pedro and papi
It’s always fun to generate and debate lists. Since I’m a Red Sox fan I am starting a new series with them. Here’s the All-2000 to Present Red Sox Lineup.
C – Jason Varitek
1B – Kevin Youkilis
2B – Dustin Pedroia
3B – Mike Lowell
SS – Nomar Garciaparra
RF – Trot Nixon (Until Mookie Betts plays more)
LF – Manny Ramirez
CF – Jacoby Ellsbury (Just Barely over Johnny Damon)
DH – David Ortiz
SP – Pedro Martinez
SP – Jon Lester
SP – Curt Schilling
SP - Josh Beckett
SP – Tim Wakefield
Closer – Jonathan Papelbon
Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees

The researching, player projecting, and mock drafts are finally over. It’s time to play balland for most fantasy players it was an extended week 1 with 11 days of action. Here aresome of the headlines of an exciting week.

The Closer Carousel Is In Full Effect

If you had Fernando Rodney in the first closer to lose his job pool, you are the big winner. It took less than a week for Jordan Walden to take over closing duties in Anaheim. Matt Thornton’s two blown saves has led the White Sox to announce that they will now have a closer by committee. The next in line to possibly lose the closing  job would be Ryan Franklin with three blown saves. Popular sleeper pick Drew Storen did not get the first save chances in Washington, as the honor went to Sean Burnett. Another popular sleeper pick Craig Kimbrel does appear to be the full time closer in Atlanta and not just a part of a committee. All of this and we’re only 11 days into the season. Buckle up boys and girls. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

April Hot Starts

Some of those who sprinted out of the gate this year include Nelson Cruz, Howard Kendrick, Miguel Montero, Matt Kemp, Ryan Howard, and Gordon Beckham. Also of note is slow starting Mark Teixeira, who despite a low average (.182) has clubbed four home runs and ten RBI.

Appendectomies Are In Style

Matt Holliday and Adam Dunn had the procedure within a few days of each other. Luckily both are expected back in a few days and avoid the DL. A couple big names did hit the DL in the first week. Evan Longoria is expected to be out a minimum of three weeks. Ubaldo Jimenez also hit the disabled list. Others missing time in week one include Stephen Drew, Mike Stanton, Hanley Ramirez, Ryan Zimmerman and Jose Bautista (who left the team due to personal reasons, not an injury.)

Manny Being Manny No More

After having a hot spring, many were seeing Manny Ramirez as a comeback candidate. Once the regular season started he was 1-17. On Friday, it was discovered he testedpositive for P.E.D,’s and promptly retired before being suspended. With Evan Longoriaon on the DL, the Rays offense is looking very weak and in otherwise offensive AL East.

You know their name, but can you trust their game? Here are some former fantasy studs that you should avoid on fantasy draft day.
Chipper Jones, 3B, Atlanta Braves
I love Chipper Jones. I believe he has put together a Hall of Fame career. I wouldn’t touch him this year, even with his reasonable 186 ADP. He hit just .264 and .265 the past two years. He has just one 500 at bat season (2007) in his past seven years. It was easy to justify owning him when he was hitting well north of .300, but he’ll be 39 in April. He’s far to great of an injury risk to trust on your team. If he slides big time in your draft, maybe you can take a look at him since third base is so shallow, but he’s going (on average) before Placido Polanco, Chase Headley, Kevin Kouzmanoff and countless other that will like be more productive this year.
Alfonso Soriano, OF, Chicago Cubs
It’s not that Soriano shouldn’t be on fantasy rosters. I just think you can get far better value at his ADP of 98. Some of the outfielders that are going (on average) after him are Corey Hart, Nick Markakis, Delmon Young, Michael Stanton, Drew Stubbs and a rash of other superior options. Again, if he slides in your draft go ahead and take him, but his speed has diminished and his power is average. Take someone with more upside because Soriano is obviously on the wrong side of his career track.
Manny Ramirez, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Manny has just 28 home runs in his past 194 games. His OPS (.869) was the lowest since his first cup of coffee with the Indians back in 1993. It was just .739 in his 24 games with the White Sox. Do I believe Manny can still hit? Absolutely. The problem is whether or not he’ll be motivated. Can he stay healthy? There are a lot of questions for somebody with an ADP of 160.
Miguel Tejada, SS, San Francisco Giants
Tejada had an OPS of .693 last year for the Orioles and the Padres, which is a far cry for his career mark of .801. He rarely misses, so health shouldn’t be a concern. I just fear that his skills are eroding. After all he’ll be 37 in May. On top of that, Bruce Bochy already acknowledges that he will give Tejada plenty or rest this year. His ADP of 203 makes him a reasonable option. I just prefer guys with more upside.
Johnny Damon, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Had the Rays not signed Manny Ramirez, I would like Damon a little more. He would be able to get some at bats at designated hitter. Playing in the field could take its toll on Damon, who turned 37 in November. He hit just eight home runs last year, and I don’t see significant growth in that category. He could have hot streaks, in which I would entertain riding them out, but I’m not getting a warm and fuzzy feeling that his return to the AL East will be favorable.

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Manny Ramirez brought his hair and wacky behavior to Tampa Bay. Did he bring his big bat along with him? That is the million dollar question.
Things did not end well for Manny in Los Angeles. That has become his new M.O. He played well enough when he played, hitting .311 with 32 runs, eight HRs, and 40 RBI in 66 games, but he was either hurt or a distraction most of the time. The Dodgers dealt him to the White Sox, but he did little to help their playoff push.
Manny hit just .261 with the White Sox. That’s not the worst of it though. He scored just six runs, hit just one home run, and had just two RBI in 24 games (69 ABs). That most definitely was not Manny being Manny. He failed to hit double-digit HRs for the first time since 1993. He has combined for just 28 HRs and 105 RBI the past two years.
Does that mean Manny is done? I wouldn’t go quite that far. I know he’ll turn 39 in May, but I believe there is still life in his bat. He won’t have to take his circus act to the field with Tampa Bay. He’ll be a full-time hitter. That should decrease the chance of nagging injuries. While I don’t expect him return to the 30 HR plateau, he could give you 20. He’s had success at Tropicana Field with a career average of .299 with 25 HR and 72 RBI in 77 games. Manny is a hitter, and while his bat speed may have dropped, if he can stay healthy, he can still contribute.
Plus, he’s not a big risk. His ADP, according to Mock Draft Central, is  156. He’s worth a gamble in the 13th round. What’s your take? Is ManRam done or does he have another productive year left in him?

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The Los Angeles Dodgers placed Manny Ramirez on the 15-day DL with a strained calf. Manny is eligible to come off the DL on May 8th.

Xavier Paul, who hit .214 with a HR in a brief taste with the Dodgers last year, was called up to fill ManRam’s roster spot. Paul was hitting .361 with 3 HRs and 9 RBIs for Triple-A Albuquerque.

Garrett Anderson, who is hitting .192 with a HR, will likely get the bulk of the starts.

Neither Anderson or Paul are particularly good fantasy options while Manny is out.

Image courtesy of Icon SMI

Now an early look at the NL West.

1. Will Chris Young continue to regress?
I’m not sure his average can dip any lower than .212 so I would expect that number to rise. Even if he gets up to his pathetic .235 career average, he’s useless unless he can get the HRs and SBs back. The problem is he didn’t steal a base after June last year. He did have 8 HRs in 108 September/October ABs (13.5 AB/HR). His numbers should be better than last year, but without a guarantee that he’ll get to at least a 20-20 level, I can’t justify taking on his average.

2. Can Troy Tulowitzki follow up his monster year with another one?

Absolutely. While he set the bar high with his .297, 101 Run, 32 HR, 92 RBI, 20 SB season, he already had a similar season in 2007. He absolutely punished the ball after the All-Star Break hitting .344 with 52 Runs, 16 HRs, 55 RBIs, and 9 SBs in 259 ABs. If he can get off to a better start, he should easily have his best average to date. He should also have more Runs and RBIs. He hit a fair share of HRs and destroyed his previous SB total. I’m not sure he increases in either category. In fact, I expect him to steal fewer bases in 2010.

3. Will Jorge de la Rosa be a solid fantasy option in 2010?
I have no doubts that he’ll continue to rack up the strikeouts. He has averaged 9.17 K/9 the past two seasons. He was 0-6 through May and went 16-3 the rest of the way. What really impressed me though is how he got his ERA (3.39) & WHIP (1.29) in order after June. You may be able to get him at a value because of the Coors Field stigma placed on pitchers.

4. Will Manny Being Manny mean better numbers this year?

Manny started on fire, got suspended for steroids, and wasn’t nearly the same hitter when he returned. He still managed to hit 19 HRs in 352 ABs (18.5). What suffered the most was his batting average. He hit just .229 in September. He’ll turn 38 in the beginning of the year, and I have a hard time believing he’ll ever be that .320, 35, 120 guy ever again. He’ll still put up good numbers. He’s too good of a hitter not to, but make sure when you draft him, you’re not drafting him on name value.

5. Is Clayton Kershaw ready to become a star?
Kershaw did everything you would want out of a pitcher last year except win. His ERA (.279), WHIP (1.23), strikeouts (185), K/9 ratio (9.74), and BAA (.200) were all very impressive. However he managed to go just 8-8. With numbers like that, the Wins are bound to come. With a little more luck, he could double his win output in 2010.

6. Can Kyle Blanks hit 30 HRs this year for the Padres?
Blanks was impressive at times last year hitting 10 HRs in 148 ABs. While his foot should be healed for the upcoming season, I’m afraid 30 HRs may be too tall an order for the young slugger. Had he got more seasoning last year, it would improve his odds, but I still think he’s a long shot to hit even 25 HRs.

7. Will Adrian Gonzalez get traded?

Doubtful. He’s only due $10.25 million over the next two years. They still need to put butts in the seats so don’t look for Adrian to be gone anytime soon.

8. Will Matt Cain be overpriced in 2010?
Probably. If you’re drafting him on the 2.89 ERA he posted last year, you’re probably looking for trouble. While I think he should post a solid ERA, it will likely be at least a half a run higher in 2010. Even as brilliantly as he pitched last year he managed to win just 14 games. Even Tim Lincecum managed just 15 wins last year. The Giants just don’t have the horses on offense to win a bunch of ball games. What you’ll get is a guy who wins around 13 games, with a 3.30ish ERA, 1.25ish WHIP, and 180 Ks, which likely won’t justify where he’ll be drafted.

Images courtesy of Icon SMI

Manny’s Baby Shower

10 July 2009

The Global Sports Fraternity creates funny videos pertaining to sports and fantasy sports.  You may have noticed their video player on my sidebar.  It gets updated from time to time, but if you want a look of their full selection, swing on by their site.

All of their videos are funny, but this one on Manny Ramirez is hilarious.  Check it out:

With ManRoid joining the Dark Side, let’s take a look at the players least likely to have juiced.
1.  David Eckstein – Perhaps the least imposing player in the league.

2.  Tim Wakefield – He’s a Knuckeballer.  Strength and recovery not necessary.

3.  Greg Maddux – Accuracy is his thing.  He outsmarts you rather than overpowers you.

4.  Juan Pierre – The irony of him replacing Manny moves him up the list.  Slender build with 13 HRs in 1300+ games.

5.  Ozzie Guillen – Guillen is a lot of things, but a juicer he is not.  Can you imagine his roid rages if he were though.  Guillen had 28 HRs and a .338 slugging % in nearly 2000 games.  Plus, when he had beef with Magglio Ordonez a few years ago, my read between the lines was don’t mess with Ozzie cause he has the goods on Mags.  “He knows I can f’ him over in a lot of different ways. He better shut the f’ up and just play for the Detroit Tigers”.

6.  Walt Weiss – He had every opportunity to juice playing with the Mash Brothers (Canseco & McGwire) and with the Rockies later (who I assume used the thin air as a front for PED use).  He hit a whopping 25 HRs in nearly 1500 games.

7.  Luis Castillo – Not only does he not hit HRs (just 27 in 1500+ games), he doesn’t even hit many Doubles or Triples despite exceptional speed early in his career.

8.  Ichiro Suzuki - Ichiro is another Singles hitter, though he does have 75 in 1300 games.  Has a very slender build.

9.  Brett Butler – You don’t need PEDs to lay down that perfect bunt.  His 54 HRs in 2200+ games don’t raise any eyebrows.

10.  Omar Vizquel - PEDs aren’t necessary to play exceptional defense.  Omar has 77 HRs in nearly 2700 games and a Slugging % of .355.  He played with Barry, Manny, and Bret Boone, but I don’t think he shared their bad habits.

The LA Times has dropped one of the biggest bombshells since, well, since A-Rod was outed for his steroid use.  Manny Ramirez has reportedly tested positive for a Performance Enhancing Drug.

This would be another black eye to a sport that has come under attack because of the tainted reputations of their best players in recent years.  Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez, and now Manny Ramirez. 

Stay tuned as this story develops.  For the full report read teh LA Times article.

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My faith in humanity has been restored now that Manny Ramirez found it within himself to sign a $45 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers according to ESPN‘s Jayson Stark.

He absolutely murdered the ball with the Dodgers last year hitting .396 (.743 Slugging Percentage & 1.232 OPS) with 17 HRs and 53 RBI in 53 games to propel the Dodgers to the playoffs.

I warn Dodger fans and fantasy owners not to expect that type of production again.  In 233 games with Boston in 2007 & 2008 he hit .297 with 40 HRs and 148 RBIs.  Not bad numbers, but nowhere near what he did with LA.  Plus, Fenway is more of a hitter’s park.  He’ll rake because that’s what Manny does.  Just expect more along the lines of .315, 35 HRs, 120 RBI than the .396, 52, 162 his Dodgers numbers project to. 

Now if I don’t have to hear about Manny’s contract or Scott Boras for quite some time, I’ll be more than happy.

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