March 27, 2012

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Perfect MLB Fantasy Team

By: Joe Williams

My league had our MLB fantasy baseball draft recently. As always, I got some of the guys I wanted and missed out on a few as well. But since my draft has come and gone I don’t have to worry about the other guys in my league knowing who I want on my team. Therefore, I will give you a rundown of what my ideal team would look like. It’s not like I had much to worry about, anyway. Chances are none of those guys would have seen this since most of them can barely even read. (Bazinga!) Trash talking your league members is one of the best parts of a fantasy league. Anyway, here’s who I would realistically try to take going by the average draft position on the site my league uses.

Round 1            Miguel Cabrera, 1B

I want my first pick to be a sure thing. Cabrera has put up an average of .320 batting average with 33 home runs, 115 RBI and 102 runs for the last eight years. That’s as much of a sure thing as you will find.

Round 2            Carlos Gonzalez, OF

Again, I want a sure thing if I can get it. Gonzalez has had at least 25 home runs, 20 steals, 90 runs and 90 RBI to go with a .295 average for the last two seasons. He is the real deal.

Round 3            Jose Reyes, SS

Here’s a guy who has led the league in steals and in batting average. Reyes joins a Miami team that has loaded up on talent and brought in Ozzie Guillen to manage. Guillen had the White Sox running a lot and he should do the same in Miami.

Round 4            Michael Bourn, OF

Just in case Reyes isn’t 100 percent healthy and his steals come down again, adding Bourn will make up for it in a hurry. You can pencil him in for 50 steals and he gives you a solid batting average as well.

Round 5            Zack Greinke, SP

Greinke will be nearly as good as the biggest name pitchers in baseball but will cost you a much lower pick to get him.

Round 6            Carlos Santana, C

There aren’t a lot of great catchers so if you get one of them you will have a big advantage at at least one position.

Round 7            Carl Crawford, OF

If Crawford is still available in the 7th round you better jump on him. He had injury problems last year and was a big disappointment. I believe he will bounce back big time.

Round 8            Kevin Youkilis, 3B

Here’s another guy who had a disappointing year in 2011 and should be better in 2012. Youkilis could end up being a steal.

After a down year last season, Youkilis could be the steal you need to bolster your lineup.

Round 9            Brian Wilson, RP

This guy is awesome. I want Wilson on my team regardless of what he does on the field but it just so happens that he can pitch.

Round 10          Josh Johnson, SP

Because of his injury history this is a high-risk, high-reward pick. Go for it. You aren’t playing for third place are you?

Round 11          Matt Garza, SP

I’m a Cubs fan. I always need a Cub. I choose Garza.

Round 12          Heath Bell, RP

He’s going to a better team which will hopefully translate into more saves.

Round 13          Brandon Beachy, SP

He averaged almost 11 strikeouts per nine innings last year.

Round 14          Torii Hunter, OF

Hunter is a solid player and the addition of Albert Pujols should help everyone in the Angels lineup.

Round 15          Ryan Roberts, 2B

You are going to have a weak spot somewhere. This is mine. And it’s not that bad.

Round 16          Emilio Bonifacio, SS

I love guys that can play multiple positions because they provide lineup flexibility.

Round 17          Josh Willingham, OF

Not a guy people will be desperate to get, but always gives you at least 20 long balls.

From this point on in the draft, grab as many high-upside players as you can. If they don’t pan out, you can always drop them and find someone else.

July 28, 2011

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Time to Make Your Move

By: Joe Williams

With the MLB trade deadline approaching, several teams are going to have big decisions to make. Some teams are looking for the one piece to the puzzle that will get them into the playoffs (like San Fransico’s pending acquisition of Carlos Beltran). Others will try to cut payroll. And for a few teams, the next couple days will determine whether they will be buyers or sellers. Teams who need to make a deadline deal:

Cleveland Indians

Just four years ago the Indians were a win away from the World Series. They never got that win and Indian fans haven’t had much to cheer about since. Until now. Cleveland has been at the top of the AL Central for most of the season but now trail Detroit. The Central is up for grabs and the Indians should be in contention all season if they can add a quality hitter to replace the injured Shin-Soo Choo and Grady Sizemore. Hunter Pence is a name in the rumor mill but he likely comes with too high an asking price for Cleveland. A guy they could make a deal for is Melky Cabrera. He is hitting .295 with 12 home runs and 57 RBI this year. He would strengthen the lineup but would having three Cabrera’s in Cleveland be too many?

Inside Progressive Field Mural

Chicago Cubs

At 42-60, the Cubs are the most overpaid team in baseball. The roster is full of veteran players with monster contracts. They need to unload some of those contracts to speed up the rebuilding process. Kosuke Fukudome, Carlos Pena, Alfonsio Soriano and Carlos Zambrano all need to go at some point. The sooner the better for Chicago but because of their contracts, the Cubs will probably have to give up some cash to make a deal. They would do well to unload one of these guys this week.

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates are the biggest surprise in baseball. Normally, when the MLB trade deadline rolls around, the Pirates have assumed their position at the bottom of the NL Central. Not this time. The team that hasn’t had a winning record in 18 year is at the top of the standings but need to get some help if they are going to win the four team race in the Central. Pittsburgh could use another bat in the outfield and some relief help.

Los Angeles Angels

They have their work cut out for them if they hope to catch the Rangers in the AL West. The Angels always seem to be in talks for the big-name free agents but never make the big splash. Maybe they pull the trigger here and land Hunter Pence. They rank 24th in runs scored so adding Pence would be a big boost to the lineup. They are also rumored to be after Padres closer Heath Bell which would give them a tremendous bullpen.

July 25, 2011

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Players Most Likely To Be Moved By MLB Trade Deadline

By: Anson Whaley

The MLB trade deadline is fast approaching and with several teams out of contention, expect some key players to be dealt to contending teams. One trade target, the New York Mets’ Jose Reyes, is apparently staying put according to reports. But there are plenty of others on struggling teams that may be traded at the deadline.

Carlos Beltran: Beltran is the biggest name out there expected to be traded. He’s primarily seen as a rental player since his contract is expiring, but at 34, still has a few seasons of productivity left. Often, the sticking point in high-salary players being dealt is the remaining money left on their current contracts. However, the Mets are so desperate to acquire some quality prospects in exchange for the aging outfielder that they are willing to pay most of the remaining money owed on his deal this year. Add it all up and it looks like Beltran could be in a different uniform very soon. The only thing that may keep this deal from getting done is the unwillingness of teams to part with top prospects in return.

Heath Bell: The Padres’ Bell is one of the top relievers in the game this season and his 28 saves and 2.45 ERA would look good in any team’s bullpen. The thing that makes him so desirable is that even clubs with established closers could use him as a setup man. San Diego is going nowhere this season and has little use for Bell, so I expect him to be traded. Bell has never appeared in the playoffs, but at 33, has plenty of experience in the majors and shouldn’t be easily rattled in the postseason.

Carlos Pena: Buried in the NL Central standings, the Chicago Cubs appear to be sellers this season. Carlos Pena is a chip they could use to bring in a few prospects to help them rebuild. The first baseman is batting well below .250, but his 20 home runs would be valuable for a team looking for some extra power in the playoffs. He’s also sound defensively and previously won a Gold Glove in the field. Pena is 33 and unlike Beltran, probably wouldn’t command a top tier prospect.

Chris Iannetta: It’s not often that a player batting under .225 is on the radar of teams at the trade deadline, but Iannetta finds himself in that rare situation. He’s one of the few catchers reportedly on the market and teams in need of a receiver for the stretch run can ignore his low average. He’s solid at his position defensively and with ten home runs this season, has a little pop in his bat. Iannetta is, however, under contract for the next few seasons at a very reasonable cost so the Rockies are in no rush to move him.

Koji Uehara: The Orioles’ Uehara is a setup man, but like Bell, could be used as a closer as well. He’s having the best year of his career with an ERA under 2.00 and is one of bullpen arms being most watched by teams. An attractive aspect to adding Uehara is that he is only in his second year of major league service time, meaning he won’t be eligible for free agency until 2015. At 36, there’s a good possibility that he’ll be retired by then, but teams can have him at a reasonable rate for potentially several more seasons.