Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fantasy Baseball Preview

"Dear Mr. Fantasy, play us a tune.
Something to make us all happy."

Now I don't acknowledge myself as an "expert" in this field, but I'm pretty sure I have some qualifications that will make this legitament. As we inch closer and closer to Opening Day, I felt like now would be the best time to write up a fantasy baseball preview article (a real baseball preview is also on the way...I know you were worried...relax!). If any of you guys out there would like to join a league with myself, please feel free to contact me (although with me giving out all this information, maybe this is not the target market for inter-league competiton here). Anyway, here comes the pain (also, definitely check out the link to "Fantasy Baseball Hub" below; that site is amazing)...

Top 100 Players:

  1. Albert Pujols, 1B, St. Louis
  2. Ryan Howard, 1B, Philadelphia
  3. Alfonso Soriano, OF, Chicago (NL)
  4. David Ortiz, 1B/DH, Boston
  5. Johan Santana, SP, Minnesota
  6. Carl Crawford, OF, Tampa Bay
  7. Jose Reyes, SS, New York (AL)
  8. Lance Berkman, 1B, Houston
  9. Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Florida
  10. Chase Utley, 2B, Philadelphia
  11. Grady Sizemore, OF, Cleveland
  12. Matt Holliday, OF, Colorado
  13. David Wright, 3B, New York (NL)
  14. Alex Rodriguez, 3B, New York (AL)
  15. Carlos Beltran, OF, New York (NL)
  16. Jason Bay, OF, Pittsburgh
  17. Vernon Wells, OF, Toronto
  18. Manny Ramirez, OF, Boston
  19. Vladimir Guerrero, OF, Anaheim
  20. Derek Jeter, SS, New York (AL)
  21. Carlos Lee, OF, Houston
  22. Andruw Jones, OF, Atlanta
  23. Travis Hafner, 3B/DH, Cleveland
  24. Roy Oswalt, SP, Houston
  25. Carlos Zambrano, SP, Chicago (NL)
  26. Chris Carpenter, SP, St. Louis
  27. Justin Morneau, 1B, Minnesota
  28. Roy Halladay, SP, Toronto
  29. Jake Peavy, SP, San Diego
  30. Garrett Atkins, 3B, Colorado
  31. Mark Teixeira, 1B, Texas
  32. Jimmy Rollins, SS, Philadelphia
  33. Francisco Rodriguez, CL, Anaheim
  34. Brandon Webb, SP, Arizona
  35. Paul Konerko, 1B, Chicago (AL)
  36. Joe Nathan, CL, Minnesota
  37. Miguel Tejada, SS, Baltimore
  38. Hanley Ramirez, SS, Florida
  39. Ben Sheets, SP, Milwaukee
  40. Bobby Abreu, OF, New York (AL)
  41. Scott Kazmir, SP, Tampa Bay
  42. John Smoltz, SP, Atlanta
  43. Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Chicago (NL)
  44. Jermaine Dye, OF, Chicago (AL)
  45. C.C. Sabathia, SP, Cleveland
  46. Adam Dunn, OF, Cincinnati
  47. Mariano Rivera, CL, New York (AL)
  48. Bobby Abreu, RF, New York (AL)
  49. Curt Schilling, SP, Boston
  50. B.J. Ryan, CL, Toronto
  51. Jim Thome, DH, Chicago (AL)
  52. Johnny Damon, OF, New York (AL)
  53. John Lackey, SP, Anaheim
  54. Derrek Lee, 1B, Chicago (NL)
  55. Ichiro Suzuki, OF, Seattle
  56. Rafael Furcal, SS, Los Angeles
  57. Aaron Harang, SP, Cincinnati
  58. Danny Haren, SP, Oakland
  59. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Washington
  60. Jeff Francoeur, OF, Atlanta
  61. Jeremy Bonderman, SP, Detroit
  62. Jonathan Papelbon, SP, Boston
  63. Chone Figgins, 3B, Anaheim
  64. Raul Ibanez, OF, Seattle
  65. J.J. Putz, CL, Seattle
  66. Dontrelle Willis, SP, Florida
  67. Gary Sheffield, OF, Detroit
  68. Jered Weaver, SP, Anaheim
  69. Michael Young, SS, Texas
  70. Bronson Arroyo, SP, Cincinnati
  71. Chris Young, SP, San Diego
  72. Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP, Boston
  73. Delmon Young, OF, Tampa Bay
  74. Cole Hamels, SP, Philadelphia
  75. Felix Hernandez, SP, Seattle
  76. Torii Hunter, OF, Minnesota
  77. Joe Mauer, C, Minnesota
  78. Matt Cain, SP, San Francisco
  79. Jason Schmidt, SP, Los Angeles
  80. Chipper Jones, 3B, Atlanta
  81. Carlos Delgado, 1B, New York (NL)
  82. Adam LaRoche, 1B, Pittsburgh
  83. Prince Fielder, 1B, Milwaukee
  84. Bill Hall, SS, Milwaukee
  85. Justin Verlander, SP, Detroit
  86. Troy Glaus, 3B, Toronto
  87. Erik Bedard, SP, Baltimore
  88. Hideki Matsui, OF, New York (AL)
  89. Josh Beckett, SP, Boston
  90. Carlos Guillen, SS, Detroit
  91. Michael Cuddyer, OF, Minnesota
  92. Chris Capuano, SP, Milwaukee
  93. Ervin Santana, SP, Anaheim
  94. Rocco Baldelli, OF, Tampa Bay
  95. Brian McCann, C, Atlanta
  96. Carlos Quentin, OF, Arizona
  97. Chris Ray, CL, Baltimore
  98. Alex Rios, OF, Toronto
  99. Rich Hill, SP, Chicago (NL)
  100. Corey Patterson, OF, Baltimore
Now I'm going to throw in the top players at each position, along with an approximation of the round they get picked in (basing it on a 10 team league). Top 10 for C, 1B, 2B, 3B, and SS, the Top 30 at OF, the Top 50 at SP, and the Top 20 at CL (another note: David Ortiz and Travis Hafner could possibly be only listed as "DH" or "Utility" in your league, but I've listed their original position here)

Catcher:
  1. Joe Mauer, MIN, 4-5
  2. Brian McCann, ATL, 7-8
  3. Victor Martinez, CLE, 7-8
  4. Russell Martin, LAD, 13-14
  5. Ivan Rodriguez, DET, 13-14
  6. Kenji Johjima, SEA, 13-14
  7. Jorge Posada, NYY, 13-14
  8. David Ross, CIN, 14-15
  9. Ramon Hernandez, BAL, 17-18
  10. A.J. Pierzynski, CWS, 17-18

First Baseman:
  1. Albert Pujols, STL, 1
  2. Ryan Howard, PHI, 1
  3. David Ortiz, BOS, 1
  4. Lance Berkman, HOU, 2
  5. Justin Morneau, MIN, 2-3
  6. Mark Teixeira, TEX, 3
  7. Paul Konerko, CWS, 4-5
  8. Derrek Lee, CHC, 4-5
  9. Carlos Delgado, NYM, 5-6
  10. Prince Fielder, MIL, 7-8
Second Baseman:
  1. Chase Utley, PHI, 1
  2. Robinson Cano, NYY, 5-6
  3. Howie Kendrick, ANA, 8-9
  4. Josh Barfield, CLE, 8-9
  5. Dan Uggla, FLA, 9-10
  6. Brandon Phillips, CIN, 11-12
  7. Brian Roberts, BAL, 12-13
  8. Rickie Weeks, MIL, 14-15
  9. Ian Kinsler, TEX, 15-16
  10. Jeff Kent, LAD, 18-19
Third Baseman:
  1. Miguel Cabrera, FLA, 1-2
  2. David Wright, NYM, 1-2
  3. Alex Rodriguez, NYY, 1-2
  4. Travis Hafner, CLE, 3-4
  5. Garret Atkins, COL, 3-4
  6. Aramis Ramirez, CHC, 3-4
  7. Chone Figgins, ANA, 4-5
  8. Ryan Zimmerman, WAS, 4-5
  9. Chipper Jones, ATL, 7-8
  10. Troy Glaus, TOR, 9-10
Shortstop:
  1. Jose Reyes, NYM, 1
  2. Derek Jeter, NYY, 2-3
  3. Jimmy Rollins, PHI, 3-4
  4. Miguel Tejada, BAL, 3-4
  5. Hanley Ramirez, FLA, 4-5
  6. Rafael Furcal, LAD, 5-6
  7. Michael Young, TEX, 7-8
  8. Bill Hall, MIL, 7-8
  9. Carlos Guillen, 10-11
  10. Felipe Lopez, 10-11
Outfield:
  1. Alfonso Soriano, CHC, 1
  2. Carl Crawford, TB, 1
  3. Grady Sizemore, CLE, 1-2
  4. Matt Holliday, COL, 2
  5. Carlos Beltran, NYM, 2
  6. Jason Bay, PIT, 2-3
  7. Vernon Wells, TOR, 2-3
  8. Manny Ramirez, BOS, 2-3
  9. Vladimir Guerrero, ANA, 2-3
  10. Carlos Lee, HOU, 2-3
  11. Andruw Jones, ATL, 2-3
  12. Bobby Abreu, NYY, 4-5
  13. Jermaine Dye, CWS, 4-5
  14. Adam Dunn, CIN, 5-6
  15. Johnny Damon, NYY, 5-6
  16. Ichiro Suzuki, SEA, 5-6
  17. Jeff Francoeur, ATL, 6-7
  18. Raul Ibanez, SEA, 7-8
  19. Gary Sheffield, DET, 7-8
  20. Delmon Young, TB, 8-9
  21. Torri Hunter, MIN, 8-9
  22. Hideki Matsui, NYY, 8-9
  23. Michael Cuddyer, MIN, 9-10
  24. Rocco Baldelli, TB, 10-11
  25. Carlos Quentin, ARI, 10-11
  26. Alex Rios, TOR, 11-12
  27. Corey Patterson, BAL, 11-12
  28. Nick Markakis, BAL, 12-13
  29. J.D. Drew, BOS, 12-13
  30. Maglio Ordonez, DET, 12-13
Starting Pitcher:
  1. Johan Santana, MIN, 1
  2. Roy Oswalt, HOU, 3-4
  3. Carlos Zambrano, CHC, 3-4
  4. Chris Carpenter, STL, 3-4
  5. Roy Halladay, TOR, 3-4
  6. Jake Peavy, SD, 3-4
  7. Brandon Webb, ARI, 3-4
  8. Ben Sheets, MIL, 3-4
  9. Scott Kazmir, TB, 4-5
  10. John Smoltz, ATL, 4-5
  11. C.C. Sabathia, CLE, 4-5
  12. Curt Schilling, BOS, 5-6
  13. John Lackey, ANA, 5-6
  14. Aaron Harang, CIN, 6-7
  15. Danny Haren, OAK, 6-7
  16. Jeremy Bonderman, DET, 6-7
  17. Jonathan Papelbon, BOS, 6-7
  18. Dontrelle Willis, FLA, 6-7
  19. Jered Weaver, ANA, 7-8
  20. Bronson Arroyo, CIN, 7-8
  21. Chris Young, SD, 7-8
  22. Daisuke Matsuzaka, BOS, 7-8
  23. Cole Hamels, PHI, 7-8
  24. Felix Hernandez, SEA, 8-9
  25. Matt Cain, SF, 8-9
  26. Jason Schmidt, LAD, 8-9
  27. Justin Verlander, DET, 8-9
  28. Erik Bedard, BAL, 9-10
  29. Josh Beckett, BOS, 9-10
  30. Chris Capuano, MIL, 9-10
  31. Ervin Santana, ANA, 9-10
  32. Rick Hill, CHC, 10-11
  33. Derek Lowe, LAD, 10-11
  34. Scott Olsen, FLA, 10-11
  35. Rich Harden, OAK, 10-11
  36. Chien-Ming Wang, NYY, 10-11
  37. A.J. Burnett, TOR, 10-11
  38. Chuck James, ATL, 11-12
  39. John Patterson, WAS, 11-12
  40. David Bush, MIL, 11-12
  41. Barry Zito, SF, 11-12
  42. John Maine, NYM, 11-12
  43. Josh Johnson, FLA, 12-13
  44. Jeff Francis, COL, 12-13
  45. Greg Maddux, SD, 12-13
  46. Kelvim Escobar, ANA, 12-13
  47. Kevin Millwood, TEX, 13-14
  48. Clay Hensley, SD, 13-14
  49. Jon Garland, CWS, 13-14
  50. Kenny Rogers, DET, 13-14
Closer:
  1. Francisco Rodriguez, ANA, 3-4
  2. Joe Nathan, MIN, 4-5
  3. Mariano Rivera, NYY, 4-5
  4. B.J. Ryan, TOR, 4-5
  5. J.J. Putz, SEA, 6-7
  6. Chris Ray, BAL, 7-8
  7. Huston Street, OAK, 7-8
  8. Billy Wagner, PHI, 7-8
  9. Trevor Hoffman, SD, 8-9
  10. Adam Wainwright, STL, 8-9
  11. Takashi Saito, LAD, 8-9
  12. Chad Cordero, WAS, 9-10
  13. Tom Gordon, PHI, 9-10
  14. Francisco Cordero, MIL, 9-10
  15. Bobby Jenks, CWS, 9-10
  16. Brad Lidge, HOU, 9-10
  17. Eric Gagne, LAD, 10-11
  18. Bob Wickman, ANA, 11-12
  19. Brian Fuentes, COL, 11-12
  20. Taylor Tankersley, FLA, 11-12
Alright, now that we've gotten all of the rankings out of the way, here's just a couple of tips to keep in mind when you're drafting your team this year:

1.) Determine what kind of team you are going to be drafting. Either best player available or best player available at a position that needs to be filled. Very rarely can you have it both ways.

2.) In going with that theme, no matter how you are drafting, you have to realize that there are some positions that are incredibly weak in depth and others that have loads of talent to go around. Definitely keep that in mind, especially if you keep going for the best available player, because as the rounds keep going, the talent for that specific position will get that much more scarce.

3.) Of course you are going to have a list of sleepers when you go into this, but here's the thing: If you, in your heart of hearts, think that no one else is going to take a guy that you have in mind, completely disregard that thought, because everyone is different, but most still have the same kind of strategy going into this, which is draft the superstars early, then wait out the rounds and plug in their sleepers. We're living in the 21st Century, which means everyone has the same access to all the materials that you are going by, which in effect means that their sleeper list could look a lot like yours. Here's the thing: Even if you think you are taking a guy way too high, at least you have him, and no one else does. Jonathan Papelbon was a great example for me last year. Knowing what I knew about that team, I knew Keith Foulke would not be the closer on that team, so Pap's value to me went sky-high. Now, I was pretty sure that no one else would even think about taking him, and even with that, I took him in the 10th round, knowing that a.) he would be the closer eventually, b.) he had amazing stuff when he was in the minors, and c.) a good closer is very hard to come by. So, even though you make think it's a reach to take a guy at a certain spot, remember this: This is your team. This team represents the guys you want to play on your team, and that's that. I'm not saying take Delmon Young in the first round, but be aware that people can behave erratically in these, so reaches are not out of the ordinary.

4.) Be aware of position battles. If you get a guy who is an incumbent starter, but is feeling heat from another veteran or a young player, that's big trouble. Some players react differently to this situation. Some will be able to rise to the occasion and brush off any kind of challenge, but then you have to be aware of the other ones (which are much more common) that fold like a bridge table at the first sign of a challenge. Make sure you know who you are dealing with: A soldier, or a flake.

5.) Rookies are incredibly risky. However, if you must, you should wait until the later rounds to do so. There are only a few exceptions (Delmon Young, again, and Rick Hill) that will be taken in the first ten or so rounds. This is what the later rounds are for: Finding guys that are somewhat obscure but have tremendous potential. The first few rounds are where you get your stable guys that you can count on for the entire year (I mean injuries will happen, but you have to take that into effect when you are drafting; don't worry about injuries...yet).

6.) There is also another decision you have to make on Draft Day: Do you want to dominate one or two categories, or do you want to diversify your team? This is a very tough question to answer (and yes, I know, you want to do both, but the stars are really going to have to align for that to go down). If you want to dominate a couple categories, make sure to get your guys early and often. Again, some of your picks may be "reaches," but here's the thing: When you're talking about domination, there are always some positions that are very easy to pick up a guy off waivers for, like home runs and wins. The tougher ones tend to be average, stolen bases, saves, and strikeouts. In any case, know exactly what you are getting into. Do not change horses in midstream! If you do, it could lead to disaster, and then you'll be living through the next six months thinking "what if?" And that leads me to my final point:

7.) Be confident in every pick you make. It doesn't matter whether it's the first or the last pick in the draft, you need to tell yourself "this is the guy." This is going to be your team for an entire six months. Even if you come in last place, you still need to say to yourself "hey, I finished in last, but I did things my way, and I got the guys I wanted." Again, injuries could potentially screw everything up, but you can't let that affect you're thinking. Of course, you do have to keep in mind the guys who are "injury prone" and what not, but other than that, you need to convince yourself that these guys are going to be on your team for the long run.

So, don't be bashful, because this is just fantasy baseball, and win or lose, life will go on (for some of us...oh I'm kidding, come on now). And if there is someone reading this that is in my league, if you take one of my sleepers (which I'm going to list as soon as I draft...DTA, Don't Trust Anyone! I mean at least when it comes to fantasy sports!), I'm going to go absolutely crazy on you. Alright, well, I hope this helped at least somewhat. Everyone have a great weekend. Take care. Peace.

~Mell-o

1 comment:

Anja said...

Great work.