielder. He'll likely remain their or in the DH role. But with great power (think 25-30hr over 500ab), and an everyday spot in the lineup, Travis Snider will far surpass his late round flyer pick, and could very well end up being this year's Evan Longoria.

Hopefully he moves up in the into the number 6 hole behind Wells and Lind, and ahead of Lyle Overbay, a fearless projection would see him raking these kind of numbers in, 75r, 20hr, 70rbi, 1sb, .275avg. Not extraordinary, but then again I don't like to get my own hopes to high when it comes to rookies.

Travis Snider will beat out other highly touted prospects such as Matt Wieters of the Baltimore Orioles, and David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays in a star studded 2009 rookie crop.


Posted on: April 5, 2009 3:37 pm

This Years National League Rookie of The Year

There are a ton of websites and experts offering you Top 100 Prospect lists, their feelings on the potential 2009 Rookie of the Year, as well as providing a little snip-it of their fantasy relevance.

Since I'm not a certified "expert" , and I don't get paid to write this blog, I figured I'd wait until the beginning of the season until the rosters were established to make my pick. I mean what's the point of saying that Dayan Viciedo is going to win the Rookie of the Year if he's no the opening day roster?

So without further delay here's my bold prediction.

Well it's not very bold, nor is it a shock to others, but my pick for National League Rookie of the Year is none other then the Atlanta Braves center fielder Jordan Schafer.

I've like this kid for a number of years. He's a highly touted player with a great skill set, and despite that he's most commonly known for his 50 game suspension last year for his steroid use.

So why do I think he's going to beat out the likes of the Colorado Rockies outfielder Dexter Fowler, the St.Louis Cardinals Colby Rasmus or the Florida Marlins Cameron Maybin?

It's the good mix of power ,speed and defense.

His minor league numbers are rather impressive.

2005- Rookie Ball- 3hr, 19rbi, 13sb, 18r, .203ba, 13bb, 49k, .256obp, .352slg, .608ops

2006- Single A- 8hr, 60rbi, 15sb, 49r, .240ba, 28bb, 95k, .293obp, .376slg, .669ops

2007-A/Advanced A- 15hr, 63rbi, 23sb, 86r, .312ba, 56bb, 126k, .374obp, .513slg, .887ops

2008-Double A- 10hr, 51rbi, 12sb, 46r, .269ba, 49bb, 88k, .378obp, .417slg, .850ops.

All before the age of 22.

The guy has double digit power and speed with solid on base numbers, and an improving batters eye. The biggest knock against him is the hole in his swing resulting in a high K rate (24.1, 24, 21.8, 29.6) which can be fixed given his age, but the real knock against him is the taint remaining from his use of HGH.

With out any real competition in the OF his job is safe and I'm expecting good things. Not to the extent of Evan Longoria last season but a solid line of  70r, 15hr, 65rbi, 20sb, .270avg from the number 6 slot. Though a move up in the order, a bounce back from Jeff Francouer and a break out from Casey Kotchman, and those numbers could look conservative.

Maybe it's a little Braves homerism, but this guy has all the tools to be a star in the big leagues, and is my pick for the 2009 NL ROY.




Posted on: March 30, 2009 7:06 pm

I've Got a Secret,I've Been Hiding, Under My Skin

Since I can't fit the entire lyrics to that Styx classic Mr.Roboto in the title head line, I though I'd give you a tid bit, and post the rest here.

Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto
Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto
Mata ahoo Hima de
Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto
Himitsu wo Shiri tai

You're wondering who I am
(Secret, secret, I've got a secret)
Machine or mannequin
(Secret, secret, I've got a secret)
With parts made in Japan
(Secret, secret, I've got a secret)
I am the modren man

I've got a secret, I've been hiding under my skin
My heart is human, my blood is boiling
My brain I.B.M., so if you see me
Acting strangely, don't be surprised

I'm just a man who needed someone
And somewhere to hide
To keep me alive, just keep me alive
Somewhere to hide to keep me alive



And now that that catchy song  is stuck in your head, you're probably thinking what does this have to do with fantasy baseball? Well in all actually, nothing. Nothing at all really. I was looking for a means of conveying a secret, and Mr.Robot just so happen to have one, and well the song does say secret like 28 times, so it stuck with me.


So what's my big secret?

Well it's not really a secret it's more or less a matter of exposing draft value particularily in a keeper league draft I took part in last night.

Here's the history of this team. The league is held over at, it's a 6x6 (OBP and Holds) 12 team roto, 5 player keeper. I took over a team with a solid list of players.

I formed my team with arguably the most solid OF in the league retaining the rights to Manny Ramirez, Carlos Beltran, Carl Crawford, and Nate McLouth. Evan Longoria was my final keeper at 3b. As I prepared for the draft from my place in the 6th draft slot, I quickly noticed just how many great, not good, but great pitching options were available.

Since I didn't really have any specific draft strategy going in, I made one up then and there, and here are the results.

Brandon Webb, Dan Haren, Jose Valverde.

My first three picks off the board. Needless to say, I was estatic! It's not to often that I get to have one sexy pitcher, let alone two on the same pitching staff. I drafted Jose Valverde after the initial closer run took place in the 7th round.

I followed that group up with Rafeal Furcal, Brian Fuentes, and Russell Martin .

Excuse me while I pat myself on the back here. Two very good closers with secure roles on my team with in my first five picks. I'm sold, getting arguably the best player at their position in Martin. I'm sold. Furcal is the wild card. If he's healthy oh boy. I may have gotten myself that #4 SS in all of baseball.

So after 6 picks and my roster looking pretty good with a stacked OF, good pen, awesome staff anchors and great options at weak position, I set out addressing needs.

Jose Lopez, Fransisco Cordero, Jim Thome .

Second base filled by an ever improving power theat at the key stone. One more solid closing option, which means I don't need to look anymore, and my first true masher of the draft. Sure the batting average is a concern, but Thome is a career .279 hitter, so a swing back up to .275 would not surprise me, not to mention in an OBP league the guy is solid.

Joba Chamberlain, Adrian Beltre, Adam LaRoche.

So I got myself another starting pitcher, he likely won't exceed 180 IP, but the upside for dominance is more then enough reason to draft him here. Beltre and LaRoche are two unspectacular options at 1b and CI, but they're as solid and reliable as it gets.

Josh Johnson, Matt Cain, Kazuo Matsui.

By this point in the draft I've got 8 of my 10 pitching slots filled up, with players that are generally #3 on most teams. How often is it that Matt Cain finds himself as a #5? He and Johnson give me two good pitchers with upside for great value. Matsui fills out my MI slot with some speed and a good average, I've just got to find a back up when he's injured, and he's always injured.

David DeJesus, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Max Scherzer.

Filled out the final OF slot with a solid 10/10 guy in DeJesus, he also hits for a solid average, with the potential to bring in a few more RBI thanks to move down in the batting order. Kouzmanoff seems to be on ALL my teams. A solid 25hr, .275 threat from my util is worthy of a roster spot. With all the concerns around Mad Max regarding his injury the 100mph arm is too good to pass up this late in a keeper draft. I'm going to stash him on the DL and pick someone else up.

J.P. Howell, Hung-Chih Kuo, Octavio Dotel.

There are hold remember. These three guys may not get a ton of them, but they will definately help out across the board, giving me a boat load of strike outs, good era and whip, and a bunch of wins and a few saves as well. In shallow leagues I end up with some variation of this trifecta in favour of a marginal starting pitcher.

Mike Adams, Brandon Lyon, Matt LaPorta.

Got another member of my Awesome All Relievers team. Mike Adams obviously. I grabbed Lyon as a potential 4th closer, and if he sucks, I'll trade him or cut, he was a late pick anyways. With a few of the other top prospects being drafted already (David Price, Matt Wieters, Jordan Schafer, Colby Rasmus etc ) I felt it was time for me to grab mine. Sure LaPorta won't start the year in the bigs, but his upside is far to great to say in the minors for long. Well you've read the reports on the guy, you know the story.

Fred Lewis.

Yeah that's right. I grabbed a .280 10hr, 25sb guy with the final pick of the draft. So what wanna fight about it?


So you've seen the roster and you're likely still wondering what the big secret is. Here it is.

In keeper leagues, pitching is WAY under valued. C.C. Sabathia, Johan Santana, Jake Peavy, Tim Lincecum, and Jonathan Papelbon, were the only pitcher kept. Which meant it was far to easy to exploit everyone elses willingness to grab all the big bats immediately. I know that that is the general consensus when it comes to fantasy baseball, but when I've got the opportunity to own BOTH Webb and Haren, I'm taking the chance.  Realistically I only missed out on Shane Victorino, Bobby Abreu, Alexie Ramirez, Garret Atkins and Carlos Pena in terms of hitters. Considering that I already had better or drafted comparable players at those positions, I was more then willing to grab the arms.

Essentially what I'm saying is that it pays to take a look at what kind of players are being kept, and what positions or stats are being under valued in your draft . Will you end up with results like these in your drafts? It's possible, but would you be happy with them? I think you might be.

Until next time.



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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or