blue-line-special.jpg 
Photo Courtesy of Shelly Castellano ICON SMI 

Need some help with your fantasy hockey team?  You’ve come to the right place.  Try these hot players on for size. 

Center
Brandon Dubinsky 
 - I don’t know who flipped the switch on Brandon, but whatever happened…it worked.  In his past thirteen games he’s scored 12 points (0.92 points per game).  Quite a jump considering he scored 19 points in his first fifty-two games (0.37).

Winger
Chris Kunitz 
 - Kunitz has been lighting the lamp to the tune of 9 points in his past five games (1.8).  Before that burst he had 35 points in 61 games (0.57).  He’s scored in seven of his last nine games.

Defenseman
Marek Zidlicky  - Marek has scored 8 points in seven games (1.14).  In his first fifty-six games he only had 31 points (0.55) 

Goalie
Ilya Bryzgalov -
 In his past six games, Ilya is 4-2 (.667) with a 1.68 GAA and 94.9% save percentage.  On the year his GAA is 2.33.  Prior to this little hot streak he was 20-16 (.556) with a 91.8% save percentage.

We took a look at the glass half-full Bouneback Outfielders, now it’s time to look at the glass half-empty Back to Earth Outfielders.  These are guys who aren’t going to match last year’s production. 

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Ken Griffey, Jr.
(.277, 78 runs, 146 hits, 30 HRs, 93 RBI)
For starters Griffey is 38.  He stayed relatively healthy last year.  He had good numbers again, but how long can he keep it up?  Luckily for Griff, he plays in a launching pad, but at some point the body’s gonna break down.  I’ll be excited when he hits his 600th Home Run and passes Sammy Sosa (609), but I don’t see him hitting over 25 HRs this year or driving in more than 75.

Jose Guillen (.290, 84 runs, 172 hits, 23 HR, 99 RBI)
Guillen will miss the first fifteen games of the season because of a PED suspension.  He usually has a slow April, so that will likely extend into May.  He’ll also have to adjust to a move from Seattle to Kansas City.  That adds up to decreased production to me. 

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Torii Hunter 
(.287, 94 runs, 172 hits, 45 doubles, 28 HR, 107 RBI)
Hunter will turn 33 this summer.  He will feel some pressure to live up to that huge contract.  He’s coming off career bests in virtually every offensive category.   I think he’s too much of a free swinger to maintain a .287 average.  I’d guess the number of doubles he’ll hit will be in the mid-thirties.  I’m guessing his RBI total goes down to around 95.  I hope I’m wrong because Torii is one of my favorite people in the game.  He’s just seems so genuine.  I just think he’ll have a hard time matching last year while adjusting to a new environment.

Magglio Ordonez (.363, 117 runs, 216 hits, 54 doubles, 28 HR, 139 RBI)
Sorry Mags, but that call you’re hearing is Earth telling you to come back home.  .363, are you kidding me?  His previous high was .320, and that was in 2001.  He just turned 34 so his numbers should naturally being to decline, unless Jose Canseco is telling the truth (which I belive he is).  I hate to get into a steroids debate because I’m tired of the subject, but I do recall Ozzie Guillen basically saying he had the goods on Mags when they had their little spat.  He didn’t come out and say what those goods were, but that’s what I inferred.  Obviously with a shrinking average, I expect his hit total to come down.  His HR total will likely be similar, but I expect the RBIs to decline.

Aaron Rowand (.309, 105 runs, 189 hits, 27 HR, 89 RBI)
First of all, there’s the pressure to replace Barry Bonds.  I’d say that’s a big deal.  Second he left the launching pad in Philly.  Finally, he’s no longer in the same offense as Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley.  That adds up to a decline to me.  He never scored more than 95 runs, had over 160 hits, had over 25 HRs, or had over 70 RBI before last year.  I’m guessing he puts up .280, 170 hits, 24 HR, 75 RBI. 

Photos courtesy of Icon SMI

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB |

Friday Tidbits 2/29/08

29 February 2008

Today I present a special Bissextile Day version of the tidbits. 

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Once again Yao Ming will miss the rest of the year.  Stress fracture in his feet.  This is a problem that will likely plague him his entire career and force an early retirement.  Gerald Wallace got popped with an elbow and got a concussion.  He’ll miss a couple of weeks.  It was his 4th in four years, so he may want to consider hanging it up.  Jamal Crawford poured in 43 in a win over Toronto.  J.R. Smith matched him in a loss to Denver.  LeBron’s back-to-back triple-double streak was snapped.  He only had 33 points, 15 rebounds, and 8 assists.  How selfish.  He scored his 10,000th point against Boston, who signed P.J. Brown.  J-Kidd won his first game with the Mavs.  Shaq matched him as Phoenix handed Boston its third straight loss.  Shaq only scored four, but he grabbed 14 boards.  New Jersey sent Jamaal Magloire packing.  Golden State’s Andris Biedrins had an appendectomy.  Michael Redd poured in 42 in a win over Denver.  Andrew Bogut added 20 rebounds.  Jason Kidd had 17 assists in a win over the Wolves.  The Heat finally won.  Minnesota did too.  Jaamal Magloire joined Dallas.  Too bad he didn’t wait a little longer or he’d have more valuable minutes for another Texas team.  Luke Ridnour dished out 15 assists in a loss to Golden State.  Caron Butler has a tear in his hip.  That doesn’t sound fun.  San Mitchell got cut by the Clippers.  He’s likely to reunite with KG soon.  The Lakers have won ten straight.

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Atlanta traded Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis to Pittsburgh for Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito and a first round draft pick. Tampa traded Brad Richards and Johan Holmqvist to Dallas for Jussi Jokinen, Jeff Halpern, Mike Smith, and a draft pick.  Buffalo traded Brian Campbell and a draft pick to San Jose for Steve Bernier and a first round draft pick.  Columbus traded Adam Foote to Colorado for draft picks.  They also sent Sergei Federov to Washington for Ted Ruth.  Toronto sent Hal Gill to Pittsburgh for a couple of picks.  St. Louis sent Christian Backman to the Rangers for a draft pick.  Chicago traded Tuomo Ruutu to Carolina for Andrew Ladd.  Peter Forsberg re-joined Colorado.  Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne notched his 20th career hat trick.  Philly’s Mike Richard tore his hamstring.  He’ll be out for a while.  The New York Islanders signed Trent Hunter to a five-year deal and Mike Comrie to a one-year deal.  This week’s shutouts:  Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff vs. Detroit.  Columus’ Pascal Leclaire vs. Montreal.  NY Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist vs. Florida.  Phoenix’s Ilja Bryzgalov vs. St. Louis.  Toronto’s Vesa Toskala vs. Ottawa.  Boston’s Tim Thomas vs. Ottawa.  Chicago’s Patrick Lalime vs. Phoenix.  The Wild signed Nick Schultz to a six-year extension worth $21 million.  Dallas will be without D Sergei Zubov for a month after his foot surgery.  Tampa Bay traded Vaclav Prospal to Philly for Alexandre Picard and a draft pick.  St. Louis signed D Barret Jackman to a four-year deal.  Detroit signed W Darren McCarty to a one-year deal.  NY Rangers D Paul Mara had facial surgery and will miss a couple of weeks.  Minnesota acquired the thug Chris Simon from the Islanders for a draft pick.  Montreal traded G Cristobal Huet to Washington for a draft pick.  Tampa signed D Dan Boyle to a six-year $40 million deal.  Ottawa fired Coach John Paddock.  Replacing him is Bryan Murray.  Pittsburg D Rob Scuderi will miss a month following surgery on his finger.  Dallas’ Brad Richard have five assists in a win over Chicago.

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The Red Sox extended Terry Francona’s contract for three more years.  He could be managing Bartolo Colon next year, as Boston signed him to a minor league deal.  K-Rod lost his arbitration.  His consolation prize…$10 million.  Oh darn.  Oliver Perez won his.  He’ll get $6.5 million next year from the Mets.  New Phillies closer had knee surgery and will miss a month or more.  Shannon Stewart signed with Toronto.  Tampa’s Scott Kazmir felt some discomfort in his elbow.  Omar Vizquel will miss a month or so following knee surgery.  The FBI is going to probe Roger Clemens to see if he lied.  Scott Spiezo was cut by St. Louis after having six charges brought upon him for drunk driving in December.  Colorado signed Manny Corpas to a four-year deal worth $8 million.

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If anyone wants Derek Andrerson, it will cost them a 1st and 3rd rounder.  Tom Coughlin got a four-year $21 million extension for the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants.  Can you refresh my memory Tiki and Strahan what you thought about him last year?  Oakland and Kansas City lost again.  This time it was a coin flip to determine the 3rd-5th picks in the draft.  Atlanta won.  Oakland will go 4th and Kansas City 5th.  Dom Capers will join the Patriots as their seconday coach.  Plus he has a background in surreptitious videotaping.  Just kidding.  Had to take the shot.  Chicago will give Rex Grossman one more try.  Zach Thomas has signed with Dallas.  Bryant McKinnie was arrested again.  Des Clark signed a two-year deal with the Bears.  The Chargers signed LB Derek Smith.  The Lions cut CB Fernando Bryant.  The Vikings traded Troy Williamson to Jacksonville for a sixth round pick.  He dropped his keys twice on the way to his car.  New England cut Rosevelt Colvin.  Kansas City cut Eddie Kennison.  Kevin Faulk got busted with weed at a concert.  Washington parted ways with Brandon Lloyd.  Nice signing Mr. Snyder.  San Fran re-signed NT Isaac Sopoaga and LB Roderick Green.  Carolina is bringing back Mushin Muhammad.  David Carr is getting kicked to the curb.  Kansas City cut Ty Law.  Detroit signed S Dwight Smith to a two-year dea.  He’s good if he can keep his nose clean.  St. Louis’ Leonard Little restructured his deal to save the Rams money. He was killed someone with his vehicle.  Indianapolis cut Booger McFarland and Rob Morris.  Tennessee cut David Givens. The Bills cut the A-Train. Minnesota cut Kelly Holcomb.  Tampa cut Kevin Carter.  Philly cut Jevon Kearse.  Oakland broke the piggy bank by paying Tommy Kelly $50.5 million over seven years.  Tedy Bruschi will return to New England.  Flozell will be back in Dallas.  Andre Davis signed a four-year deal with Houston.  Isaac Bruce was cut by St. Louis.

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#2 Tennessee beat #1 Memphis 66-62.   Then they lost to #14 Vanderbilt.  Kelvin Sampson is out at Indiana.  He got $750K to leave.  Colorado kicked Xavier Silas off the team.  Villanova beat #13 UConn 67-65.  Oklahoma State upset #5 Kansas 61-60.  Nebraska beat #22 Texas A & M 65-59.  #18 Drake beat #8 Butler 71-64.  Baylor beat #25 Kansas State 92-86 despite Michael Beasley’s Big 12 record 44 points.  He only got 30 & 15 in a loss to #5 Texas.  Arizona knocked off #19 Washington State 65-55.  Missouri State beat #20 Drake 86-83.  Houston’s Robert McKiver had 52 points against Southern Miss.  #18 Louisville beat #17 Notre Dame 90-85.#9 Wisconsin beat #15 Michigan State 57-42.

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Oklahoma won 8 games last week.  OK, they didn’t actually win them, but they got their 8 wins put back on their record after they, gasp, got the NCAA to change its mind in the Rhett Bomar infractions case.  Virginia DE Jeffrey Fitzgerald left school.  Nick Saban isn’t happy with the misbehaviour of his team.  UConn coach Randy Edsall signed a five-year deal worth $7.5 million.  SMU suspended QB Justin Willis from spring practice.

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So Tiger won again.  This time it was the Accenture Match Play Championship. 

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Carl Edwards won the Auto Club 500.

That concludes the Tidbits. As always feel free to add any stories you liked this week in sports or discuss any of the stories I mentioned.Images courtesy of Icon SMI

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Photo courtesy of TSN Archives/Icon SMI

Jimmy Ryan is another one suggested by Favre is overrated 2007, a friend of mine from the Sporting News community.  I’ve decided to review his numbers and offer my opinion to his Hall of Fame worthiness.

The Numbers
2012 Games 
8164 At Bats
.306 Batting Average
1642 Runs (32nd all-time)
2502 Hits (85th all-time)
451 Doubles (79th all-time)
157 Triples (45th all-time)
118 Home Runs
1093 RBI 
3621 Total Bases 
726 Extra Base Hits
418 Stolen Bases (60th all-time)

24 Games
6-1
.857 Win %
3 Complete Games
2 Saves
43 Strikeouts
3.62 ERA
1.513 WHIP

Top Ten Finishes
Batting Average – Three times
On-Base % – Four times
Slugging % – Six Times (Led league in 1888)
OPS -  Seven times
Games – Three times
At Bats – Three times 
Runs – Five times
Hits – Three times (Led league in 1888)
Doubles - Seven times (Led league in 1888)
Triple – Four times
Home Runs – Seven times (Led league in 1888)
Total Bases – Three times (Led league in 1888 & 1889)
Exta-base Hits – Five times (Led league in 1889)
Walks – Twice
Stolen Bases – Three times
Hit by Pitch – Four times

I have to admit that all I know about Jimmy Ryan was learned once I began to investigate this case.  What I do know is Jimmy had eight seasons of 100+ runs, nine seasons of 10+ triples, several seasons of .300 or better hitting, solid overall rankings, and even some decent pitching.  Ryan’s three best run totals are 122, 132, and 140.  Those are impressive numbers.  When he retired he ranked third in games, and at-bats, fourth in doubles and home runs (118), and fifth in runs and hits.  He still leads the National League with 377 career outfield assists.  When I judge whether someone is Hall of Fame worthy, a look at how they were in their generation is very important.  This look at Pony has me convinced.  He should be a Hall of Famer.

References
Baseball-reference.com
Bleed Cubbie Blue
Baseball Almanac

Past Chronicles
Bert Byleven
Andre Dawson
Dale Murphy
Mark McGwire
Bobby Matthews
Tommy John
Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso
Jim Rice
Ted Simmons
Lee Smith
Jack Morris
Al Oliver
Steve Garvey
Jim Kaat
Pete Ro$e
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Dave Concepcion
Lou Whitaker
Alan Trammell
Ron Santo
Ron Guidry
Gil Hodges
Dave Parker
Tony Mullane
Keith Hernandez
Don Mattingly
Dwight Evans
Ralph Houk (Manager)
Jimmie Dykes (Player/Manager)
Charlie Grimm (Player/Manager)
Billy Martin (Player/Manager)
Harold Baines
Gene Mauch (Manager)
Whitey Herzog (Manager)
Tom Kelly (Manager)
Joe Carter
Rusty Staub
Gary Gaetti

 | Posted by | Categories: Cooperstown Chronicles, MLB |

NFL Free Agents

28 February 2008

As soon as the clock strikes midnight tonight, the feeding frenzy that is the NFL free agency period kicks off.  Like all sports, you’ll see some marginal players bring in head scratching contracts, as well as minor tweaks that make all the difference in the world.  Brace yourself football fans.  The NFL’s second season is about to begin.

Quarterbacks
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Derek Anderson
– Coming off a year that surprised everybody but DA and his mother.  Nobody else thought he had it in him.  He’ll likely stay in Cleveland for a while.

Daunte Culpepper – He’s fallen quickly off of the map.  Nobody is going to give him a starting job.  I could see him replacing David Carr in Carolina or re-uniting with Mike Tice in Jacksonville should they not bring back Quinn Gray.

Quinn Gray - Quinn started slow in replacing David Garrard, but he warmed to the position.  Jacksonville will likely bring him back as an insurance policy.

Cleo Lemon - Cleo will likely be turned loose because that’s what the Tuna does.  He played well enough to get some looks as a backup.  The Vikings need to upgrade their quarterback position so perhaps he gets a look.

Josh McCown – With Culpepper likely shown the door, Oakland will probably want to keep McCown around in case JaMarcus isn’t ready.

Scrub QBs - Ken Dorsey, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Jamie Martin.

Running Back
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Marion Barber
 - Barber has been a beast the past few years.  I don’t see any way Dallas doesn’t bring him back.  Period.

Chris Brown - Brown was decent at times last year.  I’d say he played well enough for Tennessee to bring him back to push LenDale.  Chris Henry is a pee test away from a year-long suspension so Chris Brown is a good insurance policy.

Julius Jones - While MB3 is a virtual lock to stay, JJ is a virtual lock to go.  It would be interesting to see him join his brother in New York.  Seattle is a possibility.  I’m not sure if Chicago would give the “kid brother” a shot, although they could use him.

Michael Turner - Burner Turner may finally get a look as a starting tailback.  Cedric Benson has been a bust so perhaps Turner can challenge for the gig.  Atlanta or Carolina could use him to compliment their speedy backs.  Shaun Alexander has lost a step so Seattle could be suitors.

Derrick Ward - Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw seemingly have the RB duties in check for the Super Bowl champs.    Ward showed his skills last year.  He’d be a nice backup to Edge in Arizona.  He is a restricted free agent so he very well could remain in New York. 

Scrub RBs – Vernand Morency, T.J. Duckett, Maurice Hicks, Mewelde Moore, Musa Smith, and LaBrandon Toefield.

Wide Receivers
Bernard Berrian - A lot of teams will be interested in Berrian.  The Eagles, Vikings, Titans, Niners, and Bucs could all use his big play ability.  He’d be a great compliment to Dwayne Bowe in Kansas City, but I’m leaning towards the Vikings for Berrian since they have a lot of cap room and have little talent in the passing game.

Andre Davis – Davis was a nice replacement for the Texans when Andre Johnson went down.  He also was very successful as a return man.  There will be a lot of interest in Davis to fill the 3rd or 4th receiver and return man roles.  I think Houston gets a leg up on the competition and brings him back.

D.J. Hackett - Hackett looked good at times last year, but an ankle injury cost him a chance to showcase his abilities.  Seattle is pretty stocked at WRs so bringing him back isn’t a certainty.  Perhaps he joins Zorn in Washington.

Devery Henderson - He’s not a sexy pickup by any means.  Unless New Orleans goes after one of the other free agent WRs, they likely just bring Devery back.

Bryant Johnson - Johnson could be the conosolation prize to those who miss out on Berrian.  He good size and plenty of talent.  He’d fit in nicely in Philly opposite of Reggie Brown. 

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Randy Moss -
Every NFL team could use a motivated Randy Moss.  Not many teams outside of New England would keep him motivated.  My guess is the Patriots and Moss work something out.

Scrub WRs - Drew Carter, Antonio Chatman, Keary Colbert, Terrance Copper, Justin Gage, Doug Gabriel, Az-Zahir Hakim, Samie Parker, David Patten, and Marcus Robinson.

Tight Ends
Alge Crumpler - Alge was cut by the Falcons so he’s looking for a new home.  He visited Tampa Bay and will meet with Tennessee.  He’d be a nice target for Vince Young. 

Scrub TEs - Eric Johnson, Marcus Pollard, Ben Troupe, Jermaine Wiggins, and Kris Wilson.

Offensive Lineman
Flozell Adams – I doubt the Cowboys will let their LT get away when they are so close.   Unless someone blows him away, Flozell will be back protecting Romo.

Alan Faneca - There will be plenty of interest in Guard Alan Faneca.  Seattle seems like a good choice.  There are rumors that a deal is in place with the Jets.

Jake Scott - Indianapolis does not have a good cap situation, meaning their starting RG will likely leave.  A good bet is Scott going to Pittsburgh to replace Faneca.

Defensive Linemen
Tommy Kelly -
If Warren Sapp weren’t retiring, I’d say it’s likely he’d be gone.  However, he’ll likely land in Oakland.  Denver could possibly approach him (although they prefer former Cleveland linemen).

Mike Rucker - Rucker isn’t the force he once was, but he still has value.  He wants to return to Carolina, and is willing to accept a reduced role.  That sort of flexibility leads me to believe he will, in fact, be a Panther one more year.

Scrub DLs – Jordan Carstens, Ebenezer Ekuban, Sam Rayburn, Justin Smith, Paul Spicer, Randy Starks, Renaldo Wynn

Linebackers
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Lance Briggs -
Briggs will have many suitors.  San Francisco and Washington are believed to be the front-runners. Chicago could surprise everyone and retain him.  Although they could use him, I don’t think the Patriots will be in the market for his services.

Tedy Bruschi - Come on.  You know and I know that Tedy isn’t going anywhere.  He’s a Patriots guy.

Scrub LBs - Boss Bailey, Danny Clark, Na’il Diggs, Kawika Mitchell, Mark Simoneau, and Demorrio Williams.

Defensive Backs
Randall Gay –
Gay could stick around in New England when Asante Samuel leaves.  The Jets were interested in him last year, and Mangini wouldn’t hesitate to take from Belichick.

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Asante Samuel
– As likely it is for Tedy Bruschi to stay in New England, it’s equally as likely for Asante to leave.  He’s a great cornerback, but wants to be one of the top, if not the top, paid defensive players in the league.  There is talk that Philadelphia is the frontrunner, with Dallas, New Orleans, and Tampa Bay in the mix.

Gibril Wilson - The Eagles and Broncos have expressed interest in Gibril.  At this point Philly is believed to be the front-runner.

Scrub DBs - William Bartee, Jay Bellamy, Chris Carr, Mike Doss, Drayton Florence, Dominique Foxworth, Tory James, Karl Paymah, B.J. Sams, Chad Scott, Omar Stoutmire, and Derrick Strait.

Images courtesy of Icon SMI

 | Posted by | Categories: NFL |

So we’ve profiled the Bounceback Middle Infielders.  Now it’s time to bring on the negativity.  Here’s a look at some players who will have a hard time matching the bar they set last year.

Orlando Cabrera (.301, 101 runs, 192 hits, 86 RBI)
Long known for his defensive prowess, Cabrera had two outstanding offensive seasons for Anaheim.  He’ll bring that glove with him to Chicago, but I don’t see the stick coming.  He had a career high in hits, runs, and average.  Although I have a spot for him in my heart for being part of the 2004 Red Sox team, I think he’s due for a return to the reality of .280, 75 runs, 65 RBI.

Khalil Greene (.254, 89 runs, 155 hits, 44 doubles, 27 HRs, 97 RBI)
Considering the pitcher friendly park he plays in, these numbers really stand out to me.  Sure, he’s in his prime at 28 years of age, but I don’t expect him to repeat his numbers.  His previous highs were 67 runs, 132 hits, 31 doubles, and 70 RBI.  He hit 15 HRs each of his three previous years.  I think he’s good for .260, 140 hits, 35 doubles, 22 HR, and 75 RBI, which is good, but still a drop in production from last year.

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J.J. Hardy
(.277, 89 runs, 26 HR, 80 RBI)
There weren’t many players better than Hardy in May last year.  He hit .325 with 9 HR and 26 RBI.  He was horrible in June and July only to finish solid. However, while his average came back (.292 in August, .280 in September), his power didn’t.  He had 8 HRs and 20 RBI combined in the last two months of the year, which is about what he averaged the first two months of the season.  I expect a solid year from him, and wouldn’t be afraid to draft him, but I’m putting him on a .280, 80 run, 20 HR, 70 RBI season.  Still good numbers, but not quite last year.

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My man has a melon.

Placido Polanco (.341, 200 hits, 105 runs, 36 doubles, 67 RBI)
I fully expect Placido to have another stellar year.  Their offense only got stronger with the addition of Miguel Cabrera and Edgar Renteria.  However, I think Placido set the bar a little too high last year.  At 32 years of age I don’t expect another .340 year.  I’d say .310 would be more accurate.  He’ll probably see a dip in runs scored to the 80-90 range.  These are still solid numbers, but not the Baseball Stars type numbers he put up last year.

Brian Roberts (.290, 180 hits, 103 runs, 42 doubles, 50 SBs)
I’m expecting a little fallout following the Mitchell Report findings.  Not to mention, I don’t expect him to stay healthy all year like he did last year.  Plus Baltimore stinks.

Jose Vidro (.314, 78 runs, 172 hits, 59 RBI)
Before last year Vidro hadn’t played in 140 games since 2003.  He’ll turn 34 in August.  I’m guessing he breaks down at some point this season.  Sure, he’ll be productive when he’s healthy, but I don’t see him getting more than 150 hits (which also happened for the first time since 2003 last year) and I see an average around .285.  Again, decent numbers, but a dip from last year.  If you get Vidro, you’ll want a decent backup.

Bonus:
Although I think Edgar Renteria will have solid numbers, I don’t see any chance he hits .332 again.

Images courtesy of Icon SMI

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB |

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Photo courtesy of TSN Archives/Icon SMI

Gary Gaetti was suggested by thewho52, a friend of mine from the Sporting News community.  I’ve decided to review his numbers and offer my opinion to his Hall of Fame worthiness.

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Photo courtesy of Icon SMI

The Numbers
2507 Games  (46th All-time)
8951 At Bats (66th All-time)
.255 Batting Average
1130 Runs
2280 Hits
443 Doubles (90th All-time)
39 Triples
360 Home Runs (70th All-time)
1341 RBI (78th All-time)
3881 Total Bases (86th All-time)
842 Extra Base Hits (72nd All-time)

World Series - 7 games, 7 hits in 27 at bats (.259), 4 runs, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, 4 RBI, .519 Slugging %

The Awards
1987 ALCS MVP (.300, 5 runs, 6 hits, 1 double, 2 HRs, 5 RBI)
2 All-Star Games
4 Gold Gloves
1 Silver Slugger
MVP votes in 4 seasons

Top Ten Finishes
Slugging % – Twice
OPS – Once
Games – Three Times (Led league in ‘84)
Doubles - Once
Home Runs – Three Times
Total Bases – Once
RBI – Twice
Exta-base Hits – Twice
Hit by Pitch – Three times

The Rat had a cool nickname.  He had a good glove and some pop in his bat.  However, he never reach 100 runs, 200 hits, 110 RBI, 40 doubles, or 40 Home Runs.  Had he played on both of the Twins World Series teams, he’d have a better shot of convincing me.  He was good, not great, and doesn’t belong in Cooperstown.

References
Baseball-reference.com

Past Chronicles
Bert Byleven
Andre Dawson
Dale Murphy
Mark McGwire
Bobby Matthews
Tommy John
Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso
Jim Rice
Ted Simmons
Lee Smith
Jack Morris
Al Oliver
Steve Garvey
Jim Kaat
Pete Ro$e
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Dave Concepcion
Lou Whitaker
Alan Trammell
Ron Santo
Ron Guidry
Gil Hodges
Dave Parker
Tony Mullane
Keith Hernandez
Don Mattingly
Dwight Evans
Ralph Houk (Manager)
Jimmie Dykes (Player/Manager)
Charlie Grimm (Player/Manager)
Billy Martin (Player/Manager)
Harold Baines
Gene Mauch (Manager)
Whitey Herzog (Manager)
Tom Kelly (Manager)
Joe Carter
Rusty Staub

 | Posted by | Categories: Cooperstown Chronicles, MLB |

We’ve covered the Bounceback First Basemen and Third Basemen.  Now it’s time to take a look at the ones who are going to see their production dip.  I won’t include A-Rod, who I think will see a slight dip in his production, because last year will be so hard to follow.

Brandon Inge (.236, 25 doubles, 14 HRs, 71 RBI)
While I think his batting average will increase, I see the rest of his production taking a major hit.  With the addition of Miguel Cabrera, Inge is going to have a hard time finding at bats.  Carlos Guillen is manning 1st, Gary Sheffield is holding down the DH gig.  Cabrara’s at third.  He’ll most likely see time filling in for Jacque Jones against lefties and giving, Cabrera a breather, and pinch hitting.  Perhaps, he’ll slip behind home plate and catch a little, something he hasn’t done since 2004.

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Mike Lowell
(.324, 191 hits, 21 HRs, 120 RBI)
I hate to pick on such a key member of the World Series Champions, but to be fair I have to.  Mike turned 34 on Sunday, and is coming off the first .300+ season of his career and produced 15 more RBIs than any other year.  Plus, he signed a nice, fat contract to remain with Boston.  If that doesn’t sound like a fantasy disaster waiting to happen, I’m missing something.  I just hope fro .280, 20 HR, 90 RBI.  Anything more would be a bonus.

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Carlos Peña (.282, 99 runs, 46 HRs, 121 RBI)
He’s proven that when given the chance he can hit for power:
2002 – 19 HRs in 397 at bats
2003 - 18 in 452 at bats
2004 – 27 in 481 at bats
2005 – 18 in 260 at bats 
His average, though, has never been above .260 though.  Maybe I’m being a pessimist, but I see little chance of a repeat performance.  Yeah, he’ll probably be solid, but I don’t see him ranking second among first basemen in RBI and third in HRs like last year.

Matt Stairs (.289, 28 doubles, 21 HRs, 64 RBI)
Sorry to pick on you Matt.  Especially on your 40th birthday.  Happy Birthday!  OK, back to his fantasy value.  He had a nice year last year, but I see little-to-no chance he repeats.  I mean, he’s 40 now.

Dmitri Young (.320, 38 doubles, 74 RBI)
Call me a party pooper, but come on, .320.  He’s 34 years old.  I think he had his one last hurrah.  He may hit around .300.  He’s done it most of his career.  However, I don’t see him challenging for the batting crown again.  He won’t be as cozy at first base, as he’ll have to share duties with Nick Johnson.  He’s going to have to play some outfield to stay in the lineup.  I think that will affect his production.

Photos courtesy of Icon SMI

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB |

Houston, We Have a Problem

26 February 2008

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Photo courtesy of Icon SMI

Gee, that phrase doesn’t get old.  However, in this case it certainly rings true.  Houston does, in fact, have a problem.  Nobody in the league is hotter than Houston right now.  They are in the midst of a twelve game winning streak.  They’ve moved to 2.5 games back from San Antonio in the Southwest Division.  They are currently the 7th seed.  Ordinarily, they wouldn’t have a problem making the playoffs.  Their .643 winning percentage is easily good enough to make the playoffs.  In fact, if they were in the East they would have the second best record behind the Celtics.  However, they do not reside in the Eastern Conference.  They have Golden State (.600) and Denver (.589) breathing down their neck.  They have 26 games remaining.  Now is not the time to lose your big man.

Yao is leading the Rockets in scoring (22.0), rebounding (10.8), and blocks (2.0).  Those are hard numbers to replace.  What Houston will need to do is either turn to small ball, relying on Luis Scola, Chuck Hayes, Shane Battier, and Tracy McGrady to do the rebounding or they are going to have to clear the dust off of Dikembe Mutumbo and ask him to go to war with them again.  Either way, I don’t see Tracy McGrady sniffing the second round of the playoffs for another year. 

This is the third consecutive year that Yao has played fewer than 60 games.  It’s a shame because those are the seasons that he really began to establish himself as the one of the game’s best big men.  It’s clear what Houston needs to do in the long term.  They need a suitable backup to Yao.  Even if Mutumbo chooses not to retire yet again, they’ll just have to assume that at some point Yao will have to shut it down.  It’s a shame when someone continually gets hurt.  Bill Walton and Bernard King come to mind.  How good could they have been?  Then there are physical freaks like Gerald Green who have all of the skills, but can’t translate them to the actual game.  How frustrating it must be to Yao to be forced from the game while so many are merely letting their talent go to waste.

What does it mean to fantasy owners?  You’re probably screwed.  Sorry, but replacing the numbers Yao puts up is too tall of an order.  Perhaps if you were dominating in points, steals, threes, assists, and free-throw percentage you’ll be OK.  If your team is geared for rebounding, blocking, and field goal percentage, you’ve got a tall order to fill.  Check the waiver wire or try to put together a last minute deal.  Trade away your players that are dominating the categories you’re weak in, and try to focus on your strengths.  Most of all….good luck.

 | Posted by | Categories: NBA |

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Photo courtesy of TSN Archives/Icon SMI

Rusty Staub is another one suggested by Favre is overrated 2007, a friend of mine from the Sporting News community.  I’ve decided to review his numbers and offer my opinion to his Hall of Fame worthiness.

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Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated/Icon SMI

The Numbers
2951 Games (12th All-time)
9720 At Bats (31st All-time)
.279 Batting Average
1189 Runs
2716 Hits (53rd All-time)
499 Doubles (47th All-time)
47 Triples
292 Home Runs
1466 RBI (50th All-time)
4185 Total Bases (61st All-time)
838 Extra Base Hits (74th All-time)
1255 Walks (43rd All-time)

World Series - 7 games, 11 hits in 26 at bats (.423), 1 runs, 2 doubles, 1 HR, 6 RBI, .615 Slugging %

The Awards
6 All-Star Games
MVP votes in 7 seasons

Top Ten Finishes
Slugging % – Once
Games – Six times (Led league in ’71 & ’76)
At Bats – Twice
Runs – Twice
Hits – Four times
Doubles - Six times (Led league in ’67)
Home Runs – Once
Total Bases – Four times
RBI – Four times
Exta-base Hits – Seven times
Walks – Six times
Hit by Pitch – Five times
Intentional Walks – Seven times

Rusty has solid career numbers.  He’s among the leaders in most offensive categories.  My problem with Rusty is not only was he never the best of his era, he doesn’t even have a signature season that proved he could dominate.  He never had more than 182 hits, 98 runs, or 30 HRs.  He did hit over .300 a few times, but never finished higher than fifth in that category.  He had one season where he drove in 121 runs (one of his three 100+ RBI years), but he only hit .273 that year with 75 runs, 30 doubles, and 24 HRs.  He wasn’t a threat on the basepaths nor a dominant defensive players.  He’s one of the first in line for Hall of Good, Hall of Longevity, or Hall of Weird Nicknames (Le Grand Orange), but a Hall of Famer he is not.

References
Baseball-reference.com

Past Chronicles
Bert Byleven
Andre Dawson
Dale Murphy
Mark McGwire
Bobby Matthews
Tommy John
Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso
Jim Rice
Ted Simmons
Lee Smith
Jack Morris
Al Oliver
Steve Garvey
Jim Kaat
Pete Ro$e
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Dave Concepcion
Lou Whitaker
Alan Trammell
Ron Santo
Ron Guidry
Gil Hodges
Dave Parker
Tony Mullane
Keith Hernandez
Don Mattingly
Dwight Evans
Ralph Houk (Manager)
Jimmie Dykes (Player/Manager)
Charlie Grimm (Player/Manager)
Billy Martin (Player/Manager)
Harold Baines
Gene Mauch (Manager)
Whitey Herzog (Manager)
Tom Kelly (Manager)
Joe Carter

 | Posted by | Categories: Cooperstown Chronicles, MLB |

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