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Posted on: March 12, 2009 1:41 am

FBTM Challenge League Draft


Since I don't get many readers and I'm essentially writting this for myself, I figured I'd keep it updated every 4-5 days, the best that I could. Perparing should I get readers. You know to keep it fresh. So this weeks entry is recapping my first real draft of the season.


It's a Yahoo! league, in which I'm taking part the Fantasy Baseball Trade Market's Challenge League. (Give their site a visit tell them Matt sent you.) Anyways, the site is a newer site like the one I contribute to, ( yes I know I'm the king of the shameless plug, Matthew Berry hasn't got sh*t on me.

Right so as for the draft. It was standard fair, 12 team, 5x5 roto, normal roster.

As I prepared for the draft, I wanted to come up with a strategy that would I could use through out the entire draft, one that I wouldn't have to alter. One that may at times require me to make a couple "reaches" (check out my site to see my thoughts on that), and one that I was sure would either win me a title or doom me to mediocrity.

So I set out during my preperation aka, pain staking research, and calculations until I came up with the ultimate game plan. I was going to draft the ultimate "Prime Tyme" players (patent pending). Specifically targetting players aged 25-27. Of course I knew that would require me to pass on some established veterans in favour of the younger more hyped players, but it's a risk I was willing to take.

The next problem came draft day, of all things, my first pick. Not a good sign. The whole week, I had been banking on getting the New York Mets, David Wright with my first pick, 5th over all. So I took a second, and collected my thoughts. That process went like this,

" WTF!!! You were supposed to take Jose B. Reyes! Not f*cking Wright! WTF! NOW what do I do?!?"

Well, it's a good thing that I had planned for that. I calmly selected the Cleveland Indians, Grady Sizemore with the 5th pick, and waited. People thought I was a little crazy to pass on Reyes, and his 70sb potential. But the thought of having a 40/40 guy to anchor my offense, far out classed the 15/70 guy. As I was more likely to get production across all categories with Sizemore as opposed to Reyes. No slight to Reyes of course.

With my next pick, I broke my draft strategy,and for good reason.

Carlos Beltran.

First things first. He's only 31, so he's not old. Secondly, the guy is a legit, 30hr, 20sb, 110r, 110 rbi, .280 hitter. See what I mean? How could I possibly pass up that kind of production? Exactly. Moving on.

Round three say me take another 20/20 guy in the Cincinnati Reds second baseman, Brandon Phillips. I know he ended the season on the DL, but that doesn't bother me. I only drafted him to hit 20hr, and steal 25 bases anyways. Some "experts" think that he's drafted to highly because of his poor batting average, and his decline after the Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. trades. But apparently I don't have the credentials to be an experts so I selected him in the third round, just like everyone else does.

In the fourth round, I stayed in the NL, only this time I went to an extreme pitchers park, and grabbed their best hitter. Guess who? The San Diego Padres, Adrian Gonzalez. The guy is a hitter. A good one at that. His numbers are stiffled by a poor home environment, but on the road he's damn near unstoppable (last two seasons, Road- .301, 42hr, 134rbi, 120r- Home- .257, 24hr, 85rbi, 84r). So apparently I'll only be playing him for 81 games....or the 160 or so he'll play, I haven't decided yet.

In the fifth round, I continued to work within my strategy and selected another outfielder. The Detroit Tigers, Curtis Granderson. The Tigers apparently want Grandy to run more. Ironically so do I. I'd also like him to maintain his 20hr/75rbi production along with that, from the lead off spot. But I'm not asking much.


The rest of the draft followed the 25-27 range almost to a "t", with the exception of Arizona Diamondbacks catcher, Chris Snyder.

Here's the entire roster.

C- Chris Snyder- Arizona Diamondbacks

C- Jesus Flores- Washington Nationals

1b- Adrian Gonzalez- San Diego Padres

2b- Brandon Phillips- Cincinnati Reds

3b- Ryan Zimmerman- Washington Nationals

SS- Stephen Drew- Arizona Diamondbacks

CI- Joey Votto- Cincinnati Reds

MI- Robinson Cano- New York Yankees

OF- Grady Sizemore- Cleveland Indians

OF- Carlos Beltran- New York Mets

OF- Curtis Granderson- Detroit Tigers

OF- Lastings Milledge- Washington Nationals

OF- Carlos Gomez- Minnesota Twins

Util- Alex Gordon- Kansas City Royals

Bn- David Murphy- Texas Rangers

Bn- Aaron Hill- Toronto Blue Jays


P- Felix Hernandez- Seattle Mariners

P- Matt Cain- San Fransico Giants

P- Justin Verlander- Detroit Tigers

P- Clayton Kershaw- Los Angeles Dodgers

P- Kevin Slowey- Minnesota Twins

P- Chris Perez- St. Louis Cardinals

P- Chris Ray- Baltimore Orioles

P- J.P. Howell- Tampa Bay Rays

Bn- Taylor Buccholz- Colorado Rockies- Since Dropped for Scot Shields- Los Angeles Angels

Bn- Hung-Chi Kuo- Los Angeles Dodgers


I know just as many of you readers, (thanks mom) that my pitching staff leaves a little ok, maybe alot to be desired, but it could well be the best if all of them live up to their potential. Since I'm a realist I know that I'm going to have to pay attention to guys that get off to hot starts pick them up, and ride them. Either that or I'm going to have to trade some of the offense for some pitching.

You're also probably thinking, so you're taking a 1 in saves eh? Well, I'm thinking, nice to see another Canadian in the croud, and no. I'm taking a 2, with the hopes that Chris Perez can hold of Jason Motte for the closer role, and the manager Tony LaRussa can put aside his anti-youth movement, and focus on winning with the best players, not just the veterans. I'm also hoping that the Orioles realize the Ray is their best option to close out games, and finally I'm banking on grabbing ALL of the ugly closers off the waiver wire, and finish with a solid, 2.5 or maybe even a 3 in the saves department.

So what do you think of this team? Or the strategy, would you have gone with a different strategy? Let me know what you think.



Posted on: March 7, 2009 1:51 am

A Trip to Orlando!


OK the title may be a bit misleading as there never was a trip to Orlando, Florida made. But there have a couple recent signings of free agents whom share the first name Orlando.

Orlando Hudon, and Orlando Cabrera.

With each player signing on with a new club, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Oakland Athletics, respectively. Both have seen minimal change in their fantasy value. Lets take a quick look at each player, and see how their new homes will impact their 2009 performance.


Orlando Hudson . Here is a guy that has posted a rather solid stat line over the previous three seasons. .294avg, 11hr, 57rbi, 70r, 8sb, .366OBP, .448SLG, .815OPS. But those numbers were largely aided by playing in the favourable Chase Field, where he posted a .315/.393/.509 line, compared to .274/.339/.392 on the road. 

Also take into consideration that he's ended the last two seasons on the disabled list with hand injuries, and he becomes less attractive.

Move him out a hitters paradise, put him in one of the better pitchers parks, ranking 13th in home runs, 15th, in batting average and runs scored and dead last in triples, and you can see why Hudson's ADP has falled 8 picks since his signing.

On the plus side, he's got the chance to pick up a bunch of RBI, hitting 8th in the Dodgers lineup behind, James Loney and Casey Blake.


Orlando Cabrera. This is one player that I've always liked. He's not a standout in anyone category, but he's consistent, and despite his advancing age (34), he's still productive. Averaging .288avg, 8hr, 72rbi,96r, 22sb, .340obp, .390slg, .730ops line over the last three seasons, and you can see why he's a favourite of mine for the middle infield slot.

It was a given that no matter where he ended up he was going to score a lot of runs, and it looks like it remain that way. In a lineup featuring mashers Jack Cust, Jason Giambi, and Matt Holliday, you can bank on Cabrera breaking the 90+ run plateau.

The biggest down side for this signing is the move out of another friendly hitters park (US Cellular) into a leviathan of a home environment named McAfee Coliseum. Ranking 13th in the AL in runs last year, and dead last in batting average, one can only hope that Cabrera can do alot of damage while on the road.

He likely won't get many opportunities to drive in many runs out of the lead off spot, likely batting behind Kurt Suzuki, Aaron Cunningham, Rajai Davis his opportunites may be limited.

Unlike Hudson, Cabrera's ADP hasn't changed much, if at all.

With the preceived lack of talent at the middle infield positions, both players must be drafted, but one can't expect too much. Look for their three year averages as ceiling numbers. Anything more is icing on the cake.



Posted on: February 24, 2009 10:01 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2009 10:06 pm

M.R Awesome

Immediately I'd like to point out that the title is regarding me, yes I know cocky, but hey. In case you're wondering no it's not really regarding me, it's regarding, Middle Relievers.

You know what middle relievers are right? The pitchers that bridge the gap between the starter and the closer? Doesn't a ring a bell? You know those perennial "closers in waiting", yup, middle relievers. Ahhh now you see what I'm talking about.

So why on earth would I decide to write a blog about middle relievers, they're just innings eatters after all. True, but there are few middle men that will not only "eat" innings, but post elite ratios, great strike out numbers, pick up a bunch of vulture wins and saves. Now you're getting exciting, and wondering, who are these guys and how much will they cost?

First off lets post this stat line.

Pitcher 1- 20w, 2.78era, 206k,1.05whip, 246 IP

Pitcher 2- 22w, 2.41era, 309k, 1.10whip, 272.2IP

Pitcher 1, Roy Halladay, how much did that guy cost you? The perennial Cy Young candidate cost you an early draft pick, and alot of money at the auction.

Pitcher 2-, Grant Balfour , Matt Thornton , J.P. Howell , Jared Burton. Shocking I know, 4 unknown, underappreciated middle relievers that likely weren't drafted in any leagues and if they were, they were your last draft picks, and couldn't have cost you more then $5 for the whole lot of them.

There's an inherant risk with spending a high draft pick or big money on pitcher, when you can utilize the "Lima Plan" and grab productive middle relievers for cheap. If you're questioning the logic of strategy ask yourself this. "How hard it is to replace a $1 pitchers production should he get injured?" Easy grab one from the free agent pool. " How hard is it to replace a $20 pitcher?"  Not nearly as easy.

For those astute owners, you managed to pick up numbers that even an ace pitcher couldn't put from names off the free agent list. What more could you want?

A list?

OK, here's a list of Middle relievers to draft this year.

Tampa Rays Grant Balfour , J.P. Howell , Joe Nelson. Toronto Blue Jays , Jesse Carlson , San Diego Padres Mike Adams , St.Louis Cardinals , Jason Motte , Pittsburgh Pirates , John Grabow , New York Mets , J.J. Putz , Milwaukee Brewers , Carlos Villanueva , Mike DiFelice , Los Angeles Dodgers , Hung-Chih Kuo , Cory Wade , Kansas City Royals , Kyle Farnsworth , Colorado Rockies , Taylor Buccholz , Cincinnati Reds, Jared Burton , Chicago White Sox, Octavio Dotel , Matt Thornton , Chicago Cubs, Jeff Samardzija , Boston Red Sox , Manny Delcarmen , Hideki Okajima , Baltimore Orioles , Dennis Sarfate , Cleveland Indians , Rafael Perez , amongst others that will appear during the season.

Keep an eye out on the bull pen situations, particularily on guys that post strong K/9 (8k/9 or higher), as well as guys that don't walk alot of batters less then 2.75BB/9.

Pay attention to young prospects who start the year in the pen to monitor their work load.

All things being equal, middle relievers are key contributors to your fantasy baseball teams, and championships.





Posted on: February 19, 2009 11:05 pm

The Curious Case of Jeff Francis

If you haven't already heard the news about Colorado Rockies "ace" pitcher, then you're not paying enough attention.

The Canadian lefty has announced that he will under go explorator surgery on Wednesday effectively eliminating any chance of seeing him pitch this season.

After watching a tape of him throwing a bullpen session, Jeff had this to say, "It didn't look anywhere close. I was really disappointed. "There is obviously something going on."

"I had no arm speed, my arm was short and the arm action was short and I was not powerful at all," he said.

Francis said it was bad time of year to make the decision, but "I think it is a necessary one."

"I could put damage on something else. I could put strain on an elbow," he said. "I just want to go out there and be the pitcher I can, and I don't think in the state I am in right now I could do that. It would not be fair to me and it would not be fair to the team."

Which brings to mind, why would he wait until Spring Training to come to this conclusion? Was he not busy working out in the off season, did he not feel any pain then? Wouldn't you take that course of action? Get the proceedure done and over with as soon as possible?

With that being said, I had pegged Jeff Francis as a nice bounce back candidate for the 2009 season.

With a 2008 line of 4-10, 5.01era, 1.48whip, 94k, 49bb he was surely to be forgot after such a disappointing season. I was looking past that, looking past the injury, seeing the pitcher of yester-year.

After posting an impressive 2007 stat line of 17-9, 4.22era, 1.38whip, 165k, 63bb, 215.1 IP, I was more then willing to wager a late round pick on a bounce back season. Combine that with a decent finish to the season (7GS, 1-3, 3.54era, 1.34whip, 27k, 9bb), I had all the indications that Jeff Francis had returned to full health, and was ready to be a great "sleeper" pick for this season.

All for nought this season, just another reason why you can't trust pitchers.

Posted on: February 14, 2009 3:40 am

Hanley Ramirez vs Jose Reyes


This one is alot closer then people like to think. It's a battle between two different types of players, and two different draft stratgies.

Strategy one- draft the best player available regardless of postions.

Strategy two- draft speed early and often, pick up cheap power bats later.

If you're in camp a, then you're going to be the one drafting Hanley Ramirez, the down side is, you've got to have the first overall pick, or the the second pick, and hope that the other guy like A-Rod, or Pujols more.

With Hanley you know that you're getting a game changer and a bona fide stud. He's got the talent to put up a 40/40 season. Though I doubt he will. Last season he did post 33 hr, and 35 sb. A 4 hr improvement over 2007, but a 16 sb decrease.  Granted he made 50 less AB, but in only one less game played. Attribute that the Marlins looking to move his powerful bat lower in the lineup, ideally the number 3 slot.

The move down to the RBI slots will ultimately improve his RBI totals and maybe even the HR, but the hit in sb will be significant. I'd also be looking for a slight decline in runs as well if he moves down.

Of course this no slight to Hanley, he is the best power option at ss but...

Jose Reyes, is a burner. The guy can flat out fly. Sure last season was a relative "disappointment" but if 58 sb is a poor season, sign me. But only of course if it goes along with 113r, 16hr, 56rbi, and a .297avg. Pretty sure those are good numbers.

I know that some out there are screaming, you want ELITE PRODUCTION FROM 5 CATS WITH YOUR 1st ROUNDER!

Well maybe not screaming, but you get the picture. The argument for Reyes stems largely from the fact that it is much more difficult to draft great speed later on then it is to draft good power. (Note this more draft strategy related then Hanley vs Reyes)

The difference between Reyes and Micheal Bourn and Wily Taveras is that Reyes does not provide shallow steals. He provides production across the board. He doesn't hurt you in any manner, and is a great trading chip should you need the power.

Think about this. It's the 20th round, and you've drafted Jose Reyes in the 1st and you're looking at drafting Mark Reynolds. It looks likes a great match. Combined you're looking at 45+hr, 160+rbi, 225+r, 70+sb, and a .270avg. Not to bad.

Or this, the guy right after you drafted David Wright, and he's looking to sneak 40sb onto his roster, so he drafts Wily Taveras. Combined he's managed to wrangle up 35+hr, 140+rbi, 190+r, 80sb, .285avg.

The numbers seem close, but the fact that Reyes provides solid numbers across the board, allows you to grab a strike out prone bat with potential that could explode. Either that or you're stuck rostering a SB threat with terrible peripherials.

In a scratch draft, based on my own drafting tendencies I'm apt to select Ramirez, but I wouldn't fault anyone for selecting Reyes in this argument.

Posted on: January 10, 2009 4:03 am

Smoltz, Penny Sign with Red Sox

So all those rumors that Atlanta Braves fans were fearing, are now in fact true.

Legendary Braves pitcher, John Smoltz has officially signed with the Boston Red Sox.

 After posting 210 W and 154 SV in 21 with Atlanta, Smoltzy leaves after 21 years of service to better his chances of finishing his career a with a World Series ring.

"Smoltz will earn a $5.5 million base salary with the Red Sox, and can earn up to $5 million in an incentive clause. The incentives include $125,000 for his first day on the active roster, $500,000 if he is on the active roster on the last day of the season, and up to $4.375 million for the number of days he is on the major league roster during the season. Miscellaneous bonuses would come into play if he wins comeback player of the year, the Cy Young or other such awards. " (
story?id=3819298 )

 Smoltz will likely start the season as the 4-5 starter, and gives the Red Sox (if healthy) the best pitching rotation in the league, head lined by Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield and the newly arrived, Brad Penny.

From a fantasy stand point, John Smoltz becomes an attractive late round pick in deep leagues or a guy to keep a watch on as a free agent. His win total will definitely rise, as well as his era and whip, if he return in early May, a 13-14 win season with a 3.70 era and 1.34 whip wouldn't be out of the question.

 As a Braves fan this is beyond disappointing even more so then when Tom Glavine signed with the enemy, the New York Mets. Many Atlanta fans are flabbergasted at John's decision. I understand the reasoning for the move, and even though it's going to hurt to see Smoltz on the back of a Red Sox jersey I will take solace in the fact that his odds of ending the season with a championship are a lot higher now.

Brad Penny like Smoltz signed with the Red Sox after enduring arm injuries in the previous season,

 "Penny signed a one-year contract worth a base salary of $5 million, but has innings-based performance incentives that could garner him an additional $3 million. Penny became a free agent after the Dodgers paid him a $2 million buyout rather than picking up his $9.25 million option. Penny, 30, is 94-75 in his career, with a 4.06 ERA and 1,032 strikeouts. He has spent his entire career in the National League." (

From a fantasy stand point Brad Penny is in the same boat as Smoltz. His era, whip and wins will most definitely rise, 15-16 w, and a 4.00 era, 1.35 whip are worth a late round flyer or early free agent pick up. In AL only leagues, Brad Penny is a must draft pitcher, but only as a #5 SP. 

 As stated in the article, this signing could well be one of the biggest steals of the free agent signing season.
All being told the Boston Red Sox have countered the New York Yankees extravagant spending spree by signing high risk/ high reward pitchers that should again make them the favourite of the East. 2009 will be a season to remember, especially the battle for AL East supremacy.
Posted on: December 28, 2008 5:51 pm

If I were a GM- Texas Rangers

Edit- This was posted on the boards a day before Wily Taveras signed with the Reds-

Here we go, I'll take the Texas Rangers, and hope that something good will happen.

First things first, the Rangers need some pitching help, and they play in a ball park that isn't kind to pitchers, so my two primary targets, Free Agents, Derek Lowe and Ben Sheets, offering them each 3 year $42 million contracts which would pay them 14 million annually. Likely less then they are seeking but they would be incentive laden (200 IP, $150,000, All Star, $50,000 etc etc), and include a $5 million signing bonus. Signing those two arms would show a commitment to winning, and a legit chance to make a run at the division title.

Knowing that the Rangers haven't been a legit contender for a number of seasons now, it can't hurt to take a few low risk high reward signings. Sign oft-injured starting pitchers Mark Prior and Randy Wolf  to incentive laden minor league contracts, that could total up to $3 million based on inning pitched, starts and days in the major (similar to the contract Chris Capuano received from the Brewers).

Secondly, given the Rangers great offense and friendly home confines, I'd spend even more money, this time locking up Adam Dunn for 5 years at $80 million (16 per), also with a $5 million signing bonus, couple the power provided by Dunn's bat, and the newest signing ( by me of course) or speedster CF Wily Taveras to a 3 year, $7 million deal, and the offense has the perfect mix of power and speed.

The roster would look roughly like this.

1-  Ian Kinsler       - 2b
2- Micheal Young - SS
3- Josh Hamilton - RF
4- Adam Dunn      - LF
5- Chris Davis      - 1b
6- Nelson Cruz     - CF
7- Hank Blalock   - 3b
8- Taylor Teagarden - C
9- Wily Taveras / David Murphy    - DH

You'll notice a noteworthy name missing, catcher/1b Jarrod Saltalamacchia. I'd hand over the catcher reins to Teagarden and Max Ramirez, and look to move Salty to the Red Sox for another highly touted prospect in pitcher Clay Buchholz.

With the two SP signings, and the Salty for Buccholz trade the pitching staff improves 110%.

1- Ben Sheets
2- Derek Lowe
3- Vincente Padilla
4- Clay Buchholz
5- Matt Harrison/ Kevin Millwood/ Randy Wolf/ Mark Prior

The bullpen is still an issue with no clear candidate for the closer role. This is were the never ending pockets of owner Tom Hicks come into play.

New closer, and even newer free agent signing, closer Brian Fuentes to a 4 year, $28 million dollar deal ($7 million annually).

Leaving Frank Francisco as the primary set up man, and CJ Wilson, Joaquin Benoit, Eric Hurley, Scott Feldson, Luis Mendoza, Mark Prior, Randy Wolf  and Dustin Tippert to compete for roles in the bull pen.

Adding a total of roughly $61.33 million in guaranteed contracts ($15 million in signing bonuses)  would demonstrate to the fans and the rest of the division, that the Rangers are ready and more then willing to play ball.
Category: MLB
Tags: Rangers, Texas
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or