Friday, February 25, 2005
OTHER RANDOM THOUGHTS
National League West Hitters
Over the course of the past couple of weeks and the next couple of weeks, I will be providing a team-by-team look at many of the major league players from a fantasy baseball perspective. I want to do this for a couple of reasons. First, I love fantasy baseball and love discussing what I think of certain players. Second, I know that many people who take the time to read baseball sites like this one participate in fantasy baseball leagues as well.
However, I do understand not everyone gets into fantasy sports, and that’s OK too. I do not think that my "analysis" will be too "statty" so it should be enjoyable for any baseball fan to read.
Another point to mention before getting started is that there are many forms of fantasy baseball. There are the traditional rotisserie leagues, 5x5 leagues, head-to-head, simulation, keeper leagues, American League Only, National League only and many more. Most leagues probably vary in subtle ways. I am not going to try to analyze for any specific variety. I will just give my opinions on the players. When I project a round-range where the player could be drafted, it will be based on a 30 round major league draft.
If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail me.
Disclaimer: What you read below are simply my opinions. Obviously I have no knowledge of what will happen in the 2004 season, so please take the information for what it is worth (fun). Also, these opinions are subject to change as spring training approaches. All players listed are either projected starters, or starters based on my opinion. I will try to project where each player could be drafted, assuming a 30 round draft.
If you've missed the first four pieces to this project, check them out here:
Part 1 - American League Central Hitters
Part 2 - American League East Hitters
Part 3 - American League West Hitters
Part 4 - National League Central Hitters
Part 5 - National League East Hitters
Part 6 - National League West Hitters
PART 6: NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST HITTERS
In previous years, the American League Central was generally accepted to be the worst division in baseball. I happen to think that the National League Western Division should give the AL Central a run for that title this year. The Diamondbacks were horrible last year and made a lot of changes in an attempt to improve. The Rockies will be horrible again, but at least they are going to be playing some young players to give their fans hope for the future. The Dodgers have been bashed for their off-season, but I see a couple of decent additions by subtraction, plus a couple of additions by addition. And the Giants are talented, but old. So, it is an interesting division with two bad teams and two OK teams. So, let’s get going on some analysis. If you have any comments, arguments, agreements, questions or anything, please feel free to e-mail me. When this project is complete, I would like to put together a Mailbag issue with many of those comments.
C – Robby Hammock/Koyie Hill
Hammock has split time at catcher the past two years. Combined, the 27 year old has played in 127 games and hit .262/.315/.441 with 26 doubles, 12 homers and 46 RBI, but his numbers fell off last year. Hammock will likely be given a shot to be the regular, but you have to believe that the team would like to see Koyie Hill as the #1. Hill came to the team from the Dodgers last summer in the Steve Finley trade. He played in 13 games for the D-Backs before breaking his ankle on a play at the plate. At AAA last year, the 25 year old hit .286/.339/.471 with 26 doubles, 13 homers and 54 RBI. So, he’s a good catcher, but don’t expect a lot of offense from him, for sure not this year. Hammock has some position eligibility with 12 games in the OF, but I would be hesitant to draft him, unless you think he’s going to start. Hill could be intriguing, but as a late round pick.
1B – Chad Tracy
Tracy finally was given a big league opportunity and played primarily at 3B for the team. In 143 total games, he hit an impressive .285/.343/.407 with 29 doubles, 8 homers and 53 RBI. The 24 year old Tracy has hit at every level. In parts of four minor league seasons, he has hit .335 with some power. With the Shea Hillenbrand trade, along with the signing of Troy Glaus, Tracy will be the D-Backs starting first baseman. I would expect him to hit close to .300 with a lot of doubles and RBIs. He’s not the power source that a lot of people want from a 1B, so he should fall in the draft toward the 21st round.
2B – Craig Counsell
Counsell comes to Arizona after a year as the Brewers starting shortstop. Apparently the team was not happy with the performance of rookie Scott Hairston. How offensive would it be to likely lose your starting job to a guy who hit .241/.330/.315 with 19 doubles, 5 triples, 2 homers and 23 RBI. I guess he did steal 17 bases. But the 34 year old Counsell is not good, certainly not worth drafting, especially since he is only eligible at one position this year.
3B – Troy Glaus
28 year old Glaus has played in 149 games… in the last two seasons. He hit .284 in 2000, and hasn’t hit higher than .251 in any other season. He is a very one-dimensional hitter, which matters a lot in many fantasy leagues. Yes, he hits a lot of home runs (last year he had 18 home runs in 207 at bats). So, it is possible that he will hit 40 homers in 2005. It is likely that he will hit about .240 and strike out a lot. It is possible that he will get hurt seeing as he has missed a full season over the last two years. In a 5x5 league, I think he falls to the 16th round. In a production league, he will probably go in the 9th round.
SS – Royce Clayton
Alex Cintron had a poor 2004 season, but to be replaced by Royce Clayton has to hurt. The 35 year old veteran actually had a pretty decent (for him) 2004 season, in Colorado. He hit .279/.338/.397 with 36 doubles, 8 homers and 54 RBI for the Rockies. But, his career numbers are .257/.313/.371, and in Arizona, I would expect numbers like that, at best. Actually, I believe Cintron will still play a lot. Don’t draft Clayton, unless it’s the last round and inexplicably, you don’t have another SS.
LF – Luis Gonzalez
Last year, Gonzalez played in just 105 games missing the last two years because of elbow surgery. In that time, he hit just .259/.373/.493 with 28 doubles, 17 homers and 48 RBI. That was not a good year for him, but he was hurt. I would expect that his numbers will be similar to what he has done over the previous five seasons in Arizona. He has hit 25-30 homers each year (not sure where the 57 HR in 2001 came). He also drove in 100 or more runs. He is a good hitter who is now surrounded by a couple more hitters which should help. Take him in the 14th round.
CF – Jose Cruz, Jr.
Apparently the team wasn’t satisfied with just giving the CF job to prospect Luis Terrero. So, they traded left Casey Fossum to the Devil Rays in exchange for Cruz. Last year, in 153 games, he hit .242/.343/.433 with 25 doubles, 8 triples, 21 homers and 78 RBI. Like Glaus, Cruz has proven to be about a .250 hitter. The last three years, he has about 20 homers and driven in about 70. Pretty average numbers for an outfielder. So, consider him in the 21st round.
RF – Shawn Green
The Diamondbacks traded away the Big Unit and the $15 million left on his contract. OK. So they took on about $20 million more to Javier Vazquez. Then they traded for Shawn Green AND gave him over $30 million more. Green is a very good player. VASTLY overrated though. Last year with the Dodgers, he hit .266/.352/.459 with 28 doubles, 28 homers and 86 RBI. Good numbers. However, an .811 OPS is not worth a 3 year extension at 8 digits a season! He has been less productive five of the past six seasons. However, in fantasy circles, he could still be taken in the 13th round.
One 2 Watch – Alex Cintron/Scott Hairston
This was Arizona’s double-play combination much of last season. Cintron had a great first season in 2003, hitting .317/.359/.489 with 26 doubles, 13 homers and 51 RBI in 117 games. But he was disappointing last season. In 154 games, he hit .262/.301/.363 with 31 doubles, 4 homers and 49 RBI. And for that, the 26 year old is being replaced by… Royce Clayton. Hairston was called up in early May. He played in 101 games and hit .248/.293/.442 with 15 doubles, 13 homers and 29 RBI. Not a horrible first big league showing, at least something to build on. But no, he’s being replaced by… Craig Counsell. Cintron will likely play in a utility role. I would suspect that this combination will be starting by the end of the season again.
Team Fantasy Summary -
The Good – Gonzalez.
The Bad – Catcher, middle infield.
The Questions – Can Gonzalez return to full health? How will the middle infield play out? Can Glaus stay healthy and hit for power?
C – JD Closser
Charles Johnson is still around, but the team does not want that to be the case. JD Closser will likely be the main Rockies catcher. Last year, in 83 games at AAA, Closser hit .299/.384/440 with 19 doubles, 7 homers and 54 doubles. He was called up to the Rockies and in 36 games, he hit .319/.364/.398 with 6 doubles. Because of the Coors factor, I think the 25 year old Closser becomes an intriguing pick by the 17th round.
1B – Todd Helton
One of the best, most consistent, purest hitters in baseball, Helton had another strong year in 2004, despite the fact that he had little around him. In 154 games, he hit .347/.469/.620 with 49 doubles, 32 homers and 96 RBI. He walked a career-high 127 times, but for his career, he has walked 667 times, striking out just 552 times. In his 7 full seasons, he has averaged 47 doubles, 35 homers and 118 RBI. He is a late first-round pick.
2B – Aaron Miles
Miles had knee surgery to remove a cyst last October, but he should be ready to go. In 134 games last year, he hit .293/.329/.368 with 15 doubles, 6 homers and 47 RBI. He stole 7 bases as well. I fully expect Miles to have a bust-out year. Last year, I compared him favorably to Marcus Giles and I think this is the year that he will prove that comparison true. We’ll see, I guess, but he is probably worth a 16th round pick.
3B – Garrett Atkins
The 25 year old Atkins has had cups of coffee with the Rockies the last two years. In 2003, he hit .159. Last year, in 28 at bats, he hit .357 with a homer. But to be fair, we need to look at his AAA numbers to really tell anything. At AAA in 2003, he hit .319/382/.481 with 30 doubles, 13 homers and 67 RBI. In 2004, he improved those numbers to .366/.434/.578 with 43 homers, 15 homers and 94 RBI. He also walked more than he struck out. I like the chances of Atkins being a very good player. I think he could hit .300 with 15 homers. That could be worth a 17th round pick this year.
SS – Clint Barmes
Barmes is one of my favorite prospects this year. He has also be called up in September the last two years. In 136 AAA games in 2003, he hit 276/.316/.394 with 35 doubles, 7 homers and 54 RBI. In 2004, he played in 118 AAA games and improved his numbers to .328/.376/.505 with 42 doubles, 16 homers and 51 RBI. He even stole 20 bases. That much AAA time, the 26 year old Barmes is ready. Because he is a middle infielder, I think he is worth a 14th round pick.
LF – Matt Holliday
The 6-4, 235 pound outfielder spent two seasons at AA. Then last year, he played just 6 games in AAA before being called up to the Rockies. He played well in his 121 games. He hit .290/.349/.488 with 31 doubles, 14 homers and 57 RBI. Very good numbers considering it was his first big league season. I think it is a season that he can build on, and with his build and strength, I see him improving on the power numbers. As an outfielder, I would consider him in the 23rd round.
CF – Preston Wilson
2004 as a lost season for the 30 year old outfielder. He played in just 58 games and hit .248/.315/.391 with 11 doubles, 6 homers and 29 RBI. In other words, even when he did play, he did not play well. In 2003, he hit 282/.343/.537 with 43 doubles, 36 homers and 141 RBI. Wilson had season-ending knee surgery. If he is healthy, I would expect him to hit .280 with 35 doubles, 30 homers and 100 RBI. The Rockies, and Helton, really need that!
RF – Dustan Mohr
Mohr was always the guy who found his way into the Twins lineup, and once he got there, he worked hard and hustled and stayed there. Last year, he was traded to the Giants before the season. He got off to a horrid start, hitting just .042 (1-24) in April. But as the season went on, he played fairly well (or Mohr-like). In 117 games, he hit .274/.394/.437 with 20 doubles, 7 homers and 28 RBI. Now he has a shot to be in the Rockies every day outfield. It will be interesting to see if he uses Coors Field makes him look better than a replacement player.
One 2 Watch – Luis Gonzalez
Gonzalez was taken by the Rockies in the Rule V draft last year, meaning he had to stay on the team, or be offered back to the Indians organization. Most don’t make their teams, but Gonzalez not only made the team, but he actually played a lot! In 102 games, he hit .292/.330/.469 with 17 doubles, 12 homers and 40 RBI. He stole just one base in six attempts, something he could improve upon. He is eligible at three infield positions in most leagues, but I don't think I would draft him.
Team Fantasy Summary -
The Good – Helton, the prospects of the prospects.
The Bad – Just the youth-factor.
Question Marks – Can Wilson stay healthy and produce? Can the youngsters (Atkins, Barmes, Closser, Holliday) all prove they should stay up?
Los Angeles Dodgers
C – Dioner Navarro/David Ross
The 28 year old Ross finally experienced his first full big league season in 2004. He played in 70 games and hit just .170/.253/.291. Not good. Paul Bako will likely make the team too. But the only catcher the Dodgers have worth drafting would be Dionner Navarro, the 21 year old who came to the Dodgers from the Diamondbacks from the Yankees. He split the season last year between AA, AAA and got some September time with the Yankees. He didn’t hit real well last year, but he is an excellent prospect. If he may make the team, Navarro is worth a late pick.
1B – Hee Seop Choi
Choi came to the Dodgers from the Marlins at the trade deadline. So far, he has been a disappointment to three teams so far. He is trying to change the minds of Dodgers fans. He is known for having some power and having excellent plate discipline. He does walk a lot, but he also strikes out a lot. With the Dodgers in the last couple of months, he played very poorly. The positive about Choi is that he is still just 25 years old. He’s 6-4 and weighs 240 pounds. He is full of potential, but we’ll see if it ever comes to fruition. I have my doubts, but he may be worth a 24th round pick.
2B – Jeff Kent
36 year old Jeff Kent moves from Houston to the Dodgers. His two years in Houston were average for his career. Last year, he hit .289/.348/.531 with 34 doubles, 8 triples, 27 homers and 107 RBI. Very good numbers, specifically for a 2B. However, with his age, and the notoriously pitcher-friendly Dodgers Stadium, I expect his numbers to drop. He’s still probably a Top 5 2B, but instead of being a 2nd or 3rd round pick, I would wait until the 5th or 6th.
3B – Jose Valentin
The 35 year old Valentin will likely be the Dodgers 3B, at least against right-handed pitching. The lefty just can not hit left-handed pitching at all. Even with that, Valentin hit 30 homers last year. However, he hit just .216/.287/.483. While he was never a high-average hitter, Valentin’s average and OPS numbers have gone down each of the last four years. He’s not a great fielder in the first place, his power could be reduced in LA, and they recently signed, Norihiro Nakamura, a 3B from Japan. In other words, I don’t expect big things from Valentin. IF you have to draft him, wait until the 27th round.
SS – Cesar Izturis
After his first two full big league seasons resulted in OPS less than .600, Izturis vastly improved offensively in 2004. In 157 games, he hit .288/.330/.381 with 32 doubles, 9 triples, 4 homers and 62 RBI. So, his OPS was still just .711, but with his defense, he does add value to the Dodgers. He also stole 25 bases last year. Again, in fantasy circles, he’s not worth taking too early. In standard points leagues, take him in the 26th round. In 5x5, you could take him in the 16th.
LF – Jayson Werth
After brief callups in Toronto in 2002 and 2003, Werth came to the Dodgers before the 2004 season. He hit over .400 in 14 AAA games and then came up to the Dodgers. He played in 89 games and hit .262/.338/.486 with 11 doubles, 16 homers and 47 RBI. Very impressive half-season numbers. Look for him to be the team’s full-time left-fielder. Expect the 25 year old to put up very strong numbers. But don’t draft him too early. He is worth a 23rd round pick.
CF – Milton Bradley
Did you know that Milton Bradley is still just 26 years old? It seems like, because of all the trouble he has been in over the years, that he has been around forever. Wouldn’t it be nice if he were just a nice guy, or at least able to control his emotions? Fact is, he’s a very talented player, offensively and defensively. Last year, in 141 games, he hit .267/.362/.424 with 24 doubles, 19 homers and 67 RBI. He also stole 15 bases. I would expect improved numbers in his second season in the National League. He showed in the 2nd half of the 2003 season with Cleveland just how good he can be. He proved in spring training 2004, and then late in the 2004 season, why he is such a big question mark. Wait until the 19th round to take the risk.
RF – JD Drew
As questionable as the character of Bradley is, Drew is the complete opposite. His problem, throughout his career has been staring healthy. Drew finally had a ‘pretty much’ healthy season in 2004, his only year with the Braves, and he showed the type of numbers people had always expected from him. In 145 games, he hit .305/.436/.569 with 28 doubles, 31 homers and 93 RBI. That isolated on-base percentage is very impressive, the result of 118 walks! Again, the question will remain… can he stay healthy? If you think he can, consider him by the 5th round. If not, then hold back, and if he’s there in the 12th round (he won’t be), it’s totally worth the risk.
One 2 Watch – Ricky Ledee
At some point, Drew will get hurt, Bradley will get in trouble or Werth will prove unworthy of every day play. The Dodgers needed a solid, veteran 4th outfielder, and Ledee can be that. The 31 year old, seven year veteran is a quality hitter and defender who won’t hurt the team. Don’t draft him though, but just watch the OF situation.
Team Fantasy Summary -
The Good – Drew and Kent.
The Bad – The non-Kent Infield.
The Question Marks – Can Drew stay healthy? Can Bradley stay out of trouble? Can Izturis do it again?
San Diego Padres
C – Ramon Hernandez
I guess the league-change didn’t affect Hernandez too much at all. As a matter of fact, he had his best season last year for the Padres. He missed a few weeks with a knee injury, but in 111 games, he hit .276/341/.477 with 24 doubles, 18 homers and 63 RBI. Expect more of the same from Hernandez in 2005. Consider the 28 year old by about the 14th round.
1B – Ryan Klesko
It has sadly come to the point where, if Klesko didn’t walk so much, he would have very little value to a real team, much less your fantasy team. First, he has missed 35 or more games the last two years, and he hasn’t played more than 146 games since 1996. Maybe Petco Field has a lot to do with it, but he went from hitting 25-30 homers to hitting just 9 in 127 games last year. He did increase his doubles though. He is eligible at 1B and the OF (he and Nevin are both bad at both and will likely rotate). But I wouldn’t draft Klesko before the 22nd round.
2B – Mark Loretta
I didn’t want to believe that Loretta’s 2003 numbers were legit. However, last year, he not only backed them up, but really improved them. He hit .335/.391/.495 with 47 doubles, 16 homers and 76 RBI. He walked more than he struck out. He was even Top 10 in MVP voting. In other words, he’s done it two years in a row, so you have to expect similar numbers for the 33 year old. Take him in the 7th round.
3B – Sean Burroughs
Everyone talks about Burrough’s lack of power. Well, he never really had a lot of power, at least not since Little League. And again, Petco Park affected everyone. Burroughs has hit for average, and has a decent on-base percentage. I do believe that the 24 year old will develop power in time. Last year, he hit .298/.348/.365 with 23 doubles, 2 homers and 47 RBI. I would expect a lot more doubles and a few more homers. I would consider taking Burroughs in the 26th round.
SS – Khalil Greene
If not for a broken finger late in the season, Greene likely would have been the Rookie of the Year. Instead, he had to settle with just having a very good rookie season. In 139 games, he hit .273/.349/.446 with 31 doubles, 15 homers and 65 RBI. He was also on Web Gems frequently. While so many of the other Padres complained about their home park, Greene just hit and played very well. Expect more of the same in 2005. That makes him a 13th round pick.
LF – Brian Giles
Giles .849 OPS was his lowest since 1997. In 159 games, he hit .284/.374/.475 with 33 doubles, 7 triples, 23 homers and 94 RBI. Actually since being traded from Pittsburgh to San Diego, he has gone from one of the best hitters in all of baseball, to a very, very good hitter. But in fantasy baseball, that means going from a 2nd round pick to a 5th or 6th round pick.
CF – Dave Roberts
Last year, Roberts split time between the Dodgers and Red Sox. In 133 combined games, he hit .254/.337/.379 with 14 doubles, 7 triples, 4 homers and 38 RBI. But Roberts value is in his speed, and with stolen bases (38 last year). Ask the Red Sox, once he came to them, he was essentially a pinch runner. He has a lot of value in fantasy leagues that value stolen bases He gives the Padres a legit leadoff hitter, and they are saying he has the green light at all times.. In 5x5, he becomes a 2nd or 3rd round pick.
RF – Phil Nevin
Nevin was one of the biggest complainers about the new stadium last year. I am surprised to see how well he did offensively. In 147 games, he hit .289/.368/.492 with 31 doubles, 26 homers and 105 RBI. It was just nice to see him healthy for the first time in 3 seasons. I would expect better numbers from Nevin in 2005, so take him in the 9th round.
One 2 Watch – Xavier Nady
Nady started the 2003 season as the Padres right-fielder. He played most every day, and played well. But then the team traded for Brian Giles and Nady was sent down. And then he spent most of 2004 in AAA. The 26 year old needs a chance to play. He’s too good not to. Maybe a platoon with Klesko could be worked out.
Team Fantasy Summary -
The Good – Giles, Loretta and Nevin.
The Bad – Klesko, Burroughs.
The Question Marks – Can Nevin and Klesko stay healthy? Can Greene eliminate the sophomore slump? How many stolen bases with Roberts get?
San Francisco Giants
C – Mike Matheny
34 year old Matheny comes to the Giants this off-season having signed a 3 year deal with the team. After a year of AJ Pierzynski behind the plate, you have to assume that the pitchers are thrilled. Now, Matheny doesn’t hit much, if at all. So from a hitting or fantasy perspective, Matheny is not a good option. Last year in St. Louis, he hit .247/.292/.348 with 22 doubles, 5 homers and 50 RBI in 122 games. That is a very typical season for Matheny and at his age, I wouldn’t expect any real improvement. Only draft him if he’s still there in the last round.
1B – J.T. Snow
The 36 year old Snow is an incredible defensive 1B. His offense left a lot to be desired. I mean, he is a career .267 hitter. But then inexplicably Snow hit .327/.429/.529 with 32 doubles, 12 homers and 60 RBI in 107 games last year. It was, by far, the best season of his career. There is no reason to expect that his numbers will be anywhere near those again, and he did miss 55 games last year. So, only draft him after the 27th round.
2B – Ray Durham
The diminutive 33 year old Durham spent two separate times on the disabled list in 2004. But, in 120 games, he hit an impressive .282/.364/.484 with 28 doubles, 17 homers and 65 RBI. Earlier in his career, he was more of a threat to steal, but he has had just 17 steals in the last two years. He has missed at least 40 games the last two years, but played in at least 150 games the six years prior. I would consider taking Durham in the 18th round.
3B – Edgardo Alfonzo
31 year old Alfonzo is the youngest regular of the Giants lineup. He has been a disappointment in his three seasons in San Francisco. Last year, in 139 games, he hit .289/.350/407 with 26 doubles, 11 homers and 77 RBI. He doesn’t walk or strike out too often. The numbers are very similar to his career numbers. Unfortunately, he hasn’t had a real productive season since his Mets days. He will also lose some playing time, so wait to draft him until the 19th round.
SS – Omar Vizquel
How 37 year old Omar Vizquel gets a three year guaranteed contract is beyond me. He doesn’t hit much (except a couple of seasons that could be called ‘exceptions’). His fielding is nowhere near what it once was. That said, he will fit into the #2 spot in a lineup very well. Last year in Cleveland, he hit .291/.353/.388 with 28 doubles, 7 homers and 59 RBI. He still stole 19 bases. To me, he’s not worth drafting in a points league, at least not until the 22nd round. In a 5x5 league, if he keeps getting steals, he may be worth a 14th round pick.
LF – Barry Bonds
40 year old Bonds will be under attack all season. It will be interesting to see how his numbers are affected, if at all, this season. There isn’t a better on-base guy in baseball. There isn’t a better plate discipline guy. Last year, the MVP hit .362/.609/.812 with 27 doubles, 45 homers and 101 RBI. He was on-base over 60% of the time! For his career, he has 2,302 walks and just 1,428 strikeouts. 703 homes. He is incredible. However, because of the walks, he isn’t a top pick, and he should be taken in the mid-to-late 1st round.
CF – Marquis Grissom
37 year old Grissom had another solid, but unspectacular season in 2004. In 145 games, he hit .279/.323/.450 with 26 doubles, 22 homers and 90 RBI. He doesn’t steal bases any more. He can’t continue to put up these types of numbers though, can he? I wouldn’t take him before the 19th round.
RF – Moises Alou
The 38 year old Alou gets to join his father with the Giants for the next two seasons. It was almost surprising that the Cubs didn’t offer him arbitration, making him a free agent. He had one of his better seasons in 2004 when he hit .293/.361/.557 with 36 doubles, 39 homers and 106 RBI. He actually stayed healthy the last two years with the Cubs after falling victim to injuries the previous three years. If he can stay healthy, I would expect another solid season from Alou. It will be good to have him hitting behind Bonds. I would expect him to be taken in the 5th round.
One 2 Watch – Pedro Feliz
You’ve noticed that I mentioned the ages of each of the Giants starters. Why? Well, because there is a risk of injury, decline, and if nothing else reason to give the occasional day off. Giants management is saying that Feliz will again get 500 at bats in 2005 between LF, RF, 3B, SS, 2B and 1B. He is eligible at those positions. That, combined with the fact that Feliz hit .276/.305/.485 with 33 doubles, 22 homers and 84 RBI, in 503 at bats. Expect more of the same in 2005. Take Feliz in the 14th round.
Team Fantasy Summary -
The Good – Bonds, Alou.
The Bad – Matheny.
The Question Marks – How will Bonds play at 40, with all of the questions he’ll have to face? Can Alou, Grissom, Durham and Snow stay healthy? Is it possible that the team could get any older?
Well, that is it for Part 6 of my Fantasy Baseball Preview. I hope you’ve enjoyed my previews of the hitters in baseball. The format will change slightly next week as I will begin to discuss the pitchers. Please let me know what you think. Any comments or suggestions would be welcomed! E-mail me.
I have to start with all of the great articles that there have been on the Twins over the past few days. I have to admit that I enjoy the beat writers's stories during spring training. Essentially, the articles are articles on different players and what they did in the offseason and what they hope to do this year and any problems they may have ever had. But it's interesting. And they're baseball articles, so it's all good!
From TwinsBaseball.com, Justin Morneau finally reported to camp (on-time, mind you). His arrival has been the talk of the daily updates. He had a rough offseason. It has been one problem after the next for the 23 year old slugger:
"The 23-year-old Canadian native spent his offseason at his home in Arizona, forced to fit his workouts in between his illnesses. The appendix was removed the day before Halloween. All of November was spent recovering from the surgery. He resumed training in December before getting the chicken pox in January. A few weeks later, he developed an infection of the tissue lining around his lungs, called pleurisy, before eventually catching pneumonia."
The Twins Venezuelan contingent has had a lot to worry about this off-season. A major flood recently killed many. Ugueth Urbina's mom was just rescued after being kidnapped for five months. There have been carjackings. The country's President, Hugo Chavez, sent five bodyguards out to protect Johan Santana and his family. Venezuela is just a very scary place to live right now, and the wins from there are making more money, making things even more dangerous for them.
The Twins have told "The Real Deal" JD Durbin to be himself. That means loud and brash. Last year, he thought it would be good for him to remain subdued, especially once he got to the big leagues. But the team wants him to be himself. He expects to start the year at AAA, but wants to make the decision tough for the Twins coaches.
CJ Nitkowski has learned not to worry about making the team, just pitching his best and letting things happen.
Terry Ryan participated in a Q&A on the Twins website.
Lavelle E. Neal article on Mike Redmond. No, he isn't a great player (better than Henry Blanco thought), but he has been around a lot of success.
Interesting stat from the Pioneer Press - Joe Mays' $7.25 million salary is the same as the Vikings paid Randy Moss.
Did Kyle Lohse learn anything from Roger Clemens when they were both on an All-Star team that played in Japan this offseason? Many say that Lohse has the best "stuff" on the Twins staff (besides Johan), so is this the year he finally puts it all together?
Will Young has been looking at many Twins minor league pitchers including Willie Eyre, Travis Bowyer, Trey Hodges and Bud Smith.
I keep checking the Twins sites because I just have this fear of reading something like this involving Johan Santana or other key Twins players.
Be sure to check out Stick and Ball Guy today. He plays another game of Pepper, this time with Cheesehead Craig, who writes the blog Oracle of Cheese.
OTHER RANDOM THOUGHTS
So, I don't really pay attention to the Grammy, but for the Best Album, I noticed that Kanye West and Maroon 5 were both up for it. I absolutely love both of these artists/groups, but I also don't buy a lot of CDs so I don't have either. Well, yesterday a friend of mine happened to bring both of them in to work, so I was able to listen to both. They are both incredible. Maroon 5 took home the Award, but Kanye's album is incredible. "Through the Wire" is such an emotional song that I have loved since I first heard it. It samples an old Chaka Khan song. Kanye did win the Grammy for song of the year for "Jesus Walks." I had heard that news, but I had never actually heard the song. Then while listening to the lyrics I heard, "They said you can rap about anything except for Jesus. That means Guns, Sex, Lies, Videotapes. But if I talk about God my record won't be played." And well, I never heard that song on the radio, so I think that helps make his point!
Baseball Prospectus listed their Top 50 Prospects earlier in the week (and it's actually free... CRAZY!). Jesse Crain is the highest rated Twins player, at #43. Jason Kubel comes in at #46.
Rich Lederer and Bryan Smith combined their efforts to start The Baseball Analysts. They will discuss the past, the present and the future. Their current articles asks the question, "Who was your favorite player?", and gives the responses of many very respected baseball people.
I'm currently involved in a Fantasy Baseball draft. The Don't Think Just Throw league is led by the commissioner David Bergner, better known as The Baseball Savant. It is a keeper league with contract years, etc. Because my team was so bad last year, I get the 2nd pick this year. But, to give you an idea of who is available in this draft, here are the 15 first round picks: Jim Edmonds, Joe Nathan, Marcus Giles, Derrek Lee, Dan Kolb, Octavio Dotel, Coco Crisp, Chone Figgins, Bret Boone, Carlos Guillen, Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Armando Benitez, Sean Casey, Trevor Hoffman and Dave Roberts. In other words, not a lot of huge names, or guys you would ever see in a first round. In the second round, I took Juan Uribe. I took Pedro Feliz in the 3rd round. Yesterday, I took Jason Lane with my fourth pick. I have just three more picks to go! When the major league draft is done, the minor league draft starts, and that is the best part!
There were a LOT of trades at the NBA deadline yesterday afternoon. Some big names (Chris Webber to Philly, Baron Davis to Golden State, Antoine Walker back to Celtics, ) were involved, and some were minor. There were a couple of trades that just were done strictly for financial reasons. The Wolves were basically just trying to trade Sam Cassell, but ended up doing nothing.
I need to point out another great blog out there. It is called Nationals Inquirer. Obviously it is a blog about the Washington Nationals. But Basil does a very good job of writing, so be sure to check his site out.
And on that note, I wish you a good day and a great weekend. If you have any questions or comments on anything you have read above, please e-mail me.
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