Fantasy Baseball: NL East Burning Questions

Jan 8, 2010

Now an early look at the NL East.

1.  Will Tommy Hanson lead the Braves in Wins?
There is a decent chance he does. Jair Jurrjens pitched about as well as you can imagine last year and only managed to win 14 games. Tim Hudson always has question marks. Derek Lowe hasn’t won 16 games since 2006. That leave Hanson who won 11 in 21 starts. He stumbled a bit in July (1-2, 3.94 ERA), but rebounded nicely to finish the year off.

2.  Can Billy Wagner hold up?
He sure looked good for Boston last year. He had good velocity. He’s getting up there in age, but I believe the lefty could put together a 30 save season.

3.  Will Ricky Nolasco bounce back?
Nolasco was high on everyone’s list going into last year after his 15-8, 3.52 ERA, 1.10 WHIP in 2008. Sure, his ERA bloated to 5.06, but his WHIP was a very respectable 1.25. What’s more is he had a better strikout ratio (9.49 K/9 compared to 7.88). Plus, he was 11-4 with a 4.13 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP from June through the end of the year. Hopefully his first half struggles and overall numbers let him slide in your drafts making him a great value in 2010.

4.  Will Leo Nunez hold on to the Closer gig?
It’s his job to lose, but do note that he blew seven of his 33 save opportunites (21 percent). He was even worse in December with three blown saves in 11 chances with a 6.10 ERA.

5.  Is Citi Field cursed?
I can’t recall a team going through as many injuries at the Mets did last year. Reyes, Wright (see where he ranks among 2010 Third Basemen), Johan, Beltran, the list goes on and on. Seriously though, I think the offense will be fine. Jason Bay adds his big bat to an already impressive lineup (when healthy). The trouble is their pitching. I don’t see them having enough starting pitching to compete with Atlanta or Philadelphia.

6. Will Cole Hamels return to form?
I can’t think of a more important question for the Phillies. I think the role of Superman in the postseason may have got to his head a bit. He received a lot of negative attention when he said he couldn’t wait until the season was over. I didn’t take it as him quitting rather the year took a toll on him. I think he’ll work hard to get back to the level he and his fantasy owners have grown accustomed to. Despite his struggles, he did manage to produce a decent ERA (4.32) and a solid WHIP (1.29). He doesn’t have the pressure of being the ace of the staff anymore either.

7.  Will Jayson Werth continue to be a fantasy beast?
After a solid 2008 season, Werth’s numbers exploded last year as he scored 98 runs, hit 36 HRs, and had 99 RBIs. He matched his 2008 SB total with 20. He’ll turn 31 early in the year, and I see no reason he can’t continue to produce at a high level, especially in that lineup.

8.  Should you draft Stephen Strasburg?
Only in deep keeper leagues. He means too much to the future of the Nationals for them to rush him along. If you’re in a league with three or four keepers, he won’t be worth hanging onto just yet. Be patient with him, like the Nationals will be.

9.  Will Nyjer Morgan continue to produce?
I don’t see why not. He was solid for Pittsburgh before being dealt to Washington, where he was even better. He hit .351 with 35 runs and 24 SBs in 49 games with the Nationals.


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10 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Bill Miller
    January 8th, 2010 at 9:51 am #

    I agree with you regarding Hanson and Nolasco. I want both of them on my fantasy team this season. Less sure about Cole Hamels, although I think someone could land good value here. I, too, think Wagner could hold up for the season. I never draft a closer higher than about the 8th round. And you are right that the Mets will score more runs, but they’ve got to find a way to pry someone like Josh Johnson from the Marlins.

  2. LestersLegends
    January 8th, 2010 at 10:05 am #

    Bill – Totally agree the Mets need pitching big time.

  3. Rotoprofessor
    January 8th, 2010 at 9:25 pm #

    To me, one of the biggest questions of the NL East is if Jose Reyes & Jimmy Rollins can return to their old form after their 2009 troubles. Both were potential first round fantasy options just 12 months ago.

  4. LestersLegends
    January 9th, 2010 at 12:00 am #

    RP – I would think Reyes is more likely to return to form since his fall was from an injury.

  5. Bill Miller
    January 9th, 2010 at 8:22 am #

    Beltran was actually off to a great start (.915 OPS)in 81 games, until he got injured, too. But I agree that without a healthy Reyes, the Mets don’t have much of a chance. Think they have a shot at landing Ben Sheets? Also, why don’t they appear to be in the hunt for the Cuban defector, Chapman?

  6. LestersLegends
    January 9th, 2010 at 8:48 am #

    Maybe they are lying in the weeds.

  7. Rotoprofessor
    January 9th, 2010 at 9:22 am #

    People say the big market teams are laying off because Chapman is still a year or two away. Why spend big money now when you can let someone else pay a large sum of money, develop him, then just lose him to free agency (most likely to one of these big market teams).

    Ryan, I agree that Reyes should bounce back but you have a leadoff hitter who injured his legs, where all his value is tied to his ability to steal bases. You have to at least question what he’ll be in 2010…

  8. LestersLegends
    January 9th, 2010 at 9:45 am #

    That’s true, but one would think it happened soon enough in the year that it shouldn’t be a problem going forward. We’ll have to see how he looks in spring training.

  9. Frank
    January 9th, 2010 at 12:03 pm #

    Werth and Hanson are beasts … and I think Nolasco bounces back. Great list.

  10. LestersLegends
    January 9th, 2010 at 12:22 pm #

    Agree. Thanks Frank.

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