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2011 Fantasy Baseball Forecast: Who To Target On The Milwaukee Brewers

As Brewers fans slowly thaw this spring from a cold and unforgiving winter, they will be pleasantly surprised to see a Milwaukee team that addressed a much needed weak spot this offseason: Starting pitching. 

With the additions of Zack Greinke and Sean Marcum to a rotation already consisting Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf, the Brewers may now have enough pitching to compete with division rivals St. Louis and Cincinnati. 

The question facing the Brewers is can the revamped starting rotation help the team win the division in 2011, possibly the final season with soon to be free agent Prince Fielder.

In addition, will Zack Greinke prosper in his first season with the team and his first season in the National League? 


Key Acquisitions: 

SP Zack Greinke (Free Agent)

SP Sean Marcum (Trade w/ Blue Jays)

RP Takashi Saito (Free Agent)

SS Yuniesky Betancourt (Free Agent)


Key Losses:  

RP Trevor Hoffman (Retirement)

SP Chris Capuano (Free Agent)


Who to Target 

Not surprisingly, the Brewers’ top two offensive weapons are also the top two fantasy options for the team.

Ryan Braun is a top five outfielder that is a triple threat for fantasy owners, as he is a powerful hitter with a hard to find combination of speed and high average. Braun will most likely be drafted in the first two rounds of a 12 team snake draft and will be a nice bookend outfielder and solid foundation for any fantasy team. 

The second blue chip fantasy player for the Brewers is Prince Fielder, the team’s imposing first baseman. Although Fielder is coming off a down year, in which he had career lows both slugging percentage (.471) and batting average (.261), he is in a contract year and will likely put up monster numbers as he auditions for potential suitors. 

Yovani Gallardo and newly acquired Zack Greinke are the top pitchers to target, with Gallardo being the safer of the two options.

Greinke is a talented pitcher with filthy pitches; however, he struggled in his last season with Kansas City and it is unclear how well he will respond to the move to the senior circuit.



It was difficult to pick a sleeper for the Brewers, as the team does not have one player that sticks out above the rest as a potential break-out candidate for 2011. 

By default, I chose Carlos Gomez, the once highly touted center fielder who has stellar speed and can flash the glove, but lacks discipline and production at the plate.  

As a career .246 hitter, Gomez has been a disappointment for those who thought he would mature into a possible 20/20 threat. 

It appears he is going to be given one last chance this season as the team’s center fielder and may finally become fantasy worthy in 2011.


This article was originally published on, the home of free fantasy news, rankings and advice.

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Fantasy Baseball 2011: 5 Young NL Outfielders To Target on Draft Day

As January comes to an end and pitchers and catchers embark on warmer weather down south, fantasy baseball draft boards and dreams of greatness will slowly come out of hibernation. 

For those eager managers looking to get a leg up on the competition, here is a list of five young national league outfielders to target this spring. 


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2011 Fantasy Baseball Team Forecast: San Diego Padres

The San Diego Padres were the biggest surprise of the 2010 season, as they led the NL West for most of the year only to fall just short of the playoffs. Solid pitching, consistent defense, and timely hitting were the recipe for success for a team with only one true superstar in Adrian Gonzalez.   

As spring training quickly approaches, the team has numerous unanswered questions, including how well will the offense will perform without Adrian Gonzalez. Will the acquisitions of Brad Hawpe, Jason Bartlett, and Cameron Maybin fill the void that Gonzalez left when the team traded him to the Red Sox this off season?

In addition, will the young pitching staff continue to provide the league’s best ERA, despite receiving some of the worst run support in the National League?  


Key Acquisitions:

Jason Bartlett (SS)

Brad Hawpe (1B,OF)

Cameron Maybin (OF)

Orlando Hudson (2B, SS)


Key Losses: 

Adrian Gonzalez – Traded to Boston

Miguel Tejada – Signed with San Francisco  


Players to Target 

The two players who have the most fantasy value in 2011 are closer Heath Bell and starting pitcher Mat Latos. Bell had a career best 47 saves in 2010, posting an impressive 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings with an ERA of 1.93.

Latos emerged as the team’s ace in 2010, posting a 14-10 record with a 2.93 ERA in only his second major league season. I look for Latos to have similar stats in 2011, as he will likely have close to 200 K’s with double digit wins.

I am a little concerned that Bell will not have as  many save opportunities due to the overall struggles the team will likely endure. Bell will still be a top 10 closer, however I would be surprised if he has a third straight season of 40 plus saves.



Cameron Maybin was drafted tenth overall in the 2005 amateur draft by the Detroit Tigers, and was ranked by Baseball America as the third best hitting prospect in that draft. That promise has yet to come to fruition in the majors, and Maybin was traded to the Marlins as part of the Miguel Cabrera deal. The Marlins in turn traded Maybin to the Padres for a couple of pitchers after the 2010 season.  

The primary reason why Maybin is my sleeper choice for the Padres is his ability to steal bases and score runs.  Although he has yet to display his speed in the majors, Bud Black and the Padres are a running team that will utilize Maybin’s speed.  Look for him to steal 25 bases this year while scoring close to 100 runs, making him a decent sleeper in NL-only leagues.

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Fantasy Baseball 2011 Hot Stove Report: Adam Dunn

The 2011 Hot Stove Season has included numerous high profile free agent signings, including blockbuster deals signed by Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford, and the multi-player trade that brought Adrian Gonzales to the Red Sox. Of the many deals this off-season, the free agent signing of Adam Dunn by the White Sox may bring the most value to fantasy owners. 

Adam Dunn has always been known for two things: mammoth home runs and a penchant for striking out. What is not commonly known is that Dunn has an excellent eye at the plate and is always near the top of the leader board for walks and pitches per at bat each season. Although he has an impressive .380 on base percentage, his .250 batting average is well below other similar power hitting first basemen. 

Known as Big Donkey, Dunn has compiled eight straight seasons with at least 38 home runs, and holds the fifth-lowest career at bat per home-run average in major league baseball history, behind only Mark McGwire, Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds and Jim Thome. 

Fantasy owners that draft a slugger like Dunn must understand that with the great home run power comes a crippling batting average that must be balanced out with other high average players. In leagues that penalize for strikeouts, one must downgrade Dunn even further as he has averaged 183 K’s per season. 

In 2011, Dunn joins a potent White Sox roster that includes sluggers Paul Konerko, Alex Rios and Carlos Quentin, all of whom have the potential to hit 30 or more home runs this season. In addition to being surrounded by talent, he will also face American League pitchers for the first time, many of whom have yet to face the imposing slugger. These two reasons lead me to believe that Dunn is poised for a solid season, especially considering where he will fall in most drafts.

I recommend targeting Dunn in the late middle rounds of a standard 12 team snake draft, with the goal of having him as a backup OF/IB or a DH. As I mentioned above, it is critical to balance out your roster with high average players as Dunn’s .250 average will certainly bring your team down.   

This article was originally published on, the home of free fantasy news, rankings and advice.

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Fantasy Baseball 2011 Hot Stove Report: Victor Martinez

The Boston Red Sox have been one of the most active teams in the Hot Stove Season of 2010-11, with the signing of free agent Carl Crawford and the trade for Adrian Gonzalez. Crawford will give the team a new legitimate base stealing threat and a bookend left fielder who can cover a lot of ground, while Gonzalez provides a much needed lefty power bat and is a gold glove fielder at first. 

Lost in the hoopla of the big name acquisitions is the loss of Victor Martinez, the switch hitting veteran catcher who has a career .300 batting average.  Although he did not pan out as well as Theo Epstein hoped, Martinez is still one of the best hitting catchers in the league. 

In his eight year MLB career, Martinez has average 103 RBI’s per season with a respectable OPS of .838.  In addition, he may continue to have 1B eligibility which gives fantasy owners much needed flexibility when filling out a lineup. 

The Detroit Tigers signed Martinez to a four year, $50 mil contract, making him one of the highest paid catchers in baseball. Although he is leaving the hitter friendly confines of Fenway Park for spacious Comerica Park, he will be surrounded by a potent offense that includes veterans Miguel Caberra and Magglio Ordonez and youngsters Brennan Boesch and Austin Jackson. 

Martinez should also benefit from leaving the high-pressure media circus of the New York/Boston media, which can certainly cause players to press too much if they are not producing up to expectations. Martinez was brought into Boston with much fanfare and media scrutiny but never quite lived up to the lofty expectations. 

Fantasy owners should target Martinez as the third or fourth catcher overall, behind the top two picks: Joe Mauer and Brian McCann.  The catcher pool is also filled with young studs like Buster Posey and Carlos Santana, but the top three veterans provide more consistent production with a high batting average.  

For those managers looking at drafting Mauer as a top pick in 2011, it might be interesting to note that Victor Martinez has a higher career average of home runs and RBI while still hitting a respectable .300.  Mauer is a special talent and is certainly an early round draft pick, however you can get similar production from Martinez later in the draft.

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Fantasy Baseball 2011 Hot Stove Report: Jayson Werth

There are two things that drive the modern day baseball player: winning a championship and signing a lucrative free agent deal. Jayson Werth accomplished the first goal as a member of the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies World Series championship team, and now he has achieved the second goal with a huge free agent deal with the Washington Nationals.

Unfortunately for fantasy owners, Werth is not going to be worth as much now that he has left the friendly confines of Citizens Bank Park and the protection of the Phillies line-up. 

The question is just how far will Werth’s value fall now that he has changed teams. He will no longer have Chase Utley and Ryan Howard hitting in front of him, which will result in him getting walked more. Opposing pitchers will not give him as many pitches to hit now that he and Ryan Zimmerman are the only two legit threats in the line-up. Adam Dunn’s presence would have given Werth more value; instead the team will likely rely on a young and untested player to play first. 

When Werth signed the huge long term deal with the team, many baseball writers and agents were outspoken to the fact that Washington paid too much for the outfielder. While we think Werth is a talented player who has a proven track record, the record was earned under very special circumstances in Philly. 

It is likely that a novice manager will draft Werth simply based on 2010 stats, expecting another 30/30 season with 100 runs scored and an RBI total approaching 100. That manager will most likely be disappointed by the all-star break and will likely either trade Werth at a discount or outright drop him to waivers.  

For the more advanced Roto player, I recommend looking elsewhere when building your outfield in 2011. Werth is a decent talent, however, without the variables he enjoyed in Philly he will not be a top 20 outfielder this season. Wait for the rookie manager to waste his high pick on Werth, and then pick him up off waivers mid-season. He will still have some value down the stretch; it just won’t be close to his value in years past.

This article was originally published on, the home of free fantasy news, rankings, and advice.

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2011 Fantasy Baseball Sleeper Alert: Rick Porcello

The goal for every fantasy manager is to find the proverbial diamond in the rough, a player who provides early round production despite being taken in the latter part of the draft. These players are not easy to find due to the unpredictable nature of the sport, however it is important to use some late round picks on possible breakout players to help fortify your lineup. 

One possible breakout player that we are tracking for 2011 is Rick Porcello, a third year starting pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. Drafted 27th overall in the 2007 amateur draft, Porcello needed only one year in the minors to develop his craft before becoming a full time starter for the Tigers in 2009. 

In his first full year as a starter, Porcello was third in AL rookie of the year voting with a 14-9 record and 3.96 ERA. He started 31 games for Detroit, averaging a respectable 4.7 k’s per nine innings while walking an average of 1.71 batters per outing. After his strong start he followed up his rookie year with a disappointing sophomore campaign, posting an unimpressive 10-12 record with an ERA of nearly five, with an opposing batting average of .288.  

Although he had a poor 2010 season, Porcello is a young talent who pitches in one of the most pitcher friendly parks in the AL. He has a potent offense to provide ample run support that will make him a lock to win 10 games. 

He does have a few areas of needed improvement, as he gives up almost 10 hits per nine innings, resulting in a fairly high WHIP for a starter at 1.38. In addition, his strikeout total is not as high as it should be for a pitcher with his cache of pitches. I predict that as he gets older and more confident in his stuff, he will be able to increase his strikeout total to over 100 K’s per season.  

I anticipate that Porcello will fail to crack the top 30 pitchers in mixed leagues, making him a late round pick if he is drafted at all.  Most owners will shy away from him due to his lackluster 2010 stats, yet he is well worth a final pick for those in deeper leagues. I would not be surprised if he posts a 15-10 record with a mid three ERA and around 100 K’s this season.

This article was originally published on, the home of free fantasy news, rankings, and advice.

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2011 Fantasy Baseball Sleeper Alert: Craig Kimbrel

It is the goal of every professional athlete to leave their respective sport on their own terms, riding off into the sunset on the heels of a championship season filled with praise and accolades. This was not the case for Billy Wagner, as his 16-year baseball career ended in pain and frustration last October as his Atlanta Braves fell to the San Francisco Giants in the 2010 MLB playoffs.

Wagner attempted to play through a painful hip injury that plagued him over the latter part of his career, but was unable to continue and his Braves failed to stay afloat in the playoffs.

The player who may be asked to fill Wagner’s shoes is Craig Kimbrel, a powerful young reliever who embodies similar stuff to his predecessor, including a high 90s fastball and a knee buckling slider. Drafted straight out of high school in the third round of the 2008 amateur draft, Kimbrel quickly made his way to the majors primarily due to his blazing fastball and his ability to strike batters out late in games.

He made his debut on May 7, and went on to pitch in 21 games for the Braves, posting an impressive 0.44 ERA with an amazing 17.4 K/9 ratio. He was a vital piece of a Braves bullpen that provided excellent support for Tim Hudson and Derek Lowe.

The two biggest knocks against Kimbrel are his high walk rate and youth, two things that are typically red flags for closers. If given the closer role, how well will the 22-year old pitcher handle the pressure? Will he continue to mow down opponents while raking up strikeouts at an amazing rate, or will he crumble under the pressure, forcing Fredi Gonzalez to demote him to a set-up role?

Only time will tell. 

I recently published an article titled A Beginner’s Guide to Fantasy Baseball in which I shared a few strategies for novice fantasy players. One topic that I touched on is the theory that it is okay to wait on closers in the draft, as there is value late and teams change closers quite regularly throughout the season. In the case of Craig Kimbrel, I recommend targeting him late in your draft as a sleeper pick. 

The casual player may not be aware of Wagner’s retirement, opening the door for educated fantasy players to cash in on a potential diamond in the rough. With that said, I do not advise drafting Kimbrel as a number-one or number-two closer, as there are too many unknowns for a fantasy owner to rely on such a young and unproven player.

This article was originally published on, the home of free fantasy news, rankings, and advice.

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