Friday, December 10, 2010

Finding Keepers: Florida Marlins

The Florida Marlins are a team filled with many useful fantasy baseball assets but only a few that should be under consideration when evaluating your team's keeper options.

SS Hanley Ramirez had a statistically down year in 2010 when looking at his seasonal averages (per 162 games) but truly it's hard to find fault with the 12th-ranked player on ESPN's Player Rater who turned in a line of .300/92/21/76/32. He probably would have been right on track had he not missed 17 games in September/October due to a sore left elbow. Ramirez is a definite keeper and the kind of player you team around in dynasty leagues. If you're drafting a new team from scratch in 2011, Ramirez is sure to see his ADP slip a bit from the 2.4 it was in 2010 and could be a steal at the end of the first round or even early second.

SP Josh Johnson finished 5th in the NL Cy Young Award voting after posting just an 11-6 record, but leading the NL in ERA (2.30) with a 1.11 WHIP and a 9.1 K/9 ratio while recording 23 of 28 Quality Starts. At just 26 years old, Johnson is a pitcher to keep and enjoy the numbers you know you'll get and hope the wins come along too.

Would you want an outfielder on your team that could hit 35 home runs but only bat around .260? Maybe even lower with lots of strikeouts? What if he was just 21 years old and named Mike Stanton? Stanton in a no-brainer in deeper dynasty-type leagues for his long term potential but what about for the 2011 season. Does he figure it out or do pitchers figure him out? I'm passing on him as a keeper this season but will try to grab him in the draft as late as I possibly can.

I'd love to call 1B Gaby Sanchez a keeper but in most formats a first baseman that hits .275 with 20 HR, 80 RBI and scores 70 runs is probably going to be available later in drafts but if this is the best your team produced in a very deep or shallow NL-only league, you may have to take that chance.

So that's all I'm seeing as far as keeper options on the Marlins roster but would love to hear some opinions on these and any other players I may have missed.

Baseball Bloggers Alliance Day: 12/10/2010

Today is Baseball Bloggers Alliance Day, and as a member of the Fantasy Baseball Chapter I'd like to tell you what the BBA has meant to me and COSFBA.

First off, here's a little about the BBA straight from the source:
"The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was formed in 2009 to foster communication and collaboration between bloggers across baseball.  Member blogs are encouraged to use one another to deepen their understanding of the game and the teams that play it.

While no formal requirements for membership exist at the current time, participating blogs are asked to keep their blogs current and to link to other member blogs on their blog roll.

The BBA has, as a secondary aim, the goal of producing year-end awards in a similar fashion to the Baseball Writers of America.  These awards can be found here in October with links back to the voters, ensuring transparancy and, most likely, the onset of some good baseball arguments."

As a relatively young blog, I went searching the internet for a group or organization that was doing great things for baseball bloggers and the BBA was exactly what I was looking for. I now feel like my blog belongs to something important and has a voice on a much larger scale than it would had I gone at this venture on my own.

In October, I had the pleasure of voicing my opinions and casting votes for the BBA's end-of-year awards (seen here) and was overwhelmed by the hundreds of views that post received. I've also submitted my Hall of Fame ballot, so keep an eye out for those results in early January 2011.

Be sure to take some time to visit the BBA website and visit as many of the nearly 240 member blogs as possible. Also look for BBA member tweets on Twitter by searching for the #BBBA hashtag and have a very happy BBA Day!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Finding Keepers: Kansas City Royals

First off, these are not your father's Kansas City Royals of the 1980s. Unfortunately, in the broken economics of Major League Baseball, the Royals will sadly continue to be treated as a farm system for the big spenders.

As I write this article, 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner SP Zack Greinke is still a member of the Kansas City Royals but honestly, for how much longer. Greinke's 2010 season was a disaster compared to his 2009 but has the skills and talent to warrant a keeper selection for the upcoming season, regardless of what team he opens the season with. We are talking about a 26 year old that is one season removed from a 16 win, 2.16 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 242 K, 9.0 WAR campaign. The purist in me hopes the Royals keep Greinke and invest money into making this franchise competitive again but the realist in me knows the best they are going to do this offseason is sign OF Jeff Francoeur.

CL Joakim Soria was the Royals highest ranked fantasy player in 2010, according to ESPN's Player Rater, coming in at 60th overall and the 6th best closer. It's amazing that a guy on a team that won just 67 games could rack up 43 saves. His 1.78 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 9.7 K/9 and 4.44 K/BB ratios are why Soria is worthy of a keeper tag for 2011.

The Royals second-best fantasy player in 2010 was 88th-ranked 1B Billy Butler, who produced a .318/77/15/78/0 line. Those numbers were enough to rank him 12th among first basemen but hardly puts him in the class of "must own" players. One has to wonder if he will ever have the numbers (.300/30/100) to join the rankings of the "elite". At this point in time, I wouldn't consider using a keeper selection on Bulter unless he's your only option at first base in a league where very few other options will exist come draft day.

Unfortunately, these three players are all the Royals roster has to offer you if you are searching for keepers on your fantasy baseball roster. The best you can hope for is that they acquire several major league ready players in exchange for Greinke and many of their own top ranked prospects become impact players at the major league level in the near future. I did say "hope".

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Finding Keepers: Colorado Rockies

One doesn't have to look very far when searching for keeper candidates on the Colorado Rockies roster. You can start by looking at the results of the NL MVP and NL Cy Young voting or by looking at the number one player on ESPN's Player Rater.

OF Carlos Gonzalez was a player many targeted in the middle rounds of drafts this year (ADP 131.1) and those that were lucky enough to grab him were rewarded with an MVP-caliber season. Take a moment to look at his NL rankings for all of the major statistics: 1st in BA; 4th in HR; 2nd in RBI; 3rd in R; 10th in SB; 2nd in SLG; 3rd in OPS. Awesome! In a standard 5x5 league, CarGo could easily be viewed as the first overall pick in 2011 drafts.

Baseball fans watched in awe as SS Troy Tulowitzki turned in a September to remember, hammering 15 home runs and driving in 40 runs while batting .322 with a 1.176 OPS. This season, he established career highs in batting average (.315) , slugging percentage (.568) and on-base percentage (.381) , while posting a .949 OPS that was eighth-best in the major leagues. The Colorado Rockies have rewarded him with a megadeal that locks him up through the 2020 season and is a no-brainer in all fantasy baseball formats. Tulo could possibly be the first shortstop off the board in many open drafts.

The Rockies have always been known as a franchise that produces offense but are slowly gaining respectability in the pitching department and it all starts with SP Ubaldo Jimenez. This season, he threw the first no-hitter in Rockies' history, won 19 games, struck out 214, posted a sub 3.00 ERA and finished third in the NL Cy Young voting. Jimenez deserves to be the ace of any fantasy baseball pitching staff and kept in all league formats.