Fantasy Baseball Preview Part one of…a few

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By Paul M. Banks, The Soxman, Peter Christian 

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Banks’s questions in bold. Soxman’s answers in normal type, Christian’s answers in italics

Do you draft Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds?
 
My gut tells me that the most recent government perjury inquiry into Roger Clemens, combined with the fact that evidence (albeit circumstantial) suggests he was tainted will keep Roger out of baseball on 2008.  Therefore, I’d avoid drafting him.
 
Interestingly enough, I’ve participated in two drafts now and Barry Bonds was drafted in both of them.  If you are in extremely deep leagues (such as myself), he might be worth taking an “end of draft) flier on. In leagues where on base and slugging percentage are scoring categories, Bonds is one of the best ever, regardless of “how” he got there.  Fantasy Baseball does not have a drug test either.   
 
Roger is untouchable. Especially in leagues with only a few bench spots. Barry on the other hand might be worth keeping an eye on. Depending on how the draft plays out and if I have a solid team that I’m confident in, I may forgo depth at a certain position to take a flyer on the Homer (Drama) Queen. Whether I draft him or not, I’m definitely keeping my ear to the ground about any possibility of him joining a MLB team mid-season.

What about the other players in the Mitchell Report? They’re saying this could just be the tip of the iceberg.  What players might you avoid drafting to avoid? 
 
The Mitchell report did not have as much of a negative impact as I thought it would on any of my drafts.  I said I was going to avoid pitchers whose names appeared in the report and yet I ended up with Eric Gagne on my roster.  The allure of him regaining that 2004 magic was enough for me to bite, especially in a league where mediocre closers have as much value as solid starting pitchers.
 
As far as “the tip of the iceberg” goes, look at hitters who had a sharp decline in power numbers or batting average in the last two seasons for no apparent reason whatsoever. Even though I still drafted him, Michael Young is one of those candidates.  On a team that featured Ivan Rodriguez, John Rocker, and other alleged users, his homerun total has been cut in half from 2005-2007.
 

Chuck Knoblauch, David Segui…OK really, I think the Mitchell Report was a big joke. It is pretty obvious that the biggest suspension that MLB is ready to hand out for past transgressions is 15 days (not games). I probably wouldn’t intentionally draft more than one player who is facing suspension but a player like Jose Guillen, Mike Cameron or Andy Pettitte will find a home on someone’s roster. However, I doubt any of those players are going to make or break a team. I will shit a fire truck if I ever hear someone say, “My fantasy team would have been great this season if only I wouldn’t have been scared to draft insert player name here because he was on the Mitchell Report.”

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What player helped and hurt his projected fantasy numbers by changing teams this off-season?
 
Without a doubt, Nick Swisher likely helped his fantasy number the most.  Already a tremendous homerun hitter and on-base guy, Swisher leaves spacious Oakland, to hit in the launching pad that is U.S. Cellular Field.  He could be in for a huge year and qualifies in center field for leagues that have strict position requirements.  He was drafted in the first round in my league where on-base plus slugging percentage is the primary offensive scoring category.
 
The biggest name player who likely hurt his fantasy projections the most is Scott Linebrink. An excellent set-up man for most of his career, he leaves spacious Petco Park for the Cell.  His ERA jumped over one run after his trade to Milwaukee and his new home is not very forgiving to fly ball pitchers.
 

Helped – Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera

Both Torii and Miguel took their game to line ups that will allow their offense to flourish well beyond their prior performances when they were relied upon to carry the load. With better support in the line-up both are going to see even better pitches to hit. Career years should be expected and their draft stock is higher for both players. In Torii’s case he also has the added benefit of having a bit more depth around him in the outfield. He is on a team where they can afford to sit him down on occasion, which should ease fantasy owner’s worries about his injury history, not to mention he isn’t playing on the much less forgiving Metrodome surface for 80 games. With Miguel Cabrera not having the option to buy and swallow a Cuban sandwich on every street corner in Detroit, his weight should level off and keep him in good shape for the season.
 
Hurt – Johan Santana, Dontrelle Willis

Before you start freaking out at your monitor- listen up! Johan is still going to have a good season, but it isn’t going to be as awesome as everyone expects. Johan was consistently backed by a solid defense at all positions around him. The Mets have a solid infield but the defensive play in the outfield isn’t at such a high level as the Twins were. Plus, Shea Stadium is a bit more spacious than the Metrodome meaning outs as a Twin might be hits as a Met. Also, the Mets don’t necessarily have the bullpen consistency to bail Santana out if he does run into trouble. Dontrelle on the other hand seems destined to fail for the Tigers. He is going to face better hitters in the American League, he is going to be forced to pitch deeper into games and his durability is a huge question mark. There is no question he is enthusiastic, but his work ethic could become an issue on a team where he isn’t coddled. Don’t draft D-Train unless you want to be looking for a pitcher on the waiver wire in a month or two.

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Everyone talked about Barack Obama’s bracket which was published everywhere. Just slightly down the scale in importance, we have Soxman’s fantasy team roster

My dynasty league is EXTREMELY deep, 16 teams 30 players on a roster. I’ve made it to the play-offs every year of its existence and won it all twice. My team was aging, so I went young this year in the hopes of staying “in the play-off hunt” but drafting young talent. I’ll likely make a post-draft adjustment or two, but here is my team.  You likely have not even heard of half these guys…
 
Hitters
 
1B
Paul Konerko
Joey Votto
 
2B
Marcus Giles
Tadahito Iguchi
Matt Antonelli
 
SS
Michael Young
Brandon Wood
 
3B
Ryan Braun
Scott Rolen
 
Catcher
JR Towles
AJ Pierzynski
 
Center Field
Jacoby Ellisburry
Melky Cabrerra
 
OF
JD Drew
Carlos Quentin
Dewlyn Young
Travis Snider
 
SP
Justin Verlander
Carlos Zambrano
Mark Buehrle
Joe Blanton
Gil Meche
Manny Parra
Gio Gonzales
 
RP
Joe Nathan
Bobby Jenks
Mariono Rivera
Eric Gagne
Joe Borowski

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Comments

  1. Leave it to the genius that is Paul M. Banks to find a way to assoicate me with Barack Obama on somewhat of a linear layer of eminence and prominence. Could Soxman’s fantasy season mirror the presidential march of Mr. Obama? In the spirit of the youth movement on my roster we both would mirror the theme of change. Perhpas we’ve found Obama’s VP running mate? Tune in next week! Same sports web site, same great writers….

  2. One other note for the readers. My team’s primary scoring category is based on Billy Beane’s Money Ball theory. This judges a hitters overall impact by looking at on-base plus slugging. So don’t overly freak out about my roster. I’ll be fine. :)

  3. Go Sox! Yey!

  4. paulmbanks says

    Thanks man. I try.
    I might volunteer for Senator Change this summer.
    Will Soxman win his fantasy league? “Yes we can”

  5. The Statue of Harold Baines says

    Obama rules! Go Sox!

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