You Don’t Have to Avoid These NL Fantasy Players, But Temper Expectations


Well, we’re approaching another fantasy baseball season.  Every year, we draft players who end up being disappointments.  Here now is my list of players I would be wary about drafting/bidding on this upcoming season.  They may not kill your team results, but you could end of overspending/drafting these players. Continue reading


NL West Players To Watch


Dan Marino’s long journey trekking through each division in the major leagues is over. Now, in part six of six, he brings you the National League West’s Players to Watch:

Part 1: AL East Players to Watch.

Part 2: NL East Players to Watch.

Part 3: AL Central Players to Watch.

Part 4: NL Central Players to Watch.

Part 5: AL West Players to Watch.

Arizona Diamondbacks Continue reading

My 2012 Predictions: NL West

I am finalizing my 2012 prediction series by revealing my NL West standings and adding a few positive and negative predictions for each team. In case you missed it, I have already revealed my AL East Predictions, AL Central Predictions, AL West Predictions, NL East Predictions, and NL Central Predictions and we, as a staff, revealed some of our overall MLB predictions. Enjoy. Continue reading

Keeping Up With the Top 25 Prospects

I am shamelessly stealing this idea off of Keith Law’s Top Prospect Update by making this list but I absolutely loved the idea and our staff here talked about doing a weekly prospect roundup before the season started. Since some of our staff is on hiatus I figured I would take a number from the master but expand my list beyond the 10 he did and do my top 25 prospects. Here you go:

1. Mike Trout (OF – LAA) – Trout doesn’t turn 20 until my birthday, August 7th, but is already in Double-A and hitting .293/.361/.547 with 3 doubles, 2 triples, 4 homeruns, 4 steals, in 86 plate appearances with a 8:17 BB:K rate. We could see Trout in the Majors this year and be their starting center fielder on Opening Day 2012.

2. Bryce Harper (OF – WAS) – Playing in the Sally League at the age of 18 (he should be a senior in high school) and hitting a robust .358/.453/.679 with 8 doubles, 6 homeruns, 5 stolen bases, in 95 PAs with a 14:20 BB:K rate. Harper has seen time in both center and right field and if he can hold his own in center then he could pass Trout as the #1 prospect on my list.

3. Eric Hosmer (1B – KC) – Hosmer is playing in Triple-A and will be 21 through the entire season. Most 21 year olds in Triple-A struggle but Hosmer is killing it to the tune of .430/.518/.581 with 5 doubles, 3 homeruns, 3 steals, in 112 PAs with a 18:15 BB:K rate. The guy is hitting like he’s a 21 year old in short season ball.

4. Domonic Brown (OF – PHI) – Brown has been recovering from a broken hamate bone which is usually a hard road to recovery. He has only logged 9 at-bats in Triple-A after 21 in a rehab assignment in High-A ball. He crushed two homeruns in the Florida State League, a good pitcher’s league, proving that the power is there after an injury that kills ones power. Brown should be up in the Majors no later than next month and will have enough playing time to remove himself from this list next season.

5. Jesus Montero (C – NYY) – Like Hosmer, Montero is playing the entire Triple-A season at the age of 21 and more than holding his own hitting .373/.384/.470 with 5 doubles and a homerun in 86 PAs. His 2:16 BB:K rate is poor and he did not walk until just a few days ago when he received both free passes in the same game. Montero may be trying to prove that he can hit his way into the Yankee lineup, and he probably can, but there is no room until an injury or trade occurs.

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Random Predictions – NL

Continuing on from yesterday’s AL Predictions are my NL predictions. I honestly cannot wait to see the reactions when I tell everyone that…

Atlanta Braves – Nate McLouth is going to revert to 2009 form and go 20/20 with a .350 OBP. Craig Kimbrel will save 20+ games and strike out 100+ as part of the best relief squad in the Majors. Chipper Jones will hit .300 in his final season. Mike Minor will replace Brandon Beachy as the 5th starter by June.

Arizona Diamondbacks – Russell Branyan will set a career high by hitting 35 or more homeruns this season. That’s right! All he needs is playing time and I predict he will gain 3B eligibilty. Joe Saunders will have an ERA north of 5.00. David Hernandez will lead the team in saves with less than 20.

Chicago Cubs – Tyler Colvin will get 500+ plate appearances but will not hit more than 25 homers. There will be more “head case” headlines about Matt Garza than there will be about Carlos Zambrano who will be the better pitcher of the two this year.

Cincinnati Reds – 2010 was more Brandon Phillips norm going forward and he will continue a decline offensively to the tune of .260/.320/.420 at best. The starting rotation will be called overrated by September. Drew Stubbs will be more valuable when factoring ADP than B.J. Upton in fantasy. Jay Bruce will hit 30+ homers but lose defensive value and not be more valuable than he was last year according to fWAR. Aroldis Chapman will finish with less than 5 saves and an ERA above-4.00.

Colorado Rockies – Troy Tulowitzki will win the MVP and be worth close to 8.0 fWAR. Dexter Fowler will break out this year. Jose Lopez still will not hit and be a terrible defender and Ty Wigginton will club 20+ homers. Jason Hammel will finally match his performance with his FIP and post an ERA below-4.00.

Florida Marlins – Mike Stanton will hit 35 homeruns and be very humble about it. Anibal Sanchez will pitch 200+ innings of 3.25 or lower ERA and 175+ strikeouts. Omar Infante will hit closer to his career slash-line of .274/.319/.395 than his last two year’s .316/.359/.408. The 3B position will struggle to combine for a positive fWAR.

Houston Astros – Wilton Lopez will end up with double-digit saves. Brett Wallace will hit .285/.345/.450 and give the Astros hope for the future. The shortstop position will the weakest in the league offensively. Jordan Lyles will be up and be their best pitcher after the trade deadline.

Los Angeles Dodgers – Juan Uribe will set another career high in homers with 25 this season. Jonathan Broxton may lose the closer role but he will still strike out 90+ with an ERA below-3.00. Matt Kemp will be worth +5.0 fWAR or better. Left field will be a revolving door that will never stop and be lucky to produce at a higher level than replacement. A.J. Ellis is the best catcher on the roster but will see the least amount of time.

Milwaukee Brewers – Shaun Marcum will mail a thank you card to the Blue Jays for trading him out of the AL East and will post 200+ innings of 3.25 or lower ERA and 175+ strikeouts. Carlos Gomez and Nyjer Morgan will combine for a wRC of 85 or lower. Jonathan Lucroy and George Kottaras will combine to hit 20 homers.

New York Mets – Carlos Beltran will reach 500 PAs and hit .280/.370/.470 or better. Angel Pagan will again be worth more than 4.0 fWAR. Francisco Rodriguez will not meet his Games Finished clause wheter he finishes the year out with the Mets or not. The Mets will have a fire sale in July and post a better record in the 2nd half and play “spoiler” to postseason contenders.

Philadelphia Phillies – Ryan Howard continues his Cecil Fielder impersonation and hits worse than he did in 2010. Ben Francisco will hit 20 homers and steal 15 bases. Roy Halladay will post even better numbers than last year.

Pittsburgh Pirates – Andrew McCutchen will hit 20 homers and steal 40 bases. Joel Hanrahan will save 30 games and strike out 100+. James McDonald will be the only starting pitcher with more than 2.0 fWAR and he will have higher than 3.0 fWAR.

San Diego Padres – Tim Stauffer will log 175+ innings of sub-3.50 ERA and 125+ strikeouts. Brad Hawpe will lose his starting job by mid-June and struggle to hit above .250 with little-to-no power. Jason Bartlett will hit at least .285/.345/.425 and steal 20+ bases.

San Francisco Giants – Aubrey Huff will get off to a slow start and everyone will scream for Brandon Belt to get playing time. Which he will… in June, and contend for the Rookie of the Year Award by hitting close to .300 with 15+ homers. Jonathan Sanchez will be the best pitcher on the team.

St. Louis Cardinals – Colby Rasmus will hit 30+ homers and steal 15+ bases. Lance Berkman will bounce back to hit .275/.375/.475 with 20+ homers. Kyle McClellan will log 175+ innings of sub-4.00 ERA with 125+ strikeouts. Jason Motte will save 10+ games and record 70+ strikeouts.

Washington Nationals – Michael Morse will hit more homers than Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche. Livan Hernandez will post an ERA north of 5.00 and allow 225+ hits in less than 200 innings. Matt Stairs will hit a homerun for the Nats, his 12th different team.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell can be found writing about the Tampa Bay Rays at his other site Figure Filbert and on twitter at @FigureFilbert

2011 NL West Preview

2011 NL West Preview

1. San Francisco Giants

The Good: 1-5 the Giants may have the best rotation in the Majors. Relax, Phillies fans, I said 1-5 not 1-4. Having Matt Cain and Tim Linecum on the top and three quality lefties to follow allows the Giants a chance to win on any given night.

The Bad: Any Giants fan will tell you watching the Giants offense the past few years can make you pull hair out of your head. The Giants offense can simply disappear at times all together. This may change this year however, realize, the Giants will have a full year of Buster Posey, Mark Derosa and perhaps 1B hot shot prospect Brandon Belt. Pablo Sandoval has shed some pounds and the Giants would love him to recapture his 2009 form (and actually walk once in a while) which would help offset the 24 HR and 85 RBI lost when Juan Uribe went to the Dodgers.

Keep and Eye On: Look for three youngsters to perhaps lead the Giants to another division title. The first being Buster Posey, who every one knows. Second, is lefty Madison Bumgarner, he has top of the rotation stuff and could possibly allow the Giants to trade Jonathan Sanchez or Matt Cain down the line for a big bat. Last, is the lefty hitting first baseman, Brandon Belt. From what the scouts all say, Belt is the goods and actually has five tool ability as a first baseman.

Bottom Line: Pitching wins and I think a lot of people are overlooking the World Champs. The Giants are a solid team that was not a fluke last season and if healthy should challenge seriously for a 2nd NL Pennant.

Prediction: 92-70 (1st Place)

2. Colorado Rockies

The Good: The Rockie Big Three. The Rockies are lead by Cy Young Award Candidate Ubaldo Jimenez and MVP candidates Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki. That’s a good place to start from if you are a contender.

The Bad: The consistency factor is some the Rockies need to address. It seemed last year they would win 7 in a row then lose 6 in a row. It certainly did not help that the entire pitching staff behind Jimenez and the bullpen struggled both health wise and on the mound. I think the Rockies will be better this year in terms of luck.

Keep an Eye On: The supporting cast around the Big Three. It’s time for Ian Stewart, Chris Iannetta and Dexter Fowler to shed the potential label and start producing consistently on the MLB level. Catchers Jordan Pacheco and Wilin Rosario could push Iannetta for the starting job at some point. Healthy and/or solid years from Aaron Cook, Huston Street, Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge De La Rosa and Franklin Morales would go a long way to enable the Rockies to be serious contenders.

Bottom Line: The Rockies Big Three will have to replicate 2009 and some of the arms need to be consistent and healthy if the Colorado hopes to make it the playoffs. That maybe a lot to ask but, it would not shock me to see it happen.

Prediction: 89-73 (2nd Place)

3. Los Angeles Dodgers

The Good: Although Clayton Kershaw maybe the only guy that jumps out at you, the Dodgers do have a deep reliable rotation, with Jon Garland, Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda and Chad Billingsley. When you have a trio of Matt Kemp, Andre Either and James Loney you have to think you have a chance to produce some decent offense consistently.

The Bad: Outside of Kemp, Loney and Either the Dodgers have age and health issues with SS Rafael Furcal, 3B Casey Blake, C Rod Barjas. Plus, Matt Kemp is coming off a dreadful year and LF is a major question mark. Furthermore, the Dodgers have a question mark at closer. Jonathan Broxton and Hong-Chih Kuo are fantastic setup men but, I don’t believe they have “it” to be a closers. Perhaps Kenley Jansen can get a shot at the closer spot at some point?

Keep an Eye On: The value of Juan Uribe could be immense. If he can replicate 2009 that would be a tremendous boost for the Dodger offense plus, he can help fill in possible injury holes at SS/3B.  Don’t be surprised to see minor league prospects OF Trayvon Robinson, and INF’s Dee Gordon and Ivan DeJesus Jr. to be up at some point.

Projection: Age, injuries and kids will preoccupy new Dodgers skipper, Don Mattingly’s mind in 2011. The Dodgers starting staff should keep them in a lot of games and contend this season.

Prediction: 87-75 (3rd place)

4. San Diego Padres

The Good: At this point, not very much although Mat Latos and closer Heath Bell have All-Star abilities. Then again, Petco Park is the easiest place to pitch in the Big Leagues.

The Bad: So, let’s see, you follow up an complete unexpected playoff chase by trading the face of your franchise and 60% of your offense in Adrain Gonzalez. Yes, I know, the Padres did get potential future ace Casey Kelly and 1B Anthony Rizzo but, neither are going to help this year. This offense could be really bad. The Padres have to hope Wil Venable, Chase Headley and Cameron Maybin finally put it all together on the MLB level or else every pitcher will look forward to facing this lineup. The Padres also have to hope Ryan Ludwick and Brad Hawpe can resurrect their fading careers as well.

What to Look For: The Padres could be in prime position come the trade deadline to unload Heath Bell and some of their very productive bargin bin relievers to contenders willing to give up young talent.

Projection: This franchise and fanbase has to be demoralized following the Adrian Gonzalez trade. I just don’t know how you sell it to your fans or your players. Could be a long season in San Diego.

65-97 (4th place)

5. Arizona Diamondbacks

The Good: The Diamondbacks should be able to score a decent amount of runs with the likes of Stephen Drew, Kelly Johnson, Justin Upton, Miguel Montero, Brandon Allen and Chris Young. Kirk Gibson seems like he want players to have accountability and brings a winning attitude to the clubhouse. Barry Enright, Daniel Hudson and Ian Kennedy were all very solid for the D-Backs rotation last year and give some reason to hope.

The Bad: Sure, the D-Backs can score runs but, they strikeout a ton too. Whereas, the bullpen was a complete trainwreck last season. Furthermore, Hudson, Kennedy and Enright have to anchor this rotation or the Snakes are sunk. That could be a tall order for this young trio.

What to Look For: J.J. Putz was brought in to close and bring stability to the bullpen. Mark Reynolds and 200 strikeouts and 30 plus errors were dealt to Baltimore. Maybe this helps, maybe it doesn’t. The D-Backs are not without talent, they just play like a bunch of rookies. The problem is they have played that way for two striaght years with no signs of progress.

Projection: I have been fooled by the D-Backs before thinking they could be good. This time around they will have to prove to me they are better than a 90 loss team.

65-97 (4th place tied)

2011 Top 175 Prospects

There is no need to bore you with multiple paragraphs that you will not read or maybe skim over at best. Everyone wants to see the list, whether they will agree with it or not. One note is that I did not include anyone that does not qualify as a rookie, meaning anyone over 130 at-bats, over 50 innings pitched, or more than 45 days on the active roster will not make my list. Hope you enjoy it, critique it, and then tell me how awesome I am.

I kid, but seriously, without further ado here is the list:

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