Thursday, March 25, 2010

Murphy has knee injury

Daniel Murphy left yesterday’s spring training game against the St. Louis Cardinals after a rundown between 3rd base and home plate ended with him suffering what was thought to be a knee sprain.

Bergan Record reporter Steve Popper reported that Murphy had an MRI today and that he “had his leg immobilized in a brace that locked it straight from almost ankle to hip.” He was diagnosed with a sprained right knee.

Murphy was seen leaving the clubhouse in street clothes and was walking with a serve limp.

The question becomes.. will the Mets call Ike Davis back orjust slide Mike Jacobs into the 1st baseman’s role?

I think if Murphy is only going to miss a week or two, it’ll be Jacobs at the postion… anything more and the Ike Davis fan club will get their wish sooner than expected.

I’m not too keen on Jacobs being the everyday 1st Baseman. If we’re talking lobger than 15 days, then the hell with it… I like Ike.

The Hughes Rules?

The Yankees have made it official, naming RHP Phil Hughes the 5th starter for the defending World Champs.

I don’t think it’s a bad move at all… if I were the Yankees I would basically be looking to keep Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen as the set up man and the eventual successor to Mariano Rivera as the team’s closer.

I have to admit I though that keeping BOTH in the bullpen would be a great idea, as anyone with a pulse should be able to be halfway decent for the Yanks and in the playoffs the 5th starter is redundant. Having both Hughes AND Joba in the bullpen could harken back to the 1998 days of Stanton, Nelson and Rivera when the Yankees bullpen was a tremendous strength.

In any case, I do think that Hughes is more likely to succeed as a starter. I don’t think Joba has the make up of a high end starter. He’s more of a “let it all hang out right now” type pitcher who seems to thrive more in short appearances. I do think he could be a very solid closer once Rivera finally hangs up his cleats. Not as good as Rivera… but then again no one the Yanks get will be.

The main concern for Hughes will be how many innings the Yanks will allow him to pitch. He only pitched 86 innings in 2009 (after throwing only 34 innings in 2008), so there is no way you ‘ll see 200 innings out of him this year. I’m guessing you’ll see a set of strict rules from the Yanks on Hughes. I don’t see him throwing more than 155 innings and even then it’s a bit of a risk and a hell of a jump. You might see Hughes in the bullpen by August no matter how well he’s pitching as a starter.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Jeez, not again…

Well, according to, Dwight Gooden was arrested early Tuesday morning in New Jersey for Driving under the influence.

If true it will be the latest of a long string of drug/alcohol related problems for the former Cy Young Award winner.

Back in my “Top Mets Players of All Time” post a few weeks back, I mentioned how much of a “grudge” I held against Gooden and Darryl Strawberry for messing up their lives and careers the way they did with substance and alcohol abuse. This brings about the thought that do we REALLY want to get to know our heroes that well? When we see their true selves exposed, do most of them mange to live up the high (and often unfair) expectations we set for them? There’s always an arguement about whether or not Sports stars should be considered role models. The arguement not withstanding that so many young kids look up to these guys it’s unreal, and when this sort of thing happens it’s rough.

Gooden (and Strawberry) were young and talented beyond anything we could imagine. Both fell and fell hard. Both lost out on what everyone and his brother thought would be long Hall of Fame bound careers. It’s a true shame. It really is.

The Mets had invited Gooden to spring training this year to be an instructor, but he declined the invite due to his wife being pregnant. He was also (along with Straw) inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame recently.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Who’s on First?

So with a few weeks of spring training yet, it seems that Mets’ manager Jerry Manuel is still stating that the first base position is an open competition. In that mix are encumbent Daniel Murphy, veteran Mike Jacobs and rookie Ike Davis.

As of yesterday, Murphy was hitting .148, 1 HR, 1 RBI and 6 Ks in 30 at-bats. Jacobs is hitting .200 with no home runs and 2 ks in 20 at-bats. Davis is hitting a whopping .500 with 2 HRs, 9 RBI and 7 Ks in 22 at-bats.

From listening to sports talk radio in New York the general consensus seems to be that people want Ike Davis’ run at first to start now.

I think that would likely be a mistake.

Listen, I’m as excited about Davis as anyone. I see him as a John Olerud type of player. Some decent power with excellent contact and on base percentage skills, strong defense and good baseball smarts.

However, I’d like to give him another year starting at AAA before thrusting him into the spotlight at Citifield.

First off, you cannot use the limited at bats all three players have compiled as a true basis for what they are going to do this season. Twenty to thirty at-bats is nothing.

Second, you have to understand something here. All three players are doing totally different things right now. Their approach isn’t on the same plane. Murphy is experimenting and looking to make some adjustments. 1st base is his job to lose. Jacobs is just trying to do what he can to make the team. He’s not even assured of a role at all. Davis is just looking to prove that he belongs. He’s looking to make people open their eyes to him and leave a lasting impression. He knows that odds are he’s heading to AAA but it looking to make that decision as hard to make as possible, and in that he has totally succeeded.

Frankly, I’d be shocked if Murphy wasn’t the starting 1st basemen when the team heads north. It seems that Jacobs, with his large power potential, has a leg up on the last bench spot. I’m not too sure I like that idea. I like Jacobs, but don’t feel he’d work out too well as a bat off the bench. I actually would prefer Frank Catalanotto or Chris Carter. I love the way Carter looks and was happy the Mets got him from the Red Sox in the Wagner trade last year. I think he could be a solid player.

In any case… temper those thoughts of Davis. I think he WILL be the starting 1st baseman for the Mets in 2011, but let’s not rush him too much, ok?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Life is Just a Fantasy: The Draft – Rounds 17 through 24

And without further adu, the last installment of my draft analysis.

Once you start getting to the late rounds, people figure things are more of a crap shoot. It’s easy to almost dismiss the last few rounds and figure “I can always just do a drop/add from the waiver wire.” I look at the late rounds as a place to experiment a little and take some risks.


1. Gordon Beckham
2. Jeff Francoeur
3. Mark Buehrle
4. Elvis Andrus
5. Billy Butler
6. Barry Zito
7. Todd Helton
8. Scott Kazmir
9. Julio Borbón
10. Carlos Peña

With my main positions filled at this point, I’m looking for an everyday bat for the INF and UTL positions as welll as another outfield bat since I have some uncertainty there. Rounds 17-20 are pretty important rounds because most guys you get early are going to give you numbers… but it’s the smart drafting in the late rounds (as well as the risk takers who’s risks pan out) that help win fantasy championships. Francoeur looks very happy in New York and looks primed for a decent season, but the lack of walks and higher strikeouts keep me away. Carlos Pena is somehow still on the board and I’m so tempted… his HR and RBI numbers are fantastic and I start wondering if I should make Pena the new Adam Dunn. Upon second thought I really don’t like the idea of the .227 average and 163 strike outs shreding my draft stategy and figure Billy Butler’s more level numbers fit my team better. He had 18 less home runs than Pena but only 7 less RBI, hit 74 points higher in average (.301 to .227) and struck out 60 less times. I’ll give up the extra 18 to 20 HRs for that type on consistancy across the board. Pena goes in the round anyway and is a good pick for the 17th round, as is Mark Buehrle, who had a nice season last year.


1. Matt Capps
2. Paul Konerko
3. Nyjer Morgan
4. Edwin Jackson
5. Magglio Ordóñez
6. Chris Coghlan
7. John Danks
8. Frank Francisco
9. Cody Ross
10. Ben Sheets

Looking to grab a sleeper in this round, I grabbed 2009 Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan, who led the major leagues in average (.373) and hits (113) after the all-star break last year. While I do worry about a sophomore slump, I think he’s worth the risk in this round. He doesn’t seem to have a lot of power (only 9 HRs in 504 at bats) but his high average and low strike out total (only 77 in that same 504 at bats) fits right in with my strategy. As soon as I make the pick I realize I had forgotten about Ben Sheets. After the risk I took with Brandon Webb in the 16th round, it weas better for me to have waited on another high risk/high reward pitcher but I promise myself that I will grab Sheets if he’s there in the next round as I wanted him VERY badly. However he goes with the last pick of the round.


1. Vladimir Guerrero
2. Gavin Floyd
3. Tim Hudson
4. Juan Pierre
5. Billy Wagner
6. Álex Ríos
7. Brad Hawpe
8. Carlos González
9. Scott Feldman
10. David Price

With Sheets gone, I look to round out my bullpen and I’m pleased to see Billy Wagner still there. Wagner looked very good last year with the Mets and Red Sox and if he’s going to be healthy I see 30-35 saves in his future this year as the Braves, with a very good pitching staff, should contend. In fact, I would say I got a better value with Wagner in round 19 then the manager who drafted Valverde in the 12th round. It was curious to see Juan Pierre go in this round as he’s not assurred to be a starter for the White Sox.


1. Jay Bruce
2. Casey McGehee
3. Plácido Polanco
4. Leo Núñez
5. Felipe López
6. Brett Anderson
7. Neftali Feliz
8. James Loney
9. Kevin Correia
10. Corey Hart

This looks like a nicely done round by a lot of the managers. Some light risks and sleeper potential go in this round. I’m very happy to grab one of my sleeper hopefuls in Brett Anderson. Anderson has been a very highly touted prospect and had a decent 2009 for a not so great A’s team. He was very solid in the 2nd half and I think a 13-9, 175 K, 3.85 ERA, 1.22 WHIP season is not out of the question and he will be a nice lower end starter for me. Some very good picks go in this round like Polanco, who will be hitting in a great Phillies lineup; McGehee, who looks like he’s developing into a solid player and Hart, who I expect to bounce back from a lousy 2009.


1. J.J. Putz
2. Rickie Weeks
3. Orlando Hudson
4. Hiroki Kuroda
5. Carlos Quentin
6. A.J. Pierzynski
7. Carlos Ruiz
8. Ted Lilly
9. Joel Piñeiro
10. Derek Lowe

Another round where managers get some good value. Putz goes with the first pick of the round which makes little sense to me as he’s not a closer and we do not have holds in this league as a stat. I grab Quentin because of his potential and I hope he’ll be injury free and be able to return closer to his 2008 number where he was an MVP candidate. Joel Pinerio goes in this round showing that despite a solid 2009, no one has much faith he’ll repeat that success.


1. Juan Rivera
2. Troy Glaus
3. Geovany Soto
4. Joe Blanton
5. Scott Rolen
6. Ryan Doumit
7. Mike Lowell
8. Yunel Escobar
9. Ian Stewart
10. Yadier Molina

We’re in the home stretch and I set my sights on a back-up catcher in this round and since Geovany Soto is still available I want him thinking his horrible 2009 will be much improved upon. He goes before I can get him so I grab Ryan Doumit instead. Nice value as he really is a top ten catcher and he’s actually my back up. I’m in good shape for the position even with an injury. I like the Mike Lowell pick here because I think Lowell will be traded and get a starting role somewhere and put up decent numbers for a 22nd round pick. I also like the Escobar pick as he should have enough good numbers to have been worth a pick back in the 17th to 18th round.


1. Kevin Slowey
2. Nolan Reimold
3. Bronson Arroyo
4. Rod Barajas
5. Rajai Davis
6. Randy Wolf
7. Kazuo Matsui
8. Ricky Romero
9. Erik Bedard
10. Johnny Cueto

I’m pretty happy to get A’s young outfielder Rajai Davis here as he’s got excellent speed (41 SBS on only 390 at bats) and a good average (.305). He projects as a starter and had a solid 2nd half. He becomes my other speed demon with Bourn. Over a 575 at bat season he should be able to steal 55 bases or so. I like the Arroyo, Matsui and Bedard picks here. All are worth a flyer this late and could bring about some nice numbers for such a low end pick.


1. Adrián Béltre
2. J.A. Happ
3. Clint Barmes
4. Francisco Liriano
5. Brad Penny
6. Hideki Matsui
7. Orlando Cabrera
8. Jason Marquis
9. Randy Wells
10. Mark Teahen

Some VERY good picks in this round. I like the Beltre, Liriano, Penny and Marquis picks here. In fact, getting Marquis in this round is outstanding. He should have gone back by the 18th round. I grab Matsui for one main reason. His numbers last year were very good and he’s projected to play some outfield. In this league I only need 5 games started in the OF and he becomes eligable to list as an outfielder. His 28 HRs and 90 RBI with a decent average and decent strike out totals make him a nice last round pick.

So my team looks like this (We start a full infield, four outfielders, a infield spot and a utility spot for hitter, then 3 SP, 2 RP and 3 P open slots for pitchers at one given time):

Catcher: Brian McCann
1st Base: Miguel Cabrara
2nd Base: Chase Utley
Shortstop: Jason Bartlett
3rd Base: Aramis Ramirez
Infield: Billy Butler
Outfield: Torii Hunter
Outfield: Michael Bourn
Outfield: Johnny Damon
Outfield: Chris Coghan
Utility: Carlos Quentin
Bench: Carlos Beltran
Bench: Hideki Matsui
Bench: Rajai Davis
Bench: Ryan Doumit

Starting Pitcher: Dan Haren
Starting Pitcher: Chris Carpenter
Starting Pitcher: Jon Lester
Relief Pitcher: Carlos Marmol
Relief Pitcher: Chad Qualls
Pitcher: James Sheilds
Pitcher: Brett Anderson
Pitcher: Billy Wagner
Bench: Brandon Webb

Basically it comes to this… I have a solid and well balanced team. My two big risks in Beltran and Webb could either hold back my team as wasted picks or could thrust me towards the top if both do what i think they will both do, and that is be healthy and produce by mid-May throught the rest of the season. I do lament blowing it with some of the guys I really wanted (ie: Lackey) but overall I’m happy with the team. Keeping a close eye on the waiver wire and grabbing those “out of nowhere” players that always crop up every season will be key to stay as competitive as possible.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Life is Just a Fantasy: The Draft – Rounds 9 through 16

Continuing the analysis of my fantasy draft…


1. Bobby Abreu
2. Carlos Lee
3. Nick Markakis
4. Curtis Granderson
5. Torii Hunter
6. Wandy Rodríguez
7. Bengie Molina
8. Brian Fuentes
9. Huston Street
10. Andrew McCutchen

So here we were in round nine and I STILL didn’t have an outfielder. While I have a pretty strong and well balanced infield, starting to draft an outfield this late meant I had missed out on all of the studs and would be looking for consistancy more than anything else. And of course, six of the eight picks between my last pick (Shortstop Jason Bartlett) were outfielders. Abreu, Lee and Markasis were all on my radar, so with them all gone I went with the most consistant guy I saw left on the board in Hunter. Hunter’s numbers are usually very balanced and he even steals a little to help out in my absence of huge speed numbers. You’ll notice that two more closers went in the round bringing the total of closers drafted to ten and we haven’t even started round 10 yet. Unreal. My fear that I will be forced to break my own rule starts to manifest. Curious thing.. Bengie Molina went in this round with Matt Weiters and Jorge Posada still on the board. I know Molina’s 19 home runs looked tasty, but he doesn’t do much of anything else well. I was suprised to see him go before the younger and much more versital Weiters or the overall better hitter and in the much better lineup Posada. Not a move I would have made.


1. Nelson Cruz
2. Matt Wieters
3. Shane Victorino
4. Joakim Soria
5. A.J. Burnett
6. Carlos Mármol
7. Dan Uggla
8. Raúl Ibañez
9. Rick Porcello
10. Tommy Hanson

The 10th round starts and another closer is taken. This along with the selection of AJ Burnett (one of the two guys I was planning on taking in this round) throws me off and I make the first of two straight mistakes. I finally let the ridiculous run on closers (11 closers drafted in the top 94 players selected is plain ludicrous… just to give you an idea of why this is bugging me… guess how many closers made in to be ranked inside the ESPN top 100? Only six. The Yahoo top 100? Only five. Brian Fuentes, who was picked 88th overall has an average ranking of 170 overall in the ESPN/Yahoo player rankings. Yes, I know I’m bitching. Tough, it’s my blog, deal with it.) get to me and I break my own “No closers before the 12th round” rule and grab Marmol. As soon as I make the pick I instantly regret it. By the way, Tommy Hanson goes with the last pick of the round. An interesting pick. I had Hanson earmarked, but decided to grab him only around the 13th round or later. Waiting for young potential stud pitchers to develop into steady MLB proven guys has hurt me a lot in the past (re: Homer Bailey and Anthony Reyes for example) so while I did like him, I wasn’t going to go too early on him.


1. Andrew Bailey
2. Jake Peavy
3. Jorge Posada
4. Josh Hamilton
5. Michael Bourn
6. Miguel Tejada
7. Hunter Pence
8. Ryan Franklin
9. John Lackey
10. Jered Weaver

I’m still unhappy with myself as this round starts. Seeing yet ANOTHER closer go with the first pick of the 11th round (the first of two that will go here) makes me pretty much throw up my hands and give up on the position for now. Jake Peavy goes (a pretty good pick there in my opinion) and he was one of the four guys I had earmarked at this point so I’m thinking I’m good when suddenly I realize something… I’m in the 11th round and I have only two guys on the team who have stolen more than 20 bases and one of them (Utley) isn’t exactly a big time steal threat. I then make a move that not only went against my draft strategy, but made me screw up the chance to get the player I REALLY wanted in this round and decide to take some big risks later in the draft (as you will see). Seeing 2009 NL steals champ Michael Bourn still available and feeling like I need that one “speed stud” on my roster I grab him. Even two days later I’m wondering how good (or bad) of a move it was. Bourn learned how to get on base last year and actually hit a decent .285. His 140 strikeouts is 40 more than any one else on my roster but I hope his 61 steals can rise to about 70 this year. If nothing else it means I should be in good shape with SBs, as long as Bourn doesn’t regress back into the guy who can’t get on base. In any case, my REAL desire for that round (the round before actually) was John Lackey, who I think will have a great year with the Red Sox. So what happens? Lackey goes before the round is out. Now I’m REALLY pissed at myself.


1. Stephen Drew
2. José Valverde
3. Nate McLouth
4. Chad Billingsley
5. Michael Cuddyer
6. Carlos Beltrán
7. Clayton Kershaw
8. Alfonso Soriano
9. Lance Berkman
10. Asdrubal Cabrera

With Lackey gone, only one guy is left on my desire list for this round and it’s Chad Billingsley. Of course, he goes with the 4th pick in this round and I suddenly am at a loss. I quickly consider Denard Span to start to round out my unspectacular outfield and I also take a glance at Alfonzo Soriano who was basically a nightmare last season. I decide to don’t trust Soriano, and while Span is a nice little player there are a few other guys still available with the same basic numbers I can get a round or two later. I think about Carlos Zambrano, James Sheilds and Ricky Nolasco and while I like them all, I think I can get one of those three in the next round and then I decide to do something risky. Looking at my outfield I think about how much better I would be with one high round outfielder in it, and make the first of two huge risks of my draft. I grab Carlos Beltran. If healthy, Beltran would have been an early 2nd rounder. He is expected to miss about the first 4 weeks of the season so of course he comes with risk. Getting this sort of talent in the 12th round is a steal, but ONLY if Beltran is back by early May and plays like Beltran for most of the season. If he does, the move was brilliant… if not… well odds are I could have gotten him in the 15th round instead of the 12th and the risk would have been less. However to make sure I got him I needed to take the chance of getting him three or four rounds too early. This move brings about another one that I start to plan in my head for a little later in the draft which will be my second big risk. I’m not the only one with a little risk taking as Lance Berkman, who is also hurt at the moment, goes right after.


1. Denard Span
2. Marco Scutaro
3. Carlos Zambrano
4. Ricky Nolasco
5. James Shields
6. Jason Kubel
7. Adam Jones
8. Rafael Soriano
9. Roy Oswalt
10. Alexei Ramírez

I’m determined to get one more potental stud pitcher here and I decide I want Nolasco the most. So of course both him and Zambrano are gone before I make my pick. I’m not unhappy with James Shields, I just would have preferred to get someone in the NL. I make a quick list of my potential 14th round picks and decide if Adam Jones is still there I’m going his way. Of course, Jones goes two picks after I take Shields. I momentarly wonder if I should have taken Roy Oswalt over Shields but don’t worry about it too much.


1. Kurt Suzuki
2. Ryan Ludwick
3. Aroldis Chapman
4. Trevor Hoffman
5. Scott Baker
6. Johnny Damon
7. David Ortiz
8. Chipper Jones
9. Russell Martin
10. Miguel Montero

Looking to shore up my outfield I decide to grab Johnny Damon. While I don;t expect him to repeat this 2009 numbers I think he’ll do well enough to fit into my team philosphy of good on base, lower strike out contact hitters. Plus I think he’ll run a little more with the Tigers and expand his 12 SBs into a possible 17 to 20. I briefly consider Chipper Jones for a UTL or INF spot, but Jones’ health issues and the need to get consistancy into my outfield keeps me from doing it. Russell Martin, another injured player (who also had a lousy 2009) goes in this round and I realize that particular team manager also took Jose Reyes back in the 6th round so he’s taking a few risks. Two rounds from now I’ll join him.


1. Max Scherzer
2. David Aardsma
3. Mark DeRosa
4. Mike Napoli
5. Chad Qualls
6. Vernon Wells
7. Jhonny Peralta
8. Howie Kendrick
9. Jason Heyward
10. José López

Not too much in this round. Some curious choices by people here including one of my sleepers in Jason Heyward going. I wanted to grab him in the same way I wanted Tommy Hanson, but like Hanson I feel he went too early. I wouldn’t have touched Hayward before the 20th round. There’s not even a guarantee he starts the year in the majors. I grab another closer at this point since there and few left. I know the guy I want to take in the next round will be there. In fact I doubt anyone else had even though of him yet, but I was going to grab him before anyone else could start to think his way.


1. Brad Lidge
2. Rafael Furcal
3. Jair Jurrjens
4. Jorge De La Rosa
5. Ryan Dempster
6. Brandon Webb
7. Jorge Cantú
8. Bobby Jenks
9. Stephen Strasburg
10. Matt Garza

Brad Lidge goes with the first pick of this round and I instantly regret not grabbing him instead of Qualls in the previous round. I had totally forgotten about Lidge. If he’s healthy he’ll get a lot of save oppertunites. I briefly consider grabbing Jair Jurrjens instead of my risky pick but he goes before my chance anyway, so I take the plunge and grab Brandon Webb. If healthy, Webb immediately becomes my best pitcher and is on the same level as Santana and Sabathia. Webb is being stated as healthy but hasn’t done much of anything in spring training yet and will likely start the year on the DL but is supposed to miss only his first 2 or 3 starts. Webb would have been a late 2nd round or early 3rd rounder. Getting him in the 16th round was a major steal. Yes, as with Beltran, there is risk involved here also. However the oppertunity to get this much talent in this late of a round was too good to pass up. I think he would have been gone to some one by the 18th round at the latest so my one or two round earlier wasn’t too terrible a risk. If Webb amd Beltran are both healthy and performing to spec by may, then I’m going to be a great shape. If not, well… hey… sometimes you have to take some big risks to get some big rewards.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Life is Just a Fantasy: The Draft – Rounds 1 through 8

After a little bit of excellent corned beef and cabbage at my buddy Dave’s house, we settled in to have our league draft. My draft strategy was simple… I was looking for a balanced team… I wasn’t going to chase large home run and RBI totals by sacrificing batting average and strike outs. Higher average, lower strike outs, decent (if unspectacular) power numers and higher on base percentage guys were the type of hitters I wanted. I also was looking for a nice rotation with some higher end starters and some high potential sleepers. I wanted low ERAs and low WHIPS with good strike outs. I wasn’t worrying about win totals.

With ten teams in the league I wound up with the 5th spot in the draft, which I consider just about the absolute worst place to have (along with the 6th spot) in a ten team draft. My favorite place to draft is the last pick. I enjoy being able to pick twice in a row. In the middle of the pack you always have eight or ten full picks being down inbetween yours. In any other draft positions you get to pick twice with 6 picks or less. It makes it easier to narrow down particular positions that you are self debating about.

Being in the middle does have one thing going for it though… you don’ t have to go a full 16 or 18 picks waiting for things to come back to you.

Anyway, With the 5th pick I immediately knew that I was not getting Pujols, A-Rod or Hanley Ramirez; so I set my sights on Chase Utley. I knew the worst case scenaro was I would wind up with Ryan Braun (which I wouldn’t mind at all) but I coveted Utley, a five tool player at a middle infield postion.

I’ll list each round with the order each player was drafted, and with my player in bold. After each round I’ll give you a little commentary and my thought process for why I made each pick.


1. Albert Pujols
2. Álex Rodríguez
3. Hanley Ramírez
4. Ryan Braun
5. Chase Utley
6. Troy Tulowitzki
7. Mark Teixeira
8. Joe Mauer
9. Roy Halladay
10. Evan Longoria

So I got my desired pick when Braun went 4th. Nothing insane in the first five picks but I was very surprised to see Troy Tulowitzki go in the first round. Not a terrible pick, but I would consider him a late 2nd round at the best, and more likely a mid 3rd rounder myself. Taking Roy Halladay with the 9th overall pick was gutsy. I do think he’s one of the two best pitchers to have, but again… in the first round is a little surprising, but not a bad move. Unless an injury occurs, Halladay is going to dominate the NL.


1. CC Sabathia
2. Prince Fielder
3. Ryan Howard
4. Matt Kemp
5. Tim Lincecum
6. Miguel Cabrera
7. Zack Greinke
8. David Wright
9. Johan Santana
10. Félix Hernández

In the 2nd round and I already have my first dilemma. If Lincecum had been on the board still I would have taken him (I also would have grabbed Halladay and perhaps Sabathia had they been there). With all of them gone I have to choose between Miguel Cabrera, Johan Santana, David Wright and Felix Hernandez. I waffle quickly. I want Wright or Santana but as a Mets fan I worry about drafting with my heart and not my head. As much as I believe Wright’s power will return this year, his 140 strike outs go against my draft strategy. I see names like Haren, Lee, Lester and Carpenter still on the board and decide I’m pretty guaranteed to have an ace stud in the 3rd round, so I go for the best remaining overall player in Cabrera, who really is a first rounder, so I feel good about the pick. As expected Santana, Wright and Hernandez all go right after I pass them up. It was a bit of a surpise to see Matt Kemp (who as ranked by almost everyone as a 1st round pick and like a 7 or 8 overall) fall almost to the middle of the 2nd round, but I happen to think that was the perfect place to get him. I didn’t project him to be a 1st rounder myself.


1. Ichiro Suzuki
2. Adrián González
3. Ian Kinsler
4. Matt Holliday
5. Dan Haren
6. Kevin Youkilis
7. Mark Reynolds
8. Carl Crawford
9. Jacoby Ellsbury
10. Justin Upton

Like I thought, there was ace level pitching available here. It was down to Haren, Cliff Lee and Justin Verlander. I went with Haren mainly due to the National League and his superior WHIP and ERA numbers, but I couldn’t really have gone wrong with any of them. Mark Reynolds was a bit of a surprise here, but his power and RBI numbers must have been too good to pass up with the top seven 1st basemen and top three 3rd basemen off the board already. I wouldn’t have touched him mainly because his average and strike out numbers go way against my draft strategy. Crawford was drafted here in his proper place. He’s another who I think is a tad over rated as a 1st or 2nd rounder. I actually also think Ichiro went a little early as his numbers have decreased enough the last two years to make him more of a 4th rounder in my opinion.


1. Justin Verlander
2. Aaron Hill
3. Derek Jeter
4. Cliff Lee
5. Víctor Martínez
6. Chris Carpenter
7. Joe Nathan
8. Grady Sizemore
9. Mariano Rivera
10. Pablo Sandoval

It’s in this round that I see the first of a number of mistakes. Things start off right with Verlander (who I would have taken next had he been there) and Lee (ditto). I decide to stick to my draft strategy and get a 2nd starting pitcher by the 4th round and grab Carpenter over Adam Wainright and Josh Johnson mainly because of Carpenter’s overall body of success. Then two bizarre moves are made. The first is Joe Nathan. The person who drafted him had no idea Nathan is likely out for the season. Bad move. Then two picks later Rivera is picked. Picking Closers on the 4th round is just plain terrible. I knew in my gut people would immediately panic and there would be a run on closers in the next two rounds.


1. Ben Zobrist
2. Dustin Pedroia
3. Adam Wainwright
4. Jonathan Papelbon
5. Brian McCann
6. Jonathan Broxton
7. Brandon Phillips
8. Robinson Canó
9. Ryan Zimmerman
10. Jayson Werth

I was right to a point. Papelbon goes right before me and I hesitate and consider Ryan Zimmerman, Jason Bay and Jayson Werth. I decide to go with the idea of a fully balanced overall team and grab the last of the All-Star caliber catchers available with McCann. After him the overall quaility at the position drops decently, so McCann it is. The next pick is REALLY bizarre as Jonathon Broxton goes at least six rounds before I would have even considered him. Zimmerman and Werth both go quickly and I start looking at Bay, Jon Lester, Jimmy Rollins or Josh Johnson as my next pick if any of them are there.


1. Derrek Lee
2. Javier Vázquez
3. Josh Johnson
4. Jimmy Rollins
5. Brian Roberts
6. Jon Lester
7. Joey Votto
8. Justin Morneau
9. José Reyes
10. Jason Bay

Another really bizarre pick comes when Derek Lee is drafted before Joey Votto and Justin Mourneau. Same with Brian Roberts who is an excellent player but whose back problems might haunt him all year and greatly affect his play. Johnson goes and takes him off the board for me and Rollins goes two picks before mine and in a way I’m glad. I think I would have taken Rollins if he had been there and having both middle infieldes of the Phillies was a dilemma, plus I happen to think Rollins is over-rated and don’t trust that his average will rebound. Lester is on the verge of Acedom, so I decided to grab him over Bay because having three total pitching studs at the top of my rotation fits right in with my strategy. I actually consider Votto and Mourneau even though I already have a 1st baseman in Cabrera only because both are great hitters and I can play them in the IF position. I also yern for Reyes who would have gone in the 1st or 2nd round of not for his weird Thyroid situatiuon. I feel it’s too much a gamble and I stick to my guns and grab the pitcher instead.


1. Yovani Gallardo
2. Shin-Soo Choo
3. Josh Beckett
4. Kendry Morales
5. Aramis Ramírez
6. Michael Young
7. Adam Dunn
8. Brian Wilson
9. Adam Lind
10. Cole Hamels

Ok, it’s the seventh round and I still don’t have an outfielder, but the studs are all long gone. As the round starts I hope to get Kendry Morales but he and Choo go quickly. I briefly consider usual favorite of mine Adam Dunn, but it’s too early. If he’s there in the 9th or 10th round I’ll grab him, but 7th is too early with those strike out and average numbers. I then consider Ethier and Markakis but gamble they’ll be around for another round and grab what I think is the last of the top 3rd basement left in Ramirez. As soon as I do it I think it’s a mistake. With Chone Figgins still on the board I would have filled a fairly glaring need for speed. The only guy I’ve drafted so far with any SB numbers is Utley in the lower 20s. Ramirez is a very good pick but I do start to regret it somewhat. I comfort myself with Ramirez’s much lower strikeout numbers and overall very consistant stats. I also decide to grab either Ethier or Figgins in the next round. Dunn goes in this round and while I am sorry to see him go, I wouldn’t have touched him for another 3 rounds so it’s not that big a deal. Brian Wilson goes in this round which I think is just plain ridiculous.


1. Francisco Rodríguez
2. Andre Ethier
3. Chone Figgins
4. Ubaldo Jiménez
5. Heath Bell
6. Jason Bartlett
7. B.J. Upton
8. Matt Cain
9. Manny Ramírez
10. Francisco Cordero

This turns out to be a very weird round. It starts with yet another closer going in K-Rod then the next two are what I hoped would be my next pick in Ethier and Figgins. With a strong need for speed I briefly consider B.J. Upton, but his horrible average and strike out numbers scare me off. I decide I need speed which leaves Markakis out and Granderson’s average and strikeout totals scare me so I go with the overall solid numbers of Bartlett at short. The 30 steals with an average over .300 and lower strike out totals lead me to take the chance. It’s a bit of a risk because Bartlett needs to do it more than more and he is not sure thing to repeat is 2009 success, but I don’t think the risk is a huge one. Before my pick Heath Bell goes and afterwards so does Francisco Cordero. That makes eight closers gone by the end of the 7th round. I think everyone is crazy.

To be continued: Rounds nine through sixteen to come in the morning.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Life is Just a Fantasy: Draft Anxiety

As I stated last month, I’m going to be documenting (pretty much step by step) an entire draft for one of my fantasy baseball teams. The team I’ll be cronicaling will be The New York Geckos in one of the Yahoo Baseball leagues I’m in (the one I’m Commissioner of actually).

Tonight is the draft for this league. We have ten teams and everyone involved is fairly well versed in baseball knowledge. I’m not quite as well prepared for this draft as I have been in past years. Usually by draft day I have read about six or seven draft strategy guides, done a few mock drafts and complied a draft bible. My preperations have served me well in the past… I have finished within the top three of the majority of leagues I have participated in over the last ten years, including at least seven championships. I usually play in anywhere from two to four leagues every year (and did as many as six one year and will NEVER do that again). This year I have settled on three.

So not being quite as prepared has me a little nervous. Things have been a little too busy to have gone through my normal routine and I’m way behind schedule. I will be going into tonight partly blind… armed with only a basic prep, s few sleepers and the injury history of some key players who I will look to steal on the cheap and gamble they will recover early enough to be worth the risk.

My regular draft strategy is simple. I go after a five tool player first. A Hanley Ramierez or a David Wright type that will give me average, some power, some speed and good on base percentage. I go after the weaker positions early, but not TOO early as to over-rate the value of a mid rounder just because he’s in a weak position. For example, if I don’t get one of the top catchers early… I’ll wait until the later rounds since the position is fairly even after the top three or four guys are off the board.

I tend to value starting pitching very high and will often have two starting pitchers drafted by the 4th round and usually three pitchers by the 7th. On the other hand I do not draft closers early and I have a very strict rule about drafting closers. I refuse to draft one before the 12th round and usually wait until the 14th or so before picking my first. Too many closers get hurt or lose their job every year to waste higher end picks on them . In fact, After Mariano Rivera and Jonathan Paplebon, I won’t touch a closer in the draft before the 15th round most likely. Even if there is a huge run on closers (in this leagues draft last year six closers were gone by the 7th round) I stick to my guns. I will not overpay for saves.

So going into tonight brings a few nervous ticks to the surface. One of my friends, Chris, posted on the league boards that he was getting a little “Draft Anxiety” (a term which I think is brilliant). You have to beware of this feeling since it will often cause you to panic when you see an early run on short stops and you wind up drafting a Jason Bartlett in the 5th round because you are concerned about getting a good SS, While you will get a good player, he would NOT be worth a 5th rounder and you will wind up overpaying for him. Better to wait another few rounds and wind up with a Yunel Escobar who would be a decent value in the 10th or 11th round.

In any case, the best thingto do is come up with your draft strategy and stick to it. Don’t let the bizarre drafting styles of your fellow managers change your plans. You need to look to draft a balanced team with a slant towards a particular stat. For me, I look to do well in the pitching catagories and I tend to draft low ERA, good WHIP high STRIKEOUT pitchers. I tend to try and lean towards hitters with good batting averages and lower strikeout totals which will help their on base percentage and runs scored totals.

One thing I can almost predict… odds are I will wind up with Adam Dunn. His HUGE strike out totals and (usually) low batting average goes against my normal draft plan, but people ALWAYS seem to let him drop to the lower rounds and If I get him in the 10th round, that is a STEAL. you know he’s good for 40 HRs and 100RBI. I’ll handle the lousy other areas to get those numbers to help those particular stat catagories. I wouldn’t draft him too high, but if he’s there in the 9th round? I’m grabbing him. I’ve had him on almost every team over the last five years and he rarely hurts me.

I’ll be back on tonight to let you know how the draft went. I’ll be keeping a live journal that I’ll post later as each round goes and my thoughts on how it’s going.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Yes he does… no he doesn’t…

After a number of tests in NYC Jose Reyes says that his condition is basically a “mild and perhaps temporary case of hyperthyroidism,” which may not even require any treatment at all and he could be creared to play baseball within the next 24 to 48 hours.

He was also quoted as saying he’s been all but cleared by the doctors checking him out in NYC. He told ESPN “The specialists who took care of me in New York have told me that I’m fine and that there’s nothing wrong with my thyroid… We just have to wait for the results of the additional test. The [doctors] found inflammation in my throat and no medicine to treat the thyroid or any other condition has been prescribed.”

All good news right?

So, of course, the Mets have totally different information.

Mets GM Omar Minaya was quoted as saying that Reyes DOES have “elevated thyroid levels,” and while Reyes supposedly told ESPN different, the team is still waiting on addtional test results, and THOSE results will pretty much dictate when Reyes returns to baseball action.

Minaya went on to say that we has spoken to Reyes Agent (Peter Greenberg), and team doctors but not to Reyes himself. He also said that “everyone is on the same page.”

Well, obviously not there Omar.

So, once again we seem to have a gap in communication between the Mets, medical staff and the player. What a shock.

What else does Mets management need to do to show there is a necessary change required? Wear t-shirts that say “I’m with stupid?”

This is getting out of hand guys. It seems this sort of this is just commenplace. It’s embarrasing. It really is.

Friday, March 5, 2010

All Time Top Players per position: Mets

So last weekend I got into an interesting conversation at a sports bar (where my band “Second Chance” was playing by the way – plug, plug) about the all time top players for the Mets. It branched out into a wide discussion and we also started encompassing the Yankees as well. Afterwards, I thought the whole thing might make for a fun post…. so… here I go (note: I’ll do the Yankees sometime soon).

What I’m going to do here is break it down by position and go for the top five players (in the order I feel they should be in) per position, except for starting pitcher and outfield, who will get the top ten players listed.

Please feel free to argue, agree, complain, scream, praise or burn me in effigy.

First Base
1. Keith Hernandez
2. John Olerud
3. Ed Kranepool
4. Carlos Delgado
5. Dave Magadan

Ok, yes I’m a little biased here since Keith Hernandez is my favorite all time player. However, I can’t imagine ANYONE arguing that it was Hernandez that was the driving force behind transforming the 1984 Mets from a decent young team into true contenders. He was the on-field general, leader and heart of the Mets in the 80s. His defense was beyond extraordinary. His clutch hitting was paramount. He was ultra important. John Olerud was the only player that came close to Hernandez. He was quiet but superb defense, could hit with his eyes closed, and was as solid a player as they come. Kranepool was a team leader in more ways than one and was a solid player you could count on. Delgado was heavily relied on while a Met and his absence was felt whenever he wasn’t in the lineup. Magadan was an excellent hitter who may have lacked power, but had an incredible average and on base percentage. Todd Zeile came VERY close to making the cut mainly because he was just such an awesome player who had never played 1st base before joing the team and playing excellent 1st base and having a solid two years there.

Second Base
1. Edgardo Alfonzo
2. Wally Backman
3. Jeff Kent
4. Felix Millan
5. Gregg Jeffries

Second base has NOT been a good position for the Mets overall. Alfonzo and Backman easily outdistance anyone else for thre top two honors. When Alfonzo moved over the 2nd base to make room for Robin Ventura, he was in his total prime and was one of the best pure hitters on the team. In fact in 1999 and 2000 Alfonzo was one of the best hitters in the National League. Backman was a sparkplug and a gritty player who gave 110% everyday. From there, the list gets grim. Kent wasn’t the Jeff Kent that would be a superstar quite yet and his trade to the Indians for Carlos Baerga was one the Mets would regret for years. Millian was an averge 2nd baseman who was decently solid, but unspectacular and Jeffries made the list mainly because no one else had any real consistancy.

1. Jose Reyes
2. Buddy Harrelson
3. Kevin Elster
4. Howard Johnson
5. Rey Ordonez

The Mets have had a lot of decent shortstops with short term success, but few big time ones. Reyes is easily the best to ever play the position and is only lacking in major power. Everything else he does amazingly well and is a true superstar. Harrelson was solid and a bull dog and a team leader who is fondly remembered for starting a brawl with Pete Rose during game three of the 1973 National League Championship Series. Elster’s play was always solid and above average but he never quite lived up the hype. Johnson didn;t play shortstop majorly, only logging 263 games at the position (he played more at 3rd) but he was fantastic from an offenseive standpoint when he was there (but no so much defensively). Ordonez was another one with HUGE hype who never lived up to it but pretty much was the best defensive shortstop in the MLB for years. He bat was below average for the most part, but his glove was unreal.

Third Base
1. David Wright
2. Howard Johnson
3. Robin Ventura
4. Edgardo Alfonzo
5. Hubie Brooks

Wright, despite his lack of home runs last year, is pretty much the best the Mets have ever had at the position which has seen more changes in the last 25/30 years then Jimmy Carter had pills (and how is THAT for a dated reference?). Johnson, as I stated before, was more of a third baseman but makes the list twice because of how big he was as both a home run hitter and a SB threat. Robin Ventura’s stint only lasted three years but it was oone filled with amazing defense, leadership, levity, and some really nice hitting (Grand Slam Single anyone?). Alfonzo was fun to watch and a nice producer at 3rd base, as he was at 2nd and Hubie Brooks made it mainly due to his solid, if unspectaular play and longevity.

1. Mike Piazza
2. Gary Carter
3. John Sterns
4. Todd Hundly
5. Jerry Grote

The Mets have been lucky to have not one, but TWO Hall of Fame caliber catchers in their history. Piazza’s defense/footwork may have always been suspect, but the guy could call a great game and blocked the plate quite well. Oh yeah, he was also the best hitting catcher in baseball history. Carter was a great all around player and clutch hitter, even if he kind of got on other players nerves. Sterns was a true team leader and gritty behind the plate player who gave his all. Hundly was never the same after his surgery and the trade that brought Piazza to NY, but for a few years he was tops in the NL. Grote was a solid player who got a lot of respect around the league and pitchers liked the way he called a game. LoDuca almost made the list mainly because the guy was a solid hitter and a bulldog, despite the way he left the Mets and the steroid revelations that followed.

1. Carlos Beltran
2. Darrell Strawberry
3. Kevin McReynolds
4. Tommy Agee
5. Lenny Dykstra
6. Lee Mazzilli
7. Cleon Jones
8. Mookie Wilson
9. Cliff Floyd
10. George Foster

Ok, this was hard. Beltran barely edged out Strawberry for one reason and one reason only. I’m STILL miffed at Strawberry for messing up his hall of fame career with drugs. Straw should have been a lifetime Met and 1st ballet hall of famer. Both Beltran and Straw are glowing examples of superstars (although Beltran IS a beter defense player, Strawberry wasn’t bad himself and had a hell of an arm) with the bat and glove. McReynolds’ two stints with the Mets were full of some really excellent moments and he was actually a hell of a player who never seemed to emit a single emotion which is why I think he’s not remembered for being as good as he was. Agee’s stats don’t show how important he was to the Mets.Dykstra was an exciting player who, along with Backman and Mookie Wilson) was a greast tablesetter with fire and pop. Mazzilli was the closet thing the Mets had to a superstar for a while. Jones was another player who’s stats might seem a little light but who was a leader andexcellent player who’s contribution was invaluable. Floyd and Fosters best years might have preceeded their Mets stints, but both had solid numbers and some big moments. Floyd was also a great clubhouse presence.

Starting Pitcher
1. Tom Seaver
2. Dwight Gooden
3. Johan Santana
4. David Cone
5. Jerry Koosman
6. Ron Darling
7. Al Leiter
8. Jon Matlack
9. Rick Reed
10. Sid Fernandez

The starting pitchers weren’t too hard. I feel kind of like Santana is a little too high on the list here since he’s only been a Met for two years, but the guy is so good it’s hard to drop him down. Seaver is not only the best Mets pitcher ever, but is in the conversation for inclusion of the top five pitchers in MLB history. Gooden was so great in his prime that a hall of fame career never seemed in doubt. He’s another one who I still have anger towards for ruining himself with drugs and alcohol. He would have won 300 easily I feel. Cone was a great pitcher who had a great fastball when he was young and learned to be a crafty pitcher when that fastball lost some zip as he got older. Koosman and Darling both take back seats to the guys they played with (in Seaver and Gooden) but both were awesome pitchers who brough their A game all of the time and were smart and talented. Leiter doesn’t get enough credit for being a great staff leader for a long time. It bugs me he’s more involved with the Yankees in the last number of years than the Mets. Matlack was a great pitcher who has some rough luck and his arm injury might have kept him from being a superstar, but he was a solid lefty pitcher who you could rely on and who’s lifetime ERA of 3.18 was damn good. Reed is another one who is easily forgotten but who was quietly excellent for the Mets for years. Fernandez had so much talent that many thought he was as good as Gooden and better than Darling on that great staff of the 80s, but despite never quite living up to his potential, El Sid was still an arm that opposing hitters just didn’t want to face.

Relief Pitcher
1. Jesse Orosco
2. John Franco
3. Tug McGraw
4. Amando Benitez
5. Roger McDowell/Billy Wagner

Orosco gets top honors here for being able to slam the door shut for the Mets great 1986 NL Championship and World Series victories. Franco was good for a long time and him owning the all time Left Handed save record deserves him being #2. McGraw was an excllent pitcher who is remember for his line “Ya Gotta Believe!” more than he’s remembered for being a very reliable guy in tight situations. Benitez might have actually deserved to be #2 on this list. He actually had more saves in ALL of baseball over the five years he spent as Mets closer than anyone else, but the guy just couldn’t seem to REALLY get it done in the big spot. McDowell and Wagner had solid runs with the Mets and were both pretty fun to watch. I also wanted to mention Turk Wendell who wasn’t a closer but was a great set up guy and was such a fun guy to watch that I wish he had spent more time with the Mets.

There you go. It wasn’t an easy list to compile, and I’m already starting to doubt some of my choices… but take a look and let’s start the debate!